The Secrets of Home Styling with Chris Carroll
The countdown has begun, with only seven days remaining to enter Bluethumb Art Prize 2023! Don’t delay; click here to enter Australia’s biggest art prize before it’s too late. This year’s judging panel features leading Interior Designer and Director of TLC Interiors, Chris Carroll. We caught up with Chris to discuss art’s important role in home styling and the qualities he’s looking for in the prize entries. Continue reading to discover how to capture Chris’ attention with your entry.
Navigating the Artistic Preferences of Design Clients
“One of the biggest learnings from working with design clients is how personal art is to them,” states Chris. “They tend to make decisions about other design elements quite quickly, but art tends to demand more consideration,” he adds. Carroll notes that clients express a yearning for something that touches them personally, describing it as an ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ mentality. He emphasizes their preference for “unique, individual, original works from artists over mass-produced pieces,” a growing trend amongst home decorators. For Carroll, personally, this quest for originality has been rewarding because “I get to discover artists and their work that I’d previously not known about all the time.”
The Role of Art in Crafting Unique Spaces
Chris underscores art’s pivotal role in transforming a space’s atmosphere and mood. He states, “I’m always educating clients about rooms needing a focal point, and often art is that ‘moment’.” According to Chris, art serves as the cornerstone around which a room’s style can be built. He further elaborates on his design process, explaining that sometimes he will create a mood board for an entire room and leave the art selection until the end. This, he notes, is an exhilarating part of the process because it involves a certain level of unpredictability. “…Even I might not know exactly what I’m looking for,” he states.
Chris acknowledges, “Sometimes you see an artwork, and it stops you in your tracks. And you think… that’s the one! Now, to get the client to agree to it!” In this way, Chris incorporates his perspective on art into his design projects, recognizing its potential to become the defining element that shapes the ambience and character of a space.
Embracing Original Art in Design
As the Director of TLC Interiors, Chris offers valuable advice to aspiring interior designers and home decorators who aim to infuse more art and creativity into their projects. He advises them to “embrace original art where you can,” recognizing its unparalleled value to interior design. While budget constraints may necessitate the inclusion of relatively inexpensive reproduction prints, Carroll underscores original artworks’ unique and irreplaceable appeal. “We use a mix of originals and mass-produced pieces in our projects (often due to budget constraints). But the original works can’t be beat.”
Chris encourages individuals to connect with local artists, gain insights into their craftsmanship, and appreciate the dedication that goes into each piece. He notes that this connection with artists enriches the design process and resonates deeply with clients. He explains, “The clients love supporting local artists, too; it means more to them to see the piece on their walls every day.”
An Emotional Reveal
Reflecting on a memorable art-related experience from his career as an Interior Designer, Chris recounts a touching story. He recalls an initial consultation with a client who shared an original Indigenous artwork she had acquired during her travels in Darwin. Carroll vividly describes the piece, noting its exquisite “lilac and dusty blue tones.” Initially uncertain about its relevance to the design, the client hesitated, wondering if Chris would appreciate it as much as she did. However, Chris and his team were deeply inspired by the artwork. They built the entire design scheme around it, incorporating its colours into dining chairs, armchairs, and cushions.
The client’s emotional reaction during the reveal left a lasting impression on Chris. He recalls, “She cried when we revealed the end result to her and was so pleased that something she connected with was the inspiration for the whole-home design.” This experience reaffirmed for Carroll the profound connection people have with art and how it can serve as a pivotal influence, shaping the entire design narrative.
Making Art Accessible
As a judge for the Bluethumb Art Prize, Chris finds himself aligned with the ethos the competition embodies. He highlights the shared values between TLC Interiors and Bluethumb, stating, “We’ve always prided ourselves at TLC Interiors for bringing design to everyone regardless of budget. We’re very ‘real world’; repelled by the snobbery you can sometimes see in the design world. And Bluethumb is much the same.” Carroll appreciates that the Bluethumb Art Prize champions an “art for everyone” mentality, emphasizing that it is not elitist. He resonates deeply with this approach, as it aligns with his commitment to making design accessible to all. “It’s not elitist. I resonate with that so much,” says Chris.
When evaluating art submissions for the prize, Chris approaches the task with an open mind and a keen appreciation for creativity. He mentions, “I’m going in with no expectations other than to be blown away by the talent, which I know there will be plenty of.” Chris is enthusiastic about fresh and unique art, stating, “I love being exposed to art that doesn’t feel like something I’ve seen before.” Ultimately, Chris seeks submissions that resonate deeply and leave a lasting impression. Eager to be captivated by exceptional talent, Chris says, “Bring it on!”
Don’t delay; enter the Bluethumb Art Prize before 11 September 2023 to win a share of $100,000 prize money. This is not a drill; only seven days remaining! 📣