All Posts in Paris

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“Wow, it’s so small but so heavy!” said the gate agent as she heaved my luggage. Since it was technically a carry-on size, she couldn't have expected an absolute brick. “And there’s two??!” Here we go, myself and Christina, our style director, departing LAX. All was smooth sailing until we landed at CDG, walked to baggage claim and saw our luggage — wheels crushed.


Alas, heavy mags and broken bags couldn’t get us down.

Bonjour, Paris!

Grøss <3 The Hoxton Hotel

Like the mailman, The Hoxton always delivers. Their Paris location is now the fourth Hoxton hotel the Grøss team has stayed at (including Rome, Portland and Williamsburg), and we’re always welcomed with excitement and ease. Located in the 2nd arrondissement, they’ve melded grandiosity with sleek design, amplifying the chicness only an 18th-century residence can embody. Bustling with locals and travelers alike, The Hoxton Paris is a hub for creative industries; a melting pot of connoisseurs. The perfect place to host our Paris+ Opening Party.

After checking into our immaculate, top-floor terraced room, we did as the Parisians do; eat charcuterie, drink delicious wine, and connect with friends at Planche, The Hoxton’s natural wine bar where we met with Stephen, our Bostonian transplant and resident sommelier.

From there we hit La Prochaine Fois, Le Feu (translates to The Fire Next Time, a reference to the book by author James Baldwin), a two-person exhibition featuring works by Kehinde Wiley and Alexandre Diop, where Wiley mentored the young Diop. This exhibition was produced by Reiffers Art Initiatives and hosted by Numéro Mag at Acacias Art Center. A raucous circle of rappers jostled the mezzanine — giving an abundance of life to the space directly in front of the stunning artwork by Wiley. Thanks for the gift bags, Numéro.



No time to waste — a car was called and we were swept off to the next destination: The Hole + Super Zoom’s Manscaping show and dinner in the Marais. The pink space housed pieces by Anders Oinonen, Caroline Larsen, Matt Belk, Matthew F. Fisher, Matthew Hansel, Mathew Tom, Cecilia Fiona, Eric Yahnker, Leo Park, Magda Kirk, Ramiro Hernandez, Jeremy Shockley, Pablo Benzo, Anthony Miler, Tim Irani and Brendan Lynch.



A packed, hazy upstairs hosted a scene reminiscent of a glorious college house party, with Ray cooking up a storm under Bertie the Pom’s careful supervision. We bumped into advisors, dealers and gallerists — Kathy (The Hole), Dimitri (Lorin Gallery), Andrea and Lauren.



Fast forward to Mary Celeste wine bar where we met with Danny, Grøss’ very own Ambassadeur Maitre Fromager (seriously, he got a medal while we were in Paris) and selected a couple of bottles under Stephen’s guidance.

Our last stop of the night, Hotel Le Super Bitch (kidding) aka the infamous Hôtel Costes. Yeah, it’s a cool, moody lounge but, damn, they could turn the “moody” level down a bit. It was all worth it to meet up with one of our cover stars, Big Bless himself, Mr. StarCity. Always a pleasure, fam. Probably won’t be returning to Hôtel Costes any time soon, though. I may or may not be 86’d...



Forcibly peeling my face from the pillows, the motivation to wake was stoked by a special delivery of croissants and coffee courtesy of the Hox team (you're the man, Theo). Time to get moving.



To do:

  • Shower off the long night.
  • Avoid thinking about the 9hr time difference between LA and Paris.
  • Prep and assemble our co-branded gift bags.
  • Takeover Hoxton’s library space at the base of Jacques’ Bar.
  • Scarf a couple of delicious burgers courtesy of Rivie (shoutout to the homie, Kim)



Party starts and people pull up — what a rad turnout. The intimate Jacques’ Bar was perfect for hosting an array of creatives and artists alike. Colombian photographers, musicians from Mexico City, French film directors, stylists and founders, PR pros — a powerful crowd all moving to the seamless sounds by Cezaire and DJ Warren. Thanks to Cocchi, our beverage sponsor, the bar was flowing with a trifecta of dangerously tasty cocktails.



As the clock struck 23:30h, the energy was palpable and it was clear the night was far from over. Crush a couple of pizzas with new friends then a quick stroll to Colonia Speakeasy for the Whitewall Magazine party — too crowded for comfort. We rang it in at Le Grande wine bar, Stephen’s stomping grounds, proceeding to get a masterclass in specialty French vins. After a short stumble up the cobblestone streets back to the lovely Hoxton, it was lights out around 4 am.




Attempting to get out of bed before noon, we made our way to Paris+ at the Grand Palais Éphémère, the temporary home while the Grand Palais undergoes renovation. Shout out to the Claudine Colin Communications staff, Paris+ par Art Basel’s press department for taking such good care of our team. They made it easy and efficient to retrieve our press badges, and we were off!


We knew we were doing multiple days of the fair so we took our time diving in and out of the main and emerging galleries tents, eyes sporadically bulging with delight. As it was a PACKED fair, it was only natural to bump into a couple of friends, like Spanish artist Okuda — unfortunately, we didn't snag a pic together since he zipped away on a same-day round-trip flight from Spain just to catch the fairs. His life pace is unreal.



Paris+ sits at the base of the lawn leading up to the Eiffel Tower. On our way out, we sauntered through the gardens, hopped on a couple of Limes, and biked along the Seine, excited to go meet up with our primo from LA. Hugosaurusrex is his name, coordinator for Kendrick Lamar’s Big Steppers Tour is his game. Together we ate one of the worst meals in Paris but it was overshadowed by our excitement for VIP passes to Kendrick’s specialty, a live-stream show at Accor Arena on Saturday, commemorating the 10th anniversary of Good Kid Maad City.

Hugo joined us for an exhibition by Unit London featuring a stellar installation of generative works of Willam Mapan. A few other exhibitions were happening in the building too... don't mind if we do.



We ended the night accompanying Hugo to his first-ever Eiffel Tower light show — pure magic.





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We were pumped so many of our VOL. 4 artists were showing and attending Paris+, including the ever-lovely Andy Dixon’s latest solo show, PATRON’S HOMES, at OTI’s new Paris location located across from the President of France’s home.

Love Andy.

Love the show.


“This new series of paintings is a culmination of Dixon’s decades-long practice that encapsulates the artist’s uniquely vibrant and gothic-pastel palette with adept technical skill, rooted in vast art historical knowledge. The 16 paintings in this exhibition each feature previous paintings from the artist’s “Masterpiece series” ~ Venus ad Adonis, Bacchius, ONE MORE, TWO MORE.. each “Masterpiece” was photographed then repainted in their current spaces, their PATRON’S HOMES.”

Images courtesy Julien Pépy


The last time I visited Paris, I ate a crepe that tasted like hotdog water... Thankfully Christina found MALO, a rooftop creperie on the top of the epic Printemps building (it has 10 domes which is absurd) and le crepe vengeance was had.



After a quick refresh and a futile attempt at working, we went to meet up with some friends at a zesty local spot, Sonny’s Pizza, that exceeded all expectations. You can't go wrong with rad staff and house-made hot honey on fresh pies.



Our litty committee had grown to six people and it was only proper that we take our newcomers to see the spectacle that is Le Comptoir General. Part museum, part pirate ship, and fully entertaining, this bar/venue is like a loft that resembles a nautical theme park. Highly recommended.



As if we had a shortage of beverages, we ended the night making new friends over a crisp round of conversations and cocktails at the beautifully designed Gravity Bar before clocking out for the night.

3am? Need sleep.


Image courtesy of Gravity Bar



Stoked to meet up with our Amsterdam team Luna and Greg who landed the night before. Day two of Paris+ commenced and the carousing began.


After running into LA-based art dealer Leonardo Ledesma, we scooter ganged over to Salon 94 Design, catching the closing of 53 Miles West of Venus, a group show featuring F Taylor Colantonio.


This rigorous schedule demands constant refueling. Arrive at one of the more highly anticipated restaurants in Paris, Frenchie Wine Bar. Sitting across a cobblestone alley from its more famous Michelin-rated sister restaurant by the same name, the bar du vin offers a more casual avenue to try the incredible food from renowned chef, Greg Marchand. Make sure to show up promptly at 6:30 pm or you won’t get a table. We proceeded to do the most degenerate American thing possible, ordering one of everything on the menu — epically paired with wines selected by, you guessed it, monsieur Stephen.


Leaving the crew to complete the dinner of countless courses, Christina and I saddled up Lime-bike-stye, ripping the streets on our way to Accor Arena. Kendrick Lamar goes on at 9:15 pm draped in black leather and exquisite custom silver belts and harnesses hand-made by Mexican artist Arlette. Kdot slayed hit after hit to a sold-out crowd. Bravo, sir.

Watch the performance here.



Images courtesy Greg Noire


Post-show, it was back on our trusty steeds for a 15-min cycle through town ending at Soho House for some (forgettable) dirty martinis. Maybe next time they’ll have cookies.



After forcing myself to get some work done in the morning, I made my way over to Carette (the epitome of Parisian sidewalk brunch cafe) to meet the rest of the crew. We had the quintessential french onion soup hangover cure and Christina reluctantly ate her first snail which she instantly regretted.


Afterward, we wandered into Mariane Cramer Projects' joint exhibition with Août Gallery and saw a masterpiece featuring none other than the superstar, Bertie the pom. Artists in this exhibition included: Mariah Ferrari, Yann Houri, Mathilda Marque Bouaret, Lotte Keijzer, Juan de la Rica, Jordy van den Nieuwendijk, Nicolas Romero Eversiempre, Jim Mooijekind, Arjen and Arno Beck.


Stopping by to get eyes on Drôle de Monsieur's latest season of elevated streetwear, their storefront felt like a 70’s living room mixed with an elegant gallery space; bold designs popping like art.


Our Parisian correspondent Pierre met us after attending AKAA Fair back at our local spot, Mary Celeste for somehow, more wine.


We walked it off with a healthy stroll to the 11th to hit Clamato, a cool new restaurant from the Septime Family presenting creative seafood dishes. While waiting for our table, we got the royal treatment at La Cave L'Incognito and snuck in a decadent visit to Le Chalet Savoyard — an EPIC cheese restaurant like I’ve never seen before. The fondue and raclette were double doses of dairy debauchery.


We ended the night getting denied entry to SO/ Paris, a Paris+ partner hotel, even with our press passes because the bar closed at 12:15 and we arrived alas, at 12:16. Oh well, it was whatever and the night manager should probably find a new job.

Our 6th and final night had come to an end.

We said au revior to grand Paris the following day, possibly smuggling a checked bag full of cheese.



Join us next year.


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Artist Feature: Blending the natural and digital world with Vickie Vainionpää

Born in Waterloo, Ontario, now working out of Montreal, visual artist Vickie Vainionpää is weaving together painting and technology on her own terms. Creating naturally formulating shapes that curve and fold into each other much like our own cellular structures mimicking the relationship between human and material. One may see a disconnect from the machine and personal expression but for Vainionpää, it’s a fluid systematic process that has been her main focus in her work for some time now. 

"Something that nature could dream up, but that remains alien."

Vainionpää has always been interested in creating. As a kid, the lieu of going outside and playing never caught her eye as her intrigue would be inside with a sketchbook and a pen. Ultimately, that intrigue would develop into a passion she would pursue. “I guess the moment when I seriously got into painting was in university. Up until that point, the tools I was using were pretty basic acrylics, inks, and craft paints. But in the second year, I took an oil painting class and it was such a foreign medium to me. I didn’t understand how to control it in the same way that I had been working with water-based paints. It was exciting and  challenging, and still to this day I feel like I haven’t discovered all the intricacies of the medium.”

The process of her creations is layered. Using a 3D software, which she taught herself how to use and program, she generates random shapes and tubes each day at a random point formula which connects any given points in space and creates a line from that. Until numerous entire shapes are formed which overlay each other, Vainionpää then goes in and selects which random generated shape of her liking and paints them onto canvas. It is a process of trial and error. “I go back and forth between the canvas and computer a lot. In the beginning, I like to start digitally, and it takes me quite a while to settle on something I’d like to paint. I have an archive of hundreds and hundreds of renders on my hard drive. On any given day, I might feel like experimenting in 3D, learning a new part of the program, or I might feel like digging through the archive of forms and trying to make something out of them. I think I enjoy starting with 3D software because it’s the ultimate blank canvas -- there’s this virtual barren space with physical parameters that can be altered radically or subtly to produce different results every time. When I'm playing around on the computer, I am drawn to forms and textures that remind me of existing organic matter. Something that nature could dream up, but that remains alien.

"Lately, I’ve re-ignited an interest in psychedelic drugs and have been listening to Terrance McKenna and Alan Watts lectures."

After selecting her chosen composition is when she’ll switch to the physical painting process of her piece. A big challenge for her is creating a certain texture on the canvas whether by hand in pooling solvent or something more chance-based. “I think it’s important to maintain the quality of the painted surface, so I’m currently working that out in my approach. I use raw linen, which is also a conscious choice; it contrasts the very smooth gradations of light and shadow, which I feel lends to this balance of organic/inorganic. It also is my way to participate and acknowledge the rich history of oil on linen, and connect my work to the network of painters that came before me.

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Although her shapes may be generated at random by a program, the inspirational process of her pieces is found outside and within herself. Taking photographs of other artworks and the natural world, getting up close and personal with other pieces in real life, studying how other artists use paint in their own compositions. Her work is constantly changing and Vainionpää is constantly learning and trying to expand her knowledge not only on her craft but in a broader sense of her medium which she works in. 

I find a lot of inspiration by listening to lectures online, watching documentaries, having conversations with my friends… also digging through old sketchbooks to remind myself of what my interests were when I first started making art. That one is really helpful. Lately, I’ve re-ignited an interest in psychedelic drugs and have been listening to Terrance McKenna and Alan Watts lectures. I think my work has always carried a  sense of duality, but also harmony or oneness between themes like the Virtual /Biological, Micro/Macro,  Experience/Perception, etc. That’s a direct reflection of what’s inspiring to me— how can we connect  eastern and western thought, human and non-human…I’m super excited and inspired by the idea that  there’s a fundamental connection between our exponentially evolving technologies and our advancement as human beings, in a spiritual sense.”  

There is a worry about the line between the technical aspect and the free-flowing aspect and how far one could or should push that line to where it’s no longer a tool but an entire form of its own. But just as the bridge of technology and human life is becoming shorter and shorter, Vainionpää is keen but nervous a bit to see how far her work can go. But her message will always be the same and that is one of harmony between each shape in one piece each piece in her collection.

“It’s a natural flow, I’m always springboarding off of the last piece that I made. So if I recently completed something with a really complex texture or reflections, for example, I’ll switch it up and paint something more calming and minimal. There’s a balance of creative energy in that way. In terms of communicating  what I’m trying to say, I see the entire series as a whole, with each individual piece playing a part of that  larger project or message.”

"It also is my way to participate and acknowledge the rich history of oil on linen, and connect my work to the network of painters that came before me."

The future is looking bright for Vainionpää and you should keep your eye out. She is about to show two large pieces for Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto in a group show this October. As well as a residency at GlogauAIR in Berlin in April 2021. Which she’ll be at for three months to prepare work for her next solo show. As well as a duo show in Paris which is still in the works.