While shopping for a night stand recently, I visited several popular chain home decor stores. In each store, I took the time to check out the art being sold to a mass shopping public. Each store had some nice pieces that would look pleasant in any home or office. When builders set up model homes to show to perspective buyers, the houses are always decorated with nice pictures. Nobody lives in these nicely decorated model homes with the nice pictures. Model homes lack the signs of actual people living in them. Likewise, the pleasant paintings lack the life that tells you a living, breathing person was communicating through art.
One particular print in a popular store was of a row of birch trees. It was a nice picture. It would look nice in any home. However, I found myself comparing this print with the “life” in a Wolf Kahn painting of birch trees. The first picture would nicely coordinate with a home’s decor and blend well with furniture and drapery. A Wolf Kahn print would immediately draw attention and dominate the decor. A Wolf Kahn would have magnetic energy. A Wolf Kahn would have “life.”
Do we seek to create nice pictures to blend with pleasant decor or do we paint “life?”
Wolf Kahn talks about his work: