Last month, Greg Tankersley was interviewed by INTERIORS Magazine about his use of art in designs. Here’s their conversation.
Who are some of your favorite artists and why?
Blake Weeks, sculptor: He masterfully orchestrates beads, feathers, jewels and bones into fantastical creatures. I commissioned him to do a sculpture with my daughter’s saved baby teeth, and he was excited, not creeped out!
Addie Chapin, painter: She always seems to be able to capture the illusive, sultry and gothic nature of the rural Deep South in pigment and paper. Michael Dines, painter. I adore the way he sees landscape through a cataract lens. Sometimes the world is better through a good squint.
Which artists’ work do you collect and why are you drawn to this work?
David Braly, architectural painter, and a dear, dear friend: He was the one who introduced me to my business partner, Bobby McAlpine, over 35 years ago. He’s also the godfather to my daughter. How could I not love him and his beautiful work? So many emotional ties. Ben Smith, printer and illustrator: There’s something mystical about his work and just the right sense of wrong. Kenny Harris, painter: I recently bought a series of paintings he did of a country estate in Ireland. They’re simultaneously traditional and expressionistic. Much like my own work.
When is the ideal time to introduce art into a design project?
Right off the bat. Clients often come to us with beloved pieces and we start creating spaces for these. We always design houses from the inside out—just as we conjure spaces around furniture layouts, art is an integral ingredient in that stew.
Tell us about a few highlighted projects you are working on, and how they are integrating art?
We are currently designing a house out west based around an entire fossilized triceratops. That’s a first. We just finished an extensive renovation of a midcentury modern house in Palm Beach and worked closely with an art curator, which was great fun. I was able to not only establish important places and sizes we desired important pieces, but described moods of what to search for. We have a glamorous, treasury-like house on the ocean under construction in Florida and have been working closely with the owner and interior designer to collect and highlight a new collection of important contemporary artwork. I think they’ve nabbed a few pieces museums have had their eyes set on! It will be very Peggy Guggenheim meets Florida.
Why is the voice of the artist important?
In creating home and environ, everyone one at the table has a voice. That’s a lot of chatter. It’s up to me to make sure all are singing in the same hymnal.
Does art need design, or vice versa?
Houses house—that’s their job. We create places to shelter art, be it a painting, sculpture, furnishing or accessory.
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