When I last left y’all, I was still in search of the perfect piece of art for my kitchen nook, but hadn’t found the one that made me feel all the feelings. I didn’t want to finish off the space that I had worked so hard on by just throwing something up on the wall that did not speak life into the depths of my being -IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? I wasn’t sure if I wanted a modern black and white abstract piece or something that felt like it had more history. When the upholsterer came over to measure for the kitchen nook, he told me my style was transitional. I thought about telling him his voice was annoying and his breath smelled like the backside of a hyena, but I refrained. I’ve always hated the term “transitional.” It feels like it’s the embodiment of someone who’s afraid of commitment, someone who’s neither here nor there, someone who listens to muzak on purpose. I think what he meant to say (or what I meant for him to say) was “eclectic”… a mix of styles. My friend Rebecca described my space as “elevated 70’s” which made me want to tell her that her voice sounded like baby angels singing and her breath smelled like chocolate cake (that’s pretty much the highest compliment I can give a person). I have a lot of nods to the grooviest era happening in here, with Boho/Moroccan influences, especially in my soon-to-be-revealed living room. I also have a large dose of Hollywood Regency style with a black, white, and brass theme running throughout the house. All that to say, I could have gone a lot of directions with the art for this space. Just as an aside, if you’re thinking that your personal style is “whatever piece of furniture my parents were getting rid of with an influence of whatever was hanging out on the side of the road with a ‘Free’ sign” I feel you, and I think some of the most creative spaces can result from using things that have some history, some soul, and don’t cost a lot.
I had seen one piece of art that kept tugging at my heart. I decided to call one of my people. One of my favorite things about dipping my toe into interior design are the beautiful, creative, talented artists I’ve gotten to meet along the way. In fact, one of my hopes for this blog is to be able to introduce you to some of these people and their work. LA is a big, overwhelming town, so there’s something so satisfying about knowing the people all over this city to call when you’re looking for something specific. They will either have it, create it, or point you in the right direction. There are plant people, furniture people, art people, hardware people and people all in between. I met Corban a few years back when we worked on a short film together. Since then, she started an awesome business called The Here Company in which she does some jaw-dropping house staging around LA. She is dripping with creative talent herself, and also knows tons of artists and designers around our fair city. I had seen my painting (okay-it wasn’t mine yet) in one of her friend and fellow stager/designer’s instagram pics, so naturally I called her to see if she could work some magic for me.
“Do you think he’d sell it to me?” I ventured. Lucky for me, Corban’s friend had just stepped away from his 9-5 gig to start buying and selling his stellar finds full time. Corban told me she’d take care of it…like some sort of Godfather of design. Not really, but it seems more dramatic that way.
When I arrived at Jason’s house to pick up the art, I freaked out a little. Corban had sent me a picture from there before of a beautiful burl table he had that I might be interested in, and I knew he had some gooooood goods. She warned me that every corner of his place was like a designofile’s dream. That night, he was in the process of cleaning out and photographing all of the insanely cool stuff that he had collected throughout the years and had been sitting in storage. There were funky sculptures, old rugs, vintage paintings and strange artifacts…and I considered stealing them all, but some stuff was heavy and I would need his help to get it in my get-away car, which might have made things awkward. I did find out that Jason came by his love of design honestly, like me, from his mom. Among her creative endeavors was a jewelry business named Just Bead It, which sounded a lot like my mom’s hair bow business Bow-dacious. This gave me hope that he might give me the “Child-of-a-mom-with-a-punny-business-name” deal.
My beautiful painting was sitting among the other treasures. It was a landscape with rich, dark colors, frayed edges, and no frame. It tells a story, of those 3 tiny figures in the canoe on an adventure beneath that goliath of a mountain, but also of the mantels it must have graced and people who must have loved it throughout the years. It’s the perfect juxtaposition to my clean, brass light and is large enough to fill the space. So I took it home…along with another abstract painting to try, a Xoacan bell, and a… whale vertebrae. You heard me. Whale. Vertebrae.
When I hung the art up, it felt like the piece that was always supposed to be there. I’m glad I waited. If you want to see and buy some of Jason’s stuff, you can find him on Instagram @americangarage. You can check out my friend Corban’s beautiful work here or on Instagram @theherecompany. Tell them I sent you.