1/6/15 houston show brewing & watch talk / by Philip Tarlow


following a conversation with ron, owner of gremillion & co. fine art in houston, where i've shown for over 20 years, a solo exhibition is being planned that will consist of work from my parade series. the dates will be decided next week, so stay tuned and i'll post them as soon as they're available.

parade 18  16x16" oil on portrait linen

one of the many reasons i'm excited about this show, as i said to ron this morning, is that i think the many strands of my work have come together in this series. it's like a perfect storm. i totally agree with him that the simpler ones, with less going on, are the most interesting. when i begin painting the larger versions, i'll keep this in mind. also, both he and mikela love parade 18, (image on right), which brings together my collage experiments with my realist images as seen from above.


for the past few years i've been feeding my passion for watches without spending too much by selling the ones that are not 10's on ebay and buying ones that are closer to what i really want. when i was a kid, my dad, a c.p.a., had as one of his clients the watch company croton. while today it's a forgotten brand, back then it was a big deal. so they gifted him one for me. what i most remember about that watch is that it glowed in the dark. that for me was beyond magical. i would lie in bed at night and, while listening to the unforgettable radio show host jean shepherd, i would gaze at the illumination of my croton.

so it's been a dream of mine to acquire a watch with really great lume. luminox is a watch company founded on the discovery, by one of the principals, of tritium as a source for far better lume than anything out there. from wikipedia:

Tritium illumination is the use of gaseous tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, to create visible light. Tritium emits electrons through beta decay, and, when they interact with a phosphor material, flourescent  light is created, a process called radiolumenescence.

this luminox space sxc gmt model was designed in collaboration with the space expedition corporation which soon will begin operating commercial space flights. the crews on these flights will be wearing one of the 3 watches in this series.

luminox watches are made in switzerland. this model and is extremely well designed: it's light on the wrist, not too big or small; water resistant to 200 m; has a slightly domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating; a beautiful, distinctive and very sturdy grey cordura strap with blue stitching; a gmt function, allowing you to view the time in a second time zone; and of course the night vision tritium tubes, which are guaranteed to keep emitting light for 25 years.

one of the more distinctive features of the A.5121.GN SXC PC steel gmt is the relationship of the strap and the watch case. the grey cordura strap has a curved end at the lugs, which snuggly hugs the case and makes for a seamless transition, as well has reducing the perceived height of the case. the designers of this model found a brilliant way of making a statement: “i am a watch designed to be worn in outer space,” while at the same time creating a unique elegance unlike anything out there. as a fine artist, i appreciate the effective use of color. the dominant grey is accented by touches of red, white and blue. perhaps a hint of pride in the american owned and run space exploration corporation that luminox has partnered with.

red: the gmt hand, the gmt lettering at 9 o’clock and the shield surrounding the luminox logo.

white: the hour & minute hands, the luminox logo and the date in the window at 3 o’clock.

blue: the stitching on the grey strap and the lining of the strap.

i used to be judgmental about watches that are quartz, rather than automatic, but now i see it as an advantage, especially when they have a 5 year battery life, as this one does. i already have far too many automatic models to wind every morning.

i'm not under the illusion that i'm a space voyager or will one day be a space voyager, or captain of a space ship or, god forbid, somehow more of a guy because i own or am wearing this watch. for me watches are about aesthetics, functionality and FUN!. 

sunset, january 5, 2015. shot from our living room, looking east towards crestone peak.