Why Art and Design?

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Jean Metzinger. Table by a Window. 1917. Oil on canvas
Many Cubist painters were involved in the effort to create a new modern style.

Because it represents who I am as an artist:  my interests, what inspires me, and how I approach my work.  It describes a state where the  practical meets the poetic, and in interior design — as in life, in my opinion — there is no better place to be.

The idea of “art” usually summons themes of creative freedom:  boundless, spontaneous, emotional. Unbridled expression, however, can be overwhelming and ineffective. But tempered by the intellect — by  “design” —  art transforms the useful and practical into the beautiful and meaningful.

Conversely,  “design” alone can be quite uninspired — a “formula” of sorts, which at times seems ubiquitous;  as if everyone wants to live in the same boutique hotel suite or the White House. “Modern” and “timeless” do not have to mean “boring” and “repetitive.”  The degree and quality of artistry — of craft and creativity — that infuse design is what makes it effective, extraordinary,  and any number of adjectives that render it both unique and personal.

When art and design are successfully reconciled, the results appeal simultaneously to the mind and heart, a marvelous sensation, and one I’ve experienced a great deal in my life through my pursuit of these two disciplines, on two different levels.

As an artist and interior designer, who is also an art and design historian,  I am keenly aware of the profound impact that a lifetime of exposure to great works of fine art has had on my design work.  But equally influential have been the fruits of scholarship. An understanding and appreciation of the theories and forces behind not only the works of the most renowned artists and designers of modern times, but of all times, is what, I believe, imbues my work with the qualities of sincerity and legitimacy many seem to sense.

Of those who say you must choose one or the other — practice or scholarship (the material or the mental), I ask:  What was the foundation of the nineteenth-century Design Reform movement, which lead to the emergence of Modernism in the twentieth century? If you don’t know, and would like to find out, visit Tours and Lectures.