Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Looking for something special to give creative types this holiday season? You won't find these suggestions in every mall.
ASSORTMENTS OF WIERD STUFF. Chris Brown calls his Urban Prairie design aesthetic "rockabilly for the eyes." At his online shop, you can buy vignettes and odd assemblages that Chris has put together. Most of it is not cheap, but it's decidedly appealing. I recommend a visit if only to inspire you to make your own weirdly beautiful collections of stuff.
Posted by Chris Brown at 8:52 AM
Monday, November 19, 2007
WEEKEND FINDS: URBAN COWBOY
Chris Brown is bit of a dichotomy. A good old, cowboy-hat-wearing country boy with a heart of gold, and an artistic collector, design lovin', tattooed rebel!
Chris first introduced us to the hipper side of country with his blog, Urban Prairie, then his updated, modern-twisted Urban Prairie Refueled, and now he's introducing us to his Urban Prairie Blogshop. An electric mix of odd meets modern day, the Blogshop offers alt-country assemblages, collections, odd one-offs and the curious goods Chris has come to be known for.
The Blogshop is currently carrying these groovy little grab bags called Curious Goods - Mini Collections in a Bag. Chris hand selects these unique and wonderful curiosities and packs them together in one-of-a-kind little bundles, all to help jump start your creative juices. Chris suggests perhaps you take the contents and display them as-is for a cool little artistic vignette, or select individual items and build a larger collection. Think of the flea market fun! The possibilities are endless and they make a great quirky gift for the burgeoning artist in every family.
I love this collection called 'White Wedding' -it sold to some lucky bride to be. Four items assembled together to create a odd, white tabletop vignette. Well worn, off-white ACME cowgirl boots, lace and plastic 15th anniversary wedding cake topper, small bottle of Holy water & three white scale weights. I do!
Urban Prairie Refueled has an amazing aesthetic and is truly a fun visit. Chris has wonderfully clever ideas to take vintage finds to a fresh modern place. I loved his idea of taking retro clothing labels and stitching them to plain old cotton t-shirts. I've been collecting these old tags for years, and now Chris has provided me with a long awaited plan for them!
For an additional bit of country fun, read this interview on Chris from designer & collector David Butler for Country Living magazine. I'm gonna put on some Dwight and have a read.
Posted by Chris Brown at 1:53 PM
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Chris Brown; country designer, stylist, collector and creator of the wildly hip site URBAN PRAIRIE emailed to let us know about his assemblages available on his blogshop. Country style has never been so hip! Check the website, the blog and our earlier post.
Posted by Chris Brown at 6:54 PM
Friday, November 9, 2007
I must admit if you asked me about Chris Brown before today... I would think you were referring to the young R&B singer.
But this morning I stumbled upon Chris Brown (the designer/stylist/collector) of Urban Prairie.
And I'm so glad I did. I really am not a country kind of girl, but he is so far from what I normally think of country. He loves vintage and found objects, making something beautiful out of unloved objects, it’s edgy, raw, mixed with white roses and lace, and topped off with an urban feel. I LIKE IT… I REALLY LIKE IT!!!
You can read his personal blog called URBAN PRAIRIE REFUELED OR his website URBAN PRAIRIE .
(I know ladies... sorry he's very taken)
Posted by Chris Brown at 2:19 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
In this cookie-cutter, copycat world, there's a designer who refuses to be swayed by convention. I met Chris Brown via his blog and he kindly agreed to be a guest here. Chris gives us permission to dig down to our raw, authentic selves and unearth the style that's always been dormant there, wake it up and let it fly. Instead of finding our style in the magazines or on tv, what about starting with what we love and being bold enough to go with it. Chris has done just that with his collections of old cracked doll heads, well-worn baseballs...even teeth :) I'm so inspired by this guy! Thank you Chris for helping us strengthen our wings of authenticity. Here are Chris' words on design:
When I began collecting vintage objects and incorporating them into my design work, whether it was graphics, home décor, photo styling or even fashion, things changed. I notice that I wasn’t drawn to the same kind of things that others saw as pretty or collectable. I think I’ve always seen things a little different. I like to take things people don’t see as beautiful and somehow make them beautiful. I find inspiration everywhere, in everyday things. It’s in those simple, rusted, faded; almost mundane things that I force people to look at in a new light. All of my collections seem to fall in a very limited color palette – white, black and faded red.
URBAN PRAIRIE STYLE:
For me, style is a very personal thing. Everyone has it, how you display it is what makes you unique. Urban Prairie style is all about living in the present while embracing the past. It’s more about attitude than address. My thoughts, worldview and feelings can be seen in my work. Anyone who has ever taken a look at my website, read my blog, visited a home I have decorated or has witnessed a photo shoot I have styled, will see me.
When I began Urban Prairie over two years ago, I had no idea it would become this “cult” style thing. My Urban Prairie website began as a way for me to showcase my design work and hopefully inspire others. It seems I have struck a cord with the “new” generation of designers and collectors. Within the many emails I receive, one message rings forth - It’s acceptable to view things differently. Although it’s inspiring to me to know that I’ve been told that I have made it “cool” to collect and design with odd finds, I would never take the credit. I simply feel design should always have an element of surprise. Don’t just think outside the box, deconstruct the box and turn it into something new and different altogether. I held a dinner party outside at our home earlier this summer. At each setting were antique white ironstone plates with tarnished forks. In place of the standard knife, I replaced them with a pair of vintage scissors from my large collection. Each couple poured wine from old enamel Swiss canteens, sealed with vintage glass decanter tops. A large, rusted scale, which held two cracked and faded doll heads served as the centerpiece. White roses overflowed from old glass fly catchers. Again, it’s in those simple, rusted, faded, almost mundane things that I forced my guest to look at things in a new light.
Posted by Chris Brown at 12:53 PM
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
While I was thinking about what I would write in this post, I started thinking of all the emails I get asking questions about the same three things: my odd collections, my inspiration and my tattoos.
I’ve collected things my whole life. As a child I collected butterflies, plastic army men and art supplies. Today I seek out antique bug collections, cracked doll heads and vintage scissors. Some things never change. Why am I drawn to things like bent & rusted bird cages, worn out softballs & vintage dental samples? Maybe it’s their colors, their shapes or their textures? Or maybe it’s just their oddness? I never have been one to follow trends, see a room in a magazine and try to copy or see the world through rose-colored glasses…I prefer faded red. I like to take things people don’t see as beautiful and somehow make them beautiful. It’s in those simple, rusted, faded; almost mundane things that I force people to look at in a new light.
I’m not sure where my inspiration comes from for my design work. Whether it’s graphic design, home décor, photo styling or even fashion, I rely on a feeling. My collections speak to me and it’s in those vintage objects that I get a feeling for a project. Rust, dirt, scratches, dents and worn imperfections come alive in my work. When I began Urban Prairie over two years ago, I had no idea it would become this “cult” style thing. My Urban Prairie website began as a way for me to showcase my design work and hopefully inspire others. It seems I have struck a cord with the “new” generation of designers and collectors. Within the many emails I receive, one message rings forth – It seems I’ve made it acceptable to view things differently. Although it’s inspiring to me to know that I’ve been told that I have made it “cool” to collect and design with odd finds, I would never take the credit. I simply feel design should always have an element of surprise. Don’t just think outside the box, deconstruct the box and turn it into something new and different altogether.
Tattoos are another thing I’ve loved since I was a child. I remember studying my dad’s tattoos for hours. I pretended to tattoo them on with a color pencil. My youngest daughter does that to mine now. Again, like my collections, I think I’m drawn to their colors and shapes. Their meaning is personal, but their designs I want to make a statement...a statement about me.
The same goes for by work.
Posted by Chris Brown at 11:39 AM
Friday, October 5, 2007
Theresa and I share a great passion for vintage things. It was through that passion that we met. She has been a great supporter of Urban Prairie and myself. Thanks Theresa for inviting me to be a guest on your blog.
I've been designing my whole life. Whether it was graphic design, home decor, photo styling or fashion. When I began collecting vintage objects and incorporating them into my design work, things changed. I noticed that I wasn't drawn to the same kind of things that others saw as pretty. I think I've always seen things a little different. I like to take things people don't see as beautiful and somehow make them beautiful. I find inspiration everywhere, in everyday things. It's in those simple, rusted, faded; almost mundane things that I try and force people to look at in a new light.
I live in the heart of Texas with my loving wife and our two beautiful daughters. For the most part, I never find it necessary to leave the Lone Star state when in search of great treasures and oddities. Why would I when Texas offers probably the best Antique Shows twice a year? One of the greatest things Theresa and I have in common is our pure love, almost obsession, with the Round Top/Warrenton Antique Show. Theresa sells her vintage wares and finds there to collectors that come from all over the U.S. and Europe. It's there that I go to recharge my creative battery, visit old friends and add to my collection of oddities.
One of my collections I've seem to become most known for is my cracked doll heads. There is something strangely beautiful within those faded, worn faces that I love. I have put that collection together in a soon to be released book called "Crack Heads". It showcases the collection in a way, which again, forces people to see beauty in vintage, sometimes odd objects.
Posted by Chris Brown at 11:00 AM
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Ok, I want you to stop whatever you are doing, right now and go see "Urban Prairie". There isn't any point in me raving hysterically about how utterly wonderful it is. I want you to see for yourself...
Any site with the byline "This Is Not Your Aunt Mary's Country" does it for me. So go now: find your way to the Style section and meet the man himself, Chris Brown and then swoon at the sheer scrumptiousness of the rest of the site...
Go on! Now!
Posted by Chris Brown at 4:16 PM
Blogs are just about the closest thing we get online to a conversation with those we have yet to meet, so I'm just plain old thrilled to tell you that Chris Brown of Urban Prairie has gone and got himself a blog. Let's face it there is stuff we need to know about this enigma of a man...
Oh and Chris? Though it makes me blush to say so, you are right: I am a true fan.
P.S: Go check out his style tips too, then get out and start hunting down those glass bottle tops and vintage canteens...
Posted by Chris Brown at 4:08 PM
Chris Brown has done it again. Go see his newly designed & "REFUELED" website urbanprairie.net. Order the 2007 calender. Absorb his utter style and download the wallpaper...The man is the nearest thing we've got to a BrocanteHome God, with more taste in his little finger than most men could conjure up for a big clock.
This, my darlings, is a bona fide , countrified, hellified crush.
Posted by Chris Brown at 4:05 PM
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Chris Brown is the genius behind Urban Prairie. A man with a finely tuned eye for the found and forlorn, Chris' edgy out of the box country style is inspiring the next generation of "found" collectors. Probably the funkiest looking site I've seen in ages. Chris says, “I’ve found that the people that are drawn to my style, my design sense are more than just collectors. They are people who want to live a simple life with things they love around them - in an interesting way.”
Posted by Chris Brown at 5:59 PM
Okay, so I'm not really sure who Chris Brown is other than it says he's a designer/stylist/collector. Something about the next generation of country design. Whatever, his Urban Prairie web site is beautifully designed. This page took my breath away. I love the typography, layered illustrations and the gritty handmade feel. Very cool.
Posted by Chris Brown at 5:49 PM
If there are any of you out there who also love doll heads you may want to check out this link. This site has the most awesome vintage doll head wallpaper for your desktop. It's the image on my laptop and desktop computer. Makes me happy every time I look at it. If doll heads aren't your thing, this website still has some great inspiration and is definitely worth a look. Urban Prairie is a site that all lovers of country antiques should visit. Note: This is not your grandmother's country. Chris Brown is a designer/stylist and founder of Urban Prairie and he has an incredible eye. His refreshing and modern interpretations of country style are not to be missed. Definitely worth getting a cuppa java or tea and clicking through his whole site.
Posted by Chris Brown at 5:41 PM
At first glance the tattooed, rebel hillybilly badboy image might throw you. That side of the country designer, stylist, collector and creator of the wildly hip site URBAN PRAIRIE does exit, but just begin talking to Chris and you'll find passion and a immediate soft side. Although his motto, THIS IS NOT YOUR AUNT MARY'S COUNTRY best describes his edgy, outside the box style, Brown envisions and creates designs, displays and vignettes with not only odd, rusted, cracked and faded items but with plenty of white roses, vintage lace and time loved photos. His Urban Prairie site has become a cult favorite with the "new generation" of designers and collectors. Chris's first book, "Crack Heads" is due out soon. The book features Chris's collection of cracked, faded and wore vintage doll heads and how they can be used in everyday displays - Just another way of symbolizing Chris's rebellion against the cookie-cutter aesthetic.
Quote from Chris: "I like to take things people don't see as beautiful, and somehow make them beautiful."
Quote from David Butler; contributing editor/Country Living magazine:
"Urban Prairie is an aesthetic and an attitude that embodies all that is cool about American country design. It encapsulates the keenest sensibilities of a uniquely middle-American vibe. In the same way that graphic, home decor and fashion "scenes" on the coasts have a certain character, Chris Brown captures the pure, fresh, raw energy of the heartlands. It's rockabilly for your eyes!"
Posted by Chris Brown at 5:33 PM