ColorTherapy: I Love Lucy

ColorTherapy: I Love Lucy

Mark Chamberlain
Jun 23, 2009

Paint Names: Ralph Lauren Loft Living UL41, Bardsley Grey RM30, Fine Paints of Europe H00750

A few months ago someone posted a comment on my Zig Zag column that it reminded her of the Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel wallpaper the bedroom and it comes out so crooked that they fall over every time they look at it. A cartoon light bulb went off over my head, and I stored a potentially good idea for future use. So when my art dealer asked me last month what I wanted to do for the summer group show — Tattoo — I said I wanted to tattoo the wall, and the Lucy idea was the first thing that popped into my head...

I watched the episode on YouTube and I actually like what they did — I find it to be jaunty and sophisticated, way ahead of its time. In a sense, this one's for me — there's no "client" involved, other than the requirements of the exhibit's theme, and in another way I'm blurring boundaries here but I don't care. This isn't interior décor, but does require the same exacting technique I use elsewhere in other projects. I love painting, and am in my heaven painting these simple stripes, circles, triangles and squares. This is a piece in a gallery, which means that my dear readers can see one of my walls with their own eyes, it's open to the public.

To recreate this room I first came up with a stripe repeat and then a colorway. I wanted something high-contrast to emphasize the graphic quality of what is happening — organized chaos, I suppose. The base is creamy Loft Living, the big stripe is a bruised plum color flanked by a metallic finish of Bardsley Grey, colors which lend the pattern the slightest warm/cool contrast. I made a Photoshop study of my pattern, and the rest is history. As usual, I free-hand my lines, but taped the cross-cut ends to avoid ponding. These bled, of course, and had to be painted again anyway.

But is it a work of art? The original was laughed at as a clumsy mistake; my comment would be that it's actually quite beautiful and mistakes are often the birthplace of creativity. You might ask if anyone would actually live with something like this. I say absolutely.

Shown with tattooed furniture and video installation &c, contact gallery for details.

Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts
526 West 26 St, #605
212 463 8500

Open Wed-Sat, noon-6pm, through July 25.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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