I just love it when I’m flipping through a catalog and I find something that’s unexpected. Often times I use Ballard Designs as a go-to for clients who want a simple sofa, bench, or ottoman in a customized-but-not-over-the-top-expensive fabric. Aside from their fantastic upholstered items, I find their accessories to be just fine but predictable: curly iron side tables, some linen canvases with a stylized floral print, and Chalkboard, Beadboard and Burlap (Oh My!).
I’m generally not a fan of mass-produced art, but over the weekend this Ballard print from Samantha Carlisle caught my eye. It seemed deliciously out of place among their other items, and the contextual uniqueness of the painting made me want it even more.
It’s a giclee print, meaning the medium is fancy ink jet on canvas, and it’s finished with acrylic glaze by hand to give it some texture. The modern blocks of Rothko-esque color and the graphic text give it a “poster-y” feel, and that allows me to overlook the fact that it comes from a catalog and hundreds (or thousands) of other people have it hanging over their console tables.
But WAIT: a quick google search of the print’s title led me to the image below. It’s “no longer available” and for that I am so thankful. The black stamping really kills the subtle sophistication of the image for me, and I think that Ballard made a wise choice to reissue the piece. Perhaps the initial thought behind the stamping was that it made the print more edgy and graphic, but I think it makes it so trite and common; the plain white text is much more satisfying to my eye. It just kind of leaves me wondering: what happened to the first edition? I’m sure no artist likes being told that their painting is great, but the retailer that purchased it wants to eliminate about, oh, 10% of it.
In any case, I like #2. So just this one time I give mass-produced art the go ahead, and I hope to see more piece like this from Ballard in the future.