Saturday, October 13, 2012

Complexity vs. Simplicity: How You Decorate with Art

"Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous."
Leonardo da Vinci 


When I was 11 years old, my friends and I often wore loudly-designed pants and a really loud shirt as a key point of kid-fashion. It was crazy how
that was acceptable.

The best example today that I can point to would be the stuff worn by golfers, I suppose. They can get away with anything, and it's the one place in the world where a man can go and do this sort of thing without too much ridicule.

Today, it is not acceptable for guys to wear loud pants and non-matching loud shirts out in public. When was that really ok? What were my parents thinking to let me go out into the world like that? We thought we were stylin', yet I would never go back to those styles and the clash they created today. No way.

My point is simply that clothing styles can be similar to how an interior is put together. It is a matter of taste that guides us in decisions of how an interior should look. I have an opinion about it, and the short answer is ... it depends!

Complex or Simple?

Clashy might work for some situations ... the gaudier the better, to suit some peoples' tastes. Throw in stripes, patterns, textures ... the artwork that fits in this world should match the energy that the rest of the room is putting out there.

I could go on and on about my impression of how to choose art that meets your needs in a certain space, be it simple or complex, but really, it comes down to this:

* Do you like it?
* Does your art choice "work" in the space?
If the answers are yes and yes, good for you!

I often recommend opposites for the art that I create and am asked the question of which matches what.

Here's an example of how to approach this challenge:

Art is a key focal point in any space. It fascinates me to see some folks who have poured their heart, soul, and resources into creating an office or a home and then have no particular direction into the art they want to be hang in that spot to become that focal point. 

Recently I had the privilege of working with a client who knew exactly what was desired to go into a vaulted receiving room in a beautiful home. They had great experiences in a part of europe that they wanted to bring into that space ... a large piece ... and they knew they loved the fields, the colors, the flowers, the trees ... everything that made up the tapestry of their experience in that place. 

In this case, it was much easier to help satisfy the needs of storytelling that the painting could do for them while fitting that story into a key space in their home. The space where the work is to be placed can be regarded as being simple in design, although ornate at the same time. There is subtlety in the woodwork, the walls, the flooring, the furniture ... all lending itself to be contrasted with complexity in the painting. The painting will carry the elements in the room with the edges, the floral motif, the iron work ... all those things come together to support the art that has more angles and shapes going on. In that space ... complexity works!

When you draw in the surrounding space, everything works in concert so the final look is a polished, completed space. A similar thing happens within the painting itself. In a landscape painting, there will be light in the atmosphere that affects the whole scene. Is the sky a sunset? Then there will be a warm, reddish and rose and yellowy atmosphere all around. You bring the color down into the rest of the piece. You recognize right away when this isn't done, although you may not be able to articulate it. You just know it's needing something to unify the work. 

The intelligent placement of the right artwork in a space elevates the experience of that space. It gives value and weight to the entire place including your choice of acquiring the right table, the right love seat, the armoire, the tapestries, etc. So much effort and resources put into getting that space together, and the right paintings to bring it all together.

No wonder good art can command a price when you understand the value it delivers.


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