Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fashion-inspired artwork

Now that I'm starting to pack up my Pennsylvania apartment, I'm starting to notice things I've taken for granted these last few years- mostly because I need to decide whether it is worth packing it and driving it more than 400 miles away. Every apartment I've lived in has been decorated differently, with only a handful of interior design ideas traveling from one to the next. You know how you hang up artwork when you move somewhere new, but then if you don't redecorate for a while, you sort of stop noticing what's hanging on your walls? I'm like that to an extent. I may be very interested in designing clothes, but interior design has never been my forte. Every now and then, I'll have an idea for exactly what I want for a specific space, but mostly my interior design esthetic is pretty random. For example, here's the artwork hanging in my downstairs bathroom:

"They're Everywhere" by Phill Singer

I saw this print at the Mount Gretna Art Show a couple of summers ago and it made me laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. I still smile and giggle a little every time I see it. I just found it to be so hilarious that I couldn't resist buying the print. It will definitely make the trip back to New Hampshire with me. Another bit of decoration that will come home with me is one that made the trip down here nearly four years ago:

This clock and the frame I've placed around it started off as a joke. In New Hampshire I had an apartment in an old Victorian building. The rooms were huge with wide, open walls and tall ceilings. I loved that apartment and hope to someday live somewhere that I love as much as that place. Anyway, since the architecture was so distinctive, I tried to decorate with pieces that suited it. I remember going to an art show and purchasing a HUGE oil painting. I had it framed right there and then took it home to hang it. I planned to hang it in my living room in the center of a large wall above my piano. Unfortunately, when I got home, I noticed for the first time that the thermostat was in the exact place I wanted to hang the painting. It was an old-fashioned thermostat and unfortunately it was still the functioning thermostat for my apartment, so putting the painting over it was not an option. Instead, I would have to hang the painting off center. By itself, that just looked weird- like a mistake. I decided I needed more art on the wall to help balance the painting. Since I couldn't afford to go out and buy a whole bunch of artwork, I improvised. I bought empty frames at a discount second-hand store and painted them dark like the frame around my oil painting. I placed one frame around the thermostat and another frame around my clock. It was actually the coolest cluster of "art" I've ever put together and everyone who came over to my place commented on how creative it was. My PA apartment doesn't have wall space to support the oil painting, so it's been living in the basement for the last few years. The framed thermostat obviously stayed in New Hampshire, but the framed clock has stayed with me- first in my bedroom, then down to the living room. It was absolutely be coming back to New Hampshire with me. I can only hope that someday in the future I'll live in an apartment or house with a thermostat worthy of a frame. Another piece of art that started in New Hampshire and traveled with me to PA is this lovely and interesting print:

"Rapunzel," by Kate Harper

My friend Kate is an amazing illustrator, painter, photographer, singer... the list of her talents goes on and on. Years ago, I saw this print on her website and immediately fell in love. Kate, being the sweetheart that she is, made the custom mat and had it framed for me. It's a piece I cherish not only because I love the art itself, but because it comes from such a great friend. Of course it traveled to PA with me where it spent a year in my office at AMT, and then I brought it home to hang in my living room. It actually fell down while hanging in my office and the frame and glass broke. I had to have it re-framed and that's when I decided to bring it home rather than use it as office decor. It's another piece of art that makes me smile every time I see it.

The rest of the "special" artwork in my home right now is the art that I "designed" myself. I use the term "designed" loosey. First up, my bedroom:

For years and years my favorite author was John Irving. He's still one of my favorites, although my tastes have broadened. One of his novels, "A Widow for One Year," is about a children's author. The character wrote a book called "A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound" and Irving actually had it illustrated and published a few years after the novel was published. My amazing friend Beth gave me a copy of the book as a gift several years ago. I made color photocopies of some of my favorite illustrations in the book, then painted the frames white and hung them all together in this cluster. Sounds a bit convoluted, but ultimately it's several of my favorite things represented in a lovely visual presentation. I also love how the colors in the prints complement the Tiffany blue paint of my bedroom walls.

The last piece of artwork that will travel back to New Hampshire with me is the only one made entirely by me. I remember feeling particularly crafty one day after work. I went to AC Moore or Michael's- I don't remember which one- and bought some basic art supplies. A few hours later, I had this:

It's just a cheap student canvas that I've painted with craft paint to create the border and background. Then I used wrapping paper to create the image of the dress on the form. It's about a dozen pieces that I cut and folded and glued in place. I'm happy with it. It currently rests on top of my piano with some other fashion-inspired pieces:

I love the over-sized scissors and the wire dress form. This whole "set" will definitely be traveling back to New Hampshire with me next month. The quilt in the picture is actually a wall-hanging that my mother made for me. I guess we know where I get my sewing skills! If you look closely, you can see the perfectly quilted stitches- she does it all by hand. I'm continually amazed by the quilts my mom creates. Hopefully someday my sewing skills will be as strong as hers.

I hope you've enjoyed this little window into my taste in art. What kind of artwork do you like? Do you buy art because it matches the design of a room? Or because you love the piece itself? Leave a comment and tell me all about it.

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