January 10, 2013

Native Pride Gallery Wall

My first William Morris post of the new year is a project completed just before Thanksgiving. I know that, because there's nothing like having a houseful of guests coming over to motivate me to tackle the projects that reside in my head for weeks or months. (Like say, deep cleaning the baseboards.)

I culled a few prints from around the house, plus two new ones, and put them all up in my previously near-empty stairway. Together, they form an art collection of images related to our native state.
It irks me whenever I hear the sweeping generalization that nobody is really "from here." (California, and specifically, Southern California.) I'm a native. My mother's family are natives. (My dad was born in Ohio, moved here as a teen.)  My husband is a native, and so are his parents, and at least one set of grandparents before that, if not both. Roots, memories, and deep connection to place are not reserved for people from other states, it turns out.

The staircase was very minimal and blank before, for the 8 years we've lived here.  All I had up for art were the 3 "apartment" prints, grouped near the first landing.  The prints of actual L.A.-area buildings are by artist Sean Finnochio. They're a nod to my teenage years growing up on the second floor of a small, '60s-era apartment complex in L.A. county, and are also a small nose-thumb to all the ladies I've encountered in this town of cookie-cutter tract homes who turn up their noses at the mention of "apartments." Oh, the horror. 
The Palm Springs print, by Jason Hill, used to be in the dining area, and the other Shag/Tiki print was in the family room. I've had them both for several years. (I've often mentioned our love for Palm Springs, and the husband also grew up in the area.)
I bought the "Golden" print from The Wheatfield sometime in late October, even though I wasn't sure where it would go.
And I was searching Ebay and Etsy for an old state map, and stumbled upon this one in person, at the Paper Source shop in Pasadena.  I think it cost all of $4, and I love the funky, '30s-era graphics. (Even if the locale placements aren't too accurate.)
 Detail shot: I live around the where the "cash" guy is, an hour northeast of San Diego.
I was a little scared of throwing so many prints and frame colors (white, brown, black) up on the wall, but went with it. And I'm glad, because I love it so much more than the stark area it was before. Also, the only new frame purchased was the brown one, for the big Palm Springs print. It had been in the big white one now holding the map, and looks so much better in the darker frame.

Thanks to my husband who put them all up,  and for giving advice on the general height and "steps" of the art. I didn't sweat it too much, just laid them all out on the living room floor and started playing with the arrangements.  I think there may be a little space to add to the wall here, and if not...well, there are still plenty of bare walls around the house.
Note: the black frames look a bit crooked/wonky here, but are ok in person.
Now, time to change out the white minimal sconces that we bought to replace the cheap brassy ones that came with the house. I liked my sconces at the time, but now think something more traditonal (but not builder-grade!) should be up on the wall.

Each Thursday I'm linking up with Jules as part of her ongoing William Morris project.  


  1. Love this! I'm a Southern California native too (along with both my parents and 3 of my 4 grandparents). I live in Arizona now but I am still a sucker for all things California (especially in art) and am proud to be born and raised there.

    1. Thanks Brandie. At least Arizona is also sunny...not too far away for visits!

  2. Looks great! Love the eclectic collection of them all together.

    I am also highly motivated when we're having a some sort of party. Seems we often use that as an excuse. But we're trying to schedule in some home improvement and decorating time on Saturday afternoons now. There's always something to be done, right? :)

    1. Thanks, and yes, it is eclectic. I've been afraid of that word, as it sounds like a synonym for "messy," but turns out I'm way more "eclectic" than minimalist!


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