2018 is just around the corner which means it’s gift-giving season. We’ve gathered some of our favorite gifties for her. So whether you’re looking for something to arouse the senses, keep your lady warm, or gifting ethically made goods is important to you, AW has you covered. So, without further adieu, here are our choice picks for her:
Ah, yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to wrack your brain to figure out the elusive gift for the guy in your life. Luckily we live in Montana where Guys in Ties are frowned upon, so there’s no need to find the perfect tie for a collared shirt. We’ve gathered some of our favorite gifts for him, so you don’t have to think about it.
Do you have an amazing coffee table that needs a little life? Architect’s Wife asked her go to girl, Hillary , to add some energy to our new, substantial, mahogany coffee table (so substantial was this piece of furniture, it took four grown men to move it in to the shop). Here are Hill’s fail-proof suggestions for styling your table.
1) Stack Books. Stack your favorite books as an anchor. Books are a great conversation starter and they create an additional surface for you to layer accessories.
2) Add Height. I added a cloche to create height and add interest — this helps lead your guest’s eye through “the scene”.
3) Add Life! Instead of flowers, add a low maintenance plant to the mix for color and life!
4) Personalize the Space. Personalize the look with some of your favorite objects. Here I added some petrified wood and a gorgeous handmade wood bowl by local maker, Lui Ferreira.
And, there you have it — Hillary’s super-simple steps for creating a dazzling scape for your coffee table. To shop the look, click links in the copy or visit our Bozeman shop and have our expert staff guide you to the perfect pieces that will set your coffee table apart.
When the doors of Tart closed in the Emerson last Spring, a collective gasp could be heard throughout the Gallatin Valley. Since 2007 Tart was our go-to place for fun, quirky handmade in Montana gifts. When the doors closed it left a huge hole in our local world of retail therapy and more importantly, our hearts. Its proprietor, Anna Visscher, was a familiar face and our tour guide for the tartist landscape of Montana.
But, after 9 years of business Anna was ready to take a break from retail life. Enter Serena Rundberg, proprietor of Nova and Feed Cafes. Thanks to Tart, Serena and Anna had a great working relationship. Not only did Anna run Tart, for many years she also curated the gallery space at Nova adorning their walls with original art from artists represented at her shop. Based on what happened in the months following Tart’s closure, it’s safe to say, Serena gasped the loudest when Tart closed.
Serena was busy operating her latest culinary venture, Feed Cafe, when her light-bulb moment came to her. Rundberg was wandering the aisles of Costco, searching for her next bulk bargain and talking to her general contractor when the moment came to her. Her contractor mentioned his wife was lost since Tart closed. The shop had long been her go-to place to buy gifts for friends and family and there was a huge void left with its closing. That’s when it hit her, there was some vacant space next to Feed which, for a variety of reasons, couldn’t be converted to extra seating for the restaurant, why not relocate Bozeman’s beloved boutique to this space?
Serena has a reputation for being a dynamo, so it didn’t take long for her plan to re-open Tart to come together. She immediately reached out to Anna, negotiated the purchase of Tart, and her ambitious plan to open by Black Friday 2016 was realized.
For long time Tart loyalists, the new space will feel familiar. It is light and bright with touches of yellow and the iconic button closure gift boxes are stacked neatly behind the counter. The store continues to carry exclusively handmade art and gifties with at least a dozen carry over Tartists, but they’ve made a commitment to cast a wider net and are now working with artists from around the United States to bring Bozeman unique, one-of-a-kind finds.
You may have noticed this post has nothing to do with furniture or a maker that we work with. It has everything to do with why we love our community — because it supports local talent and handmade goodness and holds on to businesses that are worth keeping around. In this age of encroaching box stores, Architect’s Wife couldn’t be happier to see this darling of Bozeman back in business. If you haven’t visited the new space, get yourself over there! Better yet, stop by Feed for breakfast and browse Tart’s offerings while you’re waiting for your grub.
Wait. You didn’t think I forgot about the scoop I teased you with on Le Social Media, did you? Never. You heard it here first folks: Nova and Feed will be joined by a sister restaurant which will take up residence in The Cannery district! Stay tuned folks, more deets to come!
When you visit Shaw Thompson at Misco Mill, it’s easy to see where his inspiration comes from. I had the opportunity to visit him in November as afternoon light bathed his work shop with a late autumn glow. His space was magnificent and the stuff every artist dreams of for their studio. Shaw is both a visual artist and furniture maker and the visit to his studio and gallery was a little like coming home because it’s where our sister business, Abby Hetherington Interiors, began and where the idea for Architect’s Wife was born.
Even more impressive than the light-filled studio space is the fact that Shaw along with his brother and father renovated the 80 plus year old building starting in 2000. The grain mill was functional until the 1980’s, but fell in to disrepair after it closed, so much so that Shaw says it resembled a pigeon coop when his family took possession of the building. Their hard work over the last 16 years stands now as one of Bozeman’s most iconic landmarks and home to a family that worked really hard to keep the space alive.
It’s hard to believe 300 square feet of this inspiring space was occupied by Abby Hetherington Interiors just a little over two years ago. Our little design firm began here in a tangle of fabric swatches and tile samples and quickly grew to three employees who, in turn, outgrew our modest one room office. Not only do I have great respect for Shaw’s work I also have really great memories of dreaming big and toiling away until I made those dreams a reality. So, take a minute to learn more about this great guy who breathed new life in to a great space.
I have been building furniture since 1992. I was going to San Francisco State for a painting and drawing degree and someone asked me to build a desk for them. I obliged and loved everything about it. I realized it would be something I would love to do for a living. So from that point on, I have always divided my time between furniture making and painting. Furniture gets more of my time these days, but painting is really how I want to leave my mark on this world.
Tell me about your process.
What’s my process? Well it varies a lot. Sometimes I have a beautiful piece of wood, which I want to be the main focus. So then I might make a simple steel platform or base that showcases the wood. Other times I might find a piece of farming equipment which dictates the overall design of the object. For example, for years I have looked at and loved the shape of this old plow which I found. So, I thought really hard about a way to compliment that shape. (I get a lot of inspiration from shapes of objects.) I decided the plow would lend itself well to a floor lamp and the rest is history. A lot of the objects I incorporate in to my furniture are antique, but then I like to give it a simple modern context in which it can live. I find it very exciting to try to find a balance between old and new.
You renovated the Misco Mill. When and how did this project come about?
My dad, brother and I have renovated this grain elevator from a pigeon coop to a home, workshop and gallery over the course of several years. We bought the building back in 2000 and it seems like the work is never done. It is a lot to keep going, but we feel very fortunate to be able to call it home. It was built in 1933, which highlights how agriculturally rich the Gallatin valley was even during the Great Depression.
Anyone who is a furniture maker or artist knows how important your creative space is. This building spoke to me immediately. And maybe it was the shape of it… There is something special for me about the roof lines of this grain elevator. Initially, I was looking for a live/ work space, which this is, but just a lot bigger than I was thinking in the beginning. But when you put all the family members in it- then it makes sense.
Tell me a little about the gallery and the artists whose work inhabits the space.
We are a little selfish with our gallery space :). Most of the work in the gallery is either mine or [belongs to] my brother, Nate. But we do have some amazing walnut tables by Lance Hossack and some incredible veneer work by Phil Howard in the form of walnut burl side tables. We also have some beautiful textiles by Abby Foster which she’s made into pillows. Her fabric is also available for purchase and can be made in to wallpaper as well. All of these artists call Montana home.
How long have you lived in Bozeman? What brought you here?
I have lived in Montana for about 16 years now. I was passing through this beautiful state when I was 15 and it struck a very powerful chord inside me. It took me awhile to get back here, but I made it. After a life of moving a lot [I was raised in a military family], I feel very lucky to call Montana home.
What do you love about Montana?
I was initially drawn to the rivers and mountains, and just the empty space. This continues to fuel my spirit. This part of the country never disappoints.
What’s your favorite place to go out in Bozeman?
It is becoming harder to leave my little northeast neighborhood these days. I’m still trying to figure out my favorite place — it’s between Wild Crumb, Treeline and Rendezvous food truck. It changes every day :).
What are the last three things you Googled? 1. How to cook potatoes au gratin (substituting sweet potatoes). 2. An old car on Craigslist 3. What time is it in Morocco?
What’s on your shop playlist?
The Black Keys ( older stuff), for getting the blood moving and just spark some gritty motivation. Built to Spill, for cerebral thoughts and more driving motivation. First Aid Kit, for a truly lovely sound and inspiration… “Keep on keeping on…”
If you’re in Bozeman make sure you stop by Misco Mill and check out Shaw’s gorgeous original furniture and art. He’s around most days, but it’s worth it to give the gallery a call and announce your arrival, because he might just be grabbing a pastry at Wild Crumb when you decide to come a’calling.
The Architect’s Wife is certain that Havoc Hendricks was predestined to be an artist. Not only does his name vibrate the abstract art concept, his inspiration for becoming an artist came at a very young age when he noticed an abstract painting in a neighbor’s living room and he was determined to make beautiful paintings just like it.
Ours is a modern day love-affair with Havoc. We discovered his conceptual take on mountains, geodes and moonscapes on Instagram and quickly asked him to send several pieces for the shop. Read on to learn more about why we’re so smitten with this guy and discover his hidden talent (hint: it involves the color blue and it is spectacular). Without further ado, meet Mr. Hendricks.
All images by Laura Hendricks unless otherwise noted.
How long have you been working as an artist?
Almost 8 years.
How did you get started working with paint?
My neighbor had an abstract painting in their living room that I really loved as a kid and I remember thinking that I wanted to learn how to make beautiful paintings like that. I’m a self taught artist. While art students learn a lot of valuable things pertaining to the craft, I feel like I was able to discover a lot of informal techniques that helped shaped my creative expressions in ways that might have been stifled by academia.
Tell me about your process.
Each series employs different techniques, tools, etc. My Mountain Lines series uses a technique where I build up different layers of paint on a canvas and then I strategically remove certain parts of the various layers to expose what’s underneath whereas others in the same series require me to hand paint each line individually. My Geode Collection uses a type of marble technique that involves making the oil paint as thin as possible to help it take on the natural fluid shapes that I’m looking [to illustrate]. My Moon series involves a process where I mix different colored sand (sourced from places all over the United States) in order to give the paintings a three dimensional texture that really gives the illusion that’s realistic and abstract at the same time.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Anything that combines “MINIMAL – ABSTRACT – POSH – ORGANIC”. I am on a journey to make organized chaos in the most beautiful way possible. I’m also inspired [a great deal] by “future me”. Future me is a person that has his dream house and he tells me if something I’m making is of a high enough visual quality to belong in his perfect home and [whether] it’s something that he’ll want to stare at for the next twenty years.
Name a living artist that you admire.
I have so many, but Ran Ortner drops my jaw without any thinking required. What do you like about his work? Ran has the ability to capture one of the most complicated patterns that nature can produce.
Mike Nesbit is an architect in L.A. who creates amazing abstract art using his architectural expertise. What do you like about his work? I Love how Mike uses his extensive architecture training & profession as a platform from which to express his abstract art. There’s a touch of perfect, mathematical undercurrents throughout his pieces that I’m always drawn to.
Sol Lewitt explored lines and shapes in a way that I find myself referencing quite often. What do you like about his work? Sol Lewitt did all the hard work for me. He explored and pushed to the for-front of the art world the many patterns and relationships that lines share with each other- both two & three dimensionally.
Your pieces have a strong tie to the natural world, but your pieces have an abstract quality to them. How did you decide to blend those two very different worlds?
I am obsessed with the fact that the same line patterns can be found in all of nature’s elements: rock, water, cloud patterns, wood, fire, etc. I also found through many years of making art that my true talent lies in abstract expression. It was a simple marriage of the two for me.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
I think a hard thing for aspiring artists is to come up with a style that is unique to them and them only. I’d say you’ll only be as good as the amount of time you put into developing your skills & through years of practice you’ll naturally gravitate toward some aspects [of your technique] and discard others. Eventually what you have left will be unique and have a quality others will respond to. Before I was making organized chaos I was just making . . . chaos.
Your wife is also an artist, a photographer to be exact, do you draw inspiration from one another? Do you do old-fashioned critiques like you experienced in college?
More than you could ever imagine. We literally run everything by each other to have that second tier of visual approval before we [reveal anything to our audience]. Being brutally honest about each others art is indispensable and I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without her input. Often times we leave the house and realize we’re dressed almost exactly the same!
How did you two meet?
We were both in college at a rollerskating party. I thought she was the hottest girl I’d ever seen. I almost messed everything up when I squirted her with a squirt gun to get her attention. Lucky for me it was dark and when I introduced myself to her a month later she had no idea that I was the same annoying guy from the skating rink. How did she express her annoyance? The second time I skated by her I was met with a soul-penetrating stare of pure dissatisfaction. She later told me that she was “just kidding”.
How long have you lived in Utah? What brought you to Utah (please disregard if you are a native)?
We’ve lived in Utah for a total of 5 years now. We originally moved to Utah because of the outdoor opportunities and it happens to be a central location between both of our families.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in a small neighborhood in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The neighborhood was literally called “McDonald’s Farm”. On one side of our house was an open canal and acres of potato fields on the other. I attribute my creativity and attention to detail to many long childhood years wandering the countryside with nothing but nature and my own mind to keep me company.
What do you love about Utah?
We live in a narrow valley that has a lake on one side, a mountain range on the other side, and only three miles between at it’s shortest point. The inspiration and recreation is endless! Provo, Utah is one of the best kept small city secrets in America.
What’s your favorite place to go out in Utah?
There’s a pretty amazing burger house called Cubby’s that isn’t predictable, boring food.
What book are you reading right now?
Catch Me If You Can, by Frank W. Abagnale
Favorite TV show?
What music are you listening to these days?
Only the best from the genre of Chillstep.
No cheating. What are the last three things you’ve Googled?
Ha, ha! This is such a good question! 1. Timberland winter extreme 9″ super boot. 2. Who & what issues will be on the 2016 ballot Utah county. 3. Build your own Adidas Superstars.
Anything else you’d like me to know about you?
A lot of people don’t know that I had a short stint as a Blue Man in The Blue Man group. ?
Do tell more! How and where did this come about?
I was attending Grad School at James Madison University (in Virginia) when I saw an ad for open call auditions for The Blue Man Group. I went out of pure curiosity and only to get a free “behind the scenes” experience. Only, when I auditioned, they got really excited and kept telling me that I was a “real” Blue Man in real life & that they didn’t think they’d have to train me very much. After a couple more days of call-backs and auditions they hired & spirited me away to live in Manhattan where I trained with four other recruits from around the country. Because I was the only one who didn’t have a degree in acting, I had no idea what language the trainers were speaking every day. After a couple months they finally admitted that I should take a hiatus to get an acting degree & then promptly return to join their ranks. However, instead of going to acting school- I realized the world of professional creativity was at my fingertips and I chose a route that has been much more suited to my long-term artistic goals. And that’s how I became a Blue Man on accident 🙂
Stop by The Architect’s Wife downtown furniture store to take a closer look at Havoc’s work and to understand why we love his work so much.
Russ Fry and Dotty hard at work. Photo by Cathy Copp[/caption]
I rolled up to Russ Fry’s shop yesterday and was greeted by Dotty, his 10 year old English Bull Dog. Her welcome was less than enthusiastic and, I have to admit, as a Bulldog owner I was a little offended. I have REALLY good bulldog juju, or so I thought. I walked right past her to say hi to my buddy Russ and she barely blinked an eye. After a couple of minutes she got her self upright and made her way over to say hello. It was a strain for her to move her stiff, front legs and I realized it wasn’t because she lacked interest in m e she just needed a little time to get up the gumption to move. Once she got up, she didn’t leave Russ’s side. She may not be the creative genius behind this dynamic duo, but she is his loyal companion.
For the last twenty years, Russ has honed his talent for furniture-making in Bozeman by combining wood, steel, and found objects that he molds in to one-of-a-kind pieces. AW has the privilege of showcasing his work in our downtown shop and we are thrilled to reveal his handiwork for the good people of Bozeman. Find out more about Russ including what’s on his playlist, his most recent Google searches, and much more. Join us from 5-8 for drinks supplied by Map Brewing, food catered by Blue Smoke, and music by Ian Thomas and The Band of Drifters.
How long have you been working as a woodworker/metal-smith?
About 12 years now.
How did you get started working with wood and metal (where did you learn your trade)?
When I bought my first house there were a lot of improvements I wanted to make, but didn’t have expendable cash to pay someone else to do it [so I did the work myself]. Also, I took a design internship at Media Station for Ole Nelson. He was making all of the cool signs around town out of metal. I watched an learned a lot about working with metal through this experience. Shortly after that, I just started purchasing one tool at a time and learned by trial and error.
Tell me about your process (techniques, tools, etc.).
Every day is different. Some days we’re welding, others we make mountains of wood dust. I’m usually approached by designers or architects that have an idea and then we decide what medium would best make [the project] a reality. I welcome good ideas and opinions, as well as collaboration. When a few people selflessly bounce ideas off of one another, I feel like the end result is much stronger.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m constantly inspired by other artists. Here in Bozeman/Big Sky, I have the opportunity to see some of the best craftsmanship and fresh, innovative design in the country. I also get lost in Houzz and my Instagram feed scrolling through space after space and dissect all the pieces.
I notice you work with some found objects in your pieces. Where do you find them?
Random places. I get invited to old farms that will have trucks, tractors & old pieces all around. Garage sales, and antique malls often have some great scores. Other times, people will show up with something they’d like me to incorporate into an original piece.
What advice do you have for young furniture makers?
Be confident in your own creativity, but don’t forget to draw inspiration from others as well. Listening to others’ ideas and keeping an open mind will help make the end product better. If you let your ego get in in the way I think the project suffers.
How long have you lived in Bozeman? What brought you here?
I moved here in 1995 for college. At the time, my sister was living in Jackson, she and I made a trip to Bozeman. She said I’d love it here and she was right.
What do you love about Bozeman?
What’s not to love? It all started with playing in the snow and water. I quickly made good friends to play with and found rewarding work which sustains me.
What book are you reading right now?
David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Favorite TV show?
What music are you listening to these days?
Sturgill Simpson, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Chris Stapleton and Alt J
No cheating. What are the last three things you’ve Googled?
The Architect’s Wife has been hot on the trail of some new succulent pots for quite some time now, so when she came across this awesome DIY in Sunset Mag which utilizes candle shells from Le Feu De Leau candles (sold at our downtown store!), she got busy planting her Panda plant and Echeveria in a spent purple candle shell she had at the furniture shop.
Find out how to create your own mini succulent garden below (it’s super easy)! Images by Cathy Copp
Hanging out with Wallace Piatt, aka @WallaceisArt, is like jumping on the bumper cars at the state fair and then magically hopping over to the wildest roller coaster ride of your life. But it’s not just any roller coaster, it’s a vintage coaster with chipped paint and squeaky wheels like the tumbledown Cyclone at Coney Island. One minute you’re chugging slowly up a rickety track, the next you’re being jerked to the right and flung down a steep hill. It’s a madcap, colorful, stylish ride with a true original.
Wallace is a vintage freak. His obsession with thrift shops, began in high school and his proclivity for junking accelerated through college. Back in the early ‘90’s he started working as a graphic designer in Santa Barbara and met his match in then girlfriend, Jill Johnson. “We were true vintage enthusiasts. Full on biker meets cowboy meets American Indian junkers.” They translated that love to designing their own clothing line, creating original screen-printed tees, stickers, pamphlets and bus cards (wait, what?!).
“Jill and I [ravished] thrift shops. We’d go in and [knew the clothing and the value of each piece]. It was so da%$ fun going into these small towns and scoring cool sh&%, on the cheap. Old movie posters, denim you name it. And it wasn’t like today’s thrift stores that are full of mass produced surf crap. Back then, American denim was HUGE in Asia. Once we sold $4,5000 worth of jeans to a guy from Japan. We thought we were rich.”
So fantastic was their success, that within days they were making money. In 1991, Wallace and Jill took that $4,500 and opened a brick-and-mortar shop. The name? True Grit, of course. The shop was an overnight sensation — a magnet for style watchers in Santa Barbara and accounted for “7 of the best years of my life” according to Wallace. “We hosted parties and truly were the hub of downtown. It was absolute pure fun!” says Mr. Piatt.
That meteoric rise came crashing down 15 years after Jill and Wallace first opened shop. The store closed. “I went broke. I was homeless and on drugs.” He lost everything. “Clubs were my favorite place to drink. It was truly an insane time. And I loved it, except for the excruciating hangovers.”
In the midst of the late-night party haze, Wallace became laser-focused on his art. He lived and breathed art. He began dating a new girl after he and Jill split. This new girl broke his heart. It was this heartbreak that catapulted his success. One night Piat came home to find her with another man. The next day he started working on a Lichtenstein-esque portrait of her with ruby red lips and glittery eyelids. In bold-face print at the top of the poster read: “WALLACE I KNOW HOW YOU MUST FEEL FINDING ME IN BED WITH ANOTHER MAN, BUT I’M REALLY…” And at the bottom in HUGE letters he wrote “EVIL.” He plastered the giant posters all over town. And the recognition rolled in. “I was a hero in every man’s eyes in Santa Barbara.”
This recognition fueled a new-found success and he dedicated all of his time to his craft. Live. Breath. Dream. Art.
He begins many pieces by sewing canvases together. It’s no surprise that many of the canvases are found at thrift stores and paired with new canvas. “I sew first and then paint. The thread in my American Indian pieces means the most. [To me it represents] how [Europeans] tore apart Indian culture. The stitching is my way of bringing the [culture] back to life.” And, perhaps the canvas are symbolic of Wallace’s own life. He jokingly says, “These [canvasses] have a lot of dirt and crap all over them. I actually step all over these pieces as I paint. …with time, they get filthy and look more and more like vintage. Kind of like me.
Wallace is sober and back, riding a different high. By all accounts he is successful. Still living, breathing and preaching; pop-layered-silk-screened, vibrant art that is full of life. He attributes his sobriety to increased creativity and a work ethic that is “through the roof.”
The Architect’s Wife and the world are the benefactors of his new-found appreciation for life and art. At the beginning of the summer, the prolific Wallace and his new love, Angela (aka: #pooter), made the epic journey from Cali to Bozeman to deliver a collection of eleven pieces to our downtown furniture store. The collection ranges from pop-art to screen printed pieces; some political, some not but all of them layered with meaning. We are grateful to have found his talent and to share it with our Bozeman friends. Stop by to check out his collection and delve into the layers of meaning in each piece.
Meet Kelly O’Neal, interior designer, artist, entrepreneur and the brainchild behind Design Legacy by Kelly O’Neal. He is a longtime friend of the Architect’s Wife and her love affair with Mr. O’Neal began at trade markets and evolved when she began carrying his pillows, accessories and textiles based on vintage finds in her Bozeman furniture store.
The Architect’s Wife was immediately drawn to Kelly because of his authenticity. The more she got to know him, it was obvious that he’s not afraid to use color and he’s incredibly versatile. So, when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Kelly on a client project, The Architect’s Wife pounced.
The uber modern house, nestled in Bridger Canyon, was begging for a wall mural for the guest bedroom and Kelly was the perfect artist for the job. The finished piece conjures glimpses of the backyard it looks out upon — its green trees in Springtime, the copper leaves of Fall or perhaps even a topographic map.
Detail of the mural Kelly painted for an AW client.
So special is this guy that The Architect’s Wife sat down with Kelly for a little one-on-one time to ask him about his life and career as an artist and interior designer. Read on to find out more about Kelly and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at our collaboration and see more of his work!
Painting outside the lines.
Tell me a little about the Bridger Canyon project. What was your inspiration for the guest room walls? I think with any project the brush channels my current mood. In this case, I was influenced by the client’s delightful personality and the AMAZING surroundings. The room looks out over the beautiful Bridger mountains. As for the color palette, Abby was instrumental in the direction and the client also had valuable creative input which helped guide me. I love fluidity of the finished mural it is a lovely contrast to very structured design of the house. I think it softened the space nicely.
What do you like most about working collaboratively? It gets an artist out of his own head. I’m currently working on a licensed collection with another designer, Michelle Nussbaumer, and I think the result has a frivolity about it that reflects both our personalities. I think the collection would be much less sophisticated without her input. I have the same opinion about the Bridger Canyon project as well.
Adding detail to the Bridger Canyon guest bedroom mural.
You began your career as an interior designer, when did your career as an artist get started? I studied art and design, earning my BFA at the University of North Texas in 1985. I’ve always created, but my artwork became a major focus about 6 years ago when a more sleek division of the [design legacy] wholesale division (for which I am also the designer) called for complimentary wall art.
Are you still doing interior design work? Absolutely! It’s a creative avenue of a different sort which I will likely never give up.
Do you have an interior design project you’re most proud of? Each is SO different so it’s hard to pick just one and I’m proud to say I have no “signature” style.
How did you know you wanted to work as an artist and do you remember the moment when you made that decision? My home town is in North Texas with a population of 700, so, aside from finger painting in first grade, there were no art programs or classes. My mom, who is an educator, saw my creative side and drove me to a nearby town for painting classes with a bunch of 60-plus-year-olds in the evenings. It was the equivalent of today’s “wine and paint” classes but it spurred a life-long need to create. University of North Texas sealed the deal where, against my dad’s wishes, I pursued the arts (he wanted me to study finance – whatever that means). If I had to credit anything else it would be a strong aversion to math.
How did you decide to make the leap from interior design to art & textile production? I had a large retail store here in Dallas (Legacy Trading Co.) for about 20 years. The wholesale division was born of a need for product there which I could not find in the market. The store is no longer in I business as the other entities were less consuming, but it did give me a unique perspective on our wholesale division.
Do you have a favorite piece of art that you’ve created? There seems to be a new fave each day! I have three (of thousands) that I don’t plan to sell, but, of course, if the right space comes along…
What is the next step/ what are your goals for your business? I would love to do some solo art exhibitions. I think I’m nearing the point in my career where a solo art show isn’t completely terrifying to me. I also just signed a third licensing deal with a large importer to develop collections for major retailers. As I’ve matured, I feel like my goals have become less grandiose and more personal, hence my interest in pursuing a gallery show. Until recently, this I would say on the top of my list of goals but as I’ve matured these have become less grandiose and more personal I.e. Gallery showings.
Some of Kelly’s finished pieces on display at the Las Vegas Design Market. Image courtesy of Kelly O’Neal
What advice do you have for young artists/interior designers/entrepreneurs? Work hard. Be the first in and the last out and NEVER turn down work. I find the younger generation trending to the lazy. Some of the most seemingly insignificant projects turn out to be the most rewarding. I learn from everything I do, and sometimes say “yes” just for the experience. You’re never too old to learn.
Where does your inspiration come from? I’m a nature lover, but color is a constant source of inspiration. And, I love using and observing odd combinations in design and art.
Describe your creative space/studio. My art studio is about 1,000 square feet with concrete floors and plank walls, both of which are covered in paint. I work on many canvases at once so the walls are covered with about 20 different working pieces at any given time. My design studio is a random mix of antiques and is large and open. Neither space is especially romantic but they are comfortable and serve as places where I can get my work done. I’m currently planning a studio at my home which will be done some time in 2017.
Layer upon layer of paint on Kelly’s studio wall serve as a frame for this O’Neal original that is in progress. Image courtesy of Kelly O’Neal
Your collection of imagery is vast. How long did it take you to source these images? I’ve collected since I was a child. Anything from antique paper goods, postcards, and books which became our “library”. Today, it’s in excess of 5,000 images and the collection grows on a daily basis.
Where did you find these images? As a child my Grandmother and Aunt agreed to take me to flea markets where I was awarded for carrying their purchases with a choice of my own flea find. It was usually some oddity or paper antique.
What book are you reading right now? “The Girls” by Emma Cline. Just started it.
Favorite TV show? “Call the Midwife” on PBS. I like its innocence and that it’s true to its form. Before that it was Dexter.
Favorite color? ORANGE!
What’s your favorite design trend? I’m an old house kind of guy, but I do love that Americans have finally embraced mixing contemporary design with vintage pieces. I never tire of that approach, something European in me I suppose. And, I love that this has led to a greater appreciation of American “Craft” goods. That said, I’ve never been one for junk. I think that my days in the apparel industry instilled the “if you can’t buy anything good, buy nothing” mantra in me.
A room divider hand-painted by Kelly O’Neal graces the showroom at The Architect’s Wife. Note the splashes of orange (Kelly’s favorite color).
the architect's wife | curated collections 23 w. babcock street bozeman, mt 59715 406.577.2000