This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.
Do you like your surroundings? Or are you even unaware of them?
It is spectacularly uplifting to walk into a home, an office or a public place and see it tastefully decorated, where form follows function.
Some weeks ago I spent a few days away from home. I arrived in my accommodation and went straight to my room. I was instantly struck by the ugly furniture in the room. Bland, boring, a white table, wardrobe, bed post, all in a depressing plastic! And then the pictures and paintings on the walls were horrible beyond words. It was an uninviting atmosphere. Doubtful if there had been any thought or planning gone into putting the room together.
It set me thinking about how the environment around us can influence our mood and peace of mind. It also prompted me to wonder about style and fashion.
Of course people like different things. Also, fashion changes from season to season: one year green can be the colour, the following year it's blue. Trends change continuously and they are influenced by many things, including films, exhibitions, events. The Olympic Games, big football occasions, all play a part in influencing styles and fashions.
Anyone who watches RTE TV's 'Reeling in the Years' will notice how styles change over time. We look at it and are tempted to say how 'silly' people looked 'back then'. But on the other hand it's what people felt at ease in, they felt 'great' looking like that.
Personal style never goes out of fashion.
There are those who follow trends, but surely the underlying principle should and must be that style or fashion cheers us, helps make us feel good and look good too.
Paris-based German fashion designer, artist and photographer Karl Lagerfeld says it well: “I’m a very down-to-earth person, but it is my job to make that earth more pleasant."
I was at a meeting in a hall some weeks ago. Looking around the room I noticed the prints/pictures that were on the walls. I can't believe anyone would look at any of them and I can't imagine how they could ever possibly lift one's spirits. Why at all are they there?
Do you like your surroundings? Are they uplifting, joyous, relaxing? Do you regularly look at the paintings on your wall? Do they help make you a happier person? Do they challenge you and inspire you?
I probably know nothing about art or design but I do know what I like and don't like.
A friend of mine, who is an artist, has been making hand cut paper collages for the past few years. The images that she creates pop with colour and energy. And immediately lift your spirits and give you great pleasure as soon as you see them.
Last year she and a fellow artist friend of hers exhibited their work in Wexford during the Opera Festival. It was my friend's artistic debut and to her delight it proved such a success they are back exhibiting again this year during the Opera Festival. The exhibition, Phase .: 3, which opens this Wednesday, October 26 is taking place at 44 South Main Street, Wexford, opposite Penneys.
I bought three works at the exhibition last year and yes, they do enhance my home.... adding colour and elegance, and I regularly look at them and it does me good.
There is an emotional power in shapes, forms and colour. And you don't have to 'know' about art to enjoy or appreciate objects of art that you like and admire.
Do you like your surroundings, those paintings on the wall?