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This is going to sound silly, but I’ve never hung anything on a wallpapered wall before. Considering the amount of wallpaper in my house, that eliminates a lot of possibilities when it comes to hanging art! I’m not usually so precious about stuff, but the thought of making a permanent hole in something that’s bonded to my walls fills me with panic. I got over myself this weekend, though, and I’m so glad. The dressing room looks so much more finished now!

The print that got me to finally pick up a hammer is Animal Sounds 002 by Matthew Korbel-Bowers. I recently did a styling project for Society6 (I think it’s going up on their site today–I’ll update this post when that happens), and this was one of the pieces I chose. I ordered it pre-framed (Vector White, 26×38″) since I didn’t have much time, and it looks great. I really love the design combined with the wallpaper pattern, and the way that bright green looks with my crazy orange bench.

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Long view! The dressing room is really narrow and difficult to photograph, but you get the idea. Oh, and the wallpaper (installed five years ago) is Berry Black from Ferm Living, the fluorescent orange Offcut bench is from Tom Dixon (discontinued, sadly, but you can still get the Offcut stool), and the rug is by Nate Berkus for Target (also discontinued, argh!).

I’m still feeling really hesitant to start hanging stuff all over my wallpapered walls, but this was a great baby step. Assuming I don’t hate it a year from now (I won’t), I’ll consider the hole worth it. Otherwise, I’ll take down the frame and point out the miniscule, barely-noticeable hole to every single guest who gets a house tour, because that’s just what I do.

OK, so maybe this is a little obsessive. Remember that perfect room in my post about the Jacobsen Mayor sofa? Well, I felt compelled to try to track down where every last thing in it comes from, from lamps to textiles to art. And I almost managed to do it! See, this is exactly why I have a blog.

This post is sponsored by the 20oz cup of coffee I had at 10PM last night.

Furnishings and décor first…

doorsixteen_mayorsofaroom_furnishings

1. Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair
2. Ferm Living Copper Cup
3. Kay Bojesen Dog
4. Le Klint 101C pendant lamp
5. Ferm Living Copper Tray (no longer available, alas)
6. Bestlite BL2 Table Lamp
7. Ferm Living Black Stripe Cushion
8. FujiFilm X100S Camera
9. &tradition Arne Jacobsen Mayor Sofa
10. UO Danish Modern Coffee Table (not exactly the same, but close…)
11. IKEA Söften Rug
12. Kähler Love Song Vases

So, it’s driving me CRAZY that I can’t figure out where that pillow with the moon and trees comes from. Does anyone know? Here’s a larger version of the photo. Same for the navy pillow with the tiny dots. And the candle holder. And if you want to get really crazy (I do…) the books on the table. I don’t want to tell you how long I spent trying to decipher what it says on the spine of the bottom book in the stack.

UPDATE: The mystery pillow is by Nord from Kaiku! Thank you, thank you, Camilla!! Yay.

And now on to the artwork…

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1. “Small Talk,” One Must Dash (also from Artsy Modern in the US)
2. “Elements of Birds I,” Mintstudio
3. “Punk,” Kristina Dam
4. “Lola,” Samantha Totty
5. “Wild Stripes,” RK Design
6. Various exhibition posters from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

Unfortunately, it looks like none of the Louisiana exhibition posters are available online, but it’s possible that they still have them for sale at the museum gift shop. I’d love to get my hands on that Walton Ford poster! His work is nuts. For the life of me, I cannot find that blue poster with the big black A on it. At first I thought it might’ve been cut off of the Artek logo, but the counter space is wrong. Any ideas?

UPDATE: The blue A poster is from Playtype. Thank you, Maaret!!

Even though I can’t have THE sofa, I am going to order a few of these prints! The Le Klint lamp is now also on my wishlist. (The only thing in the room I already own is that IKEA rug, which is sort of funny.)

The room of my desire was styled by Nicola Kragh Riis and photographed by Line Klein for ALT Interiør magazine. Nicola is obviously a genius! Here’s Line’s photo again in full, for reference:

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Photo by Line Klein (see more) for ALT Interiør // Styling by Nicola Kragh Riis

I have some real posts lined up (including some pictures of the apartment—finally!), but right now I just want to take a quick ART BREAK. Here’s a brief history of John Baldessari crammed into six minutes…and narrated by Tom Waits. PERFECT. Two of my most favorite guys. I love this.

Commissioned by LACMA for their first annual “Art + Film Gala” honoring John Baldessari and Clint Eastwood.

Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Edited by Max Joseph
Written by Gabriel Nussbaum
Cinematography by Magdalena Gorka & Henry Joost
Produced by Mandy Yaeger & Erin Wright

Thanks to Loren at Little Paper Planes for the find!

I just watched Chuck Close read a letter to his 14-year-old self. You should watch it too. Sorry about the ad at the beginning—the four minutes that follow are worth it, I promise. I’ll wait…

Good stuff, right?

Chuck Close was the commencement speaker at my graduation from art school. He’d just had a huge retrospective at MoMA earlier that year, and it was very exciting to have him there. Purchase College is divided up into several distinct small schools, each with its own admissions process, its own dean, and its own requirements. The graduation ceremony, however, is all-inclusive. The painters are sitting next to the biology majors are sitting next to the dancers are sitting next to the sociology people are sitting next to the filmmakers are sitting next to the designers.

But Chuck Close was really there to talk to us. The art students. This is part of what he said:

I’d like to say something to the parents of the art majors. This is probably not what you had in mind, you know? You hoped maybe—I don’t know, maybe medical school, maybe a degree in law, but I want to tell you that a life in art can be a wonderful life. Artists live better at near-poverty level income than yuppie bond traders do at much larger income.

Now, I’m sure there are plenty of yuppie bond traders out there who are plenty happy with their lives and I certainly don’t deride them for that, but you know…the world is quick to judge someone who makes their living as an artist. The arts are considered expendable and disposable, as if their place in culture and modern society is not one of actual value, but merely something decorative and extraneous. It’s nice to have something to hang above the sofa, sure, but not if it means I’m going to have to pay more taxes! So it’s good to hear something like that from a guy like Chuck Close when you’re about to embark on a career path that will likely always feel a bit tenuous.

(Of course, I was created and raised by two artists who already understood and were actively living this lesson, so I’m pretty sure they did have “this” in mind. Actually, what they had in mind was that their children would become whatever they wanted to. I’d like to think they’d still love me even if I’d become a yuppie bond trader.)

But back to that video! I’ve watched it a number of times now, and I keep dwelling on this:

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.

I’ve heard Chuck Close use that line before, but right now it speaks so directly to how I’ve been feeling about inspiration, appropriation, value, context, and work ethics. Far be it from me to claim to be free from inspiration, but I do think Close is right. If you imagine your creative work as a spectrum, you’d have the finding and saving of the work of others on one end, and “showing up and getting to work” on the other. Life doesn’t have to exist solely within the latter part of the spectrum, of course, but the more time we spend there (and, conversely, the less time we spend poring over “inspiration”), the more we likely we are to produce work that is truly the result of what we set out to do when we decided a life in the arts was what we wanted.

When someone asks me what I’m inspired by (easily my least favorite question), the first answer that always comes to me is EVERYTHING. Or if not every thing, then every possibility of a thing. I’m constantly looking at shapes and patterns and colors, whether in nature or in art or in the way my shoes happen to be sitting in front of the closet door. Every food wrapper is considered. Furniture. Bill envelopes. Music. EVERYTHING. It doesn’t have a start or end!

Because of this, inspirational stimulation can easily become overwhelming for me. I’ve never had an inspiration board/mood board/whatever board—I find them oppressive. Aside from the pressure of influence, I dislike the act of stripping context from another person’s work. And yes, I do do that here on this blog sometimes—but I cannot have it around me when I’m in “design mode.” I show up, and I get to work. OK, most of the time. Sometimes I’m an amateur.

So here are my lessons for artist/designer types, as inspired (oops) by Chuck Close:

Not every decision you make has to be crowdsourced beforehand. Trust your gut and keep it to yourself while you follow through.

It’s OK to strive to accomplish things that may never lead to financial reward. More than OK, actually.

Try to put a limit on the amount of time you spend searching for and cataloging images for the sake of inspiration. Think more about appreciating these things for what they are, and not just how you can apply them to your own work.

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.

And hey, maybe yuppie bond traders can apply these things to their work, too.

Thanks to Kelly at LPP for sharing the video.