Aeroplane Building – Bilbao, Spain Trip #7

January 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Posted in itchy backside | 2 Comments
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An overnight coach took Itchyfingers from Barcelona to Bilbao, one of the must-go places during our visit to Spain. I think most people would associate Bilbao with its most famous museum, the Guggenheim.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary
art designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry

A sculpture of metal balls. This is Anish Kapoor’s High Tree and eyes, 2009

Opened in 1997, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was an instant hit among
locals and tourists due to its unique design. It was hailed as the most
important building of its time 

Sited in the port town of Bilbao, the museum is intended to resemble a ship

The museum is a spectacular structure made of titanium, glass, and limestone.
Titanium was used probably cos it’s corrosion-resistant since it is located
next to river Nervión. This same metal is commonly used in aeroplanes…

 reflective titanium panels resemble fish scales, echoing the other organic
life forms that recur commonly in Gehry’s designs, as well as the river Nervión 

I always wonder how these masters managed to persuade their client to
accept their radical design…Well, I guess that’s why they are masters…
Despite being an architectural and construction challenge, the museum
was delivered on time and on budget…

Close up of the titanium facade. Looks like copper sheets! :p Though it
is supposed to be corrosion-resistant, but there seem to be rain water stains
forming on some parts…

Catch the interesting reflection at different angles…

This huge spider sculpture was an attention grabber! Titled, Maman (1999)
the spider sculpture is the work of artist Louise Bourgeois. Maman is the
familiar French word for Mother

At over 30 feet high and over 33 feet wide, the spider has a sac containing
26 marble eggs. Looks quite gross when you stand underneath the body… 😀

Another look at the giant arachnid 

We decided to walk to the end to take in the view of the whole museum
before it starts to rain again

View from the highway…Such an impressive architectural work of art!

You can get a clear perfect reflection of the museum across the river…

Itchyfingers are so jealous of the people of Spain. Not only they have their native master Antoni Gaudi producing architectural wonders like the world-renowned Sagrada Família and Casa Mila, they also have masters from overseas designing an iconic building like the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Do you know that we nearly get a Frank Gehry’s masterpiece in Singapore? In case you didn’t know or have forgotten, when our Government opened its tender to build an Integrated Resort in Sentosa island, Frank Gehry was one of the architects who was invited to conceptualise and submit his design. I was really hoping that his design would be accepted so that Singapore can boast to have a Frank Gehry’s work. Unfortunately, for god-knows reason, our dear Government chose to award the project to the ugly and boring-looking design by Resort World. Maybe they cannot stomach something so radical and got a shock of their life? But see for yourself here to compare the two design. If thousands of tourists visit Bilbao just to experience and marvel at the unconventional and creative design of Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry, I think they would also visit Singapore for the same reason. I don’t think anyone has visited Singapore purely for its architectures…Just imagine what a great difference the waterfront will look like at Sentosa, especially at night! What a shame! 😦

This side is the entrance to the museum with the signage which is too small
here to see…It was already drizzling…

This gigantic flower doggy sculpture has become so famous that it is a must-see
landmark when you visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. This is Puppy
by Jeff Koons

Closer look at some of the flowers. These look familiar…We saw similar ones
at one of the Sentosa Flower Festival

The interior is very interesting with plenty of curve lines. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed. We managed to snap this before we realised it is strictly prohibited.

Because of the numerous wavy design, Computer Aided Three Dimensional
Interactive Application (CATIA) and visualizations were used heavily in the
structure’s design

One of the exhibit, The Matter of Time by Richard Serrain. These are
huge permanent installation of eight bent steel sculptures. Visitors
are free to explore around and within the mazelike structure. Ooops…we
forgot we are not supposed to take photos… :p

Tulips by Jeff Koons

We were curious about the design of the loos…Unfortunately, there is
nothing to shout about

Overall, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a masterpiece definitely worth a visit. However, Itchyfingers discovered something unusual on our way out…

These are steps leading to the main entrance of the gallery. Do you see
anything wrong here? 

The steps are leading up underneath this piece of titanium structure! So 
if someone were to walk at this end mindlessly without noticing, he might
just hit his head! Hahah!!! Wonder who made this blunder! Was it an oversight
by the master himself or his assistant? Apparently they realised this mistake
and added the railing to stop people walking here, but being Itchyfingers,
we had to illustrate our point by doing a demonstration…hahaha…

Also see related posts:
> House of Bones – Barcelona, Spain Trip #6
The Quarry – Barcelona, Spain Trip #5
A Visit to the Market – Barcelona, Spain Trip #4
A Bird’s Eye View – Barcelona, Spain Trip #3 
Inside the Construction Site- Barcelona, Spain Trip #2 
The World’s Most Beautiful Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #1 


Usher in the Majestic Dragon!

January 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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The little Bunny is finally taking its leave and we have the Big Brother Dragon rushing in very soon! For this auspicious year, Itchyfingers has challenged herself to make something completely different. After poring through various references for images of the Oriental Dragons, Itchyfingers finally completed this little Dragon in time to wish all our friends a very Happy Lunar Dragon New Year!

Meet Itchyfingers’ latest creation, Longan (龙眼) the Baby Dragon. Wishing all a happier and
healthier Year of the Majestic Dragon!

PS: Longan is available for adoption in our shop.

Baby Elephant Walk – Elephant Parade Singapore 2011

January 12, 2012 at 12:21 am | Posted in itchy fingers | 4 Comments
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The Elephant Parade is the world’s largest open air art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. It seeks to attract public awareness and support for Asian elephant conservation. Although they were here since last November, Itchyfingers didn’t have the chance to catch all of them since they were scattered over different places around the island. The frequent wet weather didn’t help too. So it was great to see all the 162 elephants at the same venue at the Botanic Gardens last Sunday before these beautiful elephant sculptures are auctioned away to aid the conservation.

Since there are so many of them, Itchyfingers can only showcase some of those which we like or are unique…

Isn’t this beautiful? This is Ele Fun-Asia by Ye Ruoshi. Although she has 
a chinese opera make-up face, the body is painted with four different fabric
patterns representing the major ethnic groups in Singapore. The orchids
accessories symbolise Singapore 

This is Miss India by Nut Thamrongpittayanan. Elephant is a sacred 
animal in India, so I supposed it is apt to paint one in the traditional

This is Miss China by the same artist. No wonder the style is similar

This is Miss Malaysia, again by the same artist, Nut Thamrongpittayanan.
Hmm…wonder why the same artist is commissioned to do three elephants
instead of giving other artists a chance to showcase their talent? 
Er, why no

Instead of dolling up the elephants into pretty ladies, some artists prefer to transform their elephants into another animal…

White Tiger by Sakchai Pengprakhon! Striking! There were two other 
elephants being transformed into normal tigers at Elephant Parades held in 
other countries. One was Tiger by the same artist, while Tigerphant was by
Dominique Salm
. Great minds seem to really think alike!

Coincidentally, we also have another animal transformation by our local artist…

Zelda Zelliphant by Dick Lee 

Some of the elephants are used as advertisement for their brand or product…

Paul Frank by Mike Smith 

One look and you know this is from the Singapore Zoo…This is the
Rainforest Zoo-Phant

An ang moh kid was able to recognise this graphics as the zoo’s. These same
graphic appear in the zoo’s promotional items

Coincidentally, again, another elephant also spotted a rainforest theme.

Titled, Amazon by Thiti Suwan, this is supposed to show “the lushness and
diversity of Thailand’s rainforests.”

A lot of elephants have a theme based on nature. Most carry a conservation message…

Safari by Sirinapha Sauepthong. “Nature is best when left untouched.” 

I love the cheerful colours and graphics! 

Love Song by Jane Veveris Callan. Itchyfingers like this cos there are a lot
of birds! The illustration style and finishing are also quite good, so Tisu Boy
chose this elephant as his favourite… 

Some called for a better and greener world with more love for people and animals…

Pink Paradise by Opas Chomchean 

Free Spirit by Leona Lewis the singer 

Jimmy by Cristiano Cascelli

Nong Mai by Attasit Aniwatchon 

Volumn by Gwon Osang offers an interesting way of executing photo montages
onto the animals to achieve more photorealism. But hor, I dun understand why
the artist chose to put animals from different continents together…heee…

Many elephants were made into beautiful decorative pieces, with not much concept or thoughts, in my opinion…

Princess Ellie by Matthew Campbell Laurenza. Bling bling!

Pavonia by Rebecca Sutherland. But at least both peacocks and elephants are 
found in India…

Abril by Eva Armisen. At first look I thought it belongs to Taiwanese
illustrator Jimmy Liao 几米! 😀

Flower of Love by Kesorn Mueanpang. This looks so sweet

Franny by Emma Kemp. The paintings are quite nice…

eleFISH! by PSA Group HR & Corporate Affairs Team 

Flower backside from Worth to be Dutch by Hollandsche Waaren 屁股开花!!!!

The Naughty and the Elephant by Carrie Chau, one of my favourite Hong
Kong illustrators! When we saw this elephant at Orchard Road at night
during the Christmas season, the little character on the elephant was not
there! Was it being taken out for fear of theft or vandalism or was it really
stolen? Didn’t see this side of the body with the girl painted on the leg so
I didn’t realise it was her work…

Carrie Chau’s character, Blind Fly…I love her work! 

But at least these elephants are pretty. There are some which don’t even look pleasant…Others, while they may not look pretty at first, do offer interesting details in their execution…

Interesting collage work on Revenge of the Animals by Mojoko 

Cute little illustration of bird skeleton on Gajah by Nadya Hutagalung, Ann
Healy & Edo Hutabarat

Dada, the Surrealist Elephant by Rosihan Dahim paid homage to a few
masters of the art movement…

Siegfried by Andre Tempel…looks like he has toothpaste squeezed all over… 😀

Some are designed with a festive feel…

Red Hapinez by Rasamee Kongchan. Feel so ‘chinese new year’

Singapore Ele-Dragon by Jamie Paul welcomes 2012, the Year of the Dragon.
But it looks very fierce huh…This elephant was placed at such an obscure
location in Orchard Road that I think not many people may have seen it… 

It has playful, child-like drawings on it…

Some are really “uniquely Singapore” as they have a strong Singapore theme…

Temasek by Ratchakrit Wichaiyo features the iconic Merlion…

One Degree North by Diana Francis is the most tourist-friendly as they 
can find various places of interest on the map…

The zoo and the Botanic Gardens on its backside…Er…the map gives
wrong direction though…hahah

Er, I think nobody will miss this seemingly plain-looking white elephant
cos the chinese characters were written by the immediate past President
of Singapore…I think The Calligraphic Elephant by Mr. S. R. Nathan
may just get the highest bid at the auction since it is done by the most famous
person in Singapore

There are some elephants which are adorned with one of my favourite animals…meow….!

Singacat by Sakchai Pengprakhon. Gorgeous!

I thought they are the Singapura Cats, but the artist said they are Siamese.
Actually I can’t tell their differences…hahah 

There were smaller sized elephant sculptures for purchase but the miniature
ones for this elephant were not as nicely painted… 

The Elephant and the Cat by Paul Koh 

The other side… 

Cats from Lives to Share, Lives to Spare by Laura Seeleys

Some elephants are rather “heavy metal”…

Nature Sound by Luka Boonkerd Kaewdee. Wow…need to cut out the

Nuts Over Elephants by Max Kong. We all are…aren’t we? 😀

Elephants are supposed to have very good memory, hence the title of this piece…

Elephant Memory by Sonny Liew, our local comic artist

I like his work

“Elephant Memory Man has so much on his mind. His sidekick Ele looks
on and wonders what is to be done.”

Some artists highlight the plight of wild elephants through their art…

Leather Trunk by Amy Thng & Laura Tang is painted to resemble a luggage
passing through countries that have participated in the Elephant Parade.
Fun stickers are also stuck on “to remind us that elephants should not be
forcibly removed from their natural habitat thereby threatening their extinction.”

Swampy Jane by Joss Stone. “All animals should be respected in their own

This must be the saddest looking elephant! Damaged Dumbo by Renato L.
Barja Jr. 

The artist wants to highlight “the disturbing and inhumane acts of people
towards the largest land animal….no amount of riches can justify the killing
of our beloved elephants.”

So poor thing, even the backside is also “damaged”…

There is a tiny baby elephant among all. This is We Love Mosha by Diana
. Baby elephant Mosha has become sort of ambassador to the

Elephant Parade as she has been to every city and country the Parade visits.
She is the source of the parade’s commitment to help her and other elephants
which are becoming endangered in Asia

Some itchy fingers vandalised her bandage with their awful names. Maybe
the organiser should put up more signs to ask people not to touch or climb
on the elephants as they are art pieces to be auctioned for fund-raising

A few elephants were damaged so artists had to do some touch up on
the spot in time for the auction. This is Stop Asians Ahead by Ketna Patel 

Then there is this rather unusual piece…I bet some people have missed it or just dismissed it as a work-in-progress or damaged work…

This is aptly named White Elephant by Allan Balisi! According to the artist,
he was inspired by David Lynch’s movie, The Elephant Man. Hence he covered
it with a white canvas. “It is more like a shy or terrified elephant. It also
represents the anonymity and sense of helplessness of the elephant when it is
slaughtered for its ivory. The all-white cloth covers the elephant’s identity; his
right to live is taken away from him because of the greed of mankind.” Well, if
you think the rationale behind this work is too much to stomach, just think of
it as depicting something left unused, hence a white elephant! Hahah…But
hor, this work is a bit slack huh…? Hahah…just paint the elephant inside
white and cover with a white cloth…Maybe it wasn’t even properly painted? 
Haha…I felt like flipping the cloth over to check what’s inside…hahahah!!! 

So, out of so many elephants, which is Itchyfingers‘ favourite? Ahhhh….you must be thinking it has to be this one…

…because it has a turtle on it! This is Turtlefan by Opas Chomchean 

But nope…it is not my favourite…It kinda surprised me also, cos when I first saw the photo, I thought it looked odd and funny…But after seeing all the elephants, this one really stands out the most in terms of colour, shape, execution and its sense of humour. It has transformed the elephant into something so unexpected….It really grows onto you…

A durian! The artist has cleverly turned his elephant into the thorny, pungent
smelling fruit of the tropic, a favourite among many Singaporeans! This is
Delightful Durian by Nat Posila & Ed Robinson. I am not a durian fan, but
if I have to choose, I prefer durians with this kinda bright orangey-yellow
meat as they are sweeter… 😀 

Look at the durian shell! So funnily cute! The artists say, “Everyone knows
Singaporeans love durian! And since we wanted to create an elephant that
would touch and surprise the visitors of Elephant Parade in Singapore,
a huge elephant durian is the perfect piece. We hope this makes everyone
who sees him feel our happiness in helping Asian Elephants.” I think they
had achieved this, looking at the number of visitors waiting for their turns
to take photos with the huge durian…An ang moh kid was heard exclaiming
“so smelly! so smelly!” while looking at it… Hilarious!

Again, great minds think alike…

Gajah Tidur by Hamir Bin Soib. Another durian, but in terms of execution,
it is less interesting than the other more three-dimensional one…

Another fruity-themed elephant…Orangephant by Nat Posila

Itchyfingers had a great time admiring the 162 elephants and we hope all of them will find a new home at the auction and raise funds for the conservation of the majestic Asian Elephants! Certainly looking forward for the next Elephant Parade!

Also see related posts:
Wow Cow! Holy Cow! So Many Cows! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #5
Holy Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #3
Wow Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #2

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