I’m not even sure how I first stumbled upon Thomas Witte’s website, but I’m sure glad I did! After studying sculpture at Rutgers University, Witte traveled to Argentina, where the stencil graffiti scene captured his attention. Upon his return home, he started making stencils based on slides that belonged to his grandfather. Initially, he was printing with the stencils. But he later decided to focus on the stencils themselves, which are essentially these intricate paper-cut pieces.
His subject matter has since expanded beyond those old slides to include maps and myriad locales. The scale and detail of his art is so impressive. And I love that Witte maintains a studio diary that offers a glimpse into his process, as well as finished pieces and installations. In Cahoots also has this great interview and video of Witte at work, which I really enjoyed and hope you do, too.
Some of you may already be aware of this—before Anthology became a thing, the magazine’s creative director, Meg Mateo Ilasco, launched the “Inc.” creative business series with Chronicle Books. The latest book is coming out in just a couple of weeks (August 12 to be exact): Art Inc., written by one of my favorite local artists, Lisa Congdon, and edited by Meg. For anyone who has ever had an interest in a career as an artist, it’s a must-read.
To celebrate the book’s release, Lisa and Meg are doing something rather brilliant: On Tuesday, August 12, from 5-6 p.m. (PT), they’re teaming up with Creative Live for a live online book release event. So what does that mean? Meg and Lisa will be sitting down to discuss Lisa’s own path to becoming a professional fine artist and illustrator. There will be a live online broadcast, and anyone can participate. If you’re in the Bay Area, you can actually be a member of the studio audience!
Here’s how you can be a part of the event:
- RSVP to WATCH ONLINE: To get online access to the event—it’s free—RSVP here.
- SIGN UP TO BE PART OF THE LIVE AUDIENCE: If you are in the Bay Area and would like to attend, sign up here. Tickets are free, and there are 50 seats available. After the broadcast, Lisa will be signing copies of Art Inc. from 6-7 p.m. (You’ll be able to purchase a copy at the event if you don’t already have one.)
P.S. If you’re a fan of Lisa’s as well, I hope you caught her house tour in Issue No. 14/Winter 2014! We also posted some outtakes earlier this year.
Sure, Fridays are usually pretty awesome because they signal the end of the work week. But even better? The Fridays when Melina Hammer shares a recipe with us! I can’t wait to try out her Panzanella. — Anh-Minh
Summertime ushers in fantastic produce we all love, like the bounty of bright and juicy tomatoes. I stopped buying tomatoes when they are not in season years ago, after I tasted the fabulous in-season versions grown by local farmers. The supermarket impersonators, no doubt trucked from a gazillion miles away, just can’t compete. When these wonderful and versatile fruits are in season, I gorge on them, filling my market basket to overflowing. My favorite tomatoes are the heirloom varieties—prized for their intense flavor, color, and juicy texture.
It is especially appropriate, given the hot and lazy days, that this month’s recipe is (almost) another no-cook treat, just like last month’s trio of summer salads. I say treat because, I feel indulgent when eating Panzanella—even though its origins were a means to save old bread from waste. Gotta love the Mediterranean sensibility! Yes, there is a good amount of olive oil and I do like to fry the bread in my version, but really, it sings the virtues of tomatoes in all their glory, and the framing accent of bright basil and chive blossoms (or shallots, or shaved red onion, or other allium) is alive with freshness. Use good bread and good olive oil, along with those good tomatoes. You’ll be wowed by the results.
After drizzling the torn bread all over to soak in the olive oil, I skillet-fry it in additional oil. To me, the crunchy, almost-charred exterior, paired with the juicy oil-soaked interior offers an unexpected delight when digging in. Keep the Panzanella in its respective ingredient clusters for dramatic presentation, or toss it all together in a pile and let your guests feast on the results.
- 1 smallish loaf good crusty bread, torn into bite-sized chunks and left to sit for a day or two
- 5 large heirloom tomatoes such as Green Zebras, Cherokee Purples, Yellow Pineapples, or Brandywines, cut into wedges
- 1-2 cups Sungold tomatoes, cut into halves
- 3-5 chive blossoms, individual blossoms picked apart (you can use shallots cut into wedges and slowly sautéed until soft and translucent, or thinly shaved red onion, as a substitute)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
- good extra virgin olive oil for soaking, drizzling, and frying
- red wine vinegar
- flake sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Lay the bread out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet, add another glug of olive oil, and using tongs to turn the bread, brown it on all sides. Lower the heat to medium halfway through so as not to burn any pieces and re-drizzle oil if you see the pan smoking. It’s fine if some of the pieces become charred, but these parts should be more an accent than the norm.
As you finish browning, empty the pan of even the crumbs—those crunchy bits will be great in the mix—onto whatever serving platter you have chosen. If you’re arranging the ingredients in piles, do so with the basil, all the tomatoes, and the bread, and then scatter the chive blossoms (or allium of your choice) around. Mix together a 2:1 ratio of olive oil and red wine vinegar, whisk together to emulsify, and taste. Adjust ratio to your taste, then spoon dressing over all (save some for table side). Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and dig in. You just made an edible work of art.