Saturday, October 22, 2011

Remembering Fab by Jarrett Hedborg

I found a photo of this painting recently and was thinking how some dogs can remind you of a certain time in your life. This is Miriam's portrait of Jack Nicholson's dog Mr. Fabulous, or " Fab", as he was known to his close friends.
Two stories about Fab:
Jack shared a driveway with Marlon Brando so after entering the gate, it was left to Marlons' and right to Jacks'. At Jack's Fab was always there to greet you, this large black lab with soulful eyes. Marlon had two mean German Shepherds that lunged at you car. I think a man's dog says alot about him. I must admit Marlon was always nice to me, maybe not so much to others. One day while Jack was away I was at his house doing whatever was called for. I walked up the driveway to get the mail and Fab came along. Halfway down the driveway Fab started growling. I looked around and saw Marlon's two German Shepherds coming for me. Fab turned around, sat down on my feet and growled a growl that let the two Shepherds know what they were in for. Marlon's canine thugs stopped in their tracks, turned around and sulked away.
Second story:
Jack once set up a meeting with three people at the same time. On a cold morning there was me, Hal Ashby and, lets just say a talented prick in the entertainment industry. After Jack apologized for his over-scheduling, the talented prick demanded to be seen first as his time was quite valuable though history has shown that has not always been the case with him. Hal said, "Jarrett and I will be outside" as he escorted me and Fab out to Jack's cold windy deck. I wanted to go back and get my jacket but Hal said no, we were going to sit there and look at the view and ignore Jack and the prick. So there we sat , with Fab between us both of us hugging this large dog trying to keep warm. I finally said, "Hal I'm going to freeze out here", and Hal said, "No, If we laugh it will keep us warm", which made me laugh and which makes that cold day, sitting in the wind laughing with Hal Ashby and hugging Fab to stay warm...hard to forget
I suggested to Jack that Miriam should paint Fab's portrait which he thought was a good idea, and I asked him if there was anything Miriam should know about Fab? Jack said for her to seek Fab's essences, whatever that means. Miriam went to work and as we know she works slowly. By the time she was done with the portrait of Fab he had become ill and died, so when I took the portrait to Jack I was worried what Jack would think, had she caught the "essential Fab"? I brought the finished portrait up to Jack's one morning and put it in front of him as he was eating his breakfast, he looked at it, paused, and burst into tears...a boy and his dog. I noticed sometime later that he had put the portrait next to his bed which I found interesting as Miriam's portrait of my beloved dog hangs next to my bed. So Miriam's portrait of Fab hangs next to Jack's bed. In this jewel of a painting Fab's spirit lives on, watching, protecting his old friend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Jarrett Hedborg - Miriam Slater furniture designs

This website features the furniture designs of Jarrett Hedborg and has some custom designs that we on over the years. To see more visit

The gold leaf and lacquer Japanese style crow table seen here (the table was Jarrett's design) was commissioned by Jack Nicholson who liked it so much he ordered two tables more in varying sizes for his other homes.

Other collaborations include the above backgammon table (with faux malachite inlay and trompe l'oeil items from the owner's magic memorabilia collection). The bottom dresser was done in silver leaf with painted Japanese fans and was done for Hedborg's client Anjelica Huston in the 1980's.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lorser Feitelson inspired box

This lacquer letter box was inspired by a striking Lorser Feitelson “Magical Space Form” painting done in the early 1940’s. The color scheme is based on Feitelson’s use of a limited palette consisting mostly of reds and greens as can be seen in his magical space form painting on the bottom left. On the box, the focus is on a similar darker red and green palette, employing a variety of tints, hues and chroma. Although playing card designs are often seen in the lacquer boxes in this series, this is the only box done in this amorphic, surreal style.

In the 1980’s I also made a series of very small magical space form inspired paintings (such as the one at the bottom right which is 3.5 x 2". More of my surreal paintings can be seen at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Miriam Slater in Wikipedia

I am now in wikipedia:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Miriam Slater's studio in Apartment Therapy Magazine

My studio was included in this article in Apartment Therapy Magazine:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jarrett Hedborg / Miriam Slater collaborations

Jarrett Hedborg and I have worked together on a number of projects over the course of thirty years. We collaborated on murals, rooms and furniture designs. Jarrett Hedborg is a well known interior designer who has a large celebrity cliental including the likes of Jeff Bridges, Jack Nicholson, Michelle Phillips, Angelica Huston, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell. All the pieces shown here are represent some of the we did together over the years. The silver leaf Japanese style bureau with fans on it was commissioned by actress Angelica Huston for her bedroom and was featured in Architectural Digest. The small model of a cubist table (a study for a larger table) along with the lacquer coffee table with the crow designs were done for Jack Nicholson. The two chairs which are Hedborg designs, are covered with Slater's playing card motifs and are upholstered with luxurious hand dyed fabric by Fortuny from Italy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Erin Carmean's beautiful art

Erin Carmean (who is my daughter) makes these intricate felt tip pen drawings of flower/mandala like forms, that can be categorized in the "zen doodle" genre of contemporary art. She has been working in this style for about nineyears now, with the drawings evolving into more complex and elaborate pieces as time passes. The image with the circular red patterning is a detail of a larger piece and nicely shows the intricacy of her technique. The drawings are all done in felt tip pens, some of which are on metallic gold, copper and silver hues, which help give the drawings more radiance. The drawings effectively invoke the opulence that can be seen in the late 1800's artist Gustav Klimpt's patterning in his paintings.

Erin Carmean's website:

Monday, April 11, 2011

The wit and poetry in Japanese kanzashi

The Japanese over the centuries have distinguished themselves by their cultivation of humor, fine design and poetry within their art. In fact, these qualities are what originally attracted me to kanzashi. As an artist I found myself entranced by the variety of expression within these beautifully crafted pieces.

The poetic aspect of kanzashi can be seen the top silver hair ornament with the clamshell, which is traditionally can also suggest a woman. When opened up, inside the shell is a gold crab! It startles the viewer and the immediate instinct is to laugh with surprise. The second ornament of a similar theme features a clamshell and the knife used to pry open clams. It’s moveable parts open to reveal a pearl inside. Symbolic objects are frequently seen on kanzashi which enhance the expression and meaning of each piece. The tortoise comb with a fishing rod can be seen as a metaphor for the game of love. The image of a rod implies the hooking and the reeling in of one’s "catch". A fish is considered “yin” and suggests the feminine (also yin) while the male aspect (yang) is symbolized by the pole along with the action of catching the fish. The crow, a common bird that has a loud caw and bad manners, ends up as on a red lacquer hair comb as an elegant adornment for a woman of position and beauty. The juxtaposition of what is considered ugly played with utmost beauty becomes a poetic statement. So, to really enjoy Japanese kanzashi it is necessary to see them not only as finely crafted decorative objects, but also as art works which have more subtle meanings.

Miriam Slater art in Belly Dance Magazine 2009