Among the newest members of the our customer fulfillment team—Audie, Eric, and Carter—there are 2 majors in Art History and one minor. When asked about what eventually lead to her decision to major in Art History, Audie explained that she found discovering the motivation and stories behind the artists and their works the most compelling. Art is something that we all appreciate in the office and the team found a moment to sit down and share some of their favorite works, concepts, and movements in art. Our conversation included the highlight of an inspiring portrait artist, experts of craftsmanship, and art functioning in the interior space.
When it comes to art and artists I can’t ever quite nail down a favorite. Chuck Close has been near the top of my list for years and is an artist whose human experience directly informs his work. Close suffered from neuromuscular issues and facial blindness for most of his life and in 1988 experienced a massive seizure that left him mostly paralyzed. Despite the various obstacles facing Close, he has never given up on his work. He’s truly an inspiring figure and I believe we could all learn a thing or two from his simple wisdom. Close says it best himself, “You don’t have to invent the wheel everyday. Today you’ll do what you did yesterday. Tomorrow you’ll do what you did today. Eventually you’ll get somewhere.”
My interests in the Classics began while studying Classical Art and Archaeology in college. The Ancient Greeks and Romans were very influential on modern society, and I love that themes developed thousands of years ago are still being used today. One of my favorite pieces of art that incorporates many Classical themes would be Raphael’s “The School of Athens” which includes many famous philosophers and mathematicians from the Classical time period. This piece was done during the High Renaissance period, where many artists received their inspiration from the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
Woodworking is another form of art that I greatly enjoy. The work involved in creating a piece of furniture from raw wood is an extremely rewarding process that I can appreciate after taking woodworking classes. One of my favorite woodworkers is Nick Offerman, more commonly known as Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks and Rec. His work uses simple, yet elegant designs, but also showcases the natural beauty of the wood. Through my woodworking classes, knowing what it takes to create a piece of furniture and the beauty of using natural resources lead to my appreciation for this form of art.
I’ve always been fascinated by the integration of art and design into interior spaces. The idea of a house as art is the perfect representation of form following function. I love Whistler’s “Harmony in Blue and Gold: the Peacock Room” housed at the Freer Museum in Washington, D.C. for its incorporation of Asian influences. The room captures the ideals of the Aestheticism movement -art for art’s sake- and that something can be appealing and interesting because you want it to be as well as functional for living. This movement was a rebellion in a lot of ways against the Industrial Revolution, and wanted to put more emphasis back into craftsmanship (seems relevant today, no?). I admire the Asian influences in the art of Whistler and other artists because of the use of Asian motifs as decorative elements – whether in Whistler’s butterfly signature or the Chinese Chippendale balustrades at Monticello.