When Tatjana was five months old, Keith Haring offered to come paint her nursery in London. We were on the road at the time; Keith, Tatjana and I were sharing a limo from LA to Irvine to see Duran Duran live. Sadly it never happened, but It was one of those “it’s the thought that counts” moments – of course it would have been spectacular, but my heart is still warmed by his wanting to do it.

That’s why viewing his art with Tatjana is so special to me. I feel like I’m re-introducing her to a friend. What I didn’t bargain for was her introducing me to the next generation of graffiti artists in the process. Well, I did know we were going to the Art in the Streets exhibition at the Geffen Comtemporary at MOCA (still going on until August 18th, 2011, and I highly recommend it), but I didn’t expect to be so enamoured with what I saw.

But wait – it gets better! My daily walks are turning into one gigantic street art treasure hunt after another, so in a weird way I’m still getting that graffiti mural  - well my hood is, that is. This installation by Snyder above, one of his “urban garden projects,” is one of my fav’s.

About a month ago I mentioned happening upon some taggers as I was walking Daisy in the neighborhood, and how I was quite taken by their work. I considered inviting them back to my place and offering up my garden wall (little did I know how steep the price tag might be).

It seems my hood has become the place for serious street artists to tag. Check it out – Mr. Brainwash above.

I’m still trying to decipher the rest of the monikers to know who did what – maybe you can help enlighten me?

I couldn’t find many specifics about SCOM other than a flickr page with more photos of his work – busy indeed.

Not that it even really matters – the art gives me such pleasure to view. I think it brightens up the less desirable attributes of the neighborhood, and makes me smile. I love the “scan this entire ad with google glasses….”

Or maybe it isn’t humor, but in fact a legitimate (or quasi-legitimate since street art is still considered outside the law) advertising campaign. In my quest to learn more about the artists behind the work here, I found this: ”You’re looking for a graffiti or street-art artist?

FatCap can help you find the right team of professional graffiti artists for: a corporate event, a decorating project, a product / brand launch, a marketing campaign, a movie / television shooting, or a custom canvas. Fill this form, and our Agency team will get back to you quickly with a free quote.”

Whether in the hood, in or on a museum – street art does lift my spirits immensely, with inspiration spilling over into the kitchen.

Here is my latest attempt at painting with flavor for a dinner party - I love this flower like presentation. It definitely received squeals of delight from my dinner party guests. The beets and cheese can be quite filling, so be careful to keep the following course(s) on the lighter side, or the salad would make a fabulous lunch on it’s own.

Roasted Beet & Mozzarella Flower Salad

The secret is in finding the real mozzarella fresca (don’t use that highly processed rubbery stuff). You want the mild, soft, creamy consistency of the cheese to go with the contrasting stronger flavor of the beets, coupled with the cool crunch of the champagne vinaigrette dressed lettuce, and crisp toasted pine nuts.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Dressing
3 tablespoons Champagne or Sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 small shallot minced
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salad
4 large beets, outer skin peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded
8 ounces mozzarella fresca
4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Directions:

1). Preheat the oven to 400 ° F. Toss the beets with olive oil and place in an even layer on a sheet pan. Season with the kosher salt, and roast until just tender (not soft), about 40-45 minutes. Let cool completely.

2).  In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallot, sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly, so the vinegar and oil emulsify, whisk in the olive oil; set aside.

3). For thin even slices use a mandolin or food processor (you can also carefully use a sharp chefs knife), slice the beets into thin rounds, and arrange on the center of the plate into a flower shape.

4). Using 3/4 of the dressing, reserving a little to drizzle later, toss the lettuce in the dressing and place in little bunches in the center of each beet flower.

5). Top each mound of lettuce with one mozzarella, and drizzle with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and serve.

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  • July 10, 2011
    4:04 pm

    That salad looks so amazing! I think I could live on that, with a slice of good bread, all summer. Love mozzarella cheese, especially the good kind. Truthfully, any kind of cheese is wonderful. Guess I head out for salad greens tomorrow and fill up the fridge with lots of fresh goodness. Yum!

    Reply
    • July 11, 2011
      2:54 am

      Had a feeling it might be right up your alley Ruthee. I just love this time of year when the produce is so fresh and flavorful.

      Reply
  • July 10, 2011
    4:04 pm

    That salad looks so amazing! I think I could live on that, with a slice of good bread, all summer. Love mozzarella cheese, especially the good kind. Truthfully, any kind of cheese is wonderful. Guess I head out for salad greens tomorrow and fill up the fridge with lots of fresh goodness. Yum!

    Reply
  • July 10, 2011
    11:28 am

    Some of the art was actually pretty good. I would have never dreamed of putting those foods together as a salad…but yum!!

    Reply
  • July 10, 2011
    11:36 am

    I just got back from another walk and found THREE new pieces! It really is like a treasure hunt, and makes the dreaded morning walk sooooooooo much more enjoyable.

    Reply
  • July 10, 2011
    11:37 am

    BTW, most of my neighborhood is really gorgeous – these are the bowels of it and as you can see – needed brightening up.

    Reply
  • July 10, 2011
    12:23 pm

    Oh, man, that would have been an amazing nursery!

    Reply
    • July 10, 2011
      12:30 pm

      I know – can you imagine the dreams she would have nodding off to art like that all around her! It might have gotten crowded though, Nick and I would have wanted to sleep in there too!

      Reply
  • July 11, 2011
    3:03 am

    I’ve always loved the idea of making art out of unexpected things or placing art in places you do not expect. My daughter likes to collect palm frans and paint them as tribal masks, she said painting calms her (oh the stress of an 11 year old lol). Last year I was on a film shoot out in Lucerne Valley and the set design artist decided to create an art installation in an abandoned house next to our set. I was so impressed with how he created art out of rubble and some spray paint. I took several photos of it for posterity!

    Reply
  • July 11, 2011
    12:00 am

    I agree with WendyB, that truly would have been some nursery. At least Tatjana can say that Keith Haring offered to paint her room. One lucky girl!
    I really like some of the street art in your hood. It beats some of the bland, boring stuff near my home. Although most of it is hidden in laneways and small side streets. Hardly seen on the main roads.
    Love this salad. I am a huge fan of beets and pine nuts and to add mozzarella to it with thinly sliced iceberg lettuce is just perfect for the summer. Oh the taste buds are going wild!

    Reply
  • July 11, 2011
    2:58 am

    Hey Aussie Mum – isn’t it fun? Mom and I have had a blast looking for new things every day. We found quite a bit more since those pics were taken.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2011
    3:09 am

    Set designers are fun people to know. I went out with a production designer that was always bringing really cool stuff home from the set when a film wrapped. My friend Frankie Diago decorated John Taylors whole house in Paris – it was absolutely stunning. Artists and decorators all rolled into one.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2011
    2:34 pm

    Art is everywhere! I look at a piece of Japanese paper and I see the potential for a necklace to go with my little black dress. Working on some floral pieces to pin to your lapel or dress right now. Still painting and working on one VIP piece that I can’t really talk about until September. Suffice it to say, it’s going to turn into a series of pieces. :)

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011
      1:39 pm

      You ARE busy madame! Can’t wait to see. xo

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011
    11:04 am

    I visited this exhibit last week and absolutely LOVED it!! I’m not the biggest museum person, but this is in a league of its own. That salad looks delicious, too…

    Reply
    • July 12, 2011
      1:37 pm

      I KNOW, right? Massive, and something new catching your attention around every corner.

      Reply
  • July 12, 2011
    6:17 pm

    It is good to know that Keith definitely had some impact on the taggers. I know of many Libraries who hold tagging competitions.

    Yumm-o salad by the way! I had it tonight!

    Reply
  • July 12, 2011
    7:35 pm

    I love street art. It’s such a shame that you often have to make the effort to travel to the “less desirable” parts of town to find the really good stuff.

    I highly recommend checking out the street artists in Whitechapel on your next trip to London. I fell across the art there completely by accident. I’ll see if I can dig out the pictures and the sorry tale of how we find them and post them up on my blog.

    It’s so fab you’ve posted another mozarella dish. My mother has become addicted to your Mozarella and Tomato Relish on Ciabatta. We have it nearly every week now and despite the fact she hates cooking she’s even made it herself a couple of times. The once giant basil plant in her garden has been so over-used that we’re now buying in pesto! I can’t thank you enough for creating something that’s made my mother excited enough to actually do cooking herself. :)

    Reply
  • July 23, 2011
    9:35 pm

    THIS WAS A FASCINATING STORY AND THE PICTURES ARE WONDERFUL TO SEE ALL THE WAY IN IOWA. THANKS FOR THE SHOW.

    Reply
  • July 23, 2011
    10:29 pm

    Jewels – I gotta confess. I just didn’t understand what the reach of your whole website’s spirit was – between food that you are clearly comfortable working and playing it into reality in novel ways. How you swim with it through days and nights of life in the overall, bringing in other people, art, life observations is real deal giving. The more I open up and take in what you offer to people the more I realize how relevant your overall life project is. Mellow for your fellows.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2011
    2:08 pm

    Mother and I are sitting here looking at your web site. It is terrific. The street art is outstanding. You are exceptional. Hope you are feeling better. Unc.

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    Reply

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