Art serves many functions. It can be used to communicate a message, evoke an emotion or simply take you back to a joyous memory. But even beyond the seemingly intangible experience of art, it actually can serve very practical (and utilitarian) purposes. A number of talented artists have figured out how to take fabulous art forms and make them functional…and in the reverse, have taken functional items and put a fabulous artful spin on them.
Several of these artists are at the Celebration of Fine Art. Whether through pieces of architecture incorporated into the home or jewelry, they’re making it possible to incorporate art into daily life. In this Art Discovery, artists Michael Jones, Diana Ferguson and Sundie and Brad Ruppert share how they approach their work, why they chose the mediums they work with, and some of the unthinkable uses they’ve found with it.
“Being a metal artist, you get to work with material that is long going to outlive any one of us,” Michael Jones said. “That has always intrigued me. I love doing functional pieces and it all started because I needed a gate for myself. And I thought, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be a piece of art. That’s where it all started.”
Now, Michael’s artful gates done the entrances of countless homes throughout the country. Many of them often incorporating an element of storytelling––a story that’s as personal and unique to the collector who owns it.
On the other side of the material spectrum is Diana. Rather than working with heavy steel and fire, she sculpts architectural wearable art from tiny glass beads and other materials. Diana creates jewelry that’s meant to play double duty as an artful display.
“I have different types of pieces like the beaded constructions that are really bracelets, but they also serve as beautiful pieces of glass sculpture art,” she said.
For Sundie and Brad Ruppert, who’ve created a unique art form all their own, which they refer to as “sculptural felt”, they recently discovered an unexpected use for their art: sound dampening.
“Last year, a collector came to us with the idea of using felt artwork to dampen the sound in their home, and it was like a lightbulb went off above my head,” Sundie Ruppert said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, our work is functional.’ We ended up doing a project for them and it’s amazing the difference it makes.”
The couple also recently discovered that the tactile and sound-dampening qualities of their work is also helping some members of the autism community. Now, they are looking for opportunities to expand in that area.
Each of these artists demonstrates the near endless ways art can be incorporated into daily life. So, think beyond the walls and if you need some inspiration, watch the full recap of this Art Discovery below.