27 October 2011

Lauren Laverne as the Green Lady

DJ Lauren Laverne sits as the Chinese Girl in Vladimir Tretchikoff portrait for a new episode of Sky TV's Fame in the Frame. As John Myatt points out, she couldn't look any more different to the 'Green Lady'...
Watch here

09 October 2011

Cool Tretchikoff interiors

Here are photos of some of the coolest interiors featuring Tretchikoff prints:

By frillie designs

By Kim

A house converted from a church in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Desire to Inspire.

By H is for Home
By Alecia 

Michael Caine in Alfie (1966)
Trailer Happiness Bar, Notting Hill, London. Photo by Square Meal
Miss Wong Cocktail Bar, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo by Global Travel Mate
Photo by Graham Atkins-Hughes
At the home of Karen Inderbitzen-Waller, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by The Selby

Photo by James Merrell

By Tiki Kiliki

By dexters paperbacks
Jamie Theakston's London house. Photo from Remodelista
By Livingetc
Elle Decoration, April 2006

The Guardian, 18 June 2011
By Anouska Anquetil


Do you know any other stylish Tretchi interiors? Please, send in a photo or share a link!

30 September 2011

Tretchi's show slammed

It's like in the bad old days! The Tretchikoff retrospective at the South African National Gallery (finished last Sunday) is now heavily criticised. The director's decision to hold is is heavily debated on the gounds that Tretchi was 'a fifth-rate' racist painter:

'His images of blacks are patronising, paternalistic and ethnographically inaccurate, and the artist’s female sitters are consistently turned into available sexual objects. One is thus forced to ask why on earth Iziko saw fit to glorify a fifth-rate artist and retailer of the most invidious colonialist bigotry, with a retrospective at the National Gallery' say critics.

Andrew Lamprecht, the curator of the exhibition, replies: 'His (Tretchikoff’s) work should be viewed in context. It should be viewed in the context of the time (it was produced). It is less racist than comparable South African artists.'

Andrew is right. But the problem with that exhibition was precisely the lack of contextualising. Had it been otherwise, the show would have been viewed differently - and more sympathetically, I'm sure.

Read the whole story

29 September 2011

Monika on CNN

In December 2010, I interviewed Monika Pon (nee Sing-Lee), the model for Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl, in her home in Johannesburg.

Now CNN followed my footsteps and made a story about her. It is part of the BackStory series.

Watch the video here

Read Monika's story in detail in my article for Mail & Guardian (May 2011)

The Kiwi Blue Lady

This one is from a beautiful collection of prints by Lester Hall, an artist from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. He made a whole series of intriguing stamp-like designs inspired by pop icons from across the world.
See them here

Thanks to Michelle for the tip.

26 August 2011

Tretchi's critic goes overboard

"[Tretchikoff's] paintings represent the worst kind of prejudice, voyeurism, crass racial stereotyping, sexism, cultural paternalism, white colonialism and almost everything about the tyranny of the old regime."

Vivian van der Merwe, lecturer in painting and drawing, fine art department at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Full article

21 August 2011

Another South African mass-market genius

Electric Kiss
Hollywood Diner
I've just learnt that Syd Brak, the artist who created these iconic images of the early 1980s, studied and worked in Johannsburg, South Africa before making it in Britain. Interesting, isn't it?

15 August 2011

21st Century's Lady from Orient

By Laetitia Wajnapel
How cool is this picture?

The cat called Tretchi

It's true as fact. This cat is called Tretchi.

Note her date of birth. It's the day Tretchikoff died. Eerie, eh?

12 August 2011

Tretchi on a bag

Stanley Chow used to sell tote bags with his illustration inspired by Tretchi's Chinese Girl. But not any more. I can't believe there was no demand. Then why, oh why??

10 August 2011

Britain, stand strong

Britain, stand strong and clamp down on hooligans, looters and all that scum. The madness has to stop.

09 August 2011

Chow's Chinese Girl

An incredibly beautiful and stylish illustration by a British artist Stanley Chow. Inspired by you know who.

08 August 2011

06 August 2011

Family jewels

It's an 'amethyst and gold fringe necklace, designed by Vladimir Tretchikoff as a graduated fringe of articulated arrow-shaped amethysts of various cuts, suspended from a herring-bone chain embellished with round-cut stones, the central drop composed of three pear-shaped and a round-cut amethyst.'

The necklace was auctioned in Cape Town in November 2010 but apparently nobody bought it. I wonder if potential buyers would have a second chance.

04 August 2011

Marx, Engels, Tretchikoff

In 1978, Ruphin Coudyzer made this photo at an exhibition of Tretchikoff's latest works.

I grew up in the Soviet Russia, so this image instantly reminded me of another familiar picture:

This is the red trinity, founders of Communist thought - Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin, as they were routinely depicted in the USSR.

What can we make out of this?...

Smoking hot Miss Wong

An online shop offers this Tretchikoff cigarette case, featuring one of his trademark images - the sultry Miss Wong. The price, on the other hand, could be much more attractive. Still, in the absence of any alternative...

03 August 2011

Get it while you can!

This is a SMALL and called "GREEN LADY" (a tribute to an artwork by Tretchikoff)
It's just one of the many MAMBO CLASSICS!

MAMBO started in 1984 in Australia as a surf and streetwear company. Their founder, Dare Jennings thought that "any idiot can put something on a shirt and sell it". Most of Mambo's shirts were simple silk screened t-shirts, but did create a line of collored Hawaiian style shirts with tiki, surf & tattoo motifs. He and his buddies thought of M.A.M.B.O., an acronym for: Means Of Acquiring Models, Bucks and Opiets. (I'm pretty sure he achieved all his goals.)

MAMBO also supplied Loud Shirts to the Australian Olympic Team for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics.

4+ years ago, MAMBO was sold to another company that decided to do away with it's Loud Shirt line -- much to the dismay of many MAMBO Loudie fans around the world. Their 'reasoning' was that their core focus is the 16 - 24 year old surfer guys and gals and they thought that "although the Loud Shirt line has had a great run, now days it's being seen as only being worn by middle aged guys at BBQ's." (Perfect for me!)

MAMBO never brought a store to the USA but they did have some stores in the UK and a few in Europe and Asia.

Tretchikoff... who?

A leading South African newspaper Beeld conducted a survey to find out how many of its readers like Tretchikoff's work.

Among the 7000 participants, 60% didn't know who Tretchikoff was.

They might not know the name but they sure know the work.

17 July 2011

Grigorovitch or Grigoryevich

Tretchikoff, like all the Russians, had a patronymic. It is a sort of a second name. His father's given name was Grigoriy (Григорий). So the artist's full name was 'Vladimir, son of Grigoriy', or Vladimir Grigoryevich (Владимир Григорьевич).

Now and then, some wiseacre would change this to 'Grigorovich', or even Gregorovich, in Tretchikoff's Wikipedia entry. But Grigorovitch is a Russian surname, not a patronymic.   

And this is Vladimir Grigoryevich.

13 July 2011

The Man behind the Tretchikoff Retrospective

"Rhodes University Department of Fine Masters of Fine Art (Curatorial Practice MFA) student, Andrew Lamprecht, took the bold step of arranging the first ever retrospective exhibition of the populist artist Vladimir Tretchikoff at the Iziko South African National Gallery.

The Curatorial Practice MFA was introduced only a few years ago, and Lamprecht is one of the first to register for the degree and the first to submit. A course requirement is the mounting of a professional exhibition at a reputable art museum.

Lamprecht is a lecturer at the Michaelis School of Art at UCT, and a respected writer and academic. His aim, explains Professor Dominic Thorburn, is to revisit and re-present Tretchikoff's work, and, by doing so, allow the public the liberty to make up their own minds as to whether what he produced can legitimately be called fine art.

Professor Thorburn and Senior Lecturer Ashraf Jamal, who is co-supervising Lamprecht's MFA, agree that his undertaking of this retrospective can be seen as a courageous, indeed risky, career move, given the ongoing fierce debate over this issue of legitimacy."
(Source: http://www.ru.ac.za/modules/blog_include/blog_content.php?blog_id=2152)

08 July 2011

Tretchikoff in Khayelitsha

Khayelitsha is a huge township near Cape Town. It is the fastest growing township in South Africa, with the population exceeding half a million people. The Tretchikoff-Erxell-Khayelitsha concept is about using roofs of the shacks in the township as an enromous art canvas. Erxell believes that with Tretchikoff's imagery, among others, home owners and dwellers can 'showcase their grievances... whilst the powers that be take forever to house them.'
(Source: http://qjdesign.blogspot.com/2011/06/tretchikoff-erxell-khayalitsha.html)

Tretchi up for auction

Cobus van Bosch, a Cape Town artist, did a portrait of Tretchikoff in oil. It's up for grabs at the Association for Visual Arts fundraising auction.

Find out more here: http://theavagallerysa.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/cobus-van-bosch-lot-28/

Calling a spade a spade

Mahala, a South African website, recently published an interesting interview with the curator of Tretchikoff's retrospective in Cape Town, Andrew Lamprecht:

Mahala: So, is Tretchikoff a bad painter?‬

Andrew Lamprecht: Bad has‬ moral connotations as well as those of quality. It is an all-encompassing phrase. I have avoided getting into the age-old debate as to whether he painted well or used colours that were too bright and so on. On one hand he was a brilliant artist, in that he changed the way that many people approached art – opened art up to audiences that had hitherto been excluded from it, or felt intimidated by it. Sometimes his painting leaves me cold and is a bit over-the-top, but at other times it is wonderful in a whole host of ways. Also you ask this question as if one can say “he is a bad painter” rather than “IMHO he is bad”. Part of what I am fascinated by is how a certain group of people felt it their right to make such sweeping pronouncements.‬
(Source: http://www.mahala.co.za/art/deadly-serious/)

Well, I do believe art critics and art historians can make a pronouncement and pronoucу an artist good or bad. At any rate, 'bad' can also mean unprofessional, unskilled, having no talent.

This is bad.

And this is good. It's easy to see why.

When we shy away from calling works of art 'good' or 'bad', we renounce any notion of taste and expertise.

Tretchikoff was no means a great painter but he was brilliant at what he was doing: bringing some colour and glamour into ordinary people's homes throughout the world. No small feat, really.