paris apartment

Monday, August 24, 2015

Well, it's been some time hasn't it? 
three, four, five weeks since i last sat down to write... 

Too, too much has happened since then, and since I've no way of organizing my thoughts anymore (Europe in seven weeks, two words: visual overload), let's start very, very small. Here's a piece of my apartment in Paris. My tiny, one room-apartment where I banged my knee every other morning against the wooden desk that took up half the space, the beautiful little living quarter I fell in love with, two creaky steps in.   

I took this photo my second week in Paris. It must have been a Monday, because these are the fresh peonies I indulged in at the farmer's market (then stole some used wine bottles from the kitchen for vases, and gave half to my roommate, +1 roomie point for me). This was also right after the free museum day, when I visited Centre Pompidou, the largest modern/ contemporary art museum in Paris. 

So, so many great things that day- Sam Francis's "Untitled" series, Fernand Leger's "le ballet mechanique", 1923 running in a dark corner, Hans Richter's 35 mm film "Vormittagsspuck" -ghosts, floating hats, all around greatness, Jean-Isadore Isou "traité de bave et d'éternité", Cy Tyomnly's "Achilles", 1962 and an entire retrospective on the rhythms & motifs of Le Corbusier. And last but not least, Matisse. Purchasing these Matisse post cards was a no-brainer, little did I know that this was the first in six Matisse exhibits I'd see in Europe... eh no regrets! 

Also jotted this quote down in my notebook:

"la vraie peinture commença quand on comprendra que la couleur a une vie propre"
real painting will begin when people understand that color has a life of its own

-Sonia Delaunay 

Boys by Girls

Sunday, July 26, 2015

19 juillet 2015
"Gentle Uprising" by Fanny Latour-Lambert and Benoit Martinengo
Found "Boys By Girls" in the Palaise de Tokyo Bookstore. Fell in love. 

I'D IMAGINED that updating this blog wouldn't be hard in Paris, but its been near impossible... There's barely internet in our apartment, and in the cafe's here (at least the ones I like), people aren't buried in laptops and iphones- they're too busy conversing and people-watching, enjoying each others company over two, even three hour meals. That's what Ben, Tiffany, and I did this morning- I walked from my apartment through Jardin Du Luxembourg, and met them at La Closerie de Lilas in Montparnasse, where we ordered two cafe creme's and a cappuccino, and shared an assortment of mini desserts- so sweet we left them unfinished. This is the cafe that Hemingway frequented, and the inside is gorgeous- Art Deco posters from the 1920's, historical photos lining the walls, the piano guy playing some famous Asian song for us (he thought we were both Taiwanese?), brass and black and ancient chandeliers everywhere. Obviously young locals don't go to places like this, but it's Ben and Tiffany's last couple days in Paris, so they're feeling extra indulgent (and I'm never one to resist, to the detriment of my wallet), and so we walked down the street to another Hemingway Cafe- Le Select, and I had the best French Onion Gratin soup of my life. Needless to say, none of us will be eating tonight. Tiffany and I are going dancing later, and Ben, who's been on this whirlwind French romance is off to the cinema with the guy we met, he can't stop smiling, and it's infectious and adorable. It's very cold and overcast today, raining on and off, a little melancholic, and the streets are wet and beautiful. 

The cinema houses here are very elegant, as are the hommes, (although the cinema is also romantic, Parisian men, for the most part, are not). I've snapped a few street style shots, but not nearly as many as I wanted to yet. I've one roll of film left (and I came with 5!)- it's a black and white roll, and it's for two things: the architecture, and the people of Paris. 

à minuit

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, 
nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong, nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight" 

Paris on film

Monday, July 13, 2015

Morning in Paris
3 Juillet 2015
I went to the farmer's market last week, ended up staying for almost two hours because the locals were so friendly, the samples too delicious. I met a girl there who moved to Paris seven years ago from Stockholm, she's a literature student and she was telling me how much she loves the city, even after all this time, but how she'll never really be a local, that's something you're born into, she said. I left with blackberry jam and the best blueberries and yellow peaches I've ever tasted. J'ai traverse la rue towards my apartment, ran into another student, and she convinced me to go back and buy fresh white (very overpriced) peonies for my room, so they're on this same study desk now, already shriveled up and dying because of the heat here, but still lovely by the window, especially in the morning light.

Elle est incroyablement belle, cette ville. 
I took these my second night in Paris, when a bunch of us took a boat ride along the Seine. It was already 9 pm, maybe close to 10, and the sun was just skimming the water, illuminating the city with golden and purple waves. So many young people along the Seine, I love watching them sitting along the river's edge, legs dangling, cigarettes, wine, in close groups of friends, three, maybe four, and time doesn't matter so much here.

One of my friends here was telling me how each summer day in Paris feels like five. Like there are unspoken sections to a day, if you wake up by 5 maybe, you have 5 more hours to yourself before the city really wakes up, and it's nice, chilly and dewy, really quiet, soft white light everywhere. Then the afternoon is filled with tourists and the central city is frantic, everyone is everywhere, and it's overwhelming, but the anonymity is nice. I always have time to myself before sundown, heading to dinner around 9, never in Saint Germain after the first week- we've learned better. Tonight we'll be in le Marais to celebrate the night before Bastille Day, but I'm wanting to go to the Quartier Latin soon too. Strawberries and wine is dinner here, and it's perfect. Then a really peaceful lull after dinner, a quiet energy building up, and that's when the night starts. If you're out late enough, you experience the last bit, where you trade the last metro for le premier metro of the next day, to get home at 6 am.

Freedom of night here is beautiful.

Je suis arrivé à Paris

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

St. Germain, Paris 
1 Juillet 2015

Donc, il semble, je suis enfin ici! Of course the first thing I do the afternoon I arrive, is throw open our rusty white balcony windows, look down, up, down Rue de Conde, and take a photo to make sure this view isn't a complete mirage.   

One week later, and it it's still completely surreal that I'm in Paris, that I get to wake up for class at 7 am every morning, grab jam and a baguette from the lobby, speed walk through Jardin du Luxembourg, and make it to class by 9, bleary eyed, but so, so happy, out by 12, metro by 12:30, and then the day begins. 

21 ans. The age I'd always promised myself I'd come to Paris. I don't know what else to say, other than this city feels right. I've never been to a foreign place where I feel so at ease, where I inherently understand the pace of the people and the rhythm of the streets, even in a city where it takes me five minutes to spit out a single sentence. My head's spinning from every detail I'm wanting to savor, and share here, (plus running on 3 hours of sleep every night)- but carrying my little black notebook everywhere is keeping me mildly sane. 

The sun's gone down, and we're going to an open mike night hosted by Shakespeare and Co. near Blvd. Saint-Michel at this tiny cafe now. Did I really just say that? 
À demain!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

thrifted blouse 
envelope clutch by still.products
wristwatch c/o Larsson &Jennings
photo: Felix Lim

1. I first met Rachel, a young designer all the way from Singapore, just one year ago through insta. Despite never having met in person, we quickly bonded over our shared love for Her (film, soundtrack, everything). After several months of admiring her designs, she kindly sent me a nude envelope purse from her company, Still.Products. It's a lovely piece, spacious enough to fit a medley of tidbits: keys, lipstick, small notebook, coin purse, all the receipts and random acquisitions of the night, but small and sleek enough to hold as a clutch. Paired with an oversized white blouse thrifted in San Francisco, and a black and gold "Lader" wristwatch gifted by Swedish store, Larson & Jennings. Funny enough, my mom became rather infatuated, so I ended up giving it to her for her birthday, and I still wear her tiny, scratched up vintage Cartier everyday- I like its subtlety- un peu petite, unmoving hands, frozen time.  

2. We've always shared an affection for the shadowy bits of life. I snapped a shot of these branches behind the Eames House in L.A a month ago, the light leak a happy coincidence. 

3. Getting ready, in dior. 


Sunday, June 21, 2015

" why do we ask each other so many questions? two people shouldn’t know each other so well, if they want to fall in love " 

-l'eclisse, 1962


this week has been incredibly surreal, 
and I haven't the words to explain  why.
sleep doesn't come easily
3 am comes too quickly
I haven't made it past page 1 in Un An
because for once
life is too busy being lived. 

LA, I'm not ready to say goodbye. 

Fleur en noir

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

fleur en noir  by david choi 

Happy wednesday!
1. wearing: favorite sheer shirt, airy-est pants in cobalt blue (both thrifted in San Francisco) and oak+fort cardigan
2. listening: charlotte gainsbourg "hey joe" 
3. reading: walls of empowerment for class, for fun- un an by jean echenoz 
4. Three days until graduation. 
    Oh god. 
5. Watched "L'eclisse" last night instead of studying for finals. Best irrational decision ever, what a movie!  

Dimanche nuit

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stan Brackage. The Wonder Ring, 1959  

The past few nights I've been staying up too late watching Stan Brackage's short films, this week especially, it's a means of escape from final exams. 

His work is hard to capture in a still photo. In a blink of an eye, you miss how many frames of beauty? Many of his films are in a constant state of transition, especially works like Mothlight (1963). Feels like you have an eyelash caught in your eye and you're anxiously fluttering your lids to get it out, not wanting to miss a moment.  

It's the exigence of experimental films with an extravagant number of shots per second... 

Anyway, this segment from Wonder Ring is everything I love in a short. Bowler hats, and stranger's silhouettes, the side of fire escapes, and crumbling pastel buildings, the most beautiful use of light and reflection. And it takes place within the journey of a train ride, the silent romance. 

I ran into my film teacher from last quarter at a Hammer party the other night (a happy surprise, she's one of my favorites) and I need to bring this up if we do end up getting coffee before I leave...

More stills: 

A few other favorites: 

Beautiful, frenetic youth rebels. 

Who is he? 

Studio Visit: Joshu+Vela

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

STEPPING INTO Joshu+vela's studio is witnessing Noah Guy's meticulously crafted bags and accessories come to life... 

It's always fascinated me, discovering the actual process of ideas, collaboration, and artistry behind quality creations- the reality, in other words, of the hard work that goes into an independent business. 

What about Joshu+vela's products captured my attention? I think it was the leather clutch in nude and black that first won me over. Something in the elegant design, the lines and cut not unlike the quality of a Comme des Garçons convinced me. When I was home in San Francisco during spring break, I made sure to stop by their studio in the Mission District for a visit. Noah, owner and creative director of Joshu+vela kindly took me on a tour of the store, taking me beyond the beautiful wall of backpacks and totes, to the workspace in the back. I saw long strips of nude and caramel-hued leather material, the bright blue of equipment, brass and metal everywhere. And as I took photo after photo (no use resisting in a space like this) Noah told me a bit about himself, his inspirations and ambitions, how he got to where he is today.  

Read our conversation, below:  

Thanks again for having me in your studio, Noah! I loved getting to witness everything from the chosen materials, to the teamwork and overall process that goes into building your beautiful bags. 

What is a day in the studio typically like for your team? 

A usual day at the Tradeshop includes our sewers, Zhen and Ling, holding down the fort in the back of the shop. Taylor plans our production schedule and does all the riveting and leather cutting. Laura is our wholesale manager—she communicates with customers and makes sure everyone is happy. If I’m not running store operations, I’m probably designing a new bag or eating a burrito.

Growing up, were you surrounded by a creative family, or was creativity something you sought out yourself? 

I grew up in a pretty creative environment. My mom was always doing wood-fired pottery or oiled ceramics for fun. My dad was a director of cinematography for television commercials—he did the one in the late ‘80s for Cherry 7-Up with Matt LeBlanc in it. I didn’t really seek out a career in a creative field until a little later in my life, around my late twenties.

It sounds like your family has a great appreciation for the visual arts! Did you study something design-related in school? 

I didn’t go to school until I’d already designed and manufactured a bag while living and working in Thailand, which taught me that I basically knew nothing about design and business. At that time, the company was just called Joshu. After I came back to the States I studied apparel design in the formal sense.

Wow, I can only image that Thailand left you with a different perspective. How did the idea to make bags come about? 

I moved to Thailand in 2001 to begin manufacturing bags—there were a lot of resources for it there at the time. Honestly, I thought designing bags just seemed easier than designing clothes. At the onset, it wasn’t obvious it was the main thing I was going to do, but in the end it worked out.

What is your favorite part of the design process- and how do you turn an idea into reality? 

My favorite part is seeing all the various elements—from the design research to the materials sourcing to the patterning to the sewing—come together into a physical product. Ideas become real when you have the structure in place: you’re able to get your materials, own your own manufacturing tools and space, and you have an excellent team to help you get through the tough work. Time and patience are also crucial to working through manufacturing problems.

San Francisco is the base of your store- why did you choose the Mission District as the home of your store? Any favorite neighborhood places you visit in your off time? 

I chose the Mission because I think with the changes happening in San Francisco right now, this neighborhood is becoming the new center for the city. Outside of the Mission, I like going to Ocean Beach, Mount Tamalpais or Bolinas. If I have time, I’ll go camping in Point Reyes, Big Sur or Santa Cruz.

I’ve always deeply admired small businesses, and I know that owning your own independent store, especially in a city like San Francisco is no easy feat. Are there challenges of owning your own small business? How do you stay motivated and positive? 

The challenges are too many to name, and they come in all types. Right now the biggest challenge is making sure our new Tradeshop meets city building regulations, which comes with designing a space as custom as ours is. In terms of staying positive, part of that is in making sure I take care of myself: exercising, staying healthy and taking time off to regroup. 

Let’s talk about inspiration for moment- I love the collection of images on your tumblr. Where do you find inspiration? 

I love doing image research and I’m a big fan of photography and historical images. But the inspiration for products usually comes from what customers are asking for—useful products that speak to their actual needs.

We both share a love for printed material, and you mentioned that you’d love to carry independent publications in your store soon. Which books/ magazines would you put in your store? 

My friend Brian Kanagaki owns Perryman Press, and I’m working on carrying some books from his publishing company in the shop soon:

What are you most excited about for Joshu+Vela’s future? 

The opening of the Tradeshop is the most important thing. We’ve been working toward this goal for years and I’m really excited to say that it’s finally come together and we’re officially open. In fact, we’re having an opening party on May 29, so anyone reading this in San Francisco should come! You can RSVP by emailing us at

Any last words of advice for young entrepreneurs/artists? 

Be persistent in your search for originality.

Thanks again to Noah and the Joshu+vela team!  


© etherealist All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger