A Tree Grows In Jersey
The Hyatt New Brunswick recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation and upgrade to the property. The architecture firm Stonehill and Taylor who were the interior architects and designers behind the renovation contacted us to do a few feature artworks - the one above shows an upside tree sculpture we made for the Hyatt's main restaurant, The Glasswoods Tavern. All white, and highly faceted in the carving, it was a complex, but visually stunning centerpiece.
An Enchanted Dining Room
One of the more interesting residential projects we've completed in the past few years was this dining room for a townhouse on the upper West side of Manhattan, just off the Hudson River. The townhouse was being completely renovated by the owners, and they brought us on board to create a landscape mural for the dining room.
Conceptually, the owner's idea for the space was to create a landscape mural in the room that would bring some of the magic and mystery of the forest into the experience of the room. At night, lit by fireplace and candles, one might be able to imagine that one has set up dinner in the clearing of a verdant landscape. During the day, the landscape would bring a sense of life and space and color to the room.
The architecture of the room was established when we started on the project. The walls smoothly curved up into the ceiling with no break and there were some existing columns at the the doors to the adjacent parlor. The dining room is on the third floor of the townhouse, and a curving staircase with a beautiful wrought iron railing transitions through the space on the east side of the room.
A Sense of Space
We recently completed this mural along a narrow hallway on the second floor of a house. It's an original design roughly based on some of Hudson River School artists, but with a muted palette to harmonize better with some of the surrounding finishes in the space. One of the reasons a mural like this is nice is that the sense of distance and space you see in the mural helps to make the hallway seem much more expansive, as well as bringing a calming, peaceful presence to the space.
Up here in New York, we plan to end our summer with one last weekend at a beach like the one we painted in the mural above. But it's hard to look at such a lovely calm image today, as the destructive scope of Hurricane Katrina becomes more and more clear.
As a company, we'll be contributing to the Red Cross, and one of our artists has organized a benefit for artists and musicians in New Orleans.
In the meantime, here are some links if you are looking, as we are, for ways to help in this time of great need for New Orleans and the surrounding areas:
The Red Cross....Providing Shelter, Food, Water, and Critical Need Assistance
Americares....Providing Basics such as Cleaning Supplies and Personal Hygiene Products
America's Second Harvest...Providing Hunger Relief to Hurricane Victims
It was a surf shop, and they wanted a big mural of a hurricane, which was certainly an unusual subject - even more odd is that they wanted it painted on the floor.
But with Silver Hill Atelier, we paint the murals our clients ask for.
We paint cloud murals all the time, but they are usually more of the calm and bucolic variety. I think Norvel took a particular interest in the challenges of painting the dramatic power of the clouds that make up these vast (and vastly destructive) storm systems.
Nobu57: Part Two
As noted in this earlier post, one of our exciting projects completed over the summer was the creation of several sculptural art features at Nobu57 - the latest outpost of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's culinary empire.
In the earlier posting, we covered the abalone shell chandeliers we made over the bar area of the restaurant.
While those were quite a feat to fabricate given the short time frame we had, even more challenging was the Sea Urchin Spine ceiling feature we made for the Private Dining area of the restaurant.
The concept of the approx. 9' x 9' ceiling was to create a sculpture, fabricated entirely from Sea Urchin Spines, that looks like the ripples formed when one casts a pebble into a pond.
In a ceiling of that size, we calculated that we would need to individually hang more than 100,000 of the spines to make the designers' vision a reality.
To learn more about the process and steps involved in creating this unique artwork, click the "Continue Reading" link below!
Nobu57: Part One
Although mural are our focus, we also do a significant amount of 3D / sculptural projects as well. One of the more exciting projects that we worked on this summer here at Silver Hill Atelier was creating a couple of spectacular art features for the restaurant "Nobu57" in New York City. The artworks we created for the restaurant are four 'Abalone Chandaliers', featured in this post, and a 'Sea Urchin Spine' ceiling which we created for the private dining area of the restaurant - a very intense installation that I will talk more about in another post.
The original New York Nobu (which we also created artwork for) is a downtown / TriBeCa Institution. At Nobu57, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is seeking to replicate the magic for the uptown crowd. Early indications are (not suprisingly) quite favorable.
Like the original Nobu, this restaurant, and the art features we created for it, were designed by the Rockwell Group, a firm that specializes in architecture which is truly creative, often unusual, typically hand-crafted, and always unique.
The Rockwell Group was familiar with hand-strung Czech glass bead mural we created for Rocco's restaurant, which contained over 120,000 individual glass beads,so when they came up with a design for their abalone chandeliers that would incorporate more than 19,000 shells, they knew who to call.
For a more detailed look at how we created the chandeliers, and what they looked like when complete, read on....
Hotels And Greek Goddesses
In terms of color and ethereal composition, one of our favorite murals was created was for a boutique hotel in New York called The Muse Hotel.
The Muse Hotel wanted to create a unique and luxurious environment in New York that would offer its guests dreamy inspiration during their stay in this most inspiring of cities....And to reach that goal, the designers were inspired to include a luminous ceiling mural over the main axis of the hotel lobby.
Artist-Citizen: The Story Behind the Murals in our Nation's Capitol Building
Today's New York Times has a fascinating article on Constantino Brumidi, the artist whose Pompeian style decorative art and Renaissance style murals contribute so impressively to the neo-classical grandeur of the United States Capitol building.
The picture above is a detail of Brumidi's masterpiece "The Apotheosis of Washington" on the canopy of the Capitol Rotunda. As someone who has seen a lot of fresco murals on domes, it was interesting for me to see George Washington and other early American patriots amongst the cast of "characters in clouds". Normally, murals in this style are populated exclusively with angels, cherubs, Greeks and Romans, so running into George Washington is kind of like seeing cotton candy at a fine French Patisserie - unexpected, but fun.
From Brumidi's early success in Italy, to his exile following the Catholic Church's accusations that he had stolen artworks, to his immigrant success story of painting much of the artwork in our nation's Capitol, till his his pauper's death, it's an amazing story, and worth checking out. Even if you get the Times, check out the online link for the additional photos posted in 'slide show' format.
The Foundation For A Good Painting
The drawing above is by one of our artists who drew it from a painting by the 19th century French artist Hippolyte Flandrin, a student of Ingres, who is generally acknowledged as being one of history's great masters of drawing.
Drawing, for much of the mural painting that we do here at Silver Hill, is like a scaffold or support structure that, if properly built, holds the color and tactility of paint in a unified harmony on the canvas. A good drawing helps a painting not fall apart into disparate elements, but ensures the finished work will be a unified whole.
The foundation for a good painting is always a good drawing, or at least a good drawing ability. This is true even if the final painting is not realistic, but entirely abstract.
If you ever want to learn how to paint, learning to draw is a critical part of the process. In the art education process of the 19th and early 20th century, drawing was absolutely integral to an an artist's development, and the academic drawings from this time period are some of the most lovely drawings from the time.
In this sphere, the artist Pierre Paul Prud'hon was an indisputable master, and when the artists of Silver Hill seek to brush up on their drawing skills, copies of Prud'hon work are a great place to start.
It's like going to a gym, and having Arnold Scwartzeneggar be your personal trainer. You WILL get something out of the experience!
Below are three drawings by one of our artists after the work of Prud'hon (CLICK THE THUMBNAILS FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW):