How To Spiff Up Your Outdoor Area With Art | Kanebridge News
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How To Spiff Up Your Outdoor Area With Art

The next step in decorating your outdoor space with personality to entertain? Filling it with paintings, sculptures and more.

By Christina Poletto
Wed, Apr 7, 2021 10:35amGrey Clock 3 min

You might be eyeing your outdoor area, wishing it were a bit more remarkable, a bit less overfamiliar. Festive, even.

One answer, say interior designers, is art, a therapeutic fix for spaces we’ve spent too much time in. Emily B. Collins, director of the New York Design Center’s Gallery at 200 Lex, has noticed intense interest in “items that contribute to a beautiful, functional setting outdoors.”

Homeowners and design pros are discovering that outdoor spaces are loaded with blank walls waiting to be decked out with paintings, mirrors, sculpture, decorative tiles—the same arsenal of art you’d use inside.

To liven up her outdoor’s seating area, Liz Lidgett, a gallery owner in Des Moines, Iowa, hung a painting on a nearby exterior white-brick wall with screws and wire. The glassless, wood-framed painting of pink and blue florals (above) was a $10 secondhand-store score, preserved with a coat of Rust-Oleum’s water-repelling NeverWet to withstand the weather. Guests, she said, seem to enjoy the unexpected element.

In Palm Springs, Tamara Hill, who rents her midcentury home on Airbnb, saw a blank canvas in the cement bottom of her kidney-shaped pool. She commissioned Brooklyn artist and designer Alexandra Proba to paint her trademark madcap—and suitably biomorphic—designs under the waterline. “It’s magical,” said Ms. Hill. “It brings the whole style of my home together far more than I imagined.”

Don’t have the coin to fly in an artist to paint a mural on a wall, fence or pool bottom? You can search for experienced artists near you on sites such as thumbtack.com. Plug in your postcode, view past projects, read client reviews and get in touch.

PHOTO: RACHEL MUMMEY FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Wall sculptures of metal, wood or fired clay can dress up naked swaths of siding and fences. For a home in Los Angeles, New York designer Miles Redd invited ceramic sculpture artist Carlos Otero to reimagine a blank courtyard wall. “It called for something spectacular,” said Mr. Redd. The artist delivered a cream-coloured conglomeration of textures that evokes the surface of the moon, inspired by bas-relief panels of the 1960s architecture in Buenos Aires, Mr. Otero’s childhood home.

“Ceramics can live safely outdoors in most climates given some degree of protection,” said Juliet Burrows of New York’s Hostler Burrows Gallery, which represents Mr. Otero. History is full of examples of ceramics-ornamented architecture, she noted.

Dallas designer Jean Liu likes the midcentury modern metalwork of American duo Curtis Jere, which she installed in the lounge space of a client’s covered outdoor area. These cost thousands, but more than passably chic vintage wall sculptures can be found on sites like Etsy and eBay for less than $300.

Bryan McKenzie, a landscape designer in Jacksonville, Fla., is a fan of tiles and “exquisitely patterned walls.” He dolls up vertical surfaces with disks, squares and other polygons from G. Vega Cerámica, in Marbella, Spain. Against whitewashed surfaces, he hangs the Moroccan-style tiles glazed in shades of blue and green.

Another pro move is to hang a tapestry or fibre art in an alfresco space. Occasionally, on a side patch of her Fairfield, Conn., yard that’s visible from the street, Pam Poling exhibits one of her handmade quilts, which dangle from a stand she Macgyvered using photo equipment. The fair-weather exhibition started as a way to inspect her sewing in a natural light and snap a clean photo to share. Now, she says, neighbours look forward to the rotating show of coverlets, whose geometry and bold colours vibrate against her verdant landscaping.

In the front yard of her Phoenix, home, artist Kyllan Maney draped a tree with a necklace of solar lanterns she hand painted with whimsical stripes and dots. “Some of my neighbours have had visitors ask if we are having a party.”

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: April 7, 2021.

 

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