Street Smarts

Swoon is taking her populist graffiti from derelict buildings to museum walls.

The street artist Swoon stands in her apartment-cum-studio, barefoot amid shavings from the sheets of linoleum she has been intricately carving. She lays the linoleum on the floor, inks it with a roller, covers it with paper, and then, as if stomping grapes, dances atop it, transferring the image onto large sheets of recycled paper.Swoon pastes her finished pieces-emotionally expressive faces atop bodies that morph into images of tenements, teeming streets, and toiling workmen-onto the walls of cities around the world, always positioned with their feet at street level. "I want the figures to have the same physical presence as a human being," she says. "I want you to be able to stand in front of it and relate to it." Street-art appreciators and pedestrians alike have done more than just relate to her work-the panoply of life-sized figures has made Swoon a legend in the streets of New York and as far afield as Berlin, London, and Mexico City.
I don't buy that some absentee landlord neglecting the side of his factory is better than citizens participating in what happens to it.
Before graffiti crossed her mind, Swoon, 29, was studying fine arts at New York's Pratt Institute. But after being gripped by a "stifling feeling of being trapped," she left the atelier for the streets, where she's been "getting up" ever since. After years of toiling as a waitress by day, artist by night, praise by street-art aficionados led to critical acclaim: The Museum of Modern Art recently purchased six of her pieces. Even so, she still hits the streets each month so that you don't have to drop $20 at MoMA to see her art. "It remains important to me to make work that has an outlet and participates in other people's daily lives," she says. "I find that people respond to things differently when they know that it's free and temporary and when you're bringing something to people in unexpected places."

Those unexpected places, which she terms "third spaces," are where public and private converge: half-forgotten alleys, the walls of dilapidated warehouses, and derelict buildings adorned with billboards. "Once you start selling off that space," she observes, "you're declaring it open for communication." And she eschews the idea that neglect is better than defacement: "I don't buy that some absentee landlord neglecting the side of his factory is better than citizens participating in what happens to it."Her portraits of Havana street kids, New York construction workers, or the soccer-ball-sewing women of Oaxaca, Mexico, are embraced by neighborhoods under assault from billboards run wild. "What if I can make something twice as powerful, so much tinier, and right at the ground where everyone is?" she asks. "What if I made something with my hands that became more important to people's experience of the city?" She has done just that. And so, though it would be easy to wash away the paper of Swoon's street folk, most of them remain, slowly becoming a part of the city itself.
via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

Keep Reading Show less

Offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, removing the unfair "motherhood penalty" women receive for taking time off after giving birth. However, a new study finds that parental leave also has a pay gap. Men are less likely to take time off, however, when they do, they're more likely to get paid for it.

A survey of 2,966 men and women conducted by New America found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. Over half (52%) of fathers had fully paid parental leave, and 14% of fathers had partially paid parental leave. In comparison, 33% of mothers had fully paid parental leave and 19% had partially paid parental leave.

Keep Reading Show less

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger


Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head


Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor


Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet