I’ve been pretty lucky to have spent my time in my life around several influential artists who have profoundly influenced me, and, consequently my approach to feng shui, art, and life. None has had more impact than artist, writer, designer, architect, singer, director, and soon curator Julian Schnabel. Watching him work has taught me infinite lessons that I only began to fully understand when I started working with art collectors and feng shui clients. Here are some big lessons you can take away for yourself:
Lesson #1: Bigger is better. If you want to stress the importance of something, or the profound importance of your sense of self, three giant pieces of furniture speak louder than fifty small pieces slammed into a space to fill it. There were no larger walls in Manhattan than those in this fortress of a home, and each wall held immense and symbolic pieces of tapestry, his own paintings, or monstrous paintings like the Picasso "Woman in a Hat" that sold at auction last season that were all collected with specificity and purpose.
Lesson #2: Life is art and no design can be complete without completely examining that manner in which one can hold a glass while seated on a plush sofa, where one can stretch ones legs to contemplate a view, how thick the board is upon which you serve fresh mozzarella and coarsely hacked roma tomatoes with a switchblade provided for assembly and the examination of the way rays of light create a second sculptural effect upon your monstrous headboard at the crack of dawn. Life is a sensational experience of aesthetic moments sewn together, and when you try to live without such a vital tapestry of richness, you fall out of connection with your soul.
Lesson #3: Fashion is something inside of you, and the accoutrement just drape the decision you made to be a certain person with certain evocative traits. Those famous pajamas that he would wear around town were an absolute statement of nothing but the fact that his art world was where art began and ended, and his fashion nonsense would get enveloped in the fray. His equally fashionable children carried on his legacy of "internal style", winding their own necklaces with found objects, and tossing together outfits from found bits of antique couture and friend’s fashion houses.
Lesson #4: Be who you are and have environments reflect that unapologetically. Nothing is as sad in a home as overt modesty. Sullen floors, cookie-cutter, Pottery barn furnishings and art from the shopping mall all assembled because you feel it should be that way, not because it bespeaks your passions or tells your story is a home that cries from your lack of presence. Julian’s original place had massive theatrical curtains in shades of red and regal violet lining walls in lush, overwhelmingly courtly waves. There is zero apology: he is a huge ball of tempestuous fire and you understand that when you see any of his designs, films, paintings or sculptures.
Lesson #5 and most importantly: accidents and imperfections are the gold of great design. An unfinished floor that has a patch of deep scratches can become the highlight of a kinetic living room, unfinished concrete floors are the perfect spot to pour thick epoxy on paintings and let in pool on the ground in puddles like nail polish and that chessboard you inherited from an ex-lover can be the centerpiece of your kitchen table. Things find their way into great design and art often accidentally, like the packages of porcelain plates his brother accidentally shattered that launched his most famous era of art when cemented together and painted over to create sculptural works never seen before.
There are many more things of course that I learned from standing in the light (and the shadow) of an actualized art force, none of which bear repeating except this: "If you want to swallow the kool aid make sure you are ready to go on the ride." Apply that little aphorism I picked up in my era of artistic wisdom to addictively seeking a connection to your highest creative self in your space and the ride may seem very kinetic but utterly blissful and fulfilling.
image above via apartment therapy
This post was written by Dana Claudat, originally published at The Tao of Dana.
Dana Claudat is a Pyramid School Feng Shui consultant, writer, and founder of the feng shui blog The Tao Of Dana. A Stanford-educated Art Historian based in Hollywood, she does very personalized feng shui consultations with an artful slant to a client base composed largely of vanguard hipsters, musicians, the entertainment set and the art world, and also works online with clients spread around the globe. Dana's mission is to help everyone in the world become more positively in control of their environment and, thus, their lives.