Google, Vacation, and Fine Art


Today as I start writing this post, we will see land for the first time in three and a half days. We finally came out of the Bay of Biscay, and even on this majestic and very large ship, Explorer of the Seas, swells of nine metres competed with the ships stabilisers and won. People queued up for sea sickness tablets, but not me. I focussed on the eleven million dollars worth of art for three days, whilst sipping a Starbucks.

Don't get me wrong, it was a gentle sway, although not so gentle when it I witnessed the water in pool pouring out on to the deck. For the first time, I witnessed a pool deck that was empty. A few determined Brits wondered down with their towels to reserve a sun bed, oh how I laughed when they took a look and turned back.

As I write this, we are coming into the Port of Funchal, Madeira; and the weather is glorious, the sun is rising, and I'm sipping a flat white from the onboard Starbucks on the state room balcony. I see Dolphins, but there's still another four hours before we can pull into the port, and probably another two or so hours before we get the first glimpse of land. A welcome sight for some people, but I have to say that the water is like a mill pond this morning.

Last night was spent in the Royal Theatre watching a Queen tribute act called Bohemian. I like Queen, their music was great, and I must admit to really enjoying the show. On Monday night I saw the Broadway show, Tell Me On A Sunday. Not to the daughters taste, but it was great none the less.

We covered thousands of miles during the trip, and as soon as I have done some more work on the photography, I'll post some of the highlights on here! Some of those highlight were of the art on board the ship. Peter Falk's Columbo was a piece that particularly stood out to me, but so did Herb Alpert's work. For a musician, his art was as good as his music. My new life goal is to place a piece of my art on a cruise ship! Maybe I should do what Banksy did in the early days and go another cruise and swap out a piece with one of my own!

Talking of my own art, this week I have a limited time promotion on one of my favourite pieces of my own art. Only ten pieces are available at this price, until Or as soon as all ten pieces are sold. The work is produced on a wonderful museum quality stretched canvas, and as Christmas is looming ever nearer, now is the time to make a purchase and save some money as well. This weeks offer is Resting Tiger, and it is presented on a 36 inch x 24 inch Museum quality stretched canvas. You can buy it here.

Resting Tiger by M.A
Offer Expires 9/9/15


So what has been happening in the world of art and technology while I have been away?


The auction will be held on October 24th, 2015 in Shanghai and will celebrate the dynamism of Asian decorative art and design, its exceptional craftsmanship and modern day utility.

"Chinese and Asian Contemporary Design" features a unique selection of 35 lots especially made for the auction by masters from China, Japan and Korea.

The sale challenged the masters and artists to undertake new artistic endeavours. For example, ‘ECHO’, a pair of red enamelled eggshell porcelain bowls, marks the very first time the artist Ding Yi has worked with ceramics and ‘DA TIAN DI’ (SKY AND EARTH) boasts a combination of the high-tech carbon fibre and traditional lacquer. Innovations introduced through new media and techniques lend the objects new forms, textures and perspectives.

To further unravel the magic of living with art, Christie’s has invited three internationally renowned architects and designers to create in drawings their own interior inspired by the pieces offered in the sale. These concepts by Cho Byung Soo (Korea), Kengo Kuma (Japan) and Jiang Qionger (China) will be revealed at a later stage.

Géraldine Lenain, International Director, Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, said, "The success of ‘Chinese Contemporary Design’ in 2014 is a strong indication of the level of global interest towards objects and traditions originating from China and imbued with contemporary design philosophy. The subsequent response from our collectors further inspired us to broaden the concept beyond cultures, and prompted us to use an innovative approach to showcase how to live with art. I am looking forward to the upcoming season and to the exchange of views with our Chinese and international collectors."

Image Courtesy of Christie's
Just one of the amazing lots on offer. Image Courtesy of Christie's



Designers Yann Debelle de Montby (Shanghai, China), Tiziano Vudafieri and Claudio Saverino (Milan, Italy)

Garnet brown shagreen, steel, copper, domed sapphire crystal and titanium

4.4cm diam. (1 3/4in.)


RMB 300,000-350,000

US$ 48,000-56,000

Each watch features a different face of the moon on an exquisite hand-etched clock face, the design based on Nasa moon photographs—full moon, first quarter, last quarter and new moon. They only carry a hand painted red steel hour hand as a reflexion on our relationship with Time. Interpreting Time as restful and peaceful, he watch illustrates the luxury of not being obsessed with the minute-punctuality. These four watches are poetic and romantic, the Moon being feminine, powerful, reassuring, and even sometimes seen as protective. The advanced tourbillon mechanism is handmade and manufactured by Heng Bao. Imagined by Yann Debelle de Montby Tiziano Vudafieri Claudio Saverino, numbered 1/一, 2/一, 3/一and 4/一, and as a limited edition of 8 sets, this is the first one to be revealed. It is accompanied by a beautiful box made of African blackwood decorated with a moon painted on top and a cactus pin.


A set of four one hand watches, 2015


A pair of red enameled eggshell porcelain bowls

Shang Xia


Master Lu Jiande (Jingdezhen, China) for the porcelain and Ding Yi (Shanghai, China) for the painting

Porcelain and enamels

29cm diam. (11 3/8in.)


RMB 100,000-150,000

US$ 15,000-23,000

Each of elegant round shape and delicate as an eggshell, the white porcelain bowl has the ‘thinness of a butterfly’s wing and the weight of a cloud’. Both covered with red enamel pattern inspired by artist’s painting ‘Appearance of Crosses 2009-9’, one on the inside, the other on the outside; Shangxia mark, crafted by Shang Xia and Ding Yi, dated yi wei nian one on the base for one, in the interior for the other. Ding Yi (born 1962, Shanghai) is regarded as one of China’s foremost artist and a pioneer of abstraction. It marks his first time to paint on ceramics.


A brown ‘Bo Luo’ lacquer and carbon fiber table

Shang Xia


Master Gan Erke (Anhui, China)

Chinese traditional natural lacquer and carbon fiber

180 x 90 x 73cm (70 7/5 x 35 3/8 x 28 3/4 in)


RMB 700,000-800,000

US$ 111,000-127,000

Elegantly shaped, the table stands on very thin legs, all in high-tech material of carbon fiber and the surface delicately covered with brown pineapple lacquer finish. A combination that creates the lightest yet solid, most graceful evolution of the form and linking the tradition to modernity, past and future; Shang Xia golden mark, Gan Erke, dated yi wei nian on the base.


African blackwood, nan mu burl, hua li burl

Inspired by traditional Ming dynasty chairs, each chair rests on curving supports so they become rocking. The rectangular shape of the seating in nan mu and hua li displaying beautiful design balances well with the rounded legs, according to the traditional Chinese ‘the sky is round and the earth is square’; signed in Chinese Chen Yan Fei and dated 2015.6.18


Master Keikou Nishimura (Kyoto, Japan)

Plywood, urushi lacquer, washi paper, silver, zelkova, and pigment.

These eight bowls represent the eight planets of our solar system, each covered with a different color of lacquer: grey with craters (Mercury), red (Mars), green (Venus), blue (Earth), red with orange (Uranus), dark red (Saturn), dark blue (Neptune), natural and black (Jupiter). Each rotating around the sun (the circle on square black panel), all fit into one another and in a sphere. Third generation of urushi lacquer master; along with a box for the bowls and another one for the sun, dated Made on December 2010, signed and sealed Keikou and entitled wakusei (planet) and taiyou (sun), all in Japanese inside and outside the wooden box.


The Chicken Sandwich
The Chicken Sandwich


Visit Mc Donald's, Burger King, or a whole heap of others, and there's a high probability that you will order yourself a Mc Chicken Sandwich, or a Chicken Royal, but if one man had have been able to get his way, you might just be ordering an extra large portion of copyright infringement.

Norberto Colón Lorenzana, claims that while working at a Church’s Chicken franchise in Puerto Rico in 1987, he had the idea to add a basic chicken sandwich to the menu. Colón says that he invented the recipe and named the Pechu Sandwich that the chain he worked for began selling in 1991. The chain went on to make millions from Norberto's recipe. But a recent court case has complicated the chicken sandwich. On August 25, a judge declared that a man who claims he invented the chicken sandwich will not get the $10 million he was seeking in damages from theft of intellectual property.

Unfortunately for Colón, the United States Court of Appeals of the First Circuit disagreed, ruling that the supposed inventor of the chicken sandwich was not entitled to the $10 million he sought. While the Copyright Act protects novels, films, music, architecture and some forms of art, culinary creations are left out in the cold. But the question is just how many people have invented new items for their companies and who have never received a dime in royalties? If you are one of those people it would be great to hear what you invented! Feel free to leave a comment, and you can then at least bring it to the world's attention!


If there's one type of TV program that I detest, it has to be reality TV. When you add in some art, it can only become even worse. I've seen a few reality art programmes in the past and they all tend to feature the value of art, with the winner usually winning a toaster or a speed boat. But it seems that in October, Ovation TV will debut Art Breaker$. A series devoted to the adventures of Miller Gaffney and Carol Lee Brosseau. Best friends since the age of 18, and graduates of Sotheby's Institute, and allegedly "powerhouse dealers". The couple identified themselves in the trailer as the top art advisors in the country. Really?

The show will follow Gaffney and Brosseau, two blondes with slight southern accents, who have the ability to tackle a sidewalk in stilettos, as they take on some of their most challenging assignments ever. The sound bites from the trailer include such words and phrases as, "I've been thinking out of the box", "Getting Testy", "That's cooool", and "Perfection, superb, magnifique"

But I guess everyone needs a solid "hatewatch" once in a while, and it looks like Art Breaker$ could be the most hated reality TV show of 2015. We'll find out just how bad, or good it is when the programme airs in October. I really can wait.


It was almost inevitable that the recent splitting of Google into various organisations through a new parent company, Alphabet, would also bring about some cosmetic changes. The first and most obvious is that the search giant Google has a new logo!

The new logo is a simplified and rounded typeface that retains the same colour pallet as the most recent version, but reduces the complexity of the design. To be honest, I hadn't immediately noticed, until I looked on my web page and noticed a change to the Google Plus icon which I pull directly from Google.

The search giant unveiled the round new multi-coloured image on Tuesday while I was cruising around the Canary Islands, just two weeks after a corporate reshuffle which saw long-time executive Sundar Pichai take over as CEO, while Google itself moved under a new holding company Alphabet.

What do you think of the new logo? Is it a change for the better, or is it akin to the changes of NASA's worm logo? As ever, feel free to leave your thoughts on Google's new look in the comments.

More on Sunday, and in the meantime, I guess it is good to be back. I start back to work for my day job on Tuesday, and as I type I am wondering just how many emails await my return. I doubt the instruction I left with people not to email me while I was away will have been complied with. Let me know if you have a return to work strategy after a vacation, because frankly I think I will be busy!




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