I might have been the last person on the planet to encounter Arthur Russell’s music last year. During a sweltering summer week of repeatedly playing old school disco and dance (along the lines of ABBA, Donna Summer and Dee D. Jackson,) I came across Loose Joint’s “Tell You Today.” During college, I worked at my University’s student-run radio station. We’d take the equipment to someone’s off-campus house on weekends and my friends who ran the show paid homage to Russell (and his bandmates in the Loose Joints project) by calling the series of parties they hosted Loose Joints Dance Parties. It wasn’t your average college-kid-learning-to-use-a-turntable situation; most of the djs brought stuff that wouldn’t get popular for another four or five years (this was when indie-rock was all anyone wanted to listen to, and disco hadn’t yet begun to make a comeback.)
Finding the precious few Loose Joints recordings brought back some memories, and kindled my interest in Russell. His biography is a sad read – Russell lived during an era when precautions against HIV and public health knowledge were not what they were today – he contracted HIV near the end of his life, though ultimately died of throat-cancer related complications. A life-long cello player, Russell experimented over the course of his career with countless genres of music – electronic, avant-garde, minimalist, orchestral, disco, tech house, electro-pop. He also helped foster the careers and music of many underground musicians through collaboration, producing and offering a venue for them to play – Russell acted for a time as music director of The Kitchen, an avant-garde performance space in New York.
One of Arthur Russell’s most well-known – and acclaimed – albums is Another Thought, a series of recordings made during the last decade of his life and released posthumously.
Via AllMusic: “Compiled from selections from a daunting number of tapes and recordings made by Arthur Russell over the last decade of his life, Another Thought serves as a somewhat unintentional sequel to the majestic World of Echo. While it’s a primarily vocal/cello recording, Russell himself might have arranged and performed a final version differently, given his never flagging interest in the possibilities of dance and disco. Whether seen as a tribute, a collection of demos, or something else, it’s still a truly excellent record, Russell’s evocative, soulful-in-its-own-style singing and performing given a sweet showcase… His cello performances are jaw-dropping on their own, at once pop and not pop. Brief appreciative liner notes aptly convey his successes and the tragedy of his death, but it’s the songs that serve as the best epitaph for a unique artist.”
You can stream the whole album here.
Last September, Eden introduced Kiowa Rose Jewelry – an ornate hand-beaded jewelry line that, like many of our other jewelry lines, also happens to be local! We also interviewed designer Rosie Long about her passion for beadwork and jewelry here – check it out, it’s a great read! This Spring, a few Eden staffers travelled out to Rosie’s country house for a visit. Her studio is incredible – stockpiled from floor to ceiling with new, vintage and antique findings beads and other jewelry flotsam and jetsam. Her decor is equally unbelievable – treasures from the Victorian through Nouveau and Deco eras adorn every room. It was completely inspirational for us – here’s a sneak peak at our studio visit with Rosie Long. All photos by Carlie Armstrong for Eden. Special thanks to Rosie for letting us come visit, and for being kind enough to allow us to look through all of her collections!
Even more exciting news… Kiowa Rose will be presenting a line of bridal jewelry at Eve in Eden along with several of our other designers! Here’s a preview of some of the amazing pieces she made, exclusively for us!
Now that our Holiday Look Book has made the rounds (if you still haven’t seen it, you must! Click here) – we thought we would shine a light on the artist generous enough to open his studio and artwork to be photographed.
Tahoe the Contender
Alexander Rokoff is a Portland-based painter originally from New Mexico. Rokoff is known for the old-world influenced style and sometimes dramatically large scale of his work, as well as subject matter. His paintings are executed in the style of old masters with unconventional, modernized subjects ranging from Issac Brock of Modest Mouse and Storm Large of Pink Martini to everyday “forgotten” people – as he terms. In the neighborhood between Mississippi Avenue and Killingsworth Street, Rokoff has documented many long-term residents and notable personalities, capturing a unique moment in time for an area that is rapidly gentrifying.
Clockwise from top left: Ruth Simon, Virgil Baker, James “Chip” Simon, Bruce Holloway, Alexander Rokoff, David Reese.
Clockwise from top left: The Contemplative, The Recipient, The Underworld, The Retreat
Rain Hell from Above
One reviewer said this of Alexander Rokoff and his work: “Alexander Rokoff is perhaps the leading young Attitude painter. His paintings are wise, quirky, and often cocky. Drawing exclusively from the people, community, events, and environments of contemporary life, Rokoff nudges viewers around, pushes them into curious and sometimes uncomfortable corners. At the same time, he challenges them to entertain foreign and awkward imagery. Appearing almost voyeuristic, his paintings make bare the emotion, restlessness, or contemplative states of the models.
“Each work is executed in Rokoff’s signature style, one that presents direct quotations from the great European masters and yet has a looseness of brushwork and an exploration of color and texture that is entirely Rokoff’s. His command of anatomy coupled with a complete understanding of how states of being—emotions and thoughts—manifest physically in the human form, make these images haunting and hypnotic.”
Issac Brock and the Seven Deadly Sins, left, and Storm Large
We would also like to extend thanks to the Falcon Art Community, which opened it’s doors and allowed us access not just to Mr. Rokoff’s studio, but to hallways, props and generally, being underfoot all of the artists for a day.
The Falcon Art Community (via their website) “Founded in 2006 by Portland real estate developer Brian Wannamaker, The Falcon is a privately funded and thriving arts organization supported by a portion of rents gleaned from a portfolio of vintage properties encompassing commercial mixed-use and residential rentals. This unique model helps to fund artists directly through low-cost studio space, patronage of work and marketing and career support from full-time staff.
“The Falcon Art Community provides an intentional community in which experienced and emerging artists inspire each other in an atmosphere of beauty and elegance. Imagine walking through the halls of the Louvre on the way to write, compose, paint, act or practice music in your studio—the Falcon aims to catalyze great art by surrounding artists in inspiring and masterful artwork. A unique live/work space where artists can live close to their work without having to live in their workspace, the Falcon recruits artists whose work combines excellence in craftsmanship and vision. Falcon artists are actively engaged in their career, using the facilities for creating new work and teaching, and taking advantage of special services to help promote their careers in Portland and beyond, while maintaining their personal and working vitality.”
The Contemplative by Alexander Rokoff
Last year’s trip to the woods to shoot Eden’s very first Look Book was a really magical day for all involved – marked by kinship, collaboration, a truck full of easygoing ladies, wilderness exploration, fancy clothes and jewelry and lots of champagne. Naturally, we’re really keen to get most of that same team back together (along with a few new faces) to produce a second Fall Look Book!
The photographer from last year’s shoot, Annie Montgomery (who’s also the talent behind one of our favorite jewelry lines, Pure Jewelry) will be one of this year’s models, shot in turn by talented photo team Anya Verdugo and Carlie Armstrong (Anya took these lovely behind-the-scenes photos last year.) We’ve got a handful of people working behind the scenes, including several other Eden jewelry designers and shop girls, and the whole thing is being handily orchestrated by proprietress Cindy.
What about the location? We’re very excited to be packing up our gypsy wagon and heading east to the Falcon Art Community artist studios. Artist Alexander Rokoff has kindly agreed to allow us to use some of his beautiful large-scale oil paintings to add some incredible dimension to our wild-posh aesthetic. Care to see some of our inspiration? We’re thinking feathers, fur, soft velvets and shiny, shimmery fabrics plus heaps of flowers, fruit – a cornucopia for the senses, if you will.
Blogs like My Daguerrotype Boyfriend and F*ck Yeah, Victorians are always inspiring us with their excellent scans of early photographs of dapper fellows, darling children and pretty dames, and we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently received a large collection of vintage tintypes, featuring long-ago images of babies, children, married couples, brothers, sisters and little old ladies.
Find our full selection of tintypes available here in our web store and in our brick-and-mortar shop. Interested in learning how to make your own modern version of a tintype? If you have a smartphone, you can, using these instructions (via Instagram.)