Posts in Category: ARTISTIC LICENSE

HOW THIS CHARLOTTE DESIGNER SPOTLIGHTS RISING ARTISTS: CATHERINE M. AUSTIN INTERIOR DESIGN VIA ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

I am delighted to share this lovely article that appeared in Architectural Digest this past week about my passion for working with artists and connecting them with clients. Using original art and educating clients is a cornerstone of my design aesthetic. I am so grateful I found a profession that allows me to combine all of my desired careers (artist, art history professor, curator, and designer) into one! Thank you to Katy Olson for sharing our story and to all the artists and galleries I have had the privilege to work with over the years!

CATHY AUSTIN SHARES HOW PROMOTING EMERGING TALENT CAN BENEFIT YOUR PROJECTS, TOO/ TEXT BY KATHERINE OLSON

Austin works with artist Charlie Havanich, pictured here, who is represented by Hidell Brooks Gallery. “I adore Charlie and I just acquired one of his works,” Austin tells AD PRO. “The image in the picture is a commission for one of my clients that bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Jackie.” / Photography: Charle Hanavich

Cathy Austin began her career not in design, but in art, working at Sotheby’s across departments including European Porcelain, American Paintings, and American Furniture. “I assisted the experts cataloguing the works for the auctions, handling archives, client contracts, condition reports, and arranging presale exhibitions. I began as an intern and archivist and also worked as an administrator,” recalls Austin. When she transitioned into interiors, Austin kept connected to the art scene, attending shows like Maison et Objet and TEFAF—but also in a more tangible way, sourcing local Southern talent for her interior-design projects.

Austin complemented her space at a recent Traditional Home show house with a portrait, left, by artist Kate Long Stevenson and a large abstract, right, by David Paul / Photography: Dustin Peck

The designer, who tells AD PRO that she has “always been an art history student at heart,” makes it a priority to educate clients. “Since art is very subjective, I encourage my clients to collect works that they respond to emotionally. Original art elevates every interior and reflects the personalities that inhabit the space. By attending art fairs at home and abroad, I seek out emerging artists to introduce to my clients. Getting to know the artists personally and learning about their process and what inspires them is very important to me to pass along that knowledge.”

An interior by Cathy Austin with artwork by Amanda Talley, above the fireplace/ Photography: Gordon Beall

As principal of Catherine M. Austin Interior Design, of Charlotte, North Carolina, one of those talents Austin has gotten to know on a deeper level is a New Orleans–based SCAD graduate named Amanda Talley, whose work she discovered in a local showroom. “I fell in love with her abstract, gestural works and designed my first living room around one of her paintings that I did not even own…knowing that one day I would add her work to my own personal collection.” The designer-artist duo’s first commission together was for a couple who were newbies to art collecting and just beginning their collection; their second commission was for Austin’s home. For each project, Austin sends Talley “inspiration images” as well as examples of her art that Austin’s clients like. Then, Talley “takes over and works her magic! I have loved watching her style evolve, yet still being able to recognize her brushstrokes knowing it is her work.”

What should designers know about sourcing art, particularly from emerging talents? In addition to the perhaps obvious exposure (“See as much as you can. Go to as many museums, galleries, auctions, and art fairs as you can to train your eye and be exposed to what is available in the marketplace”), Austin also advises having an open mind. “Do not be intimidated by price point. Even established artists can be within reach if you look at their complete body of work, including studies and works on paper. You can research artists through wonderful websites like Artsy which can also lead to discovering new artists and art galleries. It has been thrilling to watch the careers of artists I befriended years ago soar through their values increasing and being acquired by museum collections.”

Painting by Brad Thomas through SoCoGallery / Photography by Emily Followill

Another tip? Keep your eyes peeled; sometimes discoveries unfold on one’s downtime. Austin met a valuable collaborator during a volunteer commitment with the Mint Museum in Charlotte. “I was serving as the head of the Mint Museum Auxiliary and working closely with Brad Thomas, our curator of modern and contemporary art, selecting possible acquisitions for the museum’s permanent collection that our organization would underwrite. He was already an established artist, as well as art consultant and artist mentor—but his work was taking a new direction,” she explains, which “combined mixed media, collage, and his distinctive handwriting that became abstract lines when intertwined on the canvas. The words in his works examine the influence writers have had on shaping his worldview.”

The artist’s works are now found in Austin’s collections—and in her clients’. “We recently collaborated on a work for the Atlanta Southeastern Showhouse this spring. I asked him to create a work inspired by a Southern author. He used the Flannery O’Connor quote, ‘To know oneself is, above all, to know what one lacks. It is to measure oneself against truth, and not the other way around. The first product of self-knowledge is humility.’ The abstract work was the perfect finishing touch to my bedroom, that made the space more personal and provided a contemporary juxtaposition to the more traditional elements in the room.”

And for up-and-coming artists? For their part, recommends Austin, “artists can share their portfolios with designers whose work they admire and offer to lend their work for various show houses and charity events,” says Austin. “Attending events at the major design centers and other industry events is a great way to connect with designers. Every city from Atlanta to Los Angeles now seems to have its own design week full of opportunities for networking.”

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THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING: PRIZE WINNING DOCUMENTARY ON HBO NOVEMBER 12

“There are a lot of people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” -Oscar Wilde

I happened upon an interview this weekend on National Public Radio with Nathaniel Khan, the director of the acclaimed documentary, “The Price of Everything” that appears November 12th on HBO. Garnering accolades from every film festival imagined, the documentary breaks down the boundaries in the art world between artists, collectors, auction houses, galleries, art critics, and more. As a self professed art addict and Sotheby’s alumnae, I cannot wait to see this look behind the curtain. When I introduce works of art to clients, I always address what makes it special and why it is valuable. I am excited to hear their answers to the same questions on a much grander scale. 

DESIGN BOARD: CATHERINE M. AUSTIN INTERIOR DESIGN IN CHARLOTTE HOME DESIGN & DECOR

It is always a treat to see one’s own work in print. We were thrilled to see the latest issue of Charlotte Home Design & Decor featuring us in one of my favorite columns where they showcase a different designer each month. Read below for our favorite finds s scouted from around the world…

THE COLOR FACTORY OPENING NEXT WEEK IN NYC

“Mere color can speak to the soul a thousand different ways.” -Oscar Wilde

I am counting down the days until my next visit to NYC to see the much anticipated opening of The Color Factory.  This collaborative interactive exhibit debuted in San Francisco in August 2017. Originally just a one month long exhibit, the hype surrounding the celebration of color and creativity lasted for another eight sold-out months.

Opening August 20th, the new exhibition with a palette inspired by New York City is coming to ShoHo’s Hudson Square neighborhood. Covering 20,000 square feet, The Color Factory will feature brand-new participatory installations of colors collected around the city— hues that invite curiosity, discovery and play. 

VISIONARY WOMEN LUNCHEON INSPIRED BY OSCAR DE LA RENTA

“Be the designer of your own destiny.” -Oscar de la Renta

In addition to our interior design projects, we also enjoy working on event designs for special clients.  A favorite annual event has become the Visionary Women luncheon presented by The Mint Museum, Queens University of Charlotte and Wells Fargo Private Bank. The purpose of the luncheon is to bring together the visionary women who have shaped the City of Charlotte as well as to honor the Charlotte BuisnessWoman of the Year and Charlotte’s Woman of the Year while providing an inspiring program of forward thinking women breaking boundaries today. Click here to see other special events we have worked on in our portfolio including a a Patrons’ Party honoring Charlotte Moss and Decorative Arts Symposiums featuring Miles Redd and Mary McDonald

THE GLAMOUR AND ROMANCE OF OSCAR DE LA RENTA EXTENDED THROUGH AUGUST 19

“What I try to do in my designs is make a woman dream.” -Oscar de la Renta

Charlotte has always had a deep affinity for Oscar de la Renta. Not only do his designs resonate with the Southern lifestyle filled with special occasions, but they are also appealing with their exquisite craftsmanship and detailing, palette of delightful colors, and lovely patterns ranging from florals to exotic motifs.

ART WITH HEART: ATLANTA HOME & LIFESTYLES SOUTHEASTERN DESIGNER SHOWHOUSE & GARDENS

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso

I think original art is one of the MOST important design elements in an interior. It reveals the personality of the inhabitant, elevates the other surrounding items, and adds a magical dimension to any room. Working on the art for the Southeastern Showhouse was a dream come true. Two of my favorite artists, Brad Thomas and Alexis Walter created works specifically for my spaces and my favorite Charlotte galleries, The New Gallery of Modern Art, Hidell Brooks Gallery, and SOCO Gallery allowed me to curate my own dream installation from the artists they represent, many of whom have become friends. The majority of works are by Southern contemporary artists with a nod to my NYC days represented by Stephanie Hirsch and Scott Duce seen below. By playing with scale, unifying colors, and juxtaposing different mediums, I tried to create harmonious compositions throughout the spaces.

CREATIVE MINDS: ANNE LEMANSKI “RABBIT RABBIT RABBIT” AT SOCO GALLERY

 

FEAR, LUCK, FATE, WORK, FORTUNE , 2017

To enter the world of artist Anne Lemanski is literally like falling down the rabbit hole of creativity.  She is wickedly funny, wickedly smart, and wickedly talented. Her works are not only impeccably constructed with layers of various materials, but they are also layered with meaning.  This brilliant combination has garnered her accolades in a plethora of solo exhibitions and private and public collections around the country. Charlotte art lovers were lucky enough to get a first look at her new work at her exhibition “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit” at SOCO Gallery open through March 16th. 

CREATIVE MINDS: BRAD THOMAS “HOLD THESE TRUTHS” AT SOCO GALLERY

Brad Thomas, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” (variation 1), Enamel and acrylic on canvas, 2017

Brad Thomas is a creative force of many talents…Artist, Curator, Teacher, Mentor, and Art Advisor just to name a few. His highly anticipated exhibition at SOCO Gallery this month welcomes the North Carolina native back to Charlotte revealing a new direction in his work.

I met Brad when he was the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Mint Museum working together on acquisitions. Through the years, Brad has become a trusted friend and colleague that I look to for art advice for clients and collectors. His layered and complex abstract works are a combination of painting, drawing, words, collage, and sculpture that slowly reveal details the more the viewer engages with the works. 

FLOWER POWER: THE SAN FRANCISCO FALL ART & ANTIQUES SHOW

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 25 – Cathy Austin, Danielle Rollins, Billy Ceglia, Amanda Reynal and Jenny Brown attend The San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show Opening Night Preview Gala on October 25th 2017 at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA (Photo – Susana Bates for Drew Altizer Photography)

There is nothing I love more than an antiques show. Gone are the days of booth after booth of brown furniture. Today’s shows provide the catalyst for vendors and designers to showcase their creative brilliance and highlight the very best they have to offer including everything one can imagine. I was delighted to attend the San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Opening Gala last week. In honor of the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s Summer of Love, the theme was FLOWER POWER: Floral Imagery in Art, Antiques & Design. Interior designer Suzanne Tucker chaired the brilliant show and Paris fashion designer Andrew Gn joined as honorary chair for the prestigious event that benefits Enterprise for Youth, a nonprofit organization supporting underprivileged students through educational programs.