Floors are often given too little consideration when you think of the visual impact they hold. Painted floors can play on enhancing wood colors with designs and patterns or they can become the canvas for paintings of any style. Below is a faux marquetry painted floor based on a Russian design for Kips Bay Showhouse many years ago.
From the simple elegance of nature to the opulence of a banquet hall, a mural's purpose is to immerse the viewer in the beauty of their surroundings, whether succinct or complex. Rooms are transposed as a stage for our lives and sets a creative energy around possiblity. From cave paintings to site specific art, historically murals are the original art installation.In small or large doses, belief in surrounding yourself with a creative thought or vision. Requires belief and commitment to the power of creativity.
The creative process; condensed.
In the beginning there was a client longing to look at leafy trees with a modern twist. Wallpaper, however, wasn't an option, thanks to an unusually high chair rail and some awkward window cutouts. In the end, we decided on dark trees painted on a warm white background spanning two 5' x 18' canvases which would later be cut to the room's measurements. Below is the partially finished canvas in my studio.
The trees are rendered in a charcoal grey to match the counter tops in a kitchen overlooking the dining room. The height restrictions inspired me to feature fewer individual trees, and to approach each one as a portrait, celebrating each particular, gnarled personality. Before-and-after pictures fascinate me so here are a few different views of the dining room during the installation of the painted canvases.
Light switch panels are painted to blend seamlessly into the background...and please forgive the (temporary) white switches shown above. Those will be replaced with charcoal gray, I promise.
As the doors swing open on this jewel-like dining room, guests join a raucous affair of 16th c. party-goers, a decadent display of celebratory abundance.
These are all detail shots of my mural which is based on "The Banquet of Herod" by Bartholomaus Strobel at the Prado in Madrid. My client Juan Pablo Molyneux commissioned this all-encompassing mural for a 5th Ave. apartment and deservingly, his severed head replaces John the Baptist's on the golden platter carried by Solome.
For centuries artists have enhanced the rooms in which we live, dine and come together, accentuating the feeling of giving in to the indulgence of the senses. An oil painting has a very tactile quality, a human touch that not only mirrors the preparation of a meal but also the human quest for beauty and multi-sensual experiences. Murals can transport us to another place and time as few other decorations can. Here, in the dining room of a friend's Central Park West apartment, that tradition is writ large...giving new meaning to the phrase 'when your eyes are bigger than your stomach'.
This bathroom was conceived by Priscilla Ullman of Scott-Ullmann, Inc. for a 5th Avenue client and prankster, affectionately referred to as "T- Rex" by his son. They wanted to subtly surprise guest upon entering the powder room so they commissioned a mural of a snarling dinosaur. Once the door closes a huge roar fills the tiny room. Grey-greens throughout emphasize the fleshy, gaping jaws. Just a little something to make everyone feel at home.
Maps are a legacy of a place, a time, and often memories. The Hall of Maps in the Vatican captured my imagination and set in motion a craving to paint familiar terra firma but with the magical details of an earlier style. Whether a single painting or a room-full, maps are a personal history to pass on, a record of past places in present times. The dining room above is encircled by maps of Manhattan, Long Island, Shelter Island, and the United Kingdom, all places this family lived and loved.
These paintings were created for a designer's room at the Kips Bay Showhouse and they include his beloved pups, his amusement with monkeys and a mini portrait. My first encounter with grotesque paintings was at the Vatican Museum where they cover the walls and offer some very amusing combinations. I used this vehicle for creating something personal, vertical (because that was what was needed for the space) and whimsical without being cute. In the process of painting, I fell in love with the possibilities and lyrical beauty of morphing images. Pets, children, school mascots, coat of arms, trophies, wine bottles; many things can be incorporated into these paintings. They can be colorful, small or large, classical or modern; anything is possible. It's really up to my client and our joint imaginations.