Debuts Vortex: A New Language for Wallcovering
Brooklyn-based wallpaper company Flavor Paper has teamed up with French artist Ara Starck to introduce Vortex: an immersive room scale painting with tremendous depth. Created layer by layer from original artwork, Vortex is one of Flavor Paper’s most complex wallpaper designs to date, both in process and effect.
Taking inspiration from the dynamic, fluid nature of a vortex: a swirling mass that pulls things to its center, the idea began when Ara Starck and Jon Sherman, Founder and Creative Director of Flavor Paper, worked simultaneously on atmospheric elements of the SLS Hotel Miami in 2012. The earliest elements of Vortex stemmed from this project and upon its completion, both agreed the styles and techniques could be merged to create a sum greater than its parts. After nearly a year of working from concept to creation the massive Vortex mural has emerged as the harmonious result.
Working much like a Vortex itself, Starck and Flavor Paper combined multiple techniques for a unique process. Created by layering, two main techniques were used: charcoal and oil painting. Both were utilized for their most essential values – charcoal for its rough, grounded strength and oil painting for its ethereal, sensual intimacy.
The two separate art pieces were digitally merged into one swirling, poetic design. With the charcoal rendered as a half tone, it holds its form but becomes entwined with the oil painting. It is impossible to spot where one piece begins and another ends. Printed at room scale, the brush strokes (and even a few loose bristles) make the viewer feel as if they too exist within a painting. Printed on removable adhesive backed iridescent fabric, the wallpaper has a beautiful glow and appears differently from all angles – lighter from some and brighter gold from others – further embodying the nature of the Vortex.
In creating her first design for wallpaper, Starck strongly considered the personal nature of the medium. “Wallpaper is a beautiful and poetic infusion with one’s space,” says Starck. “With wallpaper, you penetrate the core of the house and are able to wrap the walls of the nest. This ability to enter someone’s personal space triggered within me a sense of responsibility.”
Concerned with building a conversation over time, Starck worked in layers, depth and movement “I wanted this piece to slowly unravel itself, leaf after leaf, story after story, breeze after breeze, as if, throughout the conversation, it would shed its petals – petals that would lead the eye toward another depth, another narrative,” says Starck.
About Ara Starck
Born in Paris in 1978, Ara Starck studied at the Ateliers de Sèvres, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, and the Central Saint Martins College of Art, before completing her studies at the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 2002 with a B.A. Starck has always been inspired by the idea of transcendence, literally and figuratively, and sees her choice of working in the medium of very large formats as an essential driving force. Her desire to bend the limits of this framework applied to new techniques, such as lenticular illusions, enables her to express herself on the subject she considers the most complex and the most poetic of all: the Human. Working within the framework of traditional painting techniques such as oils, brushes, and turpentine, Ara Starck creates works that are encounters.
Starck’s work can be seen at the Hotel Meurice in Paris, where a large one-of-a-kind canvas complements an interior redesigned by her father, Phillipe Starck, as well as the SLS Miami Hotel, the Palazzina Grassi Hotel in Venice, and the Biljoke Muziekcentrum in Ghent. She has partnered in past with Baccarat, Terra 6840, Silk Me Back, among others. Starck has worked with many foundations to create items for charitable auction, including UNICEF, La Source, the Watermill Foundation, and Silk Me Back. In addition to design, Starck performed as a musician in the band “The Two” with David Jarre, as well as on Lulu Gainsbourg’s new album Lady Luck in 2015.
Ara lives and works in New York.
About Flavor Paper
Founder and Creative Director Jon Sherman’s original New Orleans start-up and the subsequent development of the Flavor Paper manufacturing facility on Pacific Street in Brooklyn has successfully wallpapered millions of square feet around the globe. Flavor Paper continues to collaborate with Kravitz Design, Milton Glaser, and most recently, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts. Clients at the firm span from the architectural IAC Building by Frank Gehry in New York, to sports brand Nike, fashion retailer Steve Madden, international luxury SLS Hotels, W Hotels and more. Flavor Paper designs are also part of permanent museum collections at the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. Flavor Paper is eco-friendly, using water-based inks and PVC-free, recyclable and recycled content when possible. All products are print-to-order for easy customization and little to no wasted materials. Visit www.flavorpaper.com for more information.
Allie Smith | bde