Designer Watch: The Artist in the Works of Art

Choose an artist working in any medium who has a well-defined, distinctive point of view, the theory goes, and chances are you’ll find that the artist’s designs bear a strong relation to the person of the artist himself or herself.


Thus, the artist who works on murals of a grand scale is likely to be a person with more physical size and presence than one who creates miniatures. With respect to jewelry, the artist who designs finely detailed platinum and diamond jewelry may well be fine-boned; the artist working in chunky agate and huge hammered links may well have a larger physical form. It makes sense that an artist would want to create jewelry that he or she would enjoy wearing.


One’s sense of what is aesthetically pleasing comes in part from an appreciation of one’s own physical being. While many people do (and good retailers must) appreciate a range of styles and scale of designs, what an artist sends out into the world as his or her personal creation is likely to contain quite a bit of the artist in it.


It’s not only the overall size of the artwork that likely relates to the person of the artist. The motifs and design elements too are likely to reflect the design details of the artist’s own face and features. For example, the spacing of design elements in a painting or necklace may relate to the spacing of the features of the face. The preferred combinations of colors utilized by the artist in the artwork or jewelry may derive directly from the artist’s own personal coloring.


I first heard this theory in my image consulting studies, and am occasionally surprised and delighted at how spot-on it can be. 



For example, consider one of the featured new designers in the June 2009 issue of Elle magazine: “Maria Francesca Pepe sees triangles. Triangles in the rose gold shield necklaces she designs. Triangles in the small diamond pleats. . . .   [Her] fascination with the polygon was even more piqued after coming across photographs of 1920s silent film star Theda Bara. ‘She used to pose making triangle shapes with her head and arms. The effect was a kind of fierceness, the feeling of an erotic and lavish power without [its] being obviously displayed.’”


And then take a look at the head shots of this Italian-born London designer, one from Elle, one from her web site. She has a perfect triangle of a nose, which she emphasizes by posing in profile. You can clearly see this design element of the artist in her designs.


Also of note is that Pepe has created a line of clothing in tee shirt shapes that “serve as a perfect counterpoint to her hard-core metal wrist cuffs, breastplates, and armbands.” She calls the clothing “jewelry wear.” There’s no doubt what takes top billing with this designer. Fierce indeed!

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