Friday, May 6, 2011

Sourcing Eco-Friendly Artwork

by Barbara Markoff, co-owner of Artrageous!
ASID Industry Partner

As design professionals, we all understand the significance of selecting and placing inspiring artwork in residential and commercial spaces. Artwork is usually added toward the end of a design plan once all of the furniture, wall treatments, flooring and other design elements have been completed. The art offerings in today’s market are rapidly changing, and green design has instilled a new direction for many artists. A newfound consciousness has led artists to shed materials that were seen as harmful to the environment and replace them with eco-friendly materials.

Interior designers and art consultants are placing works of art in environments that are not only visually exciting, but are 100% green. Art buyers are interested in finding artists who create eco-friendly artwork. Some artists are consciously using biodegradable and natural materials such as clay, wood, bamboo, kieri board, and fiber. Three such artists are Kelly Jean Ohl (clay artist), Polly Jacobs Giacchina (fiber artist) and Steven Florman (wood sculpture artist).

Clay: Minnesota clay artist Kelly Jean Ohl creates a series of organic shapes reminiscent of biological entities by rolling clay into textural surfaces and forming cylindrical pieces hung in a grouping. She also creates smaller organic pieces that remind the viewer of something found in a tide pool or discovered while walking in a forest. Each clay piece is hand carved, burnished, sanded, and fired multiple times.
Grouping of installation pieces commissioned for a residential client commissioned through Artrageous!
Wood: Local artist and architect Steven Florman reclaims wood on the way to the dumpster or finds wood from trees and bushes to create his wood sculptures. Often he uses scrap wood in combination with recycled metal. The glue Steven uses is Tightbond, an environmentally safe and solvent-free construction adhesive.
Circular wood wall sculpture commissioned through Artrageous! installed at Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building, Mission Viejo, CA
Fiber: Local San Diego artist, Polly Jacobs Giacchina, uses the flowering part of local date palms as the primary material in her weavings. From very large date palms, Polly trims the stalks with the tendrils intact. She then soaks the tendrils in water, making them pliable and ready to weave into patterns. Once dried, the woven tendrils retain a stiff form that is rich in earth tones. For added color, the artist weaves in original painted canvas strips in a linear fashion using the same twining basketry technique.
Fiber wall piece commissioned through Artrageous! for Kaiser Permanente Medical Office Building, Vista, CA
Artrageous!, an art and framing company based in San Diego, has demonstrated a deliberate effort to seek and represent regional and national artists who are creating beautiful, handcrafted pieces in a variety of media that utilize earthy and sustainable materials.

For more information, call Artrageous! at (858)-452-7280, visit Barbara’s website at or email her at Barbara is a corporate art consultant in San Diego and author of the book Becoming a Corporate Art Consultant, The Handbook for Corporate Art Consultation (available at