New Kid on the Wall


Enjoying art is a personal matter.  It’s made up by contemplation, silence, abstraction.  Renzo Piano, Architect

A good painting to me has always been like a friend.  It keeps me company, comforts and inspires.  Hedy Lamarr, Actress


There is a new piece of artwork on the walls of Simplicity.  His arrival into the house was in a cardboard sleeve held together with elastic ties.  Nothing about this humble beginning made any of the other wall art talk.  Then, he came out!  His unusual colors, different from Simplicity’s customary neutral palette, were noticed.  Turquoise blues, lilac purples, heather greens, soft grays and a block of orange made their debut. He stood out. Not just by the colors, but he was made of wood, lots of shapes of wood.  This piece was not under museum glass like the other artwork on the walls. He was more like a sculpture, stretching his lines and angles without a framed boundary. He exuded confidence in this expanded three-dimensional space, something the others on the wall knew nothing about. They were confined to their squared and one dimensional lives.


Instantly he became a he.  Perhaps because his artist was male.  Perhaps because he was made of wood which I associated with the men in my life who also work with wood. No name was given this creation to suggest a male or female identity.  All he had was his inventory code, K-8.  That sounded male to me.


Being one who loves to name things, I wondered what I would title this piece that had totally captured my imagination and sparked my ravenous curiosity. Variations of squares, circles, and triangles composed the piece.  His colors were harmonious and partnered well. Easy on the eyes. Happy colors. His lines intrigued me with their compelling simplicity.  So much so, that at first, I failed to see the deliberate and varied detail in each section of wood.  Dashes and dots, bits and bobs were cut into the wood or glued on top. Varied depths and kinds of woods were stacked on top of each other creating new shapes and interesting detail.


When I first met K-8, he invited me into a contemporary urban setting with unusual architecture. Skyscrapers rose from him at angles to each other. The curving arc of wood in the foreground reminded me of the Sydney Opera House. A large circular window looked out onto the imagined cityscape. Office buildings and apartments were given abstract balconies and supportive beams through grooves etched in the wood. There was a buzz of humanity moving before my eyes. Sounds of buses and taxis could be heard.  Conversations were happening in the elevators, coffee shops, and on park benches. The paint smudges of light and dark that scattered across K-8 were also experienced in the complex lives of the people in this make-believe city. This piece was alive.


K-8 currently hangs on the wall of our kitchen. It is likely he will move around, just as the others have.  We are constantly changing what is on our walls and have noticed that Simplicity tolerates these modifications with good spirit. This is how Don and I sit with our own work.  We hang a piece on the wall and live with it.  As artists, we ask of our work on the wall, are you complete?   Are you the vision we saw, heard, attempted to interpret? Did we do you justice?


The artwork we choose to have in Simplicity, ours and that of other artists,  must intrigue us, prompt good questions, tickle our creativity, and keep us interested day after day. Each piece of art is a friend with whom we have conversations about composition, metaphor, and life.  Each inspires us and grows not only our artistic learning, but the enjoyment of living here.  Now we have a new kid on the wall. Even with all this pondering and analysis, I was still no closer to a name.   Welcome, K-8.  We look forward to learning from you and in so doing, to discover ourselves anew.


Writer’s Note:   Grateful for artist, Jack Schwab, and his creative work.

More can be seen at his website:

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