The Art of the Decorative Interior

Scenes from Stephen Spera's PICTUS...decorative painting
stephensperadecorative:

In Westchester, some unusual walls in a study. The designer Martin Heinz wanted to get an old, decayed leather effect, so I layered and layered using a few different techniques. Even forcing cracks in selected areas- reminiscent of the type of cracking that occurs in worn leather. After producing a few  variations of a ‘leather brown’ ( each layer was a variation on the colours) -I finally drybrushed the by now raised areas, to complete the look, which is very warm and inviting.

stephensperadecorative:

In Westchester, some unusual walls in a study. The designer Martin Heinz wanted to get an old, decayed leather effect, so I layered and layered using a few different techniques. Even forcing cracks in selected areas- reminiscent of the type of cracking that occurs in worn leather. After producing a few  variations of a ‘leather brown’ ( each layer was a variation on the colours) -I finally drybrushed the by now raised areas, to complete the look, which is very warm and inviting.

Painted trays. Paint on wood. I have always loved the opportunity to make painted trays. The opportunity to produce so many varied finishes was a very win-win, design-wise. I could experiment to my heart’s content, or follow a strict set  of rules and patterns….and whether I knew what would happen, or tying to surprise myself, the results were always happy. As the techniques were application as well as removal, I could layer out anything I didn’t find spot-on.  Lately, Ive been making new trays, and hope to post them when finished. These were sold the minute I finished, if not sooner, but fortunately I managed to save a few for my own home…

Pictus will paint anything, anytime. This past weekend, I painted WOMEN. Cool, wild women, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It WAS paint, after all. And they ARE women……

Pictus will paint anything, anytime. This past weekend, I painted WOMEN. Cool, wild women, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It WAS paint, after all. And they ARE women……

In my travels, I find that often I am taking a shot or two for sheer inspiration…this triptych of Parisian doors, taken in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, are just that. A version of this shot has been on my studio thinkboard fro so long I don’t even see it there anymore….

In my travels, I find that often I am taking a shot or two for sheer inspiration…this triptych of Parisian doors, taken in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, are just that. A version of this shot has been on my studio thinkboard fro so long I don’t even see it there anymore….

For a client In Saratoga Springs, NY, I made a dozen canvases that mimicked the blankets worn by the horses in the nearby racetrack. The weathered look and feel were close to the inspiration materials.

The world’s grooviest stripes….I wish this room still existed, but the fleeting nature of paint on walls …..well, I’ll do it again elsewhere….

The world’s grooviest stripes….I wish this room still existed, but the fleeting nature of paint on walls …..well, I’ll do it again elsewhere….

Whittemore House, Greenwich Village, NYC. Painted damasks, distressed surfaces, distressed furniture, you name it…..

Whittemore House, Greenwich Village, NYC. Painted damasks, distressed surfaces, distressed furniture, you name it…..

Rubbed Metallic walls on Fifth Ave, NYC. I kept the marks more or less horizontal, though in this type of finish they could be done in both horizontal and vertical strokes, and the transparency of the metallic / iridescents would make a gorgeously uneven faux burlap effect…

Rubbed Metallic walls on Fifth Ave, NYC. I kept the marks more or less horizontal, though in this type of finish they could be done in both horizontal and vertical strokes, and the transparency of the metallic / iridescents would make a gorgeously uneven faux burlap effect…

A lobby I am doing, in progress. Upper West Side, Manhattan. This is a huge lobby, here shown only a piece. I am doing all the panels, raised moldings, walls, railings, etc etc…..many of my students ( and even assistants) can do a finish in something the size of one panel….then are paralyzed to think of any more than that…. it is totally different thing altogether to try a large ( or in this case, massive) area, with inlays, mouldings, crowns, etc etc. To keep it perfect and clean…and remember that this is a public area …and the walls are quite high, the work so extensive….

A lobby I am doing, in progress. Upper West Side, Manhattan. This is a huge lobby, here shown only a piece. I am doing all the panels, raised moldings, walls, railings, etc etc…..many of my students ( and even assistants) can do a finish in something the size of one panel….then are paralyzed to think of any more than that…. it is totally different thing altogether to try a large ( or in this case, massive) area, with inlays, mouldings, crowns, etc etc. To keep it perfect and clean…and remember that this is a public area …and the walls are quite high, the work so extensive….

An old project…had the full crew at work on this. Pictus made a gigantic painted sisal floor ( this was three sisal rugs sewn together!) and the patterns were abstracted from ancient vestments, etc. The piece was so big we couldn’t fit it in the clients’ Ballroom! Part was always ‘up the wall’…or folded….

An old project…had the full crew at work on this. Pictus made a gigantic painted sisal floor ( this was three sisal rugs sewn together!) and the patterns were abstracted from ancient vestments, etc. The piece was so big we couldn’t fit it in the clients’ Ballroom! Part was always ‘up the wall’…or folded….

A surprise, yesterday.  This project I did with the A.D.100 great Samuel Botero, for the legendary restauranteur Ormando Orsini….We did the walls in a swirl of orange-reds, and Sam’s original concept was to spray paint words around the place. Ormando was against the use of graffiti-like forms, so I suggested perhaps pieces of poems….When they discovered I was a published poet,everyone felt confident that it would be the way to go.  My team and I cut stencils of endless fonts, in various sizes, and fragments from Dante and Shakespeare to Leonard Cohen went all over the restaurant. Words even made it to the huge glass partition, and the custom fabric for the chairs. It was widely published, but I’d never seen these shots till now.

A surprise, yesterday.  This project I did with the A.D.100 great Samuel Botero, for the legendary restauranteur Ormando Orsini….We did the walls in a swirl of orange-reds, and Sam’s original concept was to spray paint words around the place. Ormando was against the use of graffiti-like forms, so I suggested perhaps pieces of poems….When they discovered I was a published poet,everyone felt confident that it would be the way to go.  My team and I cut stencils of endless fonts, in various sizes, and fragments from Dante and Shakespeare to Leonard Cohen went all over the restaurant. Words even made it to the huge glass partition, and the custom fabric for the chairs. It was widely published, but I’d never seen these shots till now.

I love to create Tapestries - This one, for example, was hand painted on heavy unbleached muslin, with gold and copper leaf pounded into its borders.

It hung on heavy poles with finials that were similarly treated. This tapestry was chosen by the legendary Benardaud to hang in its windows on Park Avenue, NYC. Naturally I didn’t go around to take a snapshot of it in situ….( and it was there for quite a while!!) but here it is in Samuel Botero’s showroom, and below, in its resting place in a client’s apartment. I also did the walls in a red damask, and there are two of my smaller paintings just off to the right. You can see some of the decorative poles and finials at bottom, leaning on the medieval furniture. A hard learned lesson- take photos of your work, now….

One of the first Interiors Pictus ever did…..clouds were so the rage then….

One of the first Interiors Pictus ever did…..clouds were so the rage then….

Bath, Upper West Side, NYC.  Very streaky, drippy effect in the painting…lots of dragging. Quite the ‘rainforest’ effect, though light and airy……

Bath, Upper West Side, NYC.  Very streaky, drippy effect in the painting…lots of dragging. Quite the ‘rainforest’ effect, though light and airy……

Rubbed Metallic walls on fifth avenue, nyc

Rubbed Metallic walls on fifth avenue, nyc

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