I heart these things.


Jess’ first post of the year is a peek into the things that have been inspiring her…

Hi! 2017 is somehow waaaay behind us already and 2018 is on us like a librarian chasing late fees.

Hopefully your holidays gave you enough quiet time to turn your attention to things you enjoy; things that calmed you or those that energized you in the ways that you needed.

My little staycation gave me that time. I spent lots of time outdoors and had naps (and yes, I ate and drank too much) but I also used the break to immerse myself in other peoples ideas- I read and image hunted, listened to podcasts and music, and watched documentaries and movies. I love culture and the idea of ideas! It motivates me and keeps my brain ticking. I have pulled together three things in the world of (popular) culture that I have recently loved.


1. This article on the freakebana craze

New York Magazine wrote about this twisted sister approach to ikebana late last year and neatly summed up the mutant breed of flower arranging that has soaked through our social media feeds. I loosely say ‘flower’ arranging as the compositions often include absolutely anything other than a collection of traditional flowers. Conventional vases are scrapped for vegetables with holes drilled into them, stacks of bread or tins of spam. Sculptural flowers like anthurium are reigning supreme.

The look is unexpected, cheeky and always ‘ugly beautiful’, playing on interesting textures, colours and forms.  Nicki was on to it early (no surprises there!) demonstrating subtle freakebana in this shoot she did with Jacqui Turk.  A traditional Japanese ikebana arrangement feels stable and has a quiet demeanor about it, whereas the freakebana incarnation is big, bold and brash. The concept of beauty is being challenged across many different creative arenas and I like the things that are coming out of the conversation.



2. This huge collection of movie poster art

Movie making is an art form but sometimes the movie’s poster will stand alone as a masterpiece. Posterati is a store in NYC that specialises in rare and unique movie posters (currently holding around 9000 pieces). Each poster is available to view via their online catalogue, which is carefully categorized and easy to search. The collection dates back to the turn of the twentieth century and features films from all over the globe, crossing all genres. If you are a massive film buff, a design student or practitioner, or are just someone interested in the evolution of visual communication, this catalogue will fascinate you. It’s a great reference for the history of film and design, and the best bit is every poster in the catalogue is available to buy. How’s that for a cool way to adorn your walls?! I’ve got my eye on a few Polish posters from the 1960’s…



2. This interview with Patti Smith

“Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” is a podcast I am obsessed with. I know Baldwin can be a polarizer but I’ve loved him since 1988’s Beetlejuice and his role as Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock (definitely in my top 5 shows of all time) has me in stitches every time he is on screen. In his podcast series, Baldwin’s silky smooth voice, the intriguing line of questioning and his ability to turn the interview into a chat between friends results in engaging, in-depth conversations and revelations.

I imagine Baldwin and Patti Smith lead very different lives but their back and forth flows naturally during this recording from December 2016. Anytime I am feeling creatively flat or just generally down, I revisit this interview. Smith’s words give me a little mental recalibration, they sharpen my perspective and I genuinely feel like a wise great-aunt is giving me a much needed tough-love talking to. It’s toward the very end of the interview that she throws this gem our way:

“You have to be willing to sacrifice, you have to be willing to work really hard, you have to be willing to perhaps go years… without recognition, without acknowledgement, and you have to, in the face of all of that, maintain your vision as vision. Being a real artist, and maybe in some old fashion sense, the way I look at art, is a sacred quest and it doesn’t have anything to do with fame and fortune. You can achieve fame and fortune in the face of it, because perhaps the stars are aligned, but that can’t be your prime directive. Your prime directive has to be something new, to give something new the cannon of art, to give something new to the people, to do something great, to do something enduring, something inspiring, something that will take people somewhere they have never been taken and you have to remember why you want to create. “


Top image by Denise Braki / Styled by Jessica Bellef

Freakebana image 1 via 

Freakebana image 2 via 

Patti Smith images via 

Movie poster images via


{This post was created by Jessica Bellef for The Transcontinental Affair}

For more Jess, visit her Pinterest and follow her on instagram.