Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Tweet Is it human nature to collect things? I think we’ve all done it. Sea Shells? Salt & Pepper Shakers? Christmas Ornaments? For guys, I suppose it’s Fishing Lures? Baseball Hats? Mine started with stuffed animals and Barbies of course. … Read More

[gallery columns="4" orderby="title"] Is it human nature to collect things? I think we’ve all done it. Sea Shells? Salt & Pepper Shakers? Christmas Ornaments? For guys, I suppose it’s Fishing Lures? Baseball Hats? Mine started with stuffed animals and Barbies of course. Now it’s a little more sophisticated. I have a small collection of religious iconic art – the stuff you see in Santa Fe or at Tesoros here in Austin. In particular, I love retablos and crèches. I also love plates and serving utensils - and yes, Christmas ornaments. More on that another day… Today, I'm thinking about clocks.
I guess I started collecting clocks about 4 years ago when we bought this Modern Cuckoo, designed by Ingolf Haas and available at dwr.com. Only about 150 clock makers in the world make remarkable time pieces such as this (which is certified as an authentic Black Forest Clock). Namely, it must be purely mechanical (no batteries or electric cords), and entirely produced (even all interior parts) in the Black Forest, a wooded mountain range in southwestern Germany.
This next clock I found a few months ago at one of my favorite boutiques in Austin - PerriBerri - which is mostly a purveyor of gorgeous women's clothing (great brands such as red haute) and jewelry (designer chan luu is my favorite). QLOCKTWO, by Biegert & Funk, has received numerous design awards (reddot, iF, and interior innovation) and is manufactured in southern Germany, in a former jewellery factory in a town famous for its gold and silver jewellery.
Almost as soon as I found QLOCKTWO, we received the latest Design Within Reach catalog, and low and behold was another clock of my dreams - the George Nelson 1948 Ball Clock, conveniently reduced 15% as part of the semiannual sale! George Nelson often collaborated with other designers, and in the case of the Ball Clock, was at a dinner party with Isamu Noguchi, Irving Harper and Bucky Fuller. As the story goes, they were all sketching and "had a little bit too much to drink." In the morning, they saw a drawing of the Ball Clock on a roll of drafting paper and none of them truly knew who designed it! One of our artists - T. Graham - surely understands my obsession with clocks. Graham's work consists of an array of modern works of art, architectural abstracts and night time city views. A Measure in Thought I has a Synthetist aesthetic that reminds me a bit of Edvard Munch. If you didn't know T. Graham already, take a look at http://www.gallerydirect.com/art/artists/t-graham. You'll like him even better when you see the picture of him holding his sweet baby!
My kids seem surprised with this steady influx of clocks - why I don't know - as clocks epitomize the cool design objects that they know I love. (And they actually despise the cuckoo clock -- or at least  how noisy it is), so I'm sure they'll be dismayed with my next clock purchase. I don't know what that will be yet, but I do know that it will occur!
 
Remember how cool the cassette tape was? When they came on the scene, the eight track tape suddenly looked like car a battery. Cassettes were sleeker, but then the CD rolled out and that was all she wrote. Then the iPod emerged and everything changed again. No need for having a bunch of discs strewn about; now all your music could fit sleekly in the palm of your hand. Consider the old television with a picture tube. If you wanted a big screen, it was like having to deal with a parked car in your room. Thankfully, the slim HD flat panels killed their monstrous cousins. You may have heard color trends start in Europe and work their way over to the U.S.? Or that PANTONE sets the tone for the world’s color? Maybe quite a lot of what you’ve heard is true? Or maybe, it’s bunk? We’ll never tell. We’re sort of sworn to secrecy around here. In general, we can talk about home fashion trends. Consumer products and household items are influencing our home décor choices, even our fashion trends. Your wireless world, flat screen televisions, iPads, smart phones, Smart Cars (and the like) are having a profound effect on what makes us feel comfortable in our livable spaces. Things are becoming stripped down. Have you also noticed people are wearing less clothing? Big things are out. Minimalism is in. This is the chief influencing factor in home décor today, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. Our number one selling item at Gallery Direct is canvas wall art without a frame, called gallery wraps. Folks went out, bought a sleek home theater system, kicked their desk top computer to the curb, and said, “Whoops, all my traditional framed wall art looks like a VCR!” We created our acrylic art line to complement our canvas art collection. It’s a completely innovative way to view art. Maybe canvas artwork isn’t your thing, but you still want a modern look for your walls. Art on acrylic is your solution to display images that fit into your high-tech universe. Every single one of our 12-million images is available on acrylic: sleek, refined, luminescent. If you’re one of those people who buy the latest and greatest as soon as it drops, here’s your chance to be first on your block!

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art!

Tweet So you know I work for a cool art company in Austin TX – Right? One of the many perks is that I get to select the furnishings and decor for my office. We just did a major expansion … Read More

So you know I work for a cool art company in Austin TX – Right? One of the many perks is that I get to select the furnishings and decor for my office. We just did a major expansion and remodel, for which we ordered lots of new furniture (from Amanda Saylor – furnitureforbusiness.com – awesome designer and stellar company BTW) – so I already have a functional and attractive desk, credenza, and locker! It’s Miro by Watson Desking. I consider it Danish modern – which I don't always love – but works perfectly as minimalist office furniture. The task chair – Hon Nucleusis – is sooo comfy, and the leather guest chairs – Cyclus by Harter – are soft as butter (although someone has already gotten blue pen on one – Grrr!). I’ve also found a complementary console – BDI’s Cascadia – in white – from collectichome.com. And you know what? My work environment makes me happy – day after day. Incredible work environments are critical to employee satisfaction – which in turn promotes brand satisfaction. See my March 2012 blog on how Satisfied Employees Become Your Brand Champions. (http://bit.ly/Q6iblT). Brad Wells, Principal of Furniture for Business gets it. He told me that when you spend upwards of 8 to 12 hours a day in an office, you want it to be inspiring. "We help the customer create a culture that fosters growth, creativity and morale and even helps a company be more profitable when the employees love their workspace. It’s about attracting and retaining top talent in Austin!" Our CEO – Joe Garcia – totally gets it and is all about creating such an environment for his people. Recently, he took several of us over to the offices of All Web Leads, another cool Austin company. Designed by Gensler, they were amazing. My favorite part? Their kitchen featured two fully stocked beverage fridges! I love my office, but guess what I love the most? The art of course! What do you think of the little pug? Is he not so cute you could die!!! We're all fighting over him; perhaps we'll do some reprints! And I'm not done yet. I want to create a fabulous, feminine, lively space. I'm looking at Darvin Jones’ Love is Longing For I (bitly.com/RvxBNk). Is it not sweet, kitschy and joyful? Plus it makes me think of Bambi who I've always adored! And what about Grid Strategy I (bit.ly/TTVQDp) by Christine Wilkinson. I love the iridescence, which reminds me of my favorite OPI polish – Tutti Frutti! In fact, I'm going to rename it Tutti Frutti! I’m parked in a fabulous spot – with a wall of windows that provides northern exposure. Naturally I’m facing the door so I can greet my cheerful Customer Experience team – some of whom you might have already met – Amy, Sarah, Kim, Jen, Johana, Brooke, Rylee – It’s our mission to make our customers happy, and these wonderful young people know how to shine! Shine On Peeps!  

BECAUSE ART = FREEDOM

Tweet “Because Art = Freedom” is written across the Touch a Life Foundation’s website, followed by, “These children are being empowered through the freedom of expression. They are learning, some for the first time, how to be kids and dream … Read More

“Because Art = Freedom” is written across the Touch a Life Foundation’s website, followed by, “These children are being empowered through the freedom of expression. They are learning, some for the first time, how to be kids and dream big. At one point in their lives, they were sold for the amount we pay for a few cups of coffee.” The Touch of Life Foundation is dedicated to rescuing children in Ghana, Vietnam and Cambodia that were sold into child slavery.  Providing holistic long-term child care to these vulnerable children, the foundation has rescued over 100 of the 7,000 children and use art as a way to heal. Gallery Direct learned about their mission and jumped at the opportunity to help these brave children.   We are honored to have recently donated artwork and supplies to help bring inspiration and a smile to these children.  The supplies included blank canvases, wallquotes, and empty frames. I encourage you to read the story about "Mark" on the home page that inspired the, "find your mark" campaign.  The story is heavy on the heart, but knowing that fortunate people, like most of us, have taken a stand to help these children is inspirational. "People say I rescued Mark, but the truth is, he rescued me. He has shown me what matters in life - the things that are really important. Without Mark, I’d never be the person, the woman, or the Mom that I am today. And it all started with the decisions to believe in myself, and to take a huge risk." - Pam Cope, Founder For more information about the Touch a Life Foundation please visit: http://www.touchalifekids.org  
Do you day dream about the French Countryside? Are you constantly trying to bring a little more french country cottage into your home decor? Then you need to meet Gallery Direct Style Ambassador Courtney. Courtney is the owner and talented decorator behind French Country Cottage a blog full of French inspired eye candy! Meet Courtney in her own words: I am a day dreaming girl and am a stay at home mom to three incredible & inspiring (and goofy!) kids. I have a passion for  Interior design and decorating and now that my babies are older  I am beginning to pursue that part of my dreams. Courtney is constantly finding ways to inspire beautiful french decor and she has beautifully incorporated several Gallery Direct pieces into her home including farmhouse sheep artwork, vintage flowers, and some puppy love. Be sure to check out those inspiring posts and many other on her beautiful blog French Country Cottage.  You can view those images on Gallery Direct here:  Vintage Flower, Sheep image.    

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Tweet Okay, so my 20-year old daughter Annie thinks this room is “oh-so-70s” and can’t be bothered with it… I say it isn’t so – In fact, there’s nothing 70s about it! I call it the “Parlor” and have filled it … Read More

[gallery columns="2"] Okay, so my 20-year old daughter Annie thinks this room is “oh-so-70s” and can’t be bothered with it… I say it isn’t so – In fact, there's nothing 70s about it! I call it the “Parlor” and have filled it with great finds that my husband Clay and I have collected over the years. Clay tested the Modernica sofa (in front of a TV of course) – at the Nickelodeon store on Michigan Avenue – and had to have it. I wasn’t crazy about it but went along and have since improved it with two perfect pillows from Double D Ranch – Yoakum TX. By the way – it’s great for sitting but horrid for reclining – Forget about taking a nap there. (Happily, I still like the Chinese red after all these years!). I got the Alvar Aalto webbed chair from my dad – actually traded an amazing Bruno Mathsson (vintage original I inherited from my mother), but the webbing in the Mathsson had given way after 20 years of abuse from me, my three siblings, and countless pets, so who knows who got the better deal? The second Aalto chair (upholstered in Donghia) is unarguably the most comfortable chair in the house – I routinely lounge there (with a glass of Chardonnay naturally), read on my I-Pad and watch the neighborhood like Mrs. Kravitz. The Pièce de résistance – besides the art of course – is the spectacular Odegard rug that I convinced Clay to splurge on. Did you know that Odegard is the exclusive rug source for the J. Paul Getty museum in LA? (Yep – read it in a magazine!) And after 10 years, it is still my prized possession! Full Disclosure – My poor sister spilled red wine on it when it was quite new. I was not very nice about it but we’re still the best of friends. The cabinet is a 100% Christopher Deam original that we bought it in the late 90s. I’m not sure if CD is still designing/manufacturing furniture but he did do the interior for the new Airstream. Note – If my heirs ever need a windfall, they can sell this beauty on Antique Road Show one day! The lamp is – you guessed it – Target – and my favorite in the house (including the Noguchi that my housekeeper seems bent on destroying!). Okay – time to share details about the art. The black and white photograph is from PoP Gallery in Santa Fe. It’s Thomas Barbey’s Tourist Trap, a rendering of actual negatives spliced together (vs. photo-shopped) – another treasure I was able to talk Clay into! And the abstract – Speed of Light I from Benjamin Arnot – has an asymmetrical and amorphous feel that delights me. I actually bought it from gallerydirect.com long before I started working here! Benjamin’s recent work includes paintings in which he presents familiar objects in both conflict and harmony, which invite us to “explore our odd and constant obsession of iconography and precious objects,” (Benjamin’s words and my sentiments exactly!)    

Composition: Vertical vs. Horizontal

Tweet The composition or focal point of your image will subconsciously set the mood of your room.  Our artists carefully balance their paintings composition to connect with their viewers. Powerful composition elements are often displayed through the overall lines of … Read More

The composition or focal point of your image will subconsciously set the mood of your room.  Our artists carefully balance their paintings composition to connect with their viewers. [caption id="attachment_2421" align="alignleft" width="303"] Calming Horizontal Composition[/caption] Powerful composition elements are often displayed through the overall lines of an image. The simple horizontal, vertical, or angled nature of the composition evokes different emotions and draws the eye into a specific element.  Horizontal lines like those seen in beach scenes or sunsets often induce serenity and peace. [caption id="attachment_2422" align="alignright" width="305"] Energenic Vertical Compostion[/caption] Vertical lines suggest energy that encourages progress. Think of a towering tree, a high-rise building, or a horse and rider.  Angles that represent movement harvest a sense of speed, agility, or movement through time.  An image with strong angles may bring a sense of excitement or anticipation to the room.  Let the mood you’re looking for in your space guide you and the rest will fall into place.

Hello Cool Design: Meet Hot Art

Tweet I’m not a designer but I love great design, and the art I see around our offices — on our walls – in our front gallery – our presentations and videos – on the scanner – coming off the … Read More

I'm not a designer but I love great design, and the art I see around our offices -- on our walls - in our front gallery - our presentations and videos - on the scanner - coming off the printers - and being framed -- inspires me every day. It makes me think of all the rooms I want to create. Here's one I've done in my own home since I joined in May. I'm now the proud owner of two Judy Paul prints - Get Out I and Get Out II - which I had printed in custom sizes (1 horizontal and 1 vertical) to fit my space. Notice the great pairing with my new tangerine Jonathan Adler x-Benches and the 15-year old Jean-Michel Frank-inspired chocolate mohair couch. The vintage bird pillows from dwellstudio.com were not pricey and came with inserts. The room was dark and blah before - Tell me you love it now! And oh-by-the-way, Artemide's spectacular Tolomeo Mega Floor Lamp is going on sale at dwr.com this week - that will brighten things up even more!!!  

Easy Home Decor Tips

Tweet Does your house need some sprucing up? Are you lacking ideas in the home decor department? Here are some tips on how to decorate your home and make it really pop. Mix art with tabletop accessories: Hang your art … Read More

Does your house need some sprucing up? Are you lacking ideas in the home decor department? Here are some tips on how to decorate your home and make it really pop. Mix art with tabletop accessories: Hang your art about 8 to 12 inches above the table to form an connection between the wall items and tabletop decor. When choosing accessories for the tabletop make sure they are tall enough to overlap the artwork creating unity. Filling A Large Wall: When you have a large wall to fill there are several different ways you can decorate.
  • Try grouping in odd numbers, it creates more interest.
  • Decorate with a series, use multiples of the same print in varying colors.
  • Choose art in the same color scheme but vary the size and shape
Unique Accessories: Have a  unique accessory you want to accent? Use an over-sized piece of art as a backdrop you can set it on the floor or on a tabletop. Art doesn't always have to be hung. Add Some Color: Don't be afraid to add some bold color and try some new combinations.
  • Choose colors that are opposites on the color wheel like blue and orange and purple and yellow they will really pop against each other.
  • In a neutral room add interest with only one or two bold pops of color either in art or accessories.
  •  Use a white wall to really accent a colorful painting.
You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.          

Changing Lives with LifeWorks, One Room at a Time

Tweet We’re always honored to have the opportunity to work with LifeWorks, an awe-inspiring organization that provides counseling, housing and support services to at-risk youth and families in the Austin area. Through the LifeWorks Supportive Housing program, former foster children, … Read More

We're always honored to have the opportunity to work with LifeWorks, an awe-inspiring organization that provides counseling, housing and support services to at-risk youth and families in the Austin area. Through the LifeWorks Supportive Housing program, former foster children, formerly homeless kids, and teen parents are provided with a safe place to live while they get back on their feet. Last week, more than 300 corporate and community volunteers came together to participate in LifeWorks' annual Home Improvement Challenge, and teams of volunteers worked with local designers to transform these living spaces into fully furnished and decorated homes—in a one-day race against the clock. We can't think of any group of people who deserve beautiful, inspiring spaces more than the kids and families LifeWorks supports. We were thrilled to play a role in this year's Home Improvement Challenge: our photographer, Candice, shot photos of each LifeWorks client family, and each of them received a surprise family portrait in their newly transformed apartment. On top of that, our amazing CEO, Joseph Garcia, and his wife spent the day working on an apartment makeover (Joseph is on the LifeWorks board).