I often run into the problem of interior designers and home owners thinking that abstract art can’t work anywhere except a space age “stainless-steel-and-glass” condo. This is frustrating because I know from experience that traditional and classical decors can be the most stunning settings for abstract art. It is simply a matter of pairing the two properly.
Modern abstract art has a reputation for being off-putting and visually “harsh”—jagged shapes, hard lines, violent colors—and it’s not difficult to see why people would have trouble putting it on the wall in their cozy den. It is simpler to grab a safe (but dull) painting of a lighthouse or a flower or a snowy cottage. Sure, they’re a dime a dozen, but they’re not some piece of abstract artwork that leaves you going “I don’t get it…”
If you are able to forget preconceptions about what abstract art is “supposed” to be, you will see that there are artists like myself who have a unique style that can be softer and more natural that suits traditional settings. If the issue is simply that you don’t think bright colors work next to wooden furniture and a softer color palette, then you need to see pieces with natural, warm color palettes like Triptych in Brown or Autumn Musings. These pieces look beautiful in traditional homes, and in fact that is what they were created for (learn how I create custom abstract art.)
That isn’t to say you can’t do something exciting with abstract art in a traditional setting. I challenge you to get rid of your fixed ideas about what art can work in a space, and I have a story that might help. The Designer Showhouse of Sarasota is an annual event held to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs where interior designers from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) are given rooms in a large home to design and decorate. Several designers working on the 2009 showhouse collaborated with me to created art for their rooms.
What surprised (and impressed) me most was the plan an ASID designer came up with for using my art in a way I’d never thought of. They were charged with decorating the fireplace and their idea was to take one of my pieces and turn it into the “fire.” This involved drastically resizing “Four Tori” down to 8″ by 48″ and altering the color then printing it on archival paper and mounting it on a piece of plywood. Then this was inlaid into the wooden mantle place.
I have to admit that at first even I was skeptical but as I worked on it with the interior designer and finally saw it in the finished room I knew it was a perfect match. The life and energy in the artwork creates a focal point and helps bring the room together. Take a look:
For more examples of abstract art being used to create “transitional” decors (transitioning between classic and contemporary) check out what I wrote up on Menaul News.