Sleek, white, unmarked walls confront a coarse tesselation of speckled red hues in here. The contrast is jarring, and the towering ceilings beckon the illusion that these competing facades are physically leaning inward with hostility. Or the walls are sloped. It’s an old building; either premise is tenable.
The undoing of any contentious relationship is most successfully achieved with the presence of a shared enemy. Fearing, with this knowledge, that the walls might yet collapse on me, I chose a more favorable option for all parties: tear down these proverbial walls by dressing them up. Put plainly, these vast, contrasting canvases needed some art.
I’ve been anticipating the moment when I have enough complementary pieces to craft an art cluster/gallery/collage. It was one of the first grueling challenges I braved when we finally located the hammer and nails (though I let the fella do the wall damage).
What makes this collection even more satisfying is how well these pieces work together considering the copious sources. The bike comes from B’s past trip to Amsterdam; the tiny ceramic tile is from my travels to Greece. I rescued this piece and its partner from a Salvation Army in Los Angeles when B and I were visiting his brother almost two years ago. We argued over who found them first (me) and who’d get to keep them (me); of course, that argument is now moot.
We’ve turned to Etsy for adorning other nooks of the apartment. The latest purchase is a trio of illustrations (still in need of frames) that B found from artist Judy Kaufmann. Adorable renditions of famous figures in art, science, and film; we picked out Albert Einstein, Woody Allen, and Charlie Chaplin—the latter, somewhat erroneously: We’d been deliberating between Bowie and Lennon and I had previously mentioned wanting Chaplin, but we figured three different fields would make a nice balance. After all that he accidentally asked for Chaplin. Ah well.)
Surely these gentlemen are up for the challenge of wall-soothing. Each print includes a quotation that I find elevates the utter preciousness of the illustrations.
And home wouldn’t feel complete or quite right without a few homespun pieces.
I printed a few dozen photos, to mix and match and swap out when I got bored. Funny enough, it took a few weeks before I realized that the six I have hanging now were all from outings and adventures with the fella. When I shared this realization, he somewhat sadly replied, “I thought you did that on purpose.” At least my subconscious is romantic.
I like to think the walls have softened their glares and deflated their stature with the splashes of color and life we’ve added to them. Though we still have room for a few more additions. Just to be safe.