I woke up this morning thinking about art in train stations most likely because these images are the last I saw before going to bed. I’d like to ask you, during your morning commute did you see art like this in your train station?
Do you recognize this work? I’m sure you do… it’s Camilla Engman, an artist based in Göteborg, Sweden for those of you not familiar with her illustrations and paintings. Camilla is well known, especially in the online world, as most of us have swooned over her work at one time or another. She’s exceptional, her work seems to connect with so many and now it has a chance to reach out to her neighbors passing through the local train station. She must feel beyond honored. The city and its citizens should feel honored too. Art in unexpected public spaces, yay!
Seeing her work like this — public, free to all, meant to be enjoyed by the thousands passing through daily gives me chills. I’m always asking why we don’t see more art in public places. We see tons of soda and department store ads but they don’t go out of their way to be pretty. Just a logo slapped on a solid red background, for instance. Bleh. I am so tired of ugly ads on billboards.
There is this massive forest in Hannover, Germany with small orange trash bins suspended from the ground and hooked into a short wood pole usually around a park bench. When I walk through the forest I imagine these bright orange bins displaying graphic patterns, sporting pretty papers, dressed up a bit. I’d love to take on a project where I’d commission a group of artists to come out and do something creative to the bins to make them beautiful. My husand said that the city did do exactly that years ago in one part of the city but nothing recent. Imagine having the bins in the forest spruced up and then those same artists involved put together an Art in the Park event where they show their art and make the work you see on the bins available as prints? Of course, the art would have to be local, the goal would be for the city to learn about the creatives living there and to be exposed to their work. Let’s face it, not everyone goes to galleries but many go to the park so it would expose a whole new audience to artistic works.
I think more objects around us in our everyday life could stand to be made more ‘special’ in addition to serving a function.
I once saw two dumpsters painted bright fire engine red near a brick building and what a difference it made to the vibe of that area. I think that those of us reading design blogs think about this stuff (maybe a little too often) and care about it more than perhaps others who are not that ‘tuned in’ to this kind of thing. Because let’s face it, not everyone thinks about this stuff until it’s actually there and then they say, “Whoa, that is really, really cool”. I think it’s why most of us coo whenever we see Japanese products or visit cities in Japan — the Japanese really invest an interest in making functional everyday items cute. They kick American butt when it comes to product packaging alone. Although I couldn’t live around all of that ‘glow’ I do love the idea of introducing art to the public in subtle ways. I think graffiti is great when it’s not on my house or on historic buildings (in a designated space for instance) but often the complaint with graffiti is that it’s very bold, “look at me”, it tries very hard to make a statement. While some graffiti can be amazingly artistic and interesting, it does tend to scream at passerbys (due to the typical bold colors and graphics) and often when things scream we learn to block it out and no longer notice it.
This is why I’m inspired today seeing Camilla’s work in the Göteborg train station. It’s there, but it’s subtle, it feels special, it’s almost watching over everyone as they go about their day. It’s not screaming for attention yet you can’t help but notice it, be intrigued, maybe even pause to photograph it. I’d love to see more of this kind of thing in public spaces locally. It’s great exposure for independant artists, but aside from that, it can raise the bar so that people who may not normally care about this kind of thing start to expect it and demand it because now that they’ve been exposed and want more. It can help others to become more aware of art and design. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I want more! Do you? What do you think?
If you are in a position to make art happen in a public space, by all means put yourself out there and go for it. Make it happen.
(images from camilla engman)
I’m signing out of blogland for the weekend as I have a few projects to work on so I’ll see you again here on Monday. I hope that you enjoyed reading my blog this week, thank you so much for stopping by, commenting, and being a big (special) part of my life!
By the way, has anyone picked up the latest Somerset magazine called In Love? Your opinion? It’s a great weekend read in my opinion. Featuring a passionate collection of work from eleven artists, it’s inspirational with lots of project ideas and fab eye candy if you love mixed media work, pretty papers, altered books, etc. I found my copy at Barnes & Noble in case you’re out and about… but you can also purchase it online here.
See you on Monday you gorgeous things, you!
P.S. And so you don’t think I’d forgotten… to circle back to this popular post, I spoke to my contact at Anthropologie who confirmed that yes they are having classes at select stores in the U.S. but you basically have to call your local store and ask if they have any classes coming up. Nothing is posted or organized by corporate yet so it’s not going to be on the Antho website. I was excited and hoping for regular events but it seems pretty random at the moment. It could be they are testing the idea…
(image taken by holly becker for decor8)
A few things to look at today that are affordable, pretty, and just may make you smile!
A letterpress library card from Simple Song Designs.
City cake plate by Esther Coombs.
Prints that look like photos by Christopher Stott.
Light Shade made from vintage finds by NICE.
Prints by Jen Skelley in Massachusetts that have a definite folksy feel.
(images linked to sources above)
This is so cool. I have to share. I mentioned Linn Olofsdotter in an earlier post and that I wanted to do some digging to learn more about her and check this out — she lives in Portland, OR! Originally from Sweden she is quite a talented illustrator and has landed many impressive contracts with Samsung, Green Peace, Oilily, Levi’s, La Perla, and Computer Arts Magazine to name a few.
“Linn originally moved to Brazil to start up a motion graphics studio with her husband and creative partner before working as a senior art director at a Boston advertising agency. These past work and travel experiences helped to inform her illustrations, which still begin with hand-drawn images.”
(images from linn olofsdotter)