abstraction (after visit to Arizona)
Starting this project I was interested by the idea of line instead of color. Why do our walls have to be one solid color, why not line and shape? Set on rejecting the dainty and graceful, I explored patterns and techniques that were unsettling to the perception of sight. Imagine walking into a room with walls of one giant optical illusion set on repeat, I can’t think of anything more maddening than that. Sorting through the options I came up with I went with one based on line and space in a vertical layout.
I thought I had my wallpaper done and finalized until I went on spring break, when I visited my sister out in Arizona I was so shocked to see the beauty in not just the landscape but the architecture that I had to revisit the wallpaper with something better. Arizona is tied to its roots, you can see it in the Indigenous influence on the building style, landscaping, food, and still better, the patterns. Back in Beverly and in front of the computer screen once again I added color. Then I transformed the vertical lines to form a shape, then that shape became smaller and repeated, made it horizontal then vertical again. With that in mind, I present to you my wallpaper, Mesa, Arizona. Influenced by the Indigenous Peoples designs and culture Mesa, Arizona is not meant for any social class in particular, rather, it is meant to be on the walls of high transition areas.
Parts of the building where things shift, settle, then shift again is where this wallpaper should be implemented. The hallways where we take off our shoes and set aside, the closet where we hang our coats to dry, even the mudroom our guests first transition through to enter the rest of the home. There is energy that flows through this wallpaper, coming to life when someone is there to witness it only to fall into a soft hum once they’ve left.
That’s 70’s / Far Out (final variation, with random removed elements)
I went through a few concept at the beginning of this project. At first thought of filigree, but the concept quickly became boring to me and shifted to a concept a little closer to our modern age. The inspiration for the final pattern draws heavily from the 70’s aesthetic of windy tubes and bold colors. I dulled the colors of the design to give it a vintage feel but kept it just bold enough to have an affect when printed large. I went through about seven or eight color and shape variations before arriving at this point. From a distance the rows seem to vibrate, but this illusion is broken up by the random exclusion of a few of the blue elements. These gaps become prominent when the pattern is tiled.
I could picture this design on the lining of a vintage van/bus, which was what I had in mind when I created it. It might also be appropriate above a kitchen countertop or in a small bathroom. This is by no means a fancy or “exclusive” wallpaper, more like a common design you would find still stuck on the walls of the old apartment you’re renting.
The Pineapple, and Symbolism
The reason why I chose to create a pineapple wallpaper is not solely based on my obsession for the fruit, but it is also based on the traditional symbolic meaning of the pineapple. In 2013 my family and I had visited the city of Charleston in South Carolina; and one of the major recurring symbols / objects seen around the city was the pineapple. One major monument found in charleston was the pineapple fountain at the waterfront park. This monument was the image that has stayed with me for many years after viewing it on that trip! I asked my mother why there were pineapples everywhere, and she told me that it was the southern symbol for good hospitality. This became my inspiration for the wallpaper project, and once I began working on the this project, I have done my research on the pineapple and it’s symbol to find out more historical and symbolic information. From what I have gathered; pineapples are the American symbol for good hospitality, not just strictly pertaining to the southern states of America. Even from my everyday observation, I have noticed a great deal of pineapples being a decorative component to many other buildings in various states. As a decorative and other symbolic component to my wallpaper I added vines as well, because from my research I have found that there are other fruits, vegetation, plants, etc that all have symbolic meanings. Vines are a representation of life and growth based on the christian religion. I put these two as my main subjects for the wallpaper, because I felt that both of these symbols had positive meanings that paired well together. When creating my this piece, I started out by making various sketches of the pineapple with a very flat representational design, to a modern design, to a fancy decorative design; playing with various colors, and sizes. It took me about 6 to 7 redesigns before I found a style, and color palette that fit the overall aesthetic and purpose that I was trying to achieve. My final design ended up being 3D pineapples on a beige background, with the vines creating small frames for some of them in a repeating pattern in each row. This wallpaper could be found either in a bedroom, or a personal in home office, because of its decorative and fancy appearance.
Growing up in my childhood home my parents had a garden in our backyard. It carried a lot of vegetables and some household herbs that were often used. Basil and parsley, being an Italian household, as well as tomatoes, peppers, and some other staple vegetables. All of the maternal relatives in my family have always been very good plant growers in my life and i have learned a lot from them and their niche. My inspiration for this project, and in my interest in botanics comes from this.
For my wallpaper i decided to look into different plants that i was interested in. I love herbs and the different holistic values that they are given as well. Lavender used for calming, as well as sage used to cleanse, two major ones that i included in this that have a lot of meaning to me and in my anxieties and how i cope with them. Spawning from that i decided to stick to an herb based pattern adding in some bay leaves and thyme which which were visually pleasing, often used, and coincided with this theme well. My pattern was very nice visually at first, and gained more strength once i made my botanical elements more symmetrical. Going from about 7 elements to narrowing it down helped, because it was too busy of a pattern once i looked at it repeated and laid out just as it would be in the big picture fitting a whole wall as wallpaper. I created elements in themselves out of my botanical aspects which allowed me to create more negative space in between one another and gave it a nice look as a pattern. Having that much negative space i changed my background, from what had been consistently white, to a light shade of purple, which looked the strongest visually, and also coincided well with the lavender and sage, which are two of the biggest elements in this design.
My initial goal for this wallpaper was to make something that looked expensive, but modern. I was inspired by intricate Rococo era wallpapers that were only attainable by the very rich. I enjoy the complicated floral patterns and the way some aspects of the design reacted to light differently. After this time in history beautiful wallpaper became affordable for anyone, decreasing its value and making price varied by the nature of the design irrelevant.
When I think of luxury and costly I think of gold and how some of the old wallpaper designs I took inspiration from had parts that reflect light so I used the image of gold in that way. I wanted to make a pattern that was I added gold accents and thought I could make that more modern by making some of the gold drip down off the floral filigree shapes. I started with the same twisted filigree shape, then continuously made more elements for the pattern and added more gold accents. Revisions were more like additions for this design; more elements appeared and evolved as I continued.
I ended up with two versions of the wallpaper. The mint blue was my initial design and I imagined it being in a dining room or sitting room or even a bedroom setting. I wanted a lighter more refreshing color to open up a Space. The red is the inverted colors of blue, came a bit later in the design process. It is much darker and more luxurious and I imagine it being in the same setting at the blue, but for a warmer more comforting mood.
Wilton wallpaper, featuring shoes
Wilton wallpaper, 1
original and Morse code, Barnes Ave.