Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eat Slow For a Good Cause!

I’ve started a new tradition. For the second year in a row I've chosen to be an ambassador for an event here in San Francisco called Dining Out For Life. The concept is simple: Eat at a participating restaurant and 25% of the proceeds are donated to the Stop AIDS Project in San Francisco.

This year I’ve chosen to be an ambassador at Slow Club, which is one of my favorite places to eat in San Francisco. It’s hip, low key and the food is always amazing!

If you happen to be in San Francisco this Thursday, stop in from 6:30 -10:00 pm and help a good cause! If you cant make it, please consider making a donation here.

David Hansen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Earth as Muse!

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
Henry David Thoreau

This year I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Earth Day and how it fits in with being an Interior Designer. There are the obvious associations with the Interior Design profession and how we need to be less wasteful, teach our clients about the joys of re-use and specify eco-responsible materials whenever possible. It’s amazing at how far our industry has come in the amount of “Earth-Friendly” products available verses say, ten years ago although I know we have a ways to go.

A simple Faux Bois table can add an earthly element in a pinch.

I guess I’ve been wanting to go beyond the obvious “Let’s be responsible and respectful to the Earth” and think in terms of how the Earth actually affects our creative process. It got me thinking that the Earth is really the ultimate muse!
William Morris' Woodland Weeds wallpaper from the V&A in London.

Not only is the earth something to behold and respect, but for centuries has been the major inspiration for the decorative arts, and the decoration of interiors, especially.
True Acanthus worship...A Corinthian capitol and base.

One of the first things that come to mind is the humble, but exalted Acanthus leaf. One could write volumes on the acanthus leaf and the decorative arts. One of the most obvious is a Corinthian capitol of a column, and other examples are endless from chair legs to moulding. In scouring the internet for inspiration I was taken with the Acanthus leaves (and other Flora and Fauna) done by William Morris, the famous English textile designer and hero of the Arts & Crafts movement. He seemed to catch the essence of his subject, while still imbuing it with an extra decorative strength.
William Morris' Acanthus leaves courtesy of Earthly Paradise.

In a more contemporary context, I couldn’t help but think of the sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy who chose to work out in nature with natural materials. I think his work personifies the Earth as muse!
Andy Goldsworthy Sticks Framing a Lake sculpture.

Like most creative people, when I am feeling stuck I turn to nature for inspiration. Barbara and I have often used color combinations that occur in nature as primary inspiration for projects, after all it doesn’t get better than right outside ones own door!
A perfect source of color inspiration.

When I think of famous Interior Designers that have used the earth as their primary inspiration my mind jumps immediately to the master of “over-the-top” Mr. Tony Duquette. Mr. Duquette clearly seems to have had nature on the brain throughout his creative process, as demonstrated through almost anything carrying his name.
The drawing room of Tony Duquette. Pleany of Earth inspiration to go around.

I hope this Earth day can be a reflection of what the Earth gives us every day and what this means to each of us and our pursuits.

Happy Earth Day! Get outside and be inspired!

David Hansen
* Top image: Andy Goldsworthy sculpture

Monday, April 12, 2010

Local Treasure Hunt!

I found this "Thiebold-esque" original acrylic at the Alemany Flea Market, San Francisco, California. The artist is Scott Smith.
I happen to enjoy the thrill of the hunt – treasure hunt that is. I suppose this weakness goes all the way back to the Easter Bunny and the wonderful memories I have of our hunt for colored eggs in the garden. I’ve never gotten over that.
This “Stueben-esque” vessel was found at Judith Frost Consignment, Palo Alto, CA. It is a signed piece.

Fast forward to the present (actually, the last 25 years of my life) and I find that I still love the thrill of the unexpected. I usually set out late morning, plan my route and set off. The Peninsula, south of San Francisco seems to be my most successful hunting ground. I am frequently joined by friends, and make it a day, complete with lunch at some great little spot like Café Primavera at Allied Arts in Menlo Park or the little French Bakery Douce France at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto.

This fabulous bronze was acquired at St. Matthew's Thrift Shop in San Mateo, California.

A few of my favorite (and successful) haunts are Judith Frost Consignment in Palo Alto, the Alemany Flea Market in San Francisco and the Thrift Shop at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in San Mateo. These are just a few of my recent finds. Judge for yourself. All were under $25.

Barbara Ashfield

Monday, April 5, 2010

A First Thursday Gift…No Fooling!

The first Thursday of every month in San Francisco is best known for gallery openings, especially the galleries near Union Square. Many Galleries in the area hold opening receptions and present new work to throngs of San Francisco’s “art-hungry” masses.

Portrait of Helen Frankenthaler from the Ernst Haas Estate Portraits.
I was elated to learn that on Thursday April 1st (yes, April Fools day) that the John Berggruen Gallery would be having a retrospective of Helen Frankenthaler’s work (paintings 1961–1973), and I knew I had to go view these important works in person.
Helen Frankenthaler at work from the Ernst Haas Estate Portaits.

Helen Frankenthaler has always been one of my favorite abstract expressionists, and is also known as one of the pioneers of the Color Field painting movement. The Color Field is exemplified by New York artists in the 1940 s and 50s. Ms. Frankenthaler is best known for large scale works that look like watercolor, but have been executed in oil. Two of her mentors were Hans Hoffman and Jackson Pollack. The exhibition is an amazing window into her work from this time and will probably not be assembled ever again (one work is on loan from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and there are three more pieces from private collections).
Interior Landscape by Helen Frankenthaler 1964. Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from the New York Times.

What can I say? The work was astonishing to see in person, and I think I have only ever seen her work one painting at a time. To have all the paintings assembled in one place was overwhelming, but a real gift!
The John Berggruen Gallery April 1, 2010 showing the work of Helen Frankenthaler.

The exhibit is at the John Berggruen Gallery now through May 22, 2010.

David Hansen