Villa Oasis, Home of Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé
I became enchanted with the work of interior designer Bill Willis after a magical trip to Marrakech last September. Click here to read about our amazing Moroccan adventure. I was blown away by the interiors we saw and even more shocked to discover these places halfway around the world had been designed by a fellow Southerner. Referred to as the “Magician from Memphis,” the unknown decorator was responsible for saving Moroccan craftsmanship from extinction in the 1960s. His legendary talent attracted clients that included the Gettys, Rothschilds, Agnellis, and Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé. His jet set hedonistic lifestyle was not for the faint of heart. Marian McEvoy wrote in her foreword to the book Bill Willis, “A man who liked to party until dawn, Bill was happy to settle down in a place where dinner started after nine o’clock and breakfast meetings and pre-dawn gym workouts did not exist.”
As my Instagram feed has been blowing up with images of rainbows celebrating this epic day, I thought now would be a perfect time to feature the technicolored work of one of all time favorite artists…Jen Stark. It is hard to fathom that this insanely talented lady is in her early 30s. Her method for creating her intricate sculptures and paintings began out of need. As an art student in Aix-en Provence, she could not afford French pastels or oil paints, so she bought blocks of children’s construction paper and began cutting. She found the meticulous, sequential work felt meditative. The amount of discipline required to create a single work is extraordinary.
Each work is built layer by layer and can take months to complete. Everything is made by hand and the artist has a few tricks to protect her hands so she does not injure her fingers. Wearing mittens while working and padding her X-Acto knife with cotton balls helps greatly.
“I frequently use common materials such as paper and wood and strive to create complex structures that reveal how remarkable common materials can become. I’m interested in the idea of how math and science is intertwined in everything around us and am inspired by all types of things, from plants to outer space, microscopic designs in nature, color and mystery. My work concentrates on hypnotic, optical designs that mimic mandalas and sacred objects. I hope to help everyone discover the simplicity of beauty and mystery through my work”.
“The aim of my work is to realize the potential of simple and common materials. There are no boundaries, and I believe it can be a great source of inspiration for others. I think with new ideas, our consciousness expands a bit more and our minds evolve. Hopefully my work will enable people to open their minds so that they are able to envision and discover new ideas. I am hopeful and open to the idea of evolving our consciousness”
Jen Stark was born in Miami, Florida in 1983 and received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2005, majoring in fibers with a minor in animation. Her artwork mimics intricate patterns and colors found in nature while exploring ideas of replication and infinity. Although Stark is most recognized for her paper sculptures, she has explored a variety of media including wood, metal, paint, plexi and animation.
Stark has exhibited globally with major shows in NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Thailand and Canada. Her work is included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the West Collection, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and MOCA Miami among others.
Stark lives and works in Los Angeles.