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A tree house is a small house that is built among the branches around, or next to the trunk of one or more mature trees, and is some distance off the ground...

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Brazilian street artist Nunca addresses the effect of globalization on a society caught between exporting its culture and embracing foreign products. Blunt expressions are engraved into the walls of Brazil, doused in paint and branded with the logo of Naique (NIKE). His characters are frozen in a struggle to maintain the authentic culture of Brazil while adapting to an influx of foreign goods on the global market.
You'll recognize Nunca from numerous publications. He was an essential part of the book Graffiti Brasil released in 2005. Nunca most recently was invited to exhibit at the Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, he was commissioned this year to cover the entire exterior of a Scottish castle with friends Os Gemeos and Nina. We're happy to have him here.
This interview was translated by Ines Amaro in Portugal A copy of this interview in Portuguese may be made available upon request.

Q: How long have you been doing graffiti?
A: I started painting in the streets more or less about 12 years ago.
Q: About how many murals have you done?
A: I don't remember.
Q: Your characters appear very indigenous. Latin America , specifically Brazil boasts many ethnicities. Is there a statement being made in the portrayal of your characters? Is it political?
A: When I go out to paint on the street, I'm picturing the people that live there, it's for them. Who in Brazil isn't of a mixed breed? And even so I can say I'm black, white or Indian, why not?

I believe because of the mixing breeds, Brazil is culturally rich, but we don't value that cultural richness, we don't respect ourselves, we don't try to improve our self-esteem. The images I use of Indians are a way to depict that this rich culture lives within each Brazilian, but the foreign exploitation in the country, diminishes Brazil's self-esteem. An Indian in the city either chooses to maintain its roots or to use NAIQUE (Nike)'s sneakers. The Knowledge of Indigenous people with its unique way to see the world is rooted in the Brazilian culture, as well as its natural resources in the Amazon forest. I always try to politicize my work, with subjects that can be about cannibals, the ravishing exportation of Brazilian fruit, of Indigenous culture, the forgery of labels, but the focus of my interventions questions how the traditional culture mixes, maintains or loses itself to globalization.
Q: Being that you are immersed in such a huge city, and graffiti is so public, do you make your art as a sense of identity? Do you feel that you are begging for the attention of the public, or are you simply making the walls more beautiful as people walk by?
A: I believe one of the unique hearted things I can do is expressing myself through art, if anyone says it's pretty or ugly, it doesn't concern me, but the fact I live in Sao Paulo makes me think how lucky I am. Sometimes I think I live in a Paradise although the prefect of the town doesn't credit graffiti as an art form and has been erasing a lot of works in the streets.
Q: You have recently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo. What is your opinion of the art scene there?
A: The invitation for the Projeto Parede of MAM came after a collective exhibition I did in Galery Fortes Vilaça in Sao Paulo, and after one of the curators of the Museum spotted some of my works in the streets. The art Scenario in Sao Paulo, has been more open, step by step, and a small market has been developing around the artists that don't have any academic studies, like the case of graffiti writers. I believe that only with time the quality of each artist is going to tell that: "... You can kill yourself in that scenario!"
Q: How did the castle project come about? Where is the castle located?
A: The idea came from the children of Lord Glasgow (David and Alice Boyle), they searched for artists that combined a strong visual identity with influences of Brazilian popular culture and also a particular view of the Universe portrayed in the artists paintings. After seeing my work as well as from other artists, in books or the internet, they were very keen... in this project with us. And it was great for all of the artists there, because we knew each other and we knew how each other worked as well.
I strongly believe this was one of the most satisfying works I have ever done, basically, participating in a completely different experience from the projects I had done before. Developing this work with other artists, meeting amazing persons with very interesting family background, apart from the experience of living with them and creating for about a month in a beautiful nature setting, eventually inspired the creative process.
Q: What artists in Brazil are you watching closely right now?
A: Glauber Rocha, Darcy Ribeiro, Helio Oiticica, Luiz Sacilotto, Ligia Clark.
Q: When you are not making art, where do you find yourself?
A: Sleeping, eating or destroying something.
Q: Lastly, shout outs? What can we look forward to seeing from you during the rest of the year?
A: I have an exhibition for next October in Paris, on Magda Danysz's gallery and in the meantime I'm still painting in the streets and at home."...

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There have been a lot of talks about Russian brides, about pros and cons marrying a russian girl. Here is an example of somebody who nevertheless made a positive decision.

This bride is naked? Well, almost. Let’s take a closer look:
While looking at her dress I had only one question - is it made of some sort already unecessary underwear or was ordered as a new one, without using third party underwear parts?

And another question, I wodered why didn’t her future spouse wear something like this. He is wearing some crumpled suite, but he could put on something really worth of his bride, maybe some boxers.

After looking on this dress I thought it might be another reason for a man to find himself a Russian bride.

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On September 30, about 900 volunteers participating in a hands-on rice farming tour began the annual harvest of the Inakadate village (Aomori prefecture) rice paddy art, which this year depicted a pair of famous Hokusai woodblock prints created with four different varieties of rice.

View more photos of rice paddy art HERE.

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Fireplace screens don't have to be boring. Fireplace tools don't have to be ordinary. Re-thinking the function of fireplace screens and tools can add a new dimension to these items and attract customers like moths to a flame.
The idea is to view a fireplace and its accessories as another work of art. Like a painting that hangs on a wall, a fireplace screen should attract the eye. It should command attention, coordinate with a room's décor, and adhere to its basic function of protecting against flying embers.

The examples shown are intended to help you look at fireplace hardware as accessories that reflect the theme of the home and, perhaps the personalities of the people who own it. Metals shops and artist blacksmiths have an opportunity to outdo the factory made, stamped out, fabricated screens by thinking outside the hearth. If you create customized fireplace hardware, homeowners, builders, and decorators will beat a path to your facility and you will shovel up, and sweep in profits.

Natural Theme

Study carefully Craig A.Kaviar's fire screen with hanging tools and log basket (Figure 1) that is the focal point of the Belliarmine College Library in Louisville, Ky. It reflects the building's environment among a tree-studded campus. Observe how the tree's branches extend above the rectangular fireplace. The tree trunks are hinged to create doors so subtle they almost appear nonexistent. The same is true for the vines that camouflage the severity of the rectangle and also provide the door handles.

When it comes to using themes and scenes in fireplace hardware, Glenn A. Gilmore's work stands out. Gilmore, from Hamilton, Mont., has customized fireplace screens throughout the country. Give him a theme or someone’s special interests and he will incorporate them into stunning fireplace accessories that could easily outshine any painting or sculpture in a room. The dog screen (Figures 2 and 3) illustrates a commission for a homeowner who wanted to memorialize his pet.

Gilmore has woven clients' special interests, such as baseball, boating, running, hunting, fishing, and water sport themes into his fireplace accessories. He incorporated a captain's wheel in the fire doors for a home with a nautical theme (Figure 4). []For a den with a sports theme, he created a screen that depicts joggers navigating a path along the screen's lower center. The fire tool shafts include a golf ball. A bat in the center has carved symbols of a baseball team and the baseball is autographed. The fireplace area serves as a display for the owner's treasures and is still fully functional.

Staying True to Style

Tailoring a screen's design to the home's architectural or decorating style seems like an obvious choice. Yet, left to the taste of a homeowner, it's not unusual to see a Spanish style screen in a contemporary home. The artist blacksmith schooled in art history and architectural styles is in a position to strike a happy balance between the fireplace hardware and the home's style. Jerry A. Coe of Berkeley, Calif., has designed unique fireplace screens that reflect art deco, art nouveau, and elements from different cultures (See Figure 5). He always adds his own fillip in the form of a small carved or cast animal, bird, or other object.

Telling a Story

A screen that tells a story is not a new concept. Historical examples of fireplace screens often included mythological images. This screen (Figure 6) by Edward Gustave Trinkkeller, produced for the Hearst Castle, San Simeon, Calif., about 1926, depicts Satan dancing around a fire. The andirons have basket shaped tops with a cooking pot suspended from the poker that rests across two spit hooks. The design is symmetrical.

Asymmetrical Beauty

Today's artists incorporate symmetry most of the time, but they may deviate from that design concept. Roland C. Greefke, of Gilbertsville, N.Y., forged this wrought iron asymmetrical three-panel folding screen (Figure 7) for actress Bette Midler. It shows her personal symbols and a phrase that had special meaning for Ms. Midler.

Asymmetry also can present a different look when used for andirons, grates, and baskets, and provide a compelling design challenge to the smith. Douglas E Wilson of Little Deer Isle, Maine, illustrates a design for an asymmetrical andiron that he forged in iron (See Figure 8).

Tool Art

Jerry A. Coe's fire tools, forged in bronze and copper (See Figure 9), show an Art Nouveau design (left). The tool set at right is based on cattails in forged brass and copper.

Shape and Form

If you're tired of making scrolls, acanthus leaves, and French rococo designs, think of using geometric shapes in repeat forms as your basic element, as in this forged iron screen (Figure 10) by Jeff Fetty, of Spencer, W.Va.

Your Artistic Side

Hopefully these samples of fireplace art will inspire you to explore your own creative metalworking talents. If you would like to see more examples of the featured artists’ works, enter their names into your Web browser. Be inspired!

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A trip to The Linux Café today and stumbled upon an event for Microsoft’s Windows Home Server. To my surprise there was a table full of what appeared to be Windows Home Server coffee! I had to have it. After I got the Windows coffee home, upon closer inspection I realized that Microsoft’s people simply wrapped cans of Boss coffee in their product logo. Still, it’s kind of nice to dream that one day you might be able to visit a place called the Linux Café and drink real Windows coffee. A geek can dream.

Microsoft Employees Drink Vista Kool-Aid, Er, Soda
A local newspaper reporter spotted cans of LEMON LIME WINDOWS VISTA in a Microsoft employee free-drinks fridge. Cans of Talking Rain sparkling water have been modified to internally promote the Windows Vista web site in an apparent effort to get random employees to eat the Vista dog food and drink the Microsoft Kool-aid (download and try the Windows Vista beta).

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