Got to Be Real: A Conversation with Doug Bloodworth (Whose Photo-Like Paintings Leave Us Amazed)

Bloodworth

Photorealist artist Doug Bloodworth was inspired by the beyond-lifelike sculptures of Duane Hanson—most notably, a “security guard” on display at New York’s Russeck Gallery. “Thousands of people, myself included, went up to him and asked him where the restrooms were.  It was truly uncanny,” says Bloodworth.

Similarly, he enjoys overhearing visitors to his shows—in galleries from Zurich to Key West to South Beach to, yes, Disney World—saying that they “love the photos.” When corrected, told that these are oil paintings, he says, “Their look of incredulity is such a pleasure to watch.  Many people stare at the paintings for a very long time.”

One reason they are enthralled is that Bloodworth delights in depicting such beloved and familiar touchstones of Americana as Keebler fudge stripe cookies, M&Ms candies, Coke bottles, Monopoly games, Batman comics, and The New York Times crossword—in mid-attempt—all blown up to giant 4-foot-by-5-foot size.

In a sale starting today on Gilt, the works sold are limited-edition reproductions of oil paintings in sizes ranging from 4’ by 5’ to 18” by 24”. The hyper-real depictions of the pop culture flotsam and jetsam of our lives is a major part of the artist’s appeal, according to David Muller, president and curator of Photorealism, a Boca Raton–based dealer in solely photorealistic art.

“It’s a combination of, number one, the actual technical skill involved in the works,” Muller says. “I’ve been in his studio and sat there for three hours watching him complete three square inches of a candy wrapper. Watching it appear from a white canvas is totally amazing. Then you have the addition of nostalgia. When one sees the actual works, it takes you back to another time.”

This is a voyage that many have been interested in undertaking. Bloodworth feels lucky to be shown by Ron Hoy in his Hoypoloi Gallery (and its sister, Pop Gallery) located smack in the middle of Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. “Over a half million people walk by the door every week,” says Bloodworth. “They are introducing my artwork to a myriad of collectors, and I am so grateful for it. Over Labor Day weekend, I painted live at the Pop Gallery and there was a line up around the corner [to get postcards signed and remarques done]. What a great scene it was.”

He’s equally happy (and humbled) to be on the walls of the Russeck Gallery on Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue and in Soho, New York City—where the other works hanging are by Picasso, Miro, Calder, Kandinsky, and the like. Not bad for someone with a degree in Commercial Art, who then apprenticed with Marv Gunderson, a renowned billboard painter.

“I worked under Marv for several years, painting outdoor billboards half the size of an Olympic pool,” Bloodworth says. “Most of the billboards were for Marlboro brand of cigarettes, although we painted other billboards as well for McDonalds, Budweiser and others. Each billboard took a whole team of us about two weeks to complete. However, after three months or so of being in view, the billboards were whitewashed to make space for a new ad for a new client.” He moved on to painting murals and developing his signature style.

His first five fine-art paintings were shown (and sold out) at Art Basel in Miami in 2011. The city is therefore close to his heart, and he shows at Effusion Gallery, next door to the Versace Mansion. “Recently, Lil Wayne came in[to Effusion Gallery] and bought my New York Times painting,” he says. “I was so honored.”

Bloodworth’s time, however, is spent not hanging with hip rappers but instead holed up in his studio near Gainesville, Florida. “A photorealist painting in the size I create them – four feet by five feet – can take me over two months to complete,” he says. “But it is a labor of love.”

- Maria Ricapito

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Around the World with Lonny: The Mag’s Editors on Their Favorite Design Destinations

Here at Gilt Home, we’re big fans of Lonny magazine and its globally inspired aesthetic. So we asked some of the magazine’s editors to curate one sale with three components, each based on a locale from their July/August travel issue. So these inspired editors — one for each location — chose product that fit the aesthetic of each area: SoCal, Scandinavia and Paris. They make us want to pack our bags and get traveling — then come home and redesign. Without further ado, some thoughts from these folks on their respective locales. (Want the latest news from Lonny? Click here.)

Jose-Luis Hausmann/living4media

Jose-Luis Hausmann/living4media

 

Cat Dash, market editor: Scandinavia

What inspired you about the place? In Scandinavia, functional and beautiful are one and the same. Design is thoughtful, useful, and pretty. The culture tends to live minimally, appreciate good design (as we saw in Lonny’s July/Aug issue, when 1stdibs founder Michael Bruno visited the area) and has a strong love of nature—all are traits I try to subscribe to.

How would you describe this place in a phrase? The birthplace of functional yet beautiful design.

What personal connections do you have to the area? I have Scandinavian heritage, so an appreciation for the region’s design aesthetic is in my blood. I grew up surrounded by midcentury teak pieces, Alvar Aalto vases, and a less-is-more mentality.

Any particular item callouts that you feel exemplify this location? The Serena & Lily table linens and Sagaform cutting boards are wildly similar to everyday entertaining items I grew up with. They’re classic, unfussy pieces you’ll have forever.

Any tips on how people can incorporate the style/feel of this location in their home? The key to getting this look is to pare down—stick with nature-inspired pieces that have clean lines and a neutral palette.

 

565a-SoCal

Kaylei McGaw, associate editor: SoCal

What inspired you about the place? When we visited our cover girl’s home in Venice, I was intrigued by her passion for tea service. She has a collection of ceramic tea cups, serving plates, and pots which she artfully arranged atop a table runner on the floor of her living room.  The cups and dishes aren’t perfectly matched sets, but they are timeless shapes and each serves a different purpose. Sitting on the floor can be very relaxing, and her detail and precision of the tea service was peaceful to watch.

How would you describe this place in a phrase? An Arts and Crafts surf shack.

What personal connections do you have to the area? When I was young I spent every summer in a little beach town where doors and windows were always wide open. Surfboards, beach totes, and sun hats could be found around every corner. They become a part of the decor. Our cover gal’s home reminds me of that indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Any particular item callouts that you feel exemplify this location? The UMA blown glass table lamp wrapped in knotted rope, the earthy clay Canvas mugs with a soft pink glaze, the Fox Hill Director’s Chairs.

Any tips on how people can incorporate the style/feel of this location in their home? Invest in handmade, artisanal pieces that are beautiful in their simplicity. Look for items made with natural fibers like linen, hemp, blown glass, and slubby cotton. Go for a bleached, pastel color palette, interjecting occasional pops of bright green and yellow/citron hues.  Choose shapes that are streamlined and multi-functional.

 

Paul Raeside/IPC+

Paul Raeside/IPC+

 

Irene Edwards, executive editor: Paris

What inspired you about the place? Who doesn’t love the idea of Paris? Although our summer travel issue featured a story set in the nearby Dordogne region, we translated its dreamy, classic style to the French capital because of its crowd-pleasing appeal.

How would you describe this place in a phrase? Timeless, romantic, and classic—a city that everyone should see once in their lives, preferably with someone they love.

What personal connections do you have to the area? I spent my college junior year abroad in Paris. I was 20 years old, impressionable, broke, and completely enamored of the architecture and interiors that surrounded me. I’ll never forget that sense of wide-eyed wonder the city inspired.

Any particular item callouts that you feel exemplify this location? Well, I have to admit I can’t resist a good Eiffel Tower Bookend! But if I were to pick something a little less literal, I’d go with Shine by S.H.O Studio’s Pearl Sofa, which would look right at home in one of those high-ceilinged Paris flats.

Any tips on how people can incorporate the style/feel of this location in their home? A balance of spare lines and ornate details captures the Parisian mood. And don’t neglect moments of little luxuries—it can be as easy as a scented candle in a corner.

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The Conversation: “Eat, Pray, Love” Author Elizabeth Gilbert on Her New Book (& How to Be a Star Small-Space Gardener)

EPL

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the self-actualization blockbuster Eat, Pray, Love — and now, the new, steamy Victorian botanist saga The Signature of All Things — told the New York Times Real Estate section that she was selling her Italianate Victorian manse in Frenchtown, New Jersey, and moving to a smaller Victorian nearby. Also being downsized? Her garden. On the old, almost-one-acre property, she had a front lawn-turned-meadow, an asparagus patch that was years in the making, and century-old anemones. Now, she’ll have a smaller canvas on which to curate her perfect garden. We asked her for tips on how she makes every inch (and seedling) count.

How did the garden at your old house evolve? I started off doing an imitation of my mother’s garden from my childhood. I started with lots of vegetables. She had a pragmatic Depression-era mentality complete with root cellars and canning and preserves. We ate from that garden all winter.

Did you learn a lot from your mother about gardening? Despite my efforts as a child not to, I actually did learn a lot. But I’m a different person — I want to look out my window and see billows of beauty that doesn’t serve any purpose. So I took out a lot of vegetables and planted flowers. I modeled my garden after an English cottage garden — lots of wildflowers, foxgloves, catmint, and daisies … all big, tall, wavy, messy colors.

In the New York Times article, you said you had a meadow in your front yard. It used to all be lawn, which I’m against. My desire was to try to eradicate much of the lawn and turn it into something interesting. So I made it into a wildflower meadow that was only mowed once a year. I liked to think it’s an oasis for birds and butterflies, a rest stop on the highway. I’m against lawns — they look like parking lots to me. There’s all this light happening in the meadow; it’s literally buzzing with light, color and activity.

Why do you dislike lawns? As a kid, it’s wonderful to have a lawn and it’s easy to maintain it, in a way. It’s just not particularly interesting. Lawn grass is the biggest monoculture in America. It’s better than pavement, I guess. It absorbs water and provides oxygen. But all the chemicals people use on lawns — it’s a bummer. I’d rather look out my window and see dragonflies buzzing around.

Were your neighbors okay with the meadow-as-front-lawn? In some places, people might get mad and worry about their property values. The town we live in is pretty pro-country. People are aware we’re surrounded by country. Out West, if you get rid of the standard American front lawn and do native plants, it just looks so different. In the Northeast, it’s more familiar-looking. I like dandelions, too. Those are pretty and you can eat them. Killing them — it’s like putting poison on arugula. I’m not as big of a Nazi about invasive plants as some people are. I do feel like it’s a losing battle. Where do you draw the line?

How do you decide what to plant? My sister gave me the best advice ever: Find a nursery you like and go there every week from May through September. Whatever’s in bloom that you like, take home three pots (mostly perennials) and stick it in the yard. Next year you’ll have a garden that has something in bloom every week from May to October.

I always hear people saying you have to create a “focal point” in the garden like with urns or benches. Do you do agree? I have a much more loosey-goosey ethic about gardens. I don’t like a formal Italian or French garden — I admire it, but it’s not something that makes my heart go pitter-patter. I like a big, messy, loose English cottage garden. It doesn’t have rules like that — except that you need a fence for things to climb on. The English country garden is achievable, forgiving, abundant.

What did you learn by doing? I try not to overthink it. But it’s taken me a while to learn — there’s a six-month growing season. The thing is, the plant you absolutely love, like lilac — it might be gone in a few weeks. Then what do you do for rest of summer? I had a breakthrough: You plant strawberries on top of tulips. Strawberries are not deep-rooted and are a great ground cover. So I ask: What can you layer on top of each other so that when one show is over, there’s another show coming? Like daffodils and hostas.

What’s the easiest thing to grow, for those who lack a green thumb? I’m a big fan of catmint or those little fairy roses (they’re white or pink) — they don’t need a thing. They’re like latchkey kids. You can have a career and fairy roses. When you have giant huge spaces and don’t know how to fill them, I throw in a lot of purple catmint. If you cut it back flat at the end of June when it’s at peak, it will bloom again (you could even do it three times). You get a whole second bloom out of it, but still have your fairy roses doing their thing. It’s a useful low-maintenance thing.

Do you put a lot of thought into planning your garden? I have this general theory: it’s ultimate cage wrestling. You put it all together and whatever comes out alive. So that means: a lot of bee balm, tiger lilies, and catmint.

What have you never been able to grow? You have your delusions. I went on the net and put my zip code in to see if I could grow passionflowers here, and the Internet laughed. Solved: I’m not gardener enough for that. Also, dahlias — I can’t seem to manage those. You have to dig them up and put them in the basement in the winter. That’s not happening. I won’t do anything that’s that labor intensive. So I’m putting in more peonies, instead. The general thinking is you can replace the high-maintenance thing with the low-maintenance thing. Like you learn not to date the poets and drummers are you get older…you just don’t.

Do you have a mentor when it comes to all this? I have a gardening godmother friend, Bonnie. She’s great about helping me and guiding me. Here’s a good tip — find someone who’s lived where you live for a long time, someone who knows your soil and your reality. Somebody who says ‘I know you are really excited about starting a garden, but you don’t need 50 yards of vegetables. You don’t need 65,000 zucchinis. You can go to the farmer’s market and get heirloom tomatoes.’  That’s another reason I stopped growing vegetables. I’m surrounded by people who do it really well. I can’t raise cauliflower, but I can take that space and put in Russian sage. This person can walk your property and say what will or won’t work here. Instead of forcing the landscape to bend to your will, I’d rather ask the landscape what it wants.

Your novel’s heroine was a moss expert. I’d love to have a “moss room.” Have you ever grown it? I’m not so good at moss. I tried to do a moss garden. The thing is, moss doesn’t like to grow where it wasn’t born. You have to be really good at it. The best place to have moss is where there’s already moss. If it isn’t there, it’s because it doesn’t want to be there. I tried to move it on my property but it was like ‘No.’ My new property has a stone wall that’s moss-alicious. I’m not going to do a thing to it — if I wanted to be really nice, I’d pour some beer on it (like pouring out a 40 for my homies) or some yogurt. Speaking of moss, Amy Stuart, who blogs as The Drunken Botanist and wrote Wicked Plants, invented a cocktail to celebrate The Signature of All Things. It looks really mossy and is delicious…a lot of readers doing book clubs drink that.

Was there a “Sophie’s Choice” decision for what to take and what not to, when you moved? It’s hard to leave some of the stuff behind that’s established because it won’t survive the move. I have a lot of shade in new garden, so I’m doing lots of ferns and hostas. I certainly won’t be able to have a meadow at the new house. I’ve done this for years, and I’m pretty efficient about doing triage, knowing what I really like — what’s important — and what can be left behind. There are things that I can walk away from. I planted an asparagus patch at the old place. You leave it alone for a few years before you can eat the spears, and it makes this nice ferny hedge. I’m not doing that in the new place because you need big chunk of space.

Did you leave behind any great trees? I think there’s something so incredibly satisfying about finding the right plant for the right place. One of things I was so sad to leave — I bought a curly willow in a little pot. It’s a weeping willow but crooked; it’s genetic. It makes it grow whackadoodle. They only want sun and water. All the water from the gutters came down to one corner of the house, and no grass could grow because the water dumps there. When it rained, the hard channels of water created a gulley. Instead of fixing it, I planted that curly willow right in the middle of it. ‘You like water, dude? Have I got water for you.’ This willow has exploded — it’s the happiest plant that I owned. It is so beautiful and lush and delish…even 20 feet away it wouldn’t be. It needs to be right where it is. It makes me really happy and makes the house look really cool. Every once in while you accidentally put something in the right place, which is a pretty good metaphor for life as well.

— Maria Ricapito

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Best Sale Ever This Week: ddc

ddc1

Here at Gilt Home, we’re proponents of the investment piece: buy one quality furniture item and you ultimately won’t regret it; plus, amortized over time, that one great couch will wind up being a smarter buy than if you get a cheapie every five years — it’ll also be lighter on the planet). (It’s sort of like buying a great black dress or navy blazer; you spend a little more up front but you’ll get tons of wear out of it.) To that end, we present ddc — one of the country’s leading sources of contemporary furnishings. These furniture and lighting pieces and decorative accents range from subtly modern (check out the timeless McQueen side table) to completely cutting-edge (a shaggy Nepal rocking chair). Check out the sale on Gilt Home starting Wed., Jul. 23 at noon.

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