I discovered Bhil tribal art earlier this year when my husband and I found Sutra Gallery of fine art and textiles in Door County, Wisconsin. The owner, Abbey Box, spent a few years living in India and has now brought India’s art to the tippy-tip of northern Wisconsin. There’s a tribal art piece she has that every time I check her site, my heart skips a beat before I see it’s not yet marked “sold.” I don’t know what the artist’s original story was for her art, but I have my own meaningful story that fits it. It’s an important lesson to remember every day. I suppose that means that art is calling me. But it costs enough that I need to ask my husband about it, and might he say “no.” Anyway, I won’t tip my hand for now as to exactly which piece it is! Maybe I will get it and tell the story here. Visit Sutra Gallery online to see some excellent examples of Indian tribal art.
Tribal art from India seems to have been discovered. I’ve seen it on Saffronart and currently there are pieces for sale at Jaypore from the Bhil tribal community in central India. Their works show what they see and live with, mostly elements of nature like animals and trees. Although modern life is catching up with them, so you can now see automobiles and airplanes in their art!
The style reminds me of Australian aboriginal art. This Bhil tribal art may look different than art you’re used to seeing. But don’t let that stop you from investing in something that draws you. As they say, “art shouldn’t match your sofa!”
Also you might notice price differences when shopping online. Some art may already be framed and others aren’t. Do check on that because good framing to protect art is not cheap and that can account for differences. And also obviously, some art is original and some are reproduced prints. It’s good to look carefully at what you are getting.
Here’s a motley little crew of inspiration images. They scrolled across my screen on Pinterest, and each made me stop and look longer than average. Maybe you’ll find surprising new ways of seeing things here too …
Why use only one carpet on stairs? Here’s a mix of many Persian carpet designs at Desigual in Hannover, Germany, *maybe* originally uploaded to Pinterest by Centiva (this great find deserves a link to original source!):
I’ve always been intrigued by how data turns into visual patterns. Like here, the heights of 90,000 humans. Via Tate. It’s not a bell curve because there are measurements of children. But if you looked only at the fully-grown adults:
This is not a popular image, it’s not repinned much. But I like it. I’m not sure why. It’s not the prettiest picture, and it’s a bit disturbing. From Civilization and Its Discontents exhibition, via Elana Herzog:
From Comme des Garçons 1994, this makes me think, why not do something different with curtains?
Don’t stop at just painting a cabinet with chalkboard paint. Write all over every square inch of it! Via vtwonen:
These images and many more are on my Create board on Pinterest.
It’s no surprise to regular readers here that I’m a fan of India and Southeast Asian design. So what do you think would happen in the Art Institute of Chicago’s corridor of artifacts from these lands? I can’t take them with me, so I was snappin’ away!
See how the displays are simple but so rich, against backdrops of saffron orange, turmeric yellow and spicy red:
This is making me think … what about carving niches into walls in our Chicago home between the wood studs, line the niches with saffron, turmeric and spice colored silks, install lights and then fill them with fabulous finds from India!? Wouldn’t that be wonderful in a hallway.
If you want to see more artifacts and learn more about them, check out the book Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure. The author a visiting curator of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago.
With the clean slate of the India apartment’s walls, imaginations of what to do can run wild and free! There’s nothing existing to constrain ideas. No things like a royal blue velvet sectional that must be accommodated in the design. Or Chinese celadon pottery. Or Hello Kitty wallpaper.
I’ve written previously about creating an old stenciled look on many of the walls:
Something exotic. Patterned but not overwhelmingly so; maybe it’s faded and uneven like it wore away over centuries.
During online travels through the world of decorative painting, I “met” Sylvie Michel Bilger of Metamorfaux, who was in Chicago this week for a client project, and I had the wonderful opportunity to really meet her, in real life! We had a lovely conversation about all sorts of creative and life things, and time flew by so fast. That’s when you know you’re having fun. We laughed about how homes may not always be as they appear in blogs — it’s true! — because we choose to put our best faces forward here.
I wanted to share Sylvie’s work with you, which opens my eyes and mind to things that can be done with walls that I never thought possible. I admire most in this world the ability of people to make the impossible possible, and the ability to envision and innovate from literally and figuratively, blank walls. This applies to decorative endeavors as much as it applies to things like leadership and entrepreneurship.