WHERE ART MEETS LIGHT

October 24, 2016

Dear Debbie;
I am redecorating, and all my lamp shades are boring. Have you got any tips or sources for shades or lamps that have some character? Looking forward to any ideas.
Valerie

Dear Valerie;
There are lamp shade kits that you can buy and make your own unique versions. Fabrics come in any and all colours and designs, and depending on your skill level, you can add pleats and trims to produce an eye-catching display. Another option is to shop antique stores for old lamps or vessels that can be turned into lamps, so you can create a one of a kind light fixture that has a captivating history attached to it. You’ll find lamp wiring kits in hardware stores.

At a recent Interior Design show in Toronto, I discovered a fascinating option for lampshades that are anything but boring. The company is called Urban Lampscapes, www.urbanlampscapes.com. They take photographic images of street art and transform them into lamp shades. These shades are whimsical, theatrical, startling, strange, beautiful pieces of art. Charlie Ezerzer and partner Joe Ponciano (lead photographer) have a passion for travel and art. They found the culture captivated by street art to be fascinating. Charlie says “in contrast to what you find in galleries, it’s uncontrolled, often disagreeable, but mostly urban, interesting and fresh.” They have trekked all over the world, wandering through city streets and alleyways, subways and buses, searching for thought-provoking pieces, and capturing them on film. They talk to locals to get background stories that the art represents, but this is not always possible. The street artists are usually anonymous.

Charlie and Joe wanted to share their finds. They recognized a connection between seeing the street art in real life, and showing it at home was not only possible, but magical. “During the day you can enjoy the lamp as a piece of art as you would see it on the street,” they said, “and it takes on a whole new life with vivid colours and functional beauty when turned on at night.”

Street art by its very nature is ephemeral. “The Lady with the Sax” was photographed in Williamsburg, New York in 2008. Charlie explains “the rules of street art dictate that other artists may add to or change the work that is in place.” Also buildings change, are demolished or painted over. They returned in 2016 and the painting now has tags obstructing it. This is a wonderful lamp, adding spontaneous fun and colour to any room

“Swirlfriends” was shot in Athens, painted by a Greek street artist who has painted a series of these swirling girls. Charming and intimate, this suits a bedroom, small for a bedside table, or large as a floor lamp.
It is exciting to be able to create your own custom light fixtures. Their team is very versatile, and invite a challenge. There are hundreds of street art images posted on their website, along with different styles and sizes of lamps and shades. You select your lamp and shade and see it previewed on the site. Also, if you have an image that you have taken, they can work from that.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit Debbie’s new website, www.debbietravis.com.