I had a bit of an epiphany today while walking one of my two adorable dogs, Stella Mae. In Florida, where we reside, this time of year brings lots of falling leaves and foliage. The sidewalk was littered with heaps of brown leaves, sticks and other plant matter. It had rained recently so I was trying to avoid the squishy and slippery globs of leaves and didn’t pay them any mind until one in particular caught my attention. About twelve inches long and a camel-tan color, it’s like a smooth, elongated pinecone. It was absolutely beautiful and reminded me of a textured leather bracelet or the handle of a well-made handbag. And so, the epiphany is that my love of art comes from my obsession with design, and more particularly, beautifully designed objects.
My great uncle Eugene Lux was a fairly successful packaging designer during the 1940’s. Compact cases were one of his specialties, and this was during an era where little compacts and mirrors were a trademark of luxury and class. He made other things as well like packaging for children’s toys, but I’ve always regarded compacts with a special fondness. What an elegant and lady-like little luxury – a beautifully designed little piece, like jewelry! They’ve been out of style for many years now, but a few cosmetics companies still carry beautifully designed compact mirrors, meant as a special treat and a nod to an era of supreme elegance.
Eugene was an avid collector of art and even collaborated with some very chic artists of his time, including the incredibly famous Piet Mondrian. His rubbing elbows with the likes of such incredible fame and talent were as natural as any peers that you or I have in our lives today. As a designer and art collector living in New York City during the 1940’s, they all ran in the same circles.
The 1940’s are an era that have always fascinated me; we took our time, we made things with quality and pride, we made things just to be special things. I do get a thrill when something comes in great packaging. Side note: I’ll hand it to some of the present-day cosmetics companies, as I feel there has been a noticeable shift toward elegance with some of the new palettes at Sephora and Ulta!
Nature is the master of utterly perfect design. Nature is the creator and root to many artists’ inspiration. Artists toil to replicate soft petals, their delicate shape and sumptuous colors in perfect balance. The colors we name things come from nature, such as rose, peach or avocado. As an artist, I’m always looking at beautiful things, which are everywhere. I started seeing how we replicate nature in design in nearly all things, ranging from our clothing to home design and so many other things. I believe our pursuit of beauty leads us to make great things, and those that resent or reject the notion of beauty are missing a sensory opportunity that’s unparalleled.