The Art of Home

The Art of Home: Vignettes I

Home is where the heart is…and home is where the art is, too.  For so many of us, they way we arrange our “stuff”, has as much to do with our heart and soul, our needs, and desires, and the core of our personality, as do our color loves and hates, what we choose and don’t choose to wear, how we eat,  and the company we keep.

What do we keep out, and around, and why do we do so?  Well, maybe the why doesn’t matter as much as the rush of love, appreciation, gratification or comfort that we feel when we see our “stuff” arranged in “vignettes” or groupings,  that may or may not communicate to other people.  What matters is how these compositions of objects resonate with us, what scenes they set, and the meaning that a particular grouping of collected objects has for us.  Vignettes are creations.

Sometimes the actual objects we choose to arrange in a particular way hold a conscious meaning for us…other times, we may not know why we are drawn to something, and why it seems to go with, to fit with, even to seem to need to be with, something else.

But this is part of the mystery, part of the fun.  New connections may be made between objects, and within ourselves, and old ones reinforced or recreated, through our following a seeming whim.

Sometimes we place together objects that have been given to us, or created for us by loved ones, or those we once knew and loved, and these placements can create a presence in our homes, place of business, or creative spaces, that stirs memories, offers reassurance,  or honors the past or present.

Objects speak, and their juxtaposition may inspire, encourage, calm, or just  seem (IE- feel) “right”.  The artist Richard Diebenkorn said, “Now, the idea is to get everything right-it’s not just color or form or space or line-it’s everything all at once.”  The amazing exhibition of his stunning Ocean Park Series, at the Orange County Museum of Art  (through May 27, 2012), is a testament to this quest.

The visual elements of form, color, texture, pattern, imagery, shape and space, of course, play into how we are moved, and  compelled  to put things together.  The combination of these elements can animate a space, and thus ourselves,  as we look at and live in it.  As we are in it.  Thus affecting the way we are.

When I placed the bird in a position where it looked like it was about to drink from the plate, something clicked.  I knew the vignette, the arrangement, the visual story, was, well, right.  I hope it looks and feels that way to other people, but the feeling of rightness, that “click”, was so strong that other people’s opinions (save that of  my beloved husband and sharer of our space) just really don’t matter!  The vignette is right for us, in the space we call home.

What vignettes have you created that click for you in your home, office, studio, or other environment?

if you feel so inclined, please share about them with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all trying to get things “right” in this thing called Life, together.

Brand New

Brand New

What is a “brand“?  I added a link to the term, because I think Wikipedia describes the concept better than I can, at least at this stage.  One of the salient words used in the definition is “identity”.  Specifically: “A brand is the identity of a specific product,  service,  or business.” My colleague  Elka Eastly Veratransformative coach and brand consultant, defines it such: “A brand is like soul DNA. It’s what people recognize you for. It’s where the “you of you” meets the world. It’s the essence of your business. “

If we look at the idea of a “brand” this way, then it could even be used to describe how we present ourselves in the world.  But that is a subject for another post….

The visual elements of color and design, pattern and image, texture, shape and composition can all be brought to bear upon  the process of developing and communicating a brand identity.  Graphic designers, like the talented Dianna Jacobsen, of Jacobsen Design, do this all the time.

As an artist, muralist, decorative painter, and colorist (not mutually exclusive terms by any means), I am always intrigued with how this works, and fascinated to participate.  We may tend to think of “brands” as purely commercial (cereal, dog food and shoes come to mind), but devoted non-profits and noble institutions also have theirs, and in my experience, a similar approach is taken to communicate them.

Let’s look at a number of  businesses and organizations who employed the painter’s brush as a tool for communicating their message, how color plays a starring role in their brand identity, and why.

When  Benihana Restaurant in Cupertino, Ca. underwent extensive remodeling,  a mural consisting of a branded graphical design was specified to be painted on the “corrugated” concrete surface approximately 10 to 80′ in the air.  Benjamin Moore Creative Paint in San Francisco matched the colors of the restaurant’s branded interior wall covering in  paint. Master color mixer and matcher Norman Chinn chose Ben Moore Aura exterior paint colors by eye. He was so precise that without knowing it, he chose the very strawberry red used as a stock color in the Benihana Restaurant brand, which is heavy on warm reds, punctuated by creams, darker reds, and red-blacks. Red tends to be associated with heat fire and blood…can we read, appetite?

Red is used in a different way in the new  Dress for Success San Francisco headquarters, designed by local architectural firm, Martinkovic Milford Architects.  Dress for Success provides business attire and training for women, and key to the design is the theme of butterflies, expressing the idea of transformation. Tone on tone reds provide warmth, accent, and a sense of womb-like support for the women getting ready to launch out into the business world.  Red’s association with life and love doesn’t hurt either.

  Blush Organic Frozen Yogurt venue in San Francisco’s South of Market District is painted is apple green and crisp white, communicating a sense of freshness appropriate to a dairy-orientated ‘snackery”.  However, this hue of green also provides other tasty associations:  the sharp and pungent flavors of limes and sour apples, as well as the sweetness of kiwis and honeydew melons.  All cool and refreshing, and fruity ingredients that could be used in their delicious yogurt!

Although also used to evoke connotations of the natural world, the greens in the  mural below, designed and executed for San Francisco’s Planning for Elders in the Central City organization serve quite a different function. “PECC”, which works to “improve the quality of life of seniors, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers in San Francisco and beyond….”  wanted to use the tree as a central image to express life, giving, renewal, community and support.  Associations with the Tree of Life, and the Giving Tree are amplified by using the color of leaves, which also represents life.  Green is also one of the colors associated with the heart chakra, standing for love, sympathy, and harmony.

Embarking on this post, I see how rich, expansive, and complex the subject of visual branding and the way artists can support it,  is.  A sister post may be in order to further elaborate on the subject. 

When we think about how everything we see, indeed everything we experience through any of our senses, communicates something, carries and provides associations, and potentially stirs our emotions, it boggles the mind, (no pun intended.)  We see, and experience first-hand just how powerful the element of color is, and how many different ways it can be used. 

We can perhaps understand in a new way, the expression, “…coloring perception…”

What experiences have You had with color branding?  Have you used color as part of a brand consultation? Color consulted with businesses, organizations, or even individuals on the how of hue  for their “soul DNA“, as Elka Eastly Vera, would say?

If so, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all bounding and branding through this thing called Life, together.