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Art & Design | Jason Young’s 2054

Artist Jason Young’s vision of the future is idyllic: no wars, no global warming, just peace, love and curling. Yes, curling. The kicker? He envisions this utopia in the not-so-distant future; the year 2054 to be exact.

“People feel it’s a little ambitious – that we would so soon have evolved so far,” says the Vancouver-born, New York-based painter and performance artist. “But we’re being asked to sacrifice so many things for our future and yet there’s no positive vision being provided — it’s always drowning polar bears and doom and gloom. Enough with the stick, what about the carrot?”

The carrot is Young’s ‘2054’, a performance that resembles a curling match played by actors on the roof of Soho House (which many non-New Yorkers will remember from the Sex and the City episode in which Samantha impersonates a club member to gain access to the rooftop pool).

Instead of playing the game to win, the teams played to paint. Each illuminated stone was filled with coloured resin so it left streaks of colour as it glided across the “sheet,” which was actually a 50-foot lightbox that would later be divided into ten pieces and parcelled off for collectors.

This short film shows how it all went down.

So why, of all sports, did Young chose curling as the one played in his utopian future? Well, he’s Canadian. But there’s more to it than that; Young chose the game of stones partly because it’s built on collaboration and communication, partly because of its visual interest, and partly because of its obscurity.

“In the States people don’t really know the rules so it gives me a lot of artistic license. If I were to try doing this with baseball or football people would be up in arms,” he says.

Instead, they embraced it. Now there’s talk of taking ‘2054’ to cities like Sao Paolo and London and maybe, possibly, hopefully one day in the not-so-distant future, Vancouver.

[Supplied photos]

Style | Inside Vancouver’s new J.Crew with Design Directors Tom Mora and Frank Muytjens

Funny that there hasn’t been a J.Crew store in Vancouver until now. The New York-based brand’s dressy/casual approach to basics seems right at home on Canada’s west coast.

“It never feels too dressy or over done,” says Tom Mora, Vice President of Women’s Design (pictured on the left). “And that meshes with Vancouver’s aesthetic. I mean, look at you, you’re wearing a tailored jacket with a t-shirt underneath.”

Good point.

Before J.Crew opened its Robson Street doors I got a peek at the two-floored space filled with cashmere sweaters, pencil skirts and button-up shirts. Though the basics may be the basics, this isn’t your mother’s J.Crew. If you’ve been following the brand’s trajectory – or if you’ve seen how they’ve styled their lookbooks in recent years – you’ve noticed a dramatic shift away from plain-old preppy, which is in no small part due to the vision of J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons.

Lyon’s laid-back luxe style has made her every fashion girl’s girl crush and a source of inspiration for Mora. “Between Jenna and my designers, I’m lucky to work with beautiful, stylish women,” he says. “We’re a company where people walk around in sequins in the middle of the day.”

The Vancouver store is the second J.Crew location in Canada (the first opened in Toronto last August) and the first to carry menswear.

Frank Muytjens, head of men’s design, describes the J.Crew man as fashion-conscious but not too trendy. “Men don’t like change too much so we take smaller steps than we would with women’s,” he says.

“You need to be persistent and consistent with menswear; you need to show a piece many times before [the customer] is comfortable with it.”

Speaking of comfort, a style staple of the Great White North has been given Muytjens’s blessing. “It’s perfectly acceptable to wear denim on denim,” he says. Good news for the Canadian tuxedo.

J.Crew is now open in Vancouver at 1088 Robson Street.

[Thanks, Little Fashionisto, for snapping that second photo!]

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Art & Design | Angela Grossmann’s The Future is Female

When I reached Angela Grossmann in her studio to interview her for a piece in Vitamin Daily she apologized for putting me on hold while she removed her gloves.

“I’m always working,” she said.

The prolific Vancouver-based painter’s latest show The Future is Female is a study in being studied. It captures – in soft-coloured pieces and more aggressive-looking collages – women in private, sometimes awkward moments.

“We are always being looked at,” she said of the fairer sex. “We can’t see ourselves outside of the influences of being looked at our whole lives, even when we’re alone.”

The Future is Female finds beauty in less-than-glamourous moments like getting dressed. In it, Grossmann uses the female form as subject matter in a way that only a woman could.

“I feel tectonic plates shifting in the art world. Some of the best artists right now are women.” Among them are Marina Abramović and Cindy Sherman, whom Grossmann says “Mark a real movement towards women-centred ideas.” Funny, I’d say the same about her.

The Future is Female is at Vancouver’s Winsor Gallery until May 6, 2012.

[Image: Angela Grossmann’s Cinnabar Twist from Winsor Gallery.]