All of us, no matter our aptitude for fine art, have experienced coloring with fat crayons, struggling to compose in two dimensions, staining in jammy blotches, carving in hatchet- patterned contours. At what point did all this exploration become completely intimidating? As collectors, creators or devotees how do we return to the uninhibited joy found in artistic expression? In the Monadnock Region we are so fortunate to live amongst artists of all manners of expression style and medium. We can fill our spaces with community art, works of friends, professionals, children.
Interior Design is Art
In its composition of colors, textures, surfaces, shapes, and patterns we are creating a three dimensional canvas into which we step to live. Seemingly unintentional decisions tell our story- are we dark tones, open spaces, clutter, books, family photos, cultural iconography, all new and shiny, all old and burnished? Of these decisions, the most personal of commitments is the art we choose. Somewhere along the spectrum of crafts to fine art we all find ourselves. Within each of our hearts is a desire to connect with the person, the story, the style of expression described in something made by another person. Living with art should be as natural as breath. It should be as inconstant as the wind, as lively as our dreams. All good so far... but, there must be rules involved you ask curiously, weather patterns across this vast landscape. The essential few mandates in my experience are best informed by the well known motivational phrase “Just Do It”! And in that spirit, let's dispense with the no-nos and reference the yes-yeses.
Something has caught your eye, intrigued you, beckoned you to learn more visually. What was the nature of your capture- scholarly, emotional, aesthetic, architectonic? Exploring that connection is the beginning of life with art and beginning implies that this will become an adventure, a constant shifting, repurposing and rethinking of the world of art around you. In this sense, your arts intelligence is sharpening, growing, changing as you move through your unique life experiences. Space for growth and self-expression is such a broad stroke. It could mean simply moving paintings around, moving into three dimensional pieces, repurposing or reconsigning.
Art represents a connection to the creator of the work and often this can be provocative. Political messages abound as do sexual and psychological studies, some of which are graphic and disturbing. A powerful tool, art can evoke an emotional response in an instant. Living with fervent images can be connective and reaffirming however careful thought of their placement is crucial. Strong images require more physical space, less sensual distraction and should offer the feeling of a door opening to discussion. Large rooms and walls work well as do outdoor spaces. Thinking of the function of a space is also important. Bedrooms and dining rooms are spaces where a softer approach is more befitting.
Microscopic to larger than life, artistic works challenge us to look further. The relationship of the work to the size of the space is critical in how we perceive the image. Tight groupings of small to mid-sized paintings invite us to explore the group, thus creating a strong, collective configuration. One large image or object can transform a small or uninteresting space and playing with oversized objects in a space creates an immediate sense of refinement. Intricate works should be carefully shared so that they can be approached and even picked up if necessary. Framing is a dynamic tool, enhancing our attraction to two dimensional images despite their size. . A postage stamp sized image can become grand with an oversized frame and wide mat, deep frames that come off the wall really invite us to the center of an image, floating or frameless images seem to expand beyond the perimeter of the canvas. Mural art drawn or painted directly on a wall offers immediate understanding that can be bold and billboard like or subtle like a summer landscape. The scale of wall art conveys the feeling behind the message.
There is no medium more powerful than color in design and art. So often even designers fall into the trap of having art mingle too perfectly with the space. This works a little bit like camouflage, flattening surfaces, hiding contours. An artist friend of mine used to speak of tension in works of art which he described as a natural and needed element. Color can create this tension beautifully. If a space is all neutral and white it needs color so that it doesn't float away. Black is a grounding element in all spaces, one that should always be present. Bold contrasting colors in works of art can weave their way around a space like a spontaneous song. With important works of art the color palette informs every decision of the space, but again not literally, rather in further chromatic exploration.
The beauty of useful objects, every day or exalted, should not go unnoticed. I recently discovered walls of mounted antique tobacco baskets, elegant in their faded grey patina and wide open weaves. Ceramics have been used for centuries for pouring, milking, mixing, serving and cleaning, their shapes refined according to their function. There are exquisite objects created for visual enjoyment alone such as the beloved guinea hens I discovered years ago in the south of France. Eastern export porcelain as well as German and French porcelain is exquisitely refined in color and design. Imagine anything from a picnic basket to a cricket cage, a sock darning ball or woodworking tool. There is a beauty in the form that is art and can be displayed as such.
Considering all these suggestions, I think the most important idea is that this is your own creative journey. You become the artist as this unique interior space fills with your very personal art collection The invitation to open up a conversation, to explore the contours of a graceful object, to float in the hues of a brushed canvas, this invitation is written in your own hand.