Monday, September 17, 2007

Hotel Art

While on vacation this week, I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in Brandon, Florida. I love this little hotel. It is clean, quiet, and calm. Just the kind of atmosphere I need these days. Dead tired after the concert, I dropped onto the sheets, snuggled the down comforter, and turned on the TV. As I lay there, I looked up next to the bed and took in the “hotel art”. It was a fading print of a watercolor by an artist I will call “Hotel Artist”. The painting was a courtyard type scene with various bushes surrounding a garden urn. The colors were basically cool blues, grays, and greens. I didn’t have to study it for long to determine it was extremely boring. In fact as I looked at the details, my eyes wandered up to the ceiling wallpaper border. That design held my interest more intently. There was another one of “Hotel Artist’s” works on the other side of the room. It was a monotonous twin.
Snapping my gaze back to the first work, I thought, “I could paint paintings like that!” Since I am in the marketing mode, I am open to at least entertaining all kinds of possible art paths to follow. Immediately I thought of being in Mrs. Bigler’s watercolor class back at Wayne State University. She would set up flower arrangements for us to paint once we understood color theory. She would walk around barking out orders or come over to the piece of Fabriano watercolor paper you just spent a week’s worth of lunch money on and mark it up with a red permanent marker. Oh those are such fond memories (a-huh!) Eventually, I got quite good at doing florals. Even Mrs. Bigler gave me a compliment or two during those years. My favorite flowers to paint were geraniums. Yet, I never painted flowers again after putting in the time to get credit for these mandatory watercolor classes. I just found that medium, subject matter, and genre too humdrum.
Likewise, I found this hotel room art just as uninteresting. The images exude no passion and make no statement. The work says nothing. They are vapid. They are just there and take up space. In this case, they didn't even match the furniture. Since I have stayed at this hotel before, I noticed they updated the bedspreads, but kept the old art decor. This kind of art reminds me of Wonder bread. It is mass-produced; there is no flavor, yet people buy a lot of it. My next thought was “Well, “Hotel Artist” is probably far richer than you, Sheree!” Yep, that is true. After doing a search for this artist, I saw more works on all the art print websites. You can buy one of those prints for less than twenty bucks! That is cheap enough for the masses to fill their homes (hotels) with bland, sedate, uneventful, pretend paintings. I suppose they have their purpose in this world. If an artist chooses to do this kind of work, I say more power to them. Also, if you admire this kind of art, go for it! I wish you well. I don’t see the value. I could never crank them out. It would remind me of times BEFORE Mrs. Bigler’s classes. I was working on a factory assembly line mindlessly stacking and boxing TV guides at a rate of hundreds per minute. I don’t want to go back there again not even for the money.

This is not the print in my hotel room.
I couldn’t find that one.
However, this is very similar.
I am sure there are some who love this kind of art. I don’t.
Now that I think of it, I don’t think Mrs. Bigler would have been impressed either. Where is that red permanent marker????

Yeah!!! Much better!!! Tee HEE HEE


self taught artist said...

i had a fleeting nuerotic moment of you being tired of me commenting....
anyhow. this post was interesting to me, a few months ago i found a blogger who is PROLIFIC and does stuff for restaurant chains and hotels...hostpitals etc. their work was much better than this stuff, but I too sensed this lack of originality and passion. the passion seemed more to stay obsessively busy and in control.

truth be told i got irritated everytime i went to the blog because it was always the same thing over and over about how many this's and that's were ordered and printed.

nothing engaging and written for the viewer. i envied their obvious success but realized i shouldn't envy something I didn't want to be doing. I dont want to be that busy and making repetitive things that are churned out to sit on ugly walls in ugly places.

good lessons for artists to learn i guess to respect ourselves and each other. not easy to do....

Gilda said...

Boy, do I remember Mary Jane Bigler! I still have a few watercolor still life paintings done in her class...there is a kind of richness of color that i still enjoy looking at. She was so wonderful as a role model. I think about her Roman Walls paintings, with the textures and muted colors.

Hotel room art is generally boring. I was staying at the Ritz/Carlton this summer for a couple days while jurying an art competition in Dearborn. The art was not as bad there as in other places I have stayed in...but it was all still pretty safe. Bowls of fruit, flowers, semi-abstract landscapes. They seemed to be original paintings, too, instead of prints.

I was working with a consultant earlier this year who was able to get local art installed in the new hotel of the MGM casino. So now my work will be viewed by people kicking back after taking a break from gambling!