Framed Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern tiles have long been one of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift (or, consequently, to buy for myself). And nearly all favorites are based on the paintings of Charlie Harper. No, not THAT Charlie Harper, by the Cincinnati-based modernist artist Charlie Harper.
His subjects were all wildlife- or nature-based, and while that’s not usually my thing, his work is so modern, so stylized, I can’t resist. He called his style minimal realism, and here’s what it represented to him:
“When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.”
Motawi Tileworks started making designer tiles based upon vintage art works in the early nineties. They cleverly realized how beautifully Harper’s clean lines would translate to their medium, and their bas-relief tiles of his work immediately received great critical acclaim.
Now that I’ve once again checked out all of Motawi’s Charlie Harper designs, I’m thinking it’s time for me to acquire another . . .
All images property of Motawi Tileworks.