For the lover of interior design...

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My ‘Design Desire’ blog is aiming to share my interior design knowledge with anyone who is interested in the subject. Also available in Malay translation (2011 – 2015). I hope you will follow my DESIGN DESIRE journey...

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Saturday, 31 January 2015


Hi there, this is the version of my interview in September 2014 with an artist in the US for a particular publication. It may have been published somewhere or the whole concept or the interview answers have been changed, I have not been credited. 

Still I would like to share the original Q & A with you. If anybody came across a similar subject published in any form of publication please do not hesitate to contact me. 

For my Malaysian readers, this Q & A will not be translated into Malay language. Enjoy reading.

Q & A

1. At what point in the design process do you start considering art for a room, and at what point do you bring in an artist?

Usually at the beginning during the sketching of the concept and also during the design research. Once the layout plan and elevations are completed and all materials from the wall treatments to the soft furnishings, accessories and furniture have been finalised.

Picture credit: Nik A Ramli

2. Do you prefer already finished art, or custom art created specifically for a project?

Personally I prefer custom art. The thrill of researching and searching for a piece of art that will complement and enhance the overall design scheme is an adventure. Naturally it is all dependent on the budget of the specific project.

3. For custom art, do you go through an artist's portfolio and ask for something similar to an existing piece, or would you rather work with the artist to create something unique?

Often I will go through their portfolio. If you have requested something similar perhaps by just adjusting the hues or colours that is fine. If you are asking for an entirely new piece you have at least to like the outcome. Creating something new or unusual might not be to the liking of your client(s).

Picture credit: Nik A Ramli

4. How important is it for you that an artist be willing to make changes to a piece so it fits in better with your design concept?

This is very important. Once I worked on a project and based on the brief the artist provided a number of choices from their portfolio. I selected a particular piece and requested that they smoothed the edges and created patterns to fit her art into my design. Thankfully the artist agreed! Clearly not all art can be adjusted once it is completed or dried. Also, understandably an artist might not be willing to alter or facelift a piece that they have created: it is their art after all. Each individual will have their own limits. 

5. For 2D art, are prints acceptable, or would you prefer to buy originals?

This all depends on the overall design brief and the budget. 2D print art is absolutely fine if is good quality, interesting and fits into the overall design. Still you can not compare them with good originals!

Picture credit: Allex In Casa

6. Do you like to see 2D art in unusual materials? (printed on metal, acrylic, etc.)

2D art, when printed onto an interesting material like to have it printed on metal or glass will definitely give a different effect, often more eye catching. However this generally more modern, reflective style doesn’t suit all designs. 

7. What about art printed on other home furnishing products like pillows, curtains, duvet covers, etc. Is it important to you that the artist offer these options already finished, or do you have your own sources for printing on fabric, and just want to purchase the licensing rights from an artist?

Excellent point! That would be fabulous, creative artists have to think outside the box. Think business, that is how artists make their wealth. In my scenario, I would create my very own artwork pillows and other forms of products. As for licensing rights from an artist, I have gone through the process. I like the design of a vintage card, so I located the resource and I paid the rights to the organization to print. Hence from one piece of artwork I adjusted the image by stretching the length. Once it had been stretched according to my desired measurement, I printed it onto six squares of canvas. It did not spoil the original but it gave the artwork a new life as a different piece of art.

Picture credit: Melissa Mercier

8. Do you often look for 3D art for customers?

Yes, 3D art has the advantage of being 3D! That is, we relate to it as we do the rest of the world. I often introduce tactile materials for my client(s), such as for the wall and window treatments also for the soft furnishings and accessories. 3D art has more depth and detail if you look at it carefully. The art is more realistic and interesting to look at. Looking at it you just want to touch and feel it. 

9. Do you prefer already framed work, or would you rather purchase unframed work?

That really depends on the artwork itself and the wall that you plan to hang it on. Different types of artwork work differently with frames. So, a modern, large abstract piece might look better frameless on a large canvas whereas a more classical work might be enhanced in a suitable frame. Some art might look equally good, but different with or without a frame – it all depends on the work and your preference. It is worth remembering that a large heavy framed work would need to be very securely supported if being hung on a modern plasterboard wall.

Picture credit: Rosieom

10. If you had to pick one thing an artist could do to make it easier for you to purchase her art for your projects, what would that one thing be?

Lower price tags would be fabulous! But seriously I’m a designer and I know the value of good originals... 

11. Do you expect a discount or commission on art you purchase for a customer? If so, what percentage of the asking price do you request?

It is all depends on the way I work and my agreement with the artist. If I use them exclusively and vice versa for all my projects we will work something out. As for my percentage, that would be telling!

 Picture credit: Freshome

12. Is there a certain price range you tend to look for when purchasing art?

This is entirely dependent on the project and the client’s budget. Art is subjective however the art itself has to justify the price. Also, a piece doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive in order to make an impact and enhance a room. 

13. Is there anything else you would like to share with artists looking to sell to the interior design industry?

The design world is one tough business and at times might not be fair! 

For all the creative artists out there, be original and be creative. A good size portfolio is a must. Good selling points to close the deal with individual designers or organizations are recommended. Prepare a press release of your new artwork, this is an advantage. You need to have a website to showcase your master pieces for the buyers whether they are individuals or from organizations. People will want to view your portfolio. Ideally photographs should be taken professionally on a wall or from room sets. Finally, you want to make profits and have a healthy turnover from your artwork(s). Buyers also have to make a profit, whatever cost you are selling, buyers have to mark up from the trade price. So do your maths carefully when pricing up your artwork. It has to be justified by the pieces that you are selling.

Finally, I say stay creative and original, all the best and good luck.

Picture credit: In Out


Hai semua, ini adalah versi wawancara saya pada bulan September 2014 dengan seorang artis di Amerika Syarikat untuk penerbitan tertentu. Ia mungkin telah diterbitkan di suatu majalah atau keseluruhan konsep jawapan wawancara telah berubah, tetapi saya tidak dikreditkan.

Walau bagaimana pun saya masih ingin berkongsi Q & A yang asal dengan semua pembaca. Jika ada sesiapa terjumpa subjek yang sama atau seakan diterbitkan didalam berbagai cetakan sila tidak teragak-agak untuk menghubungi saya. 

Bagi pembaca Malaysia saya, Q & A ini tidak akan diterjemahkan ke dalam bahasa Melayu.

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