The John-Richard Showroom Lobby

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The lobby of the John-Richard High Point Showroom this April showcased furniture and lighting designs as well as art by Mark McDowell. The visual effect was that of a luxurious penthouse curated by the most culturally refined collector. The combination of warm woods, textural finishes and stunning art motifs on glass, gave a cohesive chicness to the setting

These new introductions had a subtle Asian feel and there are other global influences like the Moroccan patterns on the door fronts of the Almeria Sideboard. The design aesthetic was like an art gallery with complimentary, coveted pieces that are not overly matched. There was a common theme of artistic geometry as seen in the embellishments and rich, sensuous finishes.

Three Questions with Artist Mary Hong

Mary Hong has caught worldwide attention of contemporary art enthusiasts with her unique use of recycled glass, color palettes and bold composition. Her world travel as an 18-year veteran flight attendant, brought her creativity, imagination and inspiration. The artist’s work has been featured in local, regional and national media outlets both in print and on television. Mary earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a well-established, award-winning artist and entrepreneur in Northwest Florida. A professional artist for 23 years, she has participated in group and solo exhibitions in the U.S. and France and was the recipient of the 2014 Artist of the Year award from the Walton County Florida Tourist Development Council.

The passion for glass began during a trip to Greece. “It was 1999 when I caught the bright glint of cobalt blue glass from a bead shop in Greece. I had to have it and I had to learn how to create it! Glass was my thing! I was hooked! I fused it in a kiln, wrapped it around a mandrel, and created full wall mosaics with it,” enthuses the artist.

John-Richard will be debuting new artwork by Mary Hong at High Point Market this April. We recently touched base with the artist to ask her about her inspiration and the current color combinations that appeal to her.

1. Your use of recycled glass creates unique textures and refracts light in unusual ways. What are the artistic and environmental reasons that you chose to include mosaics of glass in your work?  I have always loved glass…it’s permanence, it’s beauty when light passes through it. I’m a glass artist first, painter second. I love how glass can add another dimension to a painting. Glass can pick up any subtle light and magnify it. And, it’s all around us! It’s not difficult to find it! I love the challenge of taking an ordinary glass bottle, and turning it into art on canvas. Since I’ve taught thousands of people my process, I’m pretty sure we’re making a dent in how much glass goes out the door!

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2. How does living on the Emerald Coast of Florida inspire and influence your work?  Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida has definitely influenced my work. I lean towards the brilliant blues and aquas, always trying to find that soft subtle hue to balance it. I challenge myself sometimes by trying to create an image using only white paint and clear glass. It’s amazing what you can do with just those two things! I recently opened a gallery in Nashville TN and have begun a new series of work with much stronger colors. I love them! It’s a big change for me!

3. What are you currently working on and what are the color palettes that appeal to you right now? AH! See above! I’ve shared pictures so you can see the strong colors! I literally finished them yesterday!!

Mondays with Mary flyerTo learn more about the artist Mary Hong, visit www.maryhongstudio.com
Follow Mary on her social channels:
Instagram: @maryhongstsudio Pinterest: wiredglass.com
Facebook: Mary Hong Studio
*Join Mary for her Facebook Live ‘Mondays with Mary’ on the 3rd Monday of every month at 10:30 am. 

Artist Spotlight: Ashley Sullivan

Ashley SullivanAshley Sullivan grew up in northeast Ohio where the rust belt smokestacks and old industry give way to leaning barns and fields of soy. Depending on the season, or the temperament of the weather that day, the landscape outside her windows changed. Light ebbed and flowed against a field that boomed green and whispered in summer breezes and went all cracked brown and sharp when whorls of snow came tumbling out of the iron skies in winter. She chased cats through barns born a century before her and she watched how the dust lit up like fireworks when the sun slipped in through the slats and cracks of the room where cows used to mingle. There was beauty in everything, and she kept it all safe in the deepest pockets of her brain.

She’s lived in Chicago among swaying towers of metal and glass that poked at the sky. It was in Chicago that she learned to appreciate how dynamic a city can be; how the jagged lines and gentle curves of railroad trusses can spark memories of barn beams. Now, she’s boomeranged back home to Ohio to set down some roots in Cleveland Heights. Most days she can be found in her studio, chasing down moments and putting them onto canvas. She’s only just begun.

“Ashley Sullivan’s work is incredibly stimulating and interesting.,” enthused Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard. “Her use of movement and color result in an industrial feel while remaining versatile enough for the most sophisticated spaces.”


We had a chance to ask Ashley about her background and what inspires her art.

You grew up in the country among fields and barns. How did the landscape effect or inspire you?
There are quiet, still, and restful places out in the country. Which is not to say the country is boring or dull. I love the repetition of lines in a field — freshly seeded rows of turned earth, or corn stalk bases that remain after the fall harvest. There is texture and pattern in a dense arrangement when viewed up close, and yet taking in the field as a whole, there is a calming uniformity. With more open space, you can take in a wider expanse of a field or sky. I love the feeling of being a part of and connected to nature, but also feeling a very small creature in a vast space.

Conversely, in the city of Chicago, did you find it infused you with a different type of artistic energy?
A city certainly has life and energy. At times I am completely starry-eyed enchanted, but can also find myself overwhelmed by the inexhaustibleness of a city. I would love to bottle the vibrancy and spark of a city lit up at night, but I don’t think it has a long shelf life. Part of what makes a city so appealing to me is its constantly changing nature. You could paint a city street forever and never paint it the same way twice.

GBG-1406Do you have any favorite color palettes?
I am always drawn to a layered neutral palette, pulling from both warm and cool tones to give depth and interest to the calm areas of a canvas. For the focal point I bring in more saturated neutrals and bolder colors. I’ll use various colors from the same color family — instead of the accent color being only “red”, I will use orange, rust, pink, cranberry, salmon, coral, burgundy, and so on.

Are there artists, past or present, whom you particularly admire?
Narrowed down to top ten: Alphonse Mucha, George Hendrik Breitner, Franz Kline, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hess, Gerhard Richter, Nick Cave, Kai Samuels-Davis, Jeremy Mann, Robert Szot.

When did you start producing art with John-Richard?
November of 2016.

What new art are you working on right now?
I came home from a vacation on Lake Erie with a collection of stones (agate, quartz, slate, etc.) and plan to do a series of paintings using their color palettes.

 

Three Questions with Ishka Designs

5 resizeIshka Designs, a Brooklyn-based interior design firm, has a diverse portfolio of work that includes five level brownstones, vacation properties in the Caribbean, residences in France and beach-front estates. The principals, Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom, define their design aesthetic as ‘clean, modern, eclectic and simplistically beautiful.’

Niya Bascom’s background in film set design and a sojourn at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden contributed to his extraordinary visual creativity. He is also an accomplished photographer whose work has been featured in galleries, embassies and museums. Anishka Clarke worked a decade in finance, both in Jamaica, and on Wall Street, but in early 2006 she left to pursue her real passion, interior design. A Brooklyn resident, but Jamaican at heart, Anishka received an Impact award from the largest Caribbean news publication, Caribbean Life for her contributions to the Caribbean American community. Anishka is an Interior Design honors graduate (Summa Cum Laude) of the Fashion Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from Stern Business School, New York University. Both talented designers have a nature-inspired and minimalistic aesthetic that puts the spotlight on uniquely crafted furniture, accent pieces and art.

Ishka Designs has been featured in numerous publications including New York Spaces, Anthology and New York Magazine as well as on the NBC television series, ‘Open House’. We recently met up with the designers to ask them about what inspires them and their design philosophy.

Each piece of furniture, art or accessory seems significant within your overall design. Do you choose all forms so they can live on their own as well as within the setting?

An interesting question. Whether intentional or not, there are certain pieces that are chosen for their uniqueness or as you put it, their ability to live on their own. It is, however, important that the remaining pieces complement those unique pieces and the overall environment. Our goal is always for overall harmony.

Do you tend to choose art before or after the design of the room?

We don’t have a particular way of doing things when it comes to art. Sometimes the art is the actual inspiration for the space and other times, we find pieces during the process that fit right into the solution like a puzzle. Oftentimes though, art is sourced after the project is installed and we tend to leave the design solution open ended enough to allow for art to be added.

What is the most important connection between the interior and the landscape?

The size and placement of windows and doors play a literal part in connecting the interior to a landscape. Beyond that, however, the choice of material finishes in the home can also aid in bringing the outdoors in. Natural materials and textures that are minimally manipulated, i.e., bamboo and unfinished woods, can feel more in tune with nature. Interestingly, there are ways to keep the vibe modern vs. rustic by keeping forms clean, simple and unified. Other important ways of connecting spaces to the outdoors is with the use of color.

To learn more about these talented designers, visit their website www.ishkadesigns.com.

Follow them on their social channels:
Facebook: Ishka Designs
Instagram: @ishkadesigns
Pinterest: Ishka Designs

Brâncusi Inspired

BrancusiConstantin Brâncuși was a Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer who made his career in France. Widely considered to be one of the foremost pioneers of modernism, and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century, Brâncuși is often referred to as the patriarch of modern sculpture.

As a child in Romania he displayed an aptitude for carving wooden farm tools. His formal education first took him to Bucharest, then to Munich and then to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His artwork emphasizes clean geometrical lines that balance forms inherent in his materials with the symbolic allusions of representational art. Brâncuși was also known for paying an unusual amount of attention to the bases on which his sculptures were displayed, believing that the pedestal was part of the sculpture itself.

The Brâncuși sculptural aesthetic has influenced many designers. These lighting pieces by Mark McDowell and accessories by Margaret Fisher show how the artist is still a source of inspiration.

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Living with Art: Evocative Art by Carol Benson-Cobb enhances Furniture Designs

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place:  from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web. 

– Pablo Picasso

Carol Benson-Cobb150Carol Benson-Cobb has a singular ability to trigger memories of place and time that stir emotions in all who view her paintings. Now, her work is being featured on several contemporary furniture designs. The artist’s abstract perspectives of sea, sand and sky are beautifully displayed under glass.

 

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Slated and the Slated Four Door Credenza

The contemporary style of the credenzas, cocktail and nesting tables are perfect statement pieces for the modern home. The soothing, neutral tones of the collection will compliment many design styles seen on the coast, in the mountains or within a city apartment. The work of Carol Benson-Cobb can be seen in the homes of many film, sports and entertainment stars and is a favorite of many celebrated interior designers.

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Seascape Nesting Cocktail Tables and Seascape A – C
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Dune Textile No.2 and Dune Cocktail Table
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Dune Nesting Cocktail Tables and the Original Dune Painting

Artist Spotlight: Austin Allen James

austin bay shirt hrAustin A. James was born in Putnam, CT but has lived most of his life since 1973 in Houston, TX. Austin began his art career in 1994 as a poet. His love for playing with words and phrases and his love for color naturally led him to experimenting with paint and motion. He started painting in 1996 and exhibiting as a professional artist in 1997. Austin believes that art is energy. Each human being has his or her own unique form of energy. An artist is the one who is capable of translating this energy into art.

gbg-1497.jpgAustin’s pieces focus on organic shapes, color and the natural flow of matter and motion. His MFA from Naropa University in Poetry has infused a lyrical sensibility into Austin’s work. Austin’s formal education also includes a BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Austin lives in Houston, Texas with his children Granger and Baylies.

We asked Mary Neff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard, her thoughts about the artist. “Austin’s work has this amazing fluidity to it. The end result is incredibly peaceful – though when he talks about the creative process, it sounds so energetic!,” she adds, “His aesthetic suits so many spaces and styles. I am thrilled we are working with him, and I look forward to building our collection.”

You are a poet as well as an artist, are there commonalities between both forms of creative expression? Yes, it is not uncommon to find a poet and a visual artist in the same person. A poet loves to play with words. Words are pigments that define space. A visual artist enjoys the use of color and shapes to create a sense of feeling.

Art is most successful when it strikes two feeling chords at once. The piece that makes one feel happy and sad, angry and joyful. That is art.

Are there any places or settings that are inspiring you right now?

I love the Gulf Coast.

How has your time in Texas molded you into the artist you are today? I discovered I was a rascal in Texas. I am a child of the 1970’s. Children did as they pleased, and so did our parents; these parents were raised in the 1950’s and became young adults during the Vietnam war. No one was minding the store or the rules.

Do you have a personal favorite color palette?GBG-1501

Neutral: whites, soft grays, robin’s egg blues, celadons. I believe it is easier to feel through the subtleties of a soft, tranquil palete.

What are you currently working on?

A new series called “Carpe Grace”. It is a gentle piece with this faint touch of gold blending through the center of the piece. The gold appears as a fog. Carpe Grace involves a solid 10-15 layers in order to accomplish the feeling of “floating in grace”.

Can you speak about your new relationship with John-Richard?

I wanted to work with John-Richard because their aesthetic and scope compliment and represent the south. The company has a keen eye for strength mixed with subtleties. I see myself in a similar fashion. I look forward to a steady relationship with John-Richard that develops step-by-step through the years.

 

For more details on the Austin Allen James art carried by John-Richard, click on the link below:

www.johnrichard.com

The Magical World of Teng Fei

JRO-2721 JRO-2850Long Jingchuang, who is known by the name Teng Fei in the art world, received a degree in Fine Arts from the Jiuyi College in 1995. In 1998, Teng Fei began his career as a professional artist in Shanghai. During his stay in Shanghai, he studied both traditional Chinese and Western-style art and techniques. The artist continues to meld history and cultural elements into his contemporary concepts, thus forming his own unique style of painting.

Teng Fei transports us to a dreamlike space where we see polo ponies in a myriad of colors, feel charmed among golden butterflies, walk among the citizens of a European city, or simply enjoy the clouds or silver tones of tree branches reflected. What joy there is to be found in his paintings!

The work of Teng Fei has been included in prestigious collections both in Hong Kong and Singapore and his spectacular art has been purchased by collectors worldwide. John-Richard offers an extensive selection of the artist’s paintings in many genres.

“Teng Fei creates some of the most diverse and beautiful pieces for John-Richard. The use of color, texture and media, including varieties of metal leaves, results in stunning works of art for our customer,” enthuses MaryNeff Stewart, Senior Wall Art Designer for John-Richard.

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John-Richard Launches ‘Designer Shorts’ Video Series

Lights, Camera, Designers

John-Richard was thrilled with the response to our new video series, ‘Designer Shorts’, which debuted at High Point Market. Our stellar cast included interior designers Catherine and Justine MacFee, Scot Meacham Wood, Erika Ward, Lisa Mende, Robin Baron along with esteemed abstract artist Carol Benson Cobb and award-winning product designers Malene Barnett and Mark McDowell. These segments, hosted by Arianne Bellizaire, offer a treasure trove of design inspiration. The format, much like a designer-style Actor’s Studio, allows magical conversations to organically develop among creative people.

Here are some snapshots of the series highlights. Please note that the last screenshot has a video snippet below that can be viewed. To enjoy the full version and to see the other ”Designers Shorts’ segments, please click here.

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Shay Geyer and Arianne Bellizaire discuss the importance of layering in design and how to incorporate trends.
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Lisa Mende, Mark McDowell and Arianne Bellizaire explore how nature influences design.
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Erika Ward, Malene Barnett and Arianne Bellizaire talk about trends and the process of both interior and product design.
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Carol Benson-Cobb, Robin Baron, and Arianne Bellizaire with thoughts on the relationship between art and interior design.
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Catherine and Justine Macfee, Scot Meacham Wood and Arianne Bellizaire on what influences and what’s next in interior design.

Spotlight on Wall Art Designer Mary Neff Stewart

Mary Neff Portrait
Mary Neff Stewart

Mary Neff Stewart has been defining her career for 15 years as a designer and art teacher and now as the Senior Wall Art Designer at John-Richard. Her appreciation of fine art and love of creating mixed media pieces at the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis has been parlayed into sourcing and creating art for John-Richard.

Mary Neff has lived in various places across the Mid-South and now resides in Greenwood with her husband and their son. She finds inspiration through color and home design. She also serves as the Homes Editor for Mississippi Magazine, writing on the spectacular homes and art throughout the state. We were able to spend some time with the designer to hear her view on trends and the current collections.

We were able to spend some time with the designer and hear her thoughts on trends and the new John-Richard introductions.

What trends are you seeing in the market right now?GBG-1358A

I’m seeing a lot of unique objects being used in framed art. People love a curated look in their homes, and we are trying to source and create unique styles. With our genuine butterfly collections and our framed botanicals, we are really creating one of a kind art for a distinctive home. Color is still extremely important, as that is sometimes the only “pop” in an otherwise neutral space. We have some really stunning canvases that would work in a variety of designs.

What unique techniques are being used this season?GBG-1313A-D

Obviously, I was feeling very floral this collection! I loved playing with the John Richard botanical department and using their new and exciting pieces. They are creating some really fabulous things by preserving and dying real blooms and greenery. We also hand painted and applied resin to a variety of silk stems.

What inspires you with this season?

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Violet Hurricane by William Goodman

All of our artists inspire me each and every season. I am in love with William Goodman’s vibrant color as well as Jason Lott’s moody hues. Mary Hong completely went outside her box for this collection with Intergalactic.

What appeals to you personally and professionally in the art offerings?

Personally, I am drawn to loud, brilliant colors. Professionally, I seem to focus more on subdued hues and classic whites, creams and grays. The April collection has a great mix of both. We are still seeing a lot of cool aqua. It truly seems to be a color that is sticking around in the design world. Yellow seems to be a new hue that we are showing off in our original oil collection also.

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Ladies in Aqua I -IV by Kiah Denson
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Intergalactic I -II by Mary Hong

 

Is there a buzz word that reflects what is new and interesting in John-Richard wall art?

Texture is always important! Especially with our use of lots of natural objects this past market, texture- whether real or implied- helps to make a piece more exciting. I’m a very tactile person. I always like to touch the art!

To see more offering in art and wall decor, click here.