This is part two of my retro 80s project in the apartment upstairs from my own. Why don’t you paint an icon on the wall of your studio?Whereas my neighbor wanted a portrait of Madonna in her studio, my inspiration for this really came from Demi Moore’s pad in St. Elmo’s Fire, which I’ve written about elsewhere, and which I’ve wanted to recreate for some time.
In keeping with our ultra-feminine 80s theme we started out with a base coat of pink paint. You can see from my small thumbnails and sample boards that our first choice was too pink, and we settled on Pink Dynasty. If you think you detect a note of brown in this color, it’s because this is the lightest tint of something called Dark Walnut. And instead of a painting in purple, we settled on Vintage Wine, which also gave me all those marvelous 80s era thistle grays as a mid-tone. Also, I made printouts and a grid over my first photo to help me find the scale — the room was so tight I had to make sure her eyes weren’t crossed.
And I must say, all this got me thinking about this: why an icon? Because it’s fun, for starters. But when we paint Elvis or Marilyn, Grace Jones or Mother Mary on the wall, we’re not literally representing them as much as we’re trying to draw a dotted line around a part of how they make us feel. In this instance, I think, Madonna equals a generation’s ultimate freedom to put on a wedding dress and writhe around in front of the orchestra pit and make great music videos and, well — get into the groove. Madonna’s the bad girl with a big heart that really isn’t that bad either, she’s more like your big kooky sister.
As luck would have it, this standing floor lamp comes in exactly at the right level to suggest a drop earring. Just like Billy Idol.
• Benjamin Moore Pink Dynasty 1352
• Benjamin Moore Vintage Wine 2116-20
- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter
Mark Chamberlain Painting