The Great Digital Indoors

Diana Steinsnyder is a textile designer and creative director based in Southern California. She has designed for a variety of fashion and beauty brands, and you can find her patterns on clothing and home goods from Speedo, RVCA, Roark, and Bonobos.

For her Zócalo Sketchbook, Steinsnyder presents a series of digital paintings of her favorite house plants. “During the early days of the pandemic when I often wasn’t venturing outside, I cultivated a deep connection with my plants,” she explains. “They functioned as an outlet to nature and caring for them became …

Joyfully Felt Florals | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Joyfully Felt Florals

Karla Field is an independent artist based in Pasadena, California. A graduate of Art Center College of Design, she has worked as a toy designer at Mattel, Hasbro, and Applause Gifts. Under …

Repainting History in Technicolor | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Repainting History in Technicolor

Esiri Erheriene-Essi’s 'Familiar Strangers' Finds New Recognition in Photographs of the Mid-Century African Diaspora

The earliest colored photographs were fragile black-and-white daguerreotypes, hand-painted with a watercolor technique. The task was laborious, not to mention risky, because the plates were so easily damaged. But the …

Why Oscar Wilde’s Life Was a Work of Art

More Than a Century After His Death, a Paris Exhibition Illuminates Both the Tawdry and the Transcendent

The French have always loved Oscar Wilde, just as he always loved them. Long before Britain sent him to jail for enjoying sex with other males in 1895, he …

How the Skull Is an Ally in Art

When the Ultimate Symbol of Death Serves as Muse, It Can Force Us to Confront Our Own Mortality

You walk through the darkness of the crypt, with choral music playing from hidden speakers. All around you, human bones are arranged in patterns, tiling the walls, divided by femurs, …

Interpreting the New History of the Old West

Don’t Shed a Tear That the 19th-Century Construct of the American West Is Riding off Into the Sunset

Not too long ago, historians of the American West joined their artistic brethren in celebrating what we now think of as the “Old West.” For historians and artists, the “winning …