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Art, New York

Frieze Exhibition: ArtSpeak at The Surrey, NYC

Frieze Art Fair is one of the most prestigious international art events in the social calendar, with must-see fairs in London, New York and Berlin that bring together the industry’s movers and shakers.

To celebrate its fifth year in New York, Frieze has partnered with Upper East Side Relais & Châteaux hotel The Surrey as the only official hotel partner.

The Surrey New York

Drawing on its reputation as a notable art hotel, The Surrey launches ArtSpeak curated by Natasha Schlesinger, Art Expert in Residence and founder of Art Muse.

The lobby and public spaces will be transformed into a mini gallery with art installations by eight emerging and mid-known artists, presenting 11 works that will be on show in the lead up to Frieze until the end of August, so there is plenty of time to catch them.

ArtSpeaks at The Surrey NYC

The line-up of featured artists includes Ryan McGinness, Faile, Desire Obtain Cherish, Annabel Daou and Leila Pazooki.  Their works were chosen to fit the installation theme of “cultural influences of media” and explore the use of language and symbols in art to comment on culture, society and personal reflections.

ArtSpeaks at The Surrey NYC

There’s also an exciting rooftop garden botanical piece by Peter D Gerakaris and daily ArtSpeak tours with curator and Art Expert Natasha Schlesinger.

The Surrey NYC rooftop terrace

ArtSpeaks at The Surrey NYC

The thought-provoking pieces also compliment The Surrey’s most prominent permanent artworks including Jenny Holzer – You are My Own, Claes Oldenburg – Study for Sneaker Lace – White, Richard Serra – Promenade Notebook Drawing III & V and Chuck Close – Kate Moss.

The Surrey NYC

Best of all, you don’t need to be part of the art elite or even a hotel guest to view the works, as the exhibition is open to the public.  With its prime location close to Museum Mile and its see-and-be-seen Café Boulud and Bar Pleiades by Daniel Boulud, The Surrey is the place to take in the best of the New York art scene.

ArtSpeak at The Surrey runs from 4th May to 31st August.  For more information, visit:

Art, London

Red Dog, Black Wolf. Will You Remember Your Name?

A few weeks ago, I attended the opening of cool new art show Red Dog, Black Wolf. Will You Remember Your Name? – the second of three exhibitions in the summer programme at the London outpost of Yesim Turanli’s Istanbul gallery, Pi Artworks.

Curated by Isabel Dexter, this striking exhibition features works by British artists Rae Hicks and Charles Sandford, as well as one site-specific collaborative piece – a red and grey chequered carpet.

The show’s intriguing name is inspired by the French phrase ‘entre le chien et le loup’, denoting a curious time during dusk when a dog cannot be distinguished from a wolf.  It’s a moment of almost supernatural uncertainty and ambiguity, bringing an anxious state where not everything is as it seems.

This concept unifies the exhibition, which includes a mix of painting, installation, sculpture and performance.  Rae Hicks’ paintings, such as Double Glazing (2015) take a different look at everyday domestic objects that we often take for granted.

Through Hicks’ art process, the objects – a gas cooker, TV and books – adopt a different function to what we expect of them.  They become two dimensional, purposely limited models of themselves.

Charles Sandford explores the theme broadly with installations including a small single bed covered with a duvet print of an aristocratic huntsman and a theatrical red velvet curtain moving erratically to suggest sinister, clandestine fumbling.

At the private view, a hearse was also parked up outside.  The formally-dressed driver meticulously polished the shiny black car and anticipated his next fare.

Red Dog, Black Wolf. Will You Remember Your Name? is a thought-provoking, highly conceptual exhibition that challenges how the viewer perceives objects and processes eerie, uncomfortable sensations.  I’m looking forward to seeing what these talented London-based artists come up with next.

The exhibition runs until 3rd September at Pi Artworks.  For more information, visit:

Photos by Pi Artworks and Chérie City

Art, Photography

2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, London

This week, I headed over to Somerset House for an early morning preview of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition as a guest of Celebrity Cruises.

The world’s largest photography competition presents its winning and shortlisted images across a number of rooms in Somerset House’s elegant West Wing.  We were treated to a fascinating guided tour by Zelda Cheatle, lead curator for the World Photography Organisation, who explained the context and story behind the photographs in each room.

The world’s best and most original images have been chosen from a record-breaking 173,444 entries from 171 countries.  The images tell incredible stories, capturing rare moments and offering an insight into communities around the globe.

Across a range of categories, you can view the winners of the Professional, Open, Youth, Student Focus and Mobile Phone competitions, plus the winning series from the awards’ L’Iris d’Or/Photographer of the Year.

One of my favourite photos from the exhibition is from the Burmese Punk Culture series by Olaf Schuelke, exploring how this politically-charged subculture is expressed in Myanmar.

Ruben Salgado Escudero shows another side of Myanmar with rural inhabitants having access to electricity after sunset for the first time through solar power.

Other powerful images include an sheep herding in the winter snow in rural Iran by Saeed Barikani, Giovanni Troilo’s depictions of social decline in Charleroi (The Black City) and the lives of the ethnic Yi people in China’s Great Liangshan Mountains by Fan Li.

Another highlight is a display of familiar and lesser known photographs, films and books by legendary Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt, also the recipient of the awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography award.

Look out for the World Photography Organisation’s Global Encounters Stories, in partnership with Celebrity Cruises.  See shortlisted entries and stunning landscape photographs of Maras in the Sacred Valley of Peru by winner Moyan Brenn.  These images will also be shown on selected Celebrity Cruise ships throughout the summer.

Also featured is guest exhibition #FutureofCities, shot by leading documentary photographers from Panos Pictures, and exploring how cities are evolving with over 200 images.

2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition runs from now until 10th May at Somerset House.  For more information, visit:

Exhibition photos taken by Cherie City


Art, Exhibitions, London

Goya at The Courtauld Gallery, London

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album at The Courtauld Gallery is a fascinating new exhibition that explores the artist’s later works.

The ground-breaking exhibition reunites all of the known drawings from one of Francisco Goya’s private albums, produced between 1819 and 1823.

The eight albums (named A-H) were broken up after the artists death and scattered around museums and private collections, but the Courtauld’s curatorial team has brought together all of Album H and has presented it in its original chronological order.

The album features a number of ink drawings depicting haggard old women, demonic witches and ugly scenes.  Critics have called them some of the most terrifying artworks ever created, since they reflect a cruel, diabolical side of humanity rather than pure fantasy.

At the age of 50, Goya suffered a near-fatal illness that left him deaf and profoundly changed his life and work.  A sharp contrast to his work as court painter to the Spanish crown, these series of private albums reveal the visions of his nightmares and anxieties about life and death.

The drawings were produced at the same time as his acclaimed Black Paintings, when he acquired a property outside of Madrid.  Not only were his drawings rooted in human nature, but they were influenced by the horrific war between Spain and Napoleon Bonaparte.  A year after completing the album, he left Spain for exile in Bordeaux.

Some of the images are macabre, disturbing and unreservedly crude, such as the Wicked Woman which sees a bald, cloaked, monstrous woman about to devour a new-born baby.

Nightmare is equally harrowing with a deranged woman riding a bull with crazed eyes and flailing limbs.

Mirth, however, is rather tender and moving, showing an elderly couple gaze at each other fondly, with years of life experience and companionship in their eyes.

There’s also a touch of black humour in Showing off? Remember your age, chiding an elderly man for forgetting his frailty and mortality.  Death looms throughout the album and Goya confronts the fear, melancholy and exhaustion of later life.

The exhibition is well-curated and understated, allowing the horror of the scenes to speak to the viewer.  It’s a rare glimpse into Goya’s personal life and imagination, as dark and troubled as it may have been.

Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album runs until 25th May at The Courtauld Gallery.  For more information, visit:

Photos of Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album by Chérie City

Art, Cafes, Cruises, Miami, USA

Wynwood Arts District, Miami

Miami’s Wynwood Arts District was high on our list of sights to see and even a tropical storm couldn’t deter us from visiting.

Wynwood is a semi-industrial neighbourhood north of Downtown Miami where derelict warehouses have been given a new lease of life as art galleries, artist studios, restaurants, cafe-bars and shops.  It’s become known for its riotously colourful, large-scale street art and is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon discovering local talent.

Wynwood is a huge part of Art Basel, hosted annually in Miami, with a number of gallery events, parties and open studios.

The best time to visit, however, is for the Wynwood Art Walk on the first Saturday evening of each month, when there’s a real party atmosphere.  There’s even a direct shuttle bus from South Beach to make getting there even easier.

On Sunday afternoon, we crossed the enormous Julia Tuttle Causeway from our base on South Beach and started from the top at North 36th Street and 2nd Avenue.

Immediately we encountered cool graffiti, vintage clothes stores, coffee shops and a number of Puerto Rican shops and restaurants (Wynwood has been known as ‘Little San Juan’ since the 1950s).  If you hadn’t already guessed, Wynwood is Miami’s hipsterville.

At the heart of the district is the Wynwood Walls, a permanent outdoor mural exhibition, featuring work by over 50 artists from around the world including Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Aiko, Faith47 and Retna.

Created by the late Tony Goldman in 2009, Wynwood Walls has become a revolutionary platform for street art and the murals now extend far beyond it.

A highlight of our trip to Wynwood was seeking shelter from the storm over lunch at Zak The Baker.  I’d read about Miami born and bred baker Zak Stern before our trip and the bakery was just as good as I’d hoped.

Housed in a converted warehouse with a large open-plan kitchen, Zak The Baker is a rustic-urban bakery and cafe that Zak states ‘happens to be kosher’.

Zak has quite an intriguing background – he turned his back on a pharmaceuticals degree to travel the world and learn how to bake bread.  His travels took him to an ashram in India and farms in South America, Israel and across Europe.

Zak The Baker is a popular spot for lunch and serves hearty stews, home-made soups, gourmet sandwiches and tempting cakes.  I ordered a fantastic sourdough toast topped with sage pesto, roasted calabaza and fontina.  The combination of simple flavours was incredible and the ingredients were of such high quality.

Steven went for an equally delicious toast topped with tuna, cranberry, cilantro and grated carrot.  If we have the chance to return, we’d try one of the more substantial sandwiches and an indulgent chocolate and almond butter toast.

We finished on a sweet note with a double chocolate cookie and a cup of Earl Grey tea. The heavenly cookie had a rich, fondant-like centre and a delicate, crumbly crust – a perfect way to brighten a rainy day.

Another Wynwood hotspot is Panther Coffee – a Miami-based speciality coffee roaster with a second cafe on Miami Beach.  They have some pretty cool coffee-making apparatus and there’s a good selection of bites to choose from.  It’s a small cafe and seemingly home to the laptop brigade, but there’s plenty of space on the terrace on brighter days.

Wynwood is such an inspiring, unique creative hub and it should be high on your list of places to visit in Miami.  Unfortunately Sunday was our only option on this short stay in Miami, so quite a few galleries and shops were closed.

Then again, Zak The Baker is closed on Saturday – and that’s an experience you won’t want to miss – so perhaps visit midweek and take a closer look on the Saturday evening Wynwood Art Tour.

Chérie City started and finished a Celebrity Cruise Eastern Caribbean Cruise in Miami.  Join Celebrity Reflection on a nine-night Eastern Caribbean Getaway fly/cruise from £1,650 per person (based on two people sharing an ocean view stateroom).

Price includes return flights from London Heathrow, transfers, one night pre-cruise hotel accommodation and a seven-night cruise departing from Miami (Florida) and calling at San Juan (Puerto Rico), Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas) and Philipsburg (St. Maarten) before returning to Miami for the flight home; meals and entertainment onboard the ship and all relevant cruise taxes/fee.  Price based on 23 January 2015 UK departure.  

For more information or to book, call 0845 456 0523 or 

All photos by Chérie City

Art, Dance, London

Romeo & Juliet by Scottish Ballet

This week, I had the pleasure of attending Scottish Ballet’s performance of Romeo & Juliet at Sadler’s Wells.

Shakespeare’s iconic love story is transported from the romantic Renaissance period to 20th century Italy, spanning from the 1930s through to the nineties.  Choreographer Krzysztof Pastor created the exhilarating production for Scottish Ballet in 2008 and it returns to Sadlers Well’s under the guidance of Artist Director Christopher Hampson.

The ballet begins in 1930s metropolitan Italy and has an air of playfulness as the Montagues and Capulets encounter each other on the ritual evening walk.  Romeo and Juliet lock eyes at the glamorous Capulet ball and he woos her at her ‘balcony’ which is in fact a simple, unfurnished lift.

The story continues through the second act in the sepia-toned 1950s, against the backdrop of rock ‘n’ roll and la dolce vita Italy.  Friar Lawrence marries the star-cross’d lovers, however the tension between the rival families heightens, culminating in a brutal fight scene and the deaths of both Mercutio and Tybalt.

Act three takes place in the less glamorous nineties with Romeo and Juliet spending the night together before Romeo leaves town.  The final scene is moving and powerful, as the lovers tragically end their lives.

Sophie Martin perfectly captures Juliet’s innocence and curiosity, torn between family loyalty and pursuing forbidden love.  Erik Cavallari is a convincing Romeo with striking Roman features, Italian charm and chemistry with his on-stage lover.

The young lovers are obviously the focus of the performance, however the two feuding families are well-characterised.  The raffish Montagues in their linen suits and summer dresses are the kind of gang that you’d expect to zip around on Vespas, stopping for Negronis and flirting by the fountains.  The serious-minded Capulets have a fascistic demeanor, dressed in military-style black shirts and black boots with severe, slicked back hair.

Tatyana van Walsum’s costumes cleverly complement the simplicity of the production and capture the spirit of the families in each decade.

Mercutio (Victor Zarallo) charms throughout with his flamboyant moves and mischievous goading of Tybalt (Christopher Harrison).  The fact that he receives some of the loudest applause is a testament to his excellent performance.

The orchestra masters Prokofiev’s soaring score and the intense ‘Montagues and Capulets’ theme is matched with Krzysztof Pastor’s strong, confrontational choreography.

Romeo & Juliet by Scottish Ballet is a minimalist triumph with a combination of classic and contemporary expressive dance, stylish costumes and a fresh approach to a much-loved tale.

Romeo & Juliet continues at The Festival Theatre in Edinburgh from 21-24 May. For more information on Scottish Ballet’s upcoming productions, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Scottish Ballet

Photos by Christina Riley and Andy Ross

Afternoon tea, Art, Hotels, Hotels - Luxury, London, Restaurants

Matisse Afternoon Tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly, London

In celebration of the must-see new exhibition Henri-Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern, Le Méridien Piccadilly offers its own colourful Matisse Afternoon Tea in the stylish Terrace Grill & Bar.

Chef Michael Dutnall took inspiration from the bright colours and angles of Matisse’s iconic works and his birthplace to produce a delectable afternoon tea that tastes just as exquisite as it looks.

I visited the chic Terrace Grill & Bar to try the new Matisse Afternoon Tea on the Easter weekend when central London was blissfully quiet.  The bright and airy Terrace Grill & Bar is split across two levels with a sleek restaurant and a more relaxed bar and lounge.  It combines the elegance of Piccadilly’s Regency architecture with contemporary interiors and striking artworks.

On arrival, we were shown to a table with a cosy, hammock-like sofa and ordered pots of JING Earl Grey tea from the extensive tea menu.

We also tried a French Revolution cocktail, chosen to complement the flavours in the afternoon tea.  A French twist on the classic Aviation cocktail, the French Revolution includes gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and rose Champagne.  The refreshing, strong cocktail is served in a tall flute and dipped in sugar, referencing Matisse’s cut-outs.

The Matisse Afternoon Tea is presented on a three-tier stand and the layer of cakes and pastries is sprayed with colour to represent Matisse’s iconic Blue Nude (II).

We started with savories inspired by the south of France and absolutely loved the gourmet Jambon de Bayonne and Brie-filled Croissant and a flavoursome Wrap with Marinated Provencal Vegetables and Tapenade.

Keeping with afternoon tea tradition, there is also a tasty Poached Salmon and Herb Crème Fraiche Sandwich and Egg and Cress Sandwich to munch on.

The test of a good afternoon tea is the scones and these plain and raisin scones were freshly-baked, springy and just the right size.  They were served with delicious strawberry jam and clotted cream.

The sweets treats were delightfully colourful and tempting.  I loved the indulgent Vanilla Pannacotta with Calvados jelly served in a little glass jar and the Battenberg Cake was one of the best I’ve tasted, with a delicate layer of royal icing and not too much marzipan.  The Orange Delice was light as air and the asymmetric blue icing referenced Matisse’s blue cut-outs while the Apple Macarons were perfectly bite-size and filled with apple compote.

A Raspberry Tarte included fresh raspberries on top of silky crème patisserie and finished with crumbled macaron and the Lemon Eclair was filled with zesty lemon curd and topped with vibrant pink icing.

During the afternoon tea, we had the chance to create our own cut-out masterpieces with a box full of art supplies.  While finishing our cocktails, we started snipping away at the coloured card for our own artistic postcards, ending up with two very different takes on Matisse’s vision.  The postcards provided offer 20% discount at Terrace Grill & Bar on your next visit, plus it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon.

The Matisse Afternoon Tea at Le Méridien Piccadilly is a delightful, decadent treat and the perfect complement to the fabulous new exhibition.  If you can, book both on the same day and enjoy a whole day of being dazzled by colour.

The Matisse Afternoon Tea is priced at £30 and is available in the Terrace Grill & Bar until 31st May 2014.  For more information and booking, visit:

Chérie City was a guest of Le Meridien Piccadilly

Photos by Chérie City and Le Meridien Piccadilly

The Terrace Grill and Bar at Le Méridien Piccadilly on Urbanspoon

Art, Designers, Exhibitions, Fashion, London

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith – Design Museum

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith at London’s Design Museum takes a personal look at the renowned British designer’s work, life and influences.

The exhibition begins with a recreation of the very first Paul Smith shop in 1970s Nottingham, measuring a tiny 3m x 3m.  This leads on to the main hall, which features a vast collection of paintings, photographs, prints, magazine clippings and hand-writted fan letters from Paul Smith’s personal archives.

It shows Paul Smith as an avid collector, with a number of instantly recognisable images and original artworks.

Also recreated for the exhibition is Paul Smith’s personal office – a busy hub of inspiration and creativity.  The designer himself held court in the office for a morning of interviews, while his narration throughout the exhibition gives an insight into his mind.

The next room is an artistic replica of the humble beginnings of the Paul Smith label in a Paris hotel room in 1976 (even then the trademark stripes were present).  With a collection of just six shirts, two jumpers and two suits laid out on a black felt-covered bed, Paul Smith took his first client order.  His first show at a friend’s flat on Paris’ Rue Vaugirard followed and the brand grew from there.

We are also treated to an inside look at the Paul Smith design studio in Covent Garden.  This is where the ideas happen – where garments are designed, colours are paired and fabrics are chosen.  Sketches and mood boards show the design process behind the collections.

Also on display are campaigns that Paul Smith has shot himself over the years, alongside those by David Bailey, Mario Testino and Sandro Sodano.

The exhibition also touches on Paul Smith’s successful collaborations with brands such as Evian, Thomas Goode, Mini Cooper, Roberts Radio and even HP Sauce.  His love of cycling is also referenced with his collection of Rapha cycling jerseys.

Another room features behind-the-scenes footage of Paul Smith at work and his SS14 catwalk show in Paris, filmed by Sony and shown on Sony 4K TVs with impressive picture and sound quality.

Of course, the exhibition wouldn’t be complete without pieces from Paul Smith collections over the years, showing his signature exquisite tailoring, vivid colours and stunning digital prints.

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith is a dedicated, imaginative and personal view of the world of Paul Smith.  The tributes to his wife Pauline Denyer Smith are touching and it’s easy to lose a few hours examining the wall of photographs and paintings.

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith runs until 9th March 2014 at Design Museum.  For more information, visit:

All photos by Chérie City

Art, Exhibitions, Istanbul

13th Istanbul Biennial 2013

This week in Istanbul, we managed to get a last-chance look at the 13th Istanbul Biennial 2013 exhibition in Antrepo no.3, a cool warehouse space next to the Istanbul Modern in Tophane.

Curated by Fulya Erdemci, the biennial entitled ‘Mom, am I Barbarian?’ examines the concept of the public domain as a political forum.

The exhibition at Antrepo no.3 features documentary photography by LaToya Ruby Frazier, urban drawings by Christoph Schäfer and Tadashi Kawamata, video  pieces by Mika Rottenberg and Halil Altindere and installations by Ayse Erkmen, Nathan Coley and HONF (The House of Natural Fiber).

The Istanbul Biennial brings the works of emerging and established artists directly to the public with exhibitions across the city’s art spaces such as ARTER, SALT Beyoglu, 5533 and Galata Greek Primary School.

Take an inside look at the works by exhibiting artists at Antrepo no.3…

13th Istanbul Biennial 2013 runs until 20th October at venues across Istanbul.

All photos by Chérie City


Art, Beijing, Tours

798 Art District – Beijing, China

798 Art District is one of Beijing’s most exciting sights and is a leafy, low-key alternative to the city’s vertiginous skyscrapers and futuristic glass buildings.

Part of the Dashanzi area in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, 798 has a laid-back village atmosphere with quiet tree-lined streets, an abundance of art galleries, intriguing street art, public sculptures, cool terrace cafes and international restaurants.  It feels like the perfect place to come on the weekend for brunch and a leisurely stroll in the sun.  I’d love to say that it’s a hidden gem, but in fact 798 is the third most visited sight in Beijing.

To see the very best of the art district, Bespoke Beijing organised a 4-hour private tour with art expert Sophie McKinnon.  We visited a number of prominent art galleries including the expansive 798 Space Gallery, Long March Space and UCCA (China’s largest privately funded art museum).  Sophie also pointed out interesting street art and told us the story behind 798 and how it exists today.

798 began as an art community in 2001 when artists moved in to the neighbourhood and set up studios in former military factories, including Factory 798 which originally produced electronics.  Many of the galleries have preserved the Maoist slogans and the original features of the factories, creating a unique backdrop for the artworks.

Following a boom period in 2007 when 798 became the coolest, most creative place to be, many artists were priced out of their studios and no longer work there.  However, a handful of commercially successful artists can still be found working from the art scene that they built up from the ground.

As a special part of the tour, Sophie took us to meet artist Zhao Bandi in his studio.  The Beijing-born artist became internationally known for his provocative works featuring China’s national symbol, the panda.  Responding to the rise of consumerism in China, Zhao Bandi turned himself into a brand through performance art, blurring the lines between fiction and his own life.

One of his most controversial works was the Bandi Panda Fashion Show at Palais de Toyko in Paris, featuring models dressed in his signature panda designs representing social groups and issues in China, including the mistress, the corrupted government worker, the beggar and the escort service girl.  Critics lashed out at Bandi for supposedly airing the country’s dirty laundry in a foreign country and disgracing the proud nation, but he remained undeterred.

Bandi was preparing for the premiere of his new film Let Panda Fly when we visited his studio, Bandi Panda House.  Less dividing than his previous work, the film tells the real-life story of creative children encouraged to make their own panda art to raise money for charity.

Meeting Zhao Bandi and discussing the Chinese art scene with him was the highlight of a brilliant art tour.  When visiting Beijing, put the 798 Art District at the very top of your itinerary.

For more information on the 798 & Artist Studio Tour by Bespoke Beijing, visit:

Art, Philadelphia, Tours

Philadelphia Mural Art Tour

A tour of Philadelphia’s fascinating mural art is an absolute must, to get a glimpse of the city’s home-grown creativity.

There are over 3000 murals in Philadelphia, telling the stories of the communities, scenes from everyday Philly life and paying homage to prominent historical figures.

The Mural Arts Program began in 1984 as an initiative to combat graffiti, headed up by then Mayor Wilson Goode.  Muralist Jane Golden reached out to graffiti writers and encouraged them to channel their creativity and energy into painting murals to beautify the neighbourhoods.

Our tour guide Jerry, of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, picked us up in a big silver van outside PAFA for an afternoon of mural spotting.

We visited mural sites in West and North Philadelphia, including many residential areas that are definitely off the beaten track.  The murals we saw depicted the city’s love of baseball, the influence of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and geometric, non-figurative patterns in predominantly Islamic areas.

A particularly touching mural was ‘Alex’s Lemonade Stand’ – a tribute to young Alex Scott who set up a lemonade stand to raise money for cancer research at the local hospital before sadly losing her own battle to cancer.

Producing a mural is a dedicated process; the Mural Arts Program receives over 1000 applications per year and just 100 are granted.  Some are financed by donors, however, many are sponsored by corporations giving back to Philly.  I asked Jerry if working with corporate giants affects the grass-roots philosophy of murals, but he had a more straightforward approach – whoever pays, the community benefits from the support.

Once the wall is approved and prepped, murals are either painted directly onto the wall or painted onto parachute cloth in a studio and then transferred onto the wall.  Once the mural is complete, the residents celebrate at all-day block parties with music, food, performances and activities for children.

The Mural Arts Program offers a number of public and private mural art tours, including the guided group tour lasting 2 hours.

For more, visit: and

Accessories, Art, Christmas, Competitions, London, Shopping

Charlotte Cory’s Cabinet Of Christmas Curiosities

For unique, quirky festive gifts that you can’t find on the high street, Charlotte Cory’s Cabinet of Christmas Curiosities should be top of your list.  London-based artist Charlotte Cory’s work is all about English eccentricity, combining Victorian imagery with taxidermy to create exquisite artwork, homeware and accessories.

Charlotte Cory has pieces hanging in the House of Windsor and on Alan Carr’s Chatty Man and Liam Howlett of The Prodigy is a fan.  Her work usually features at The Green Parrot Gallery in the ‘artisan quarter’ of Greenwich, but for one week only, you can see her pieces, more conveniently, in the heart of Fitzrovia, central London.

The cabinet is full of inspiring, hand-made gifts such as Charlotte Cory playing cards, illustrated china mugs, leather notebooks, silk handkerchiefs, brooches, lockets and even ‘ruffled’ (stuffed) animals.  Alongside Charlotte Cory at the Cabinet of Curiosities are like-minded artists including Josephine Hague, Emily Hoffnung, Keren Luchtenstein, Paddy Robinson, Willy Smaxs and Lucy Temple.

One of my favourite Charlotte Cory gifts is the trio of stunning Christmas mugs, designed to reflect the ritualistic devouring of the traditional Christmas Pudding – before, during and after.  Whether the mugs are filled with coffee, mulled wine or a nip of whisky is up to you!

The Cabinet of Curiosities will run from 17-23 December at The Framer’s Gallery, 36 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JT

For more information, visit: and


Chérie City is offering one lucky reader the chance to win a trio of Charlotte Cory Christmas Pudding mugs worth £99.


Follow Chérie City on Facebook and leave a comment on this page below, sharing your favourite Christmas dessert…

The winner will be selected at random and the competition will close at 2pm on 12th December 2012.

Terms & Conditions:

– Closing date: 12th December 2012 at 2pm.
– Entrants must become (or already be) a follower of Chérie City on Facebook, otherwise entry will be void.
– Entry is limited to one per household.
– The prize offered may differ from the designs specified, subject to availability. 
– The prize is non-transferable and non-redeemable.
– No cash alternatives will be offered.
– The winner must claim the prize within 48 hours of contact, or a new winner will be selected.