Art Soiree Presents: Salon After Hours

I recently attended the first of Art Soiree’s newest event, Salon After Hours. They choose a talented salon in the DC area and collaborate to create a memorable night celebrating the art of beauty. First up was the David Rios Salon and Spa in Georgetown neighborhood in DC. It was a night full of visual delights as attendees were able to witness the stylists and makeup artists prepare the finishing touches on the models, then watch it all come together in motion with a mini runway show.

Makeup artist, Michelle, completes her look inspired by painter Roy Lichtenstein’s work.

The team at David Rios spent countless hours to prepare for this event. They chose to take inspiration from some of the greatest artists and masterpieces in art history to create the looks they premiered that night. There was also the chance to meet the stylists themselves to chat about their work and experience. Everyone that I met from the salon was very gracious and friendly, and their enthusiasm for their passion was contagious! Based on what I saw, I would highly recommend checking out the crew at the David Rios Salon & Spa. They know how to make you look good (and also know how to throw a party)!

For the full album of the event at the David Rios Salon, see it here!

If you’re in the DC area and haven’t heard about Art Soiree, I suggest you check them out! They host many events throughout the year, sharing their taste and joy of the arts. Tonight I will be attending the next event for Art Soiree’s Salon After Hours at Roche Salon, so stay tuned for part 2!

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The Beauty of It All

Photo courtesy of CSM Art and Frame

The “Beauty” theme day during last week’s celebration of Salvador Dali inspired me to share a bit of my personal view on what makes a certain piece of art beautiful. I have to preface this by saying that this is just my own opinion, and not really a cornerstone on how one should view works of art. It’s too subjective of a topic to have any hard/fast rules telling people how to look and what to see when viewing a piece of work. That takes the fun out of it! But if you’re reading this as someone that’s just curious about another person’s viewpoint, then I gladly invite you to read on.

Compared to others that I’ve talked to, I think my taste is definitely on the simpler side and more traditional. As far as subject matter, what makes a piece beautiful to me is whether or not it seems to speak from the heart. I tend to gravitate towards work that tries to connect with something deeper within the artist, and is expressed in a way that allows the majority of viewers to feel a certain impact. Is the artist’s motivation more isolating and self-indulgent, or is the intention to present a vision of a concept that is supposed connect with the viewers? Those are just a couple of questions that I ask myself when viewing a piece. If there’s a story behind it, I’d like to be able to at least get a close guess as to what the artist is trying to convey instead of feeling like I’m just looking at an inside joke. It’s hard for me to connect with something so mysterious that I’d need to carry around an art history book just to stand a chance at possibly partially understanding the intent of the artist. I can still appreciate the effort of something that I don’t understand, but I may not feel inspired by it. I love figurative pieces (work that has a person or more as the focus), and work with strong symbolism.

Visually, I love color. Intentionally or unintentionally good use of color – expressive (abstract) and representational (realism). I think those who are able to do this well show an incredible amount of skill, patience, and thought. I love paintings with obvious brushwork, and texture. It’s amazing when an artist can render a subject with such detail and realism, but personally I also think there is much beauty in being able to simplify or suggest it. Reading what I just typed, one of my favorite painters, Vincent van Gogh, comes to mind:

A Pair of Shoes – Vincent van Gogh. 1886

This is just a quick overview of what draws me into a specific piece of work. I could really go on and on! For those who have no idea how to explain why they like a piece of art, next time just pay attention to what it is that grabs you and let it linger. Maybe it’s the size of the piece, or the subject? Maybe it reminds you of a certain era of time that you love, or your childhood? Think about any sudden emotions within you that may come to the forefront when viewing the piece. I may want to understand what the artist was trying to do, but who says YOU really have to understand the true intent or message of the artist? I think what really matters is how each individual responds to the piece. At least being able to identify what you like and why already gives you entry into a dialogue about art, then you can learn more details from there. That’s also what I think is the beauty of art – the fact that any one piece can mean so many different things depending on who views it. The experience can start a conversation between people who were once strangers, but now they’ve been brought together through an unseen person who dared to put themselves on display. I know this all sounds so corny, but I do see a certain beauty in how art can bring people together.

And that’s something I will never get tired of seeing.

Naomi and Dali: Beauty

Galarina, Salvador Dali. 1944-45

The world’s concept of beauty has become such a repellent to me now. As it turns out, it really weighs nothing in the grand scheme of things. Your fate supposedly lies in the eye of the beholder – a daring concept that allows strangers to have power over you and your self- esteem. It shouldn’t be so damned easy for us to put so much trust into people who barely know us. The cynic in me finds that even the simple observation of physical beauty has become a cop out. Verbalizing approval of someone’s looks has become a way of saying “I accept you,” and “I approve of you simply because I like the way you look.” And I don’t know about you, but once I’ve gained this level of approval without even trying, it makes me lazy. You don’t need to know anything else about me. You’ve given me the thumbs up without peeling back the layers and making sure I’m not completely spoiled and ugly underneath. 

The magnificent thing about Dali’s art, in my opinion, is that he was able to peel back gritty layers of ugly to reveal the overall beauty of whatever scenario or mood he was trying to capture. Along those lines, it seems to me his life was a true imitation of that particular art. As many of you may gasp to know, I find Dali’s relationship with his muse and wife Gala to be THE most fascinating mystery about a most fascinatingly mysterious man. On paper, this woman reads as an opportunistic older woman who abandoned her children to leach off the dreams of successful artists. She’s the equivalent of today’s gold digger with the addition of 10 years on her and not so much in the looks department. However, I replay in my mind how it could’ve gone down upon Salvador’s first sight of her. How, like a painting, he was most likely drawn to the concept of her– the outline of her– and the desire to expose her layers became a fascination. 

There she was. It didn’t matter all the negative things he had heard about her. It mattered less the age difference between them, and even less that she stood there married and on the arm of Paul Eluard. There she was. And maybe it wasn’t the brilliance of her smile, the glint in her eyes, or her demure manner as she spoke to guests at the party with ease and confidence.  It didn’t seem to be the thrill of the chase that moved him to declare that she was to be his wife. His artist’s rendering of her alone causes me to believe that it was perhaps the way her laugh lines framed her small mouth whenever she chose to speak. Or maybe he was entranced by the wideness of her forehead, the soft glow of red in her high cheekbones, or the deep set of her eyes. There she was… An obsession formed. What he saw before his eyes was something real, a beauty and likeness designed almost specifically for his Dalinian eyes. Dalinian eyes that fought through the fog of the opinion of others and through the obstacle of another man that claimed her attention to see this majestic being before him – there she was.

Buuuuut, that is all speculation on my part. I say all that to say that anyone can recognize the near perfect symmetry in a face and declare it optimum beauty. It takes a trained eye to look beyond a face and see the deep sadness in another’s eyes, to admire the furrow of a brow, the ruggedness of once delicate hands, or the quick flash of innocence in an expression. Flowers are pretty, and sunsets are magnificent, sunrises—even better! But what lies beyond…? To me, beauty should be seen as the entire journey of where an object originates to where it is now. The story should be whole and complete before anyone dare pass judgment on how they feel about the look of things. The heartbreaker that falls in love, the liar who tells the truth, the ignorant that opens the mind, the uninspired who finds a muse…the beauty is what is recognized after, and never before.