Art Inspiration: meow or woof?

Growing up, my artist mom taught me to notice design in the unlikeliest of places. Odd places like the marks grass makes on a bare knee; the stretched shadow of a chain link fence; or the intricate pattern that traces the rind of any melon. The idea was inspiration is everywhere. All you had to do was look.




Toilet paper roll artToilet paper rolls by Studio Zerbey Architecture + Design Image via Houzz




So I started looking and, over the years, I developed a thing for off-beat art.





Donut paintingThis painting of doughnuts hangs, in all its gilded frame glory, in our kitchen. Unconventional subject matter for an oil painting to be sure; but to me, that’s its appeal.





I gravitated towards quirky art.






Paper bag painting40″ x 50″ (in other words, very big) abstract acrylic of a paper bag. It was given to me by a generous friend and now hangs center stage in our living room.






And irreverent art–and, apparently, art with food as its subject–gets me every time.






Bacon paintingLarge acrylic bacon painting in our living room by the talented Lyn Gianni (but I call her Mom”).





I think one of the most important things about a piece of art is it should speak to you.






You Only Live OnceEclectic Bedroom by Los Angeles Photographers Alex Amend Photography Image via Houzz






And the other day, I thought perhaps it should say, “Meow.”





Here’s the part where I need to tell you I’m nearing the finish line on the living room design for a client who adores her cat. That this client thinks her cat is wonderful and I think my client is wonderful and I need to find her art that is as neat as she is. Ho-hum won’t cut it. And that the other day, while I was brainstorming what piece we should hang over her sofa, I had an idea.



Brace yourself. It’s a wild one.



We could take a photo of her cat in black and white, enlarge the image until it was huge (as in ginormously, jaw-droppingly large), frame it and hang it above said sofa.




I know. Weird right? Crazy? Maybe. Admittedly, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea myself until a few days later my mom and I happened to be strolling down Main street in Ventura and we spotted this window display outside a thrift store that raises money for pets in need.





Black and white dog and chair





It was my wacky idea come to life.






Black and white dog and cat behind counter




And I loved it! Unfortunately, the owners of the thrift store felt the exact same way so they weren’t willing to part with any of the photographs but they did tell me a local artist took them and that the images were processed locally. And that’s where the information stopped. Neither owner could remember the who or the where. But that’s what the internet is for. If my client decides she likes this idea, I’ll let my fingers do the…typing.




Note: Costco will enlarge a photo of your choice and print it on stretched canvas for a nominal charge so there’s always that option. (See below.)





Costco art




But back to that black and white photography.




This is a case of “You had to be there” because no matter how I tried to position my body or angle my lens, I could not capture the scale of these pet photos. This is frustrating because it’s their overblown–well beyond life-size–largesse that took them from ordinary pet portraits to something so fun it verged on pop art.





Black and white pug





Later the same day, we ate at a Thai food restaurant that featured this large design on one wall.





Bottles on wall




I think this ideas has some major potential. I’m not saying it’s perfect–far from. The scale of the fake flowers is off and the faux flora is beyond dreadful and someone should tell them to put the Christmas balls away in May–and possibly until the end of time. But, what if, for example, they used some realistic looking faux succulents at the top? I think whoever created this brilliantly devised an inexpensive way to give a large wall some major impact and I’m filing this idea under, “Maybe–with some tweaking.”





Don’t worry, I’m not even close to considering painting large bottles on my client’s wall. Or incorporating a Cat-zilla sized image as shown below. But notice how the scale is what takes this image from cute to imposing. For better or worse, in this example.






Cat-zilla muralAce Hotel, Portland




If my client does decide to go in this direction, I’m proposing a scale similar to this…





Large dog photo green wallModern Dining Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Jennifer Kesteloot Image via Houzz





Minus the lime green. I prefer a white wall as a backdrop for art.






Large cat muralContemporary Home Office by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Duane Kaschak, ID Image via Houzz




Definitely not purple. 🙂



How about you? Are you willing to call out, “Say Tuna!” or “Say beef bone!” to get Whiskers or Fido to pose for a larger-than-life-sized portrait? If so, do share the results!




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3 Comments on Art Inspiration: meow or woof?

  1. RSB
    May 28, 2014 at 11:23 AM (6 years ago)

    A superbly artistic eye, you have!!

    • Kisha Gianni
      May 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM (6 years ago)

      Thanks! I’m more Team Woof, myself.

      • Jill
        June 19, 2015 at 2:01 PM (5 years ago)



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