My new book, “Salvage Style” has just been released by Sterling Publishing.. The subject is decorating with recycled and reclaimed materials. For the second time I partnered with Country Living Magazine. The first book with Country Living was Aged To Perfect. Salvage Style is filled with photographs and interviews with homeowners all over the country who are passionate about recycling and repurposing material and objects to infuse their homes with character. Read More
I’ve always been attracted to Outsider Art; self taught art by undiscovered raw talent. It is naive, often made by prisoners, the insane, poor, indigent, disables, black, reclusive, and by people living marginally, on the fringe of society. It has become a term to describe “different” from the expected, mainstream and acceptable. An example might be two small drawings hanging in the Whitney Museum. It is by a self taught artist named James Castle and they were drawn with the artist’s mix of soot and saliva as he had no money for, nor access to, traditional art supplies. Usually outsider art is surprising, leaving us with questions, wanting to know more about the circumstances under which the artist lives and creates, or did live, if no longer alive. We are more generous about acceptance when we learn that the art was born out of raw talent produced under dire circumstances. It tells us how compelling it was for the artist to express him or herself. And this fact alone makes us want to embrace the art. Further it is affordable and therefore accessible to everyday appreciators with limited funds. At least it always was
But lately I’m distressed to find “outside” coming “inside” so to speak.
My new book “Aged To Perfection” is finally in bookstores throughout the country. It’s a Country Living book about adding rustic charm to your modern home inside and out. One of my favorite chapters is on retro collections under which I have a section called “Kitsch.” Of German origin, the word kitsch came into use in the nineteenth century and has been used to categorize art that is considered to be a tasteless copy of an existing style. It was originally associated with art that is sentimental. Today, garden gnomes and other lawn ornaments are often considered kitschy, as is a collection of Cupie dolls. Such items, while looked down upon by serious art collectors, are highly desirable among retro collectors. I think of these items as particularly appealing to Key West homeowners as it seems to go with that style of decorating. It isn’t that the houses are tasteless, it’s that I think of Key West, more than any other place, as expressing a sense of humor and appreciation for high camp.