I have found myself immersed in art lately and, to be honest, there isn’t much I enjoy more. I don’t think it’s possible to have too much art in one’s life. I relish our large, diverse artist community here in the Lowcountry and I’m thankful for the enrichment it provides.
In the past few weeks I attended three different art gallery openings, viewed the new creatively animated art house film about Vincent van Gogh, dined with the Dean of Fine Arts at SCAD, and spent an evening with dear friends in their art-filled home. I find discovering new artists and learning more about established ones gives me pleasure and helps inspire my creative endeavors.
I also enjoy adding to my rather eclectic art collection as time and money (and display space) permit. Some works were done by my many talented friends in college, some works were purchased from fancy galleries. A few pieces were found at estate sales or online auctions. I have works created locally and pieces collected during travel. The paintings, prints, drawings, photography and sculpture in my mix all have one thing in common: they speak to me in some way.
Art should evoke feelings
I have always collected art that intrigued me. It could be the subject matter, the rendering style, the color palette, or even some aspect that is less easily classified but nonetheless provocative. Art should make you feel good, not necessarily match your sofa or drapery. That being said, when designing for clients, I love building a room around a treasured piece of art. Carefully done, the design scheme of a room can accent a painting just as the painting can complete the decor of a space.
Although I have never purchased art for the sole purpose of investment, I am always quite happy if a piece increases in value. It can be exciting to discover an emerging artist and watch their career take off. I have an unusual piece by then-graduate student Michael Scoggins purchased more than a decade ago at Open Studio at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His work is now included in the collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. I am thrilled to have discovered his unique and playful work years ago.
Choosing art shouldn’t be intimidating
I am always happy to be asked by clients for assistance with choosing art for their home. I have learned over the years that many folks are somewhat intimidated by the process. It shouldn’t be overwhelming at all. Collecting art for one’s own enjoyment should be fun and bring you pleasure while enhancing your decor at the same time. There is so much interesting, original art out there. Why would you want to decorate with generic, mass-produced stuff? Remember, that blank wall above your sofa is craving something unique and special.
Recently I was assisting clients in Colleton River with the finishing touches for their new home. We spent months selecting new furnishings and area rugs to complement the dynamic architectural detailing of the millwork, and were now adding the final layers of accessories. One space in particular that merited special attention was a solid wall in the dining room which can be seen from the foyer, study, and great room. We wanted something with a wow factor to add a little drama to the setting.
We found a pair of contemporary Lowcountry marsh landscapes by Mayte Parsons, a Spanish born artist whose work I have long admired. Her dazzling color palette is energizing and whimsical, and provides the perfect punch against the soft iridescent bronze grasscloth on the dining room walls. It evokes exactly the mood we were going for, a fresh twist on the traditional furnishings and a pop of unexpected color.
When it comes to art, don’t be shy. Go out there and explore and immerse yourself in something that makes you smile. Then buy it, bring it home, hang it on your wall, and enjoy it every day.
Gregory Vaughan is an interior designer with Kelley Designs. Contact him at 843-785-6911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.