Monday, January 17, 2011

Colorways/ The Power of Gray

From Nina Holst'samazing blog

Provincetown pastings, Song Dong's exhibition at MoMA, Photographs: Marcus Hay
Manhattan skyscraper, concrete path, Wall art in Monteal, Canada, Photographs: Marcus Hay
A stormy sky on the Met's rooftop, NYC, London Fog, Photographs: Marcus Hay
Marble etching in Pisa, Italy Photograph: Marcus Hay, Jenna Lyons Brooklyn Interior,
Photographer: Matthew Williams

Jenna Lyons Brooklyn Home, Photographer: Matthew Williams
Street Art in NYC, Metal Props Photograph: MarcusHay, Danish Interior

What is it about gray right now that seems so appropriate a choice of this month’s color way? Well at least on this side of the world, In New York we seem to have been covered in a layer of gray all January, The snow which fell white after a few days seems to become a speckled shade of gray that quite often matched the sky.

One could argue that gray is not actually a color at all! Wikipedia says: Gray describes the colors ranging from black to white, These, including white and black, are known as achromatic colors or neutral colors. Many people would argue also that gray is dull, holds no life, I disagree. I think gray is a staple, hard working color that compliments any other shade of any color, It is utilitarian and super slick, but however you see gray, In decorating terms it is very important and it is one of my favorite colors/ shades to work with.

Gray does seem synonymous with Winter somehow, although in Australia where I grew up, Gray could be seen quite differently, reminding me of hot scorching concrete in the summer and the color of the sky when it’s about to burst in crazy but amazing thunderstorm. Talking of weather, when I was in London one winter it was all about the fog and the mist of gray that crept over the heaths, For me in Italy, it’s all about the cool gray marbles used in works of art and plaques on period buildings.

Gray also reminds me of itchy winter weight school woolen trousers but also soft gray knits or the blue/ gray coat of a Burmese cat, The color of cardboard, newsprint and the classic quality of a black & white photograph. As mentioned before concrete and glass used in buildings and paths are my backdrop for living in Manhattan, Gray is the color of nature in this town.

In interiors, At Casa recently ran shots on Jenna Lyons home in Brooklyn, New York which was shot by amazing photographer Matthew Williams, Jenna is the Director at J Crew  and her home really is a sea of very sophisticated grays, In particular the kitchen and bathroom which just feel so streamlined and chic.  

I like to use gray with pops of other color, I recently painted a wall in my apartment a slate gray and could not be more happier, the mood of the apartment instantly changed and it just made everything next to it seem so much more richer, The power of gray, don’t underestimate!  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Inside Out/ Catskill's Cabin

Quite a few months ago, In August when it was till warm and there was not a snowflake in sight, Photographer Lucas Allen,, his partner and Producer/Assistant, in this case; Ali Yourn (who incidentally was very pregnant at the time) hit the road for a 4 hour drive to the Catskills from NYC. Eating organic blueberries all the way, we were on destination to shoot fellow Aussie ex pat Melanie Brandman’s Catskills cabin. Melanie is a dynamo travel PR, who is now the CEO of her own agency She lives in Manhattan but bought the cabin for herself in New York’s Catskill Mountains to get away from the city on the weekends. Melanie and her partner Sims Foster who is a Catskills local and owns his own amazing restaurant/ gastro pub called “The Lazy Beagle” greeted us with very large cocktails on the porch and made us feel instantly at home!

The story was for Inside Out Magazine, old friends of mine, I was so happy to be able to do a shelter story again, particularly as in the U.S, There are not many shelter titles left. Of course as a Stylist on these stories that are based on homeowners environments, it is important not to tamper too much with what is already there, otherwise it detracts from communicating who lives there if you change it up too much. There have been some places where I have had to go in and totally transform due to lack of interest but luckily for me Melanie is a “stylish kind a gal” and it meant really just adding those layers of charm and personality that should really almost seem unnoticed. I had ventured to Manhattan’s flower market the day before where I had picked up a variety of interesting botanicals to work with and also brought with me a suitcase of props, the only other thing I needed was my eyes and after a rather big night on the town with Melanie and Sims (Who were wonderful hosts BTW) we set to work. I worked with re-creating some of the still lives around the home, changing out some pillows/ cushions, generally making everything just a bit more “graphic” I moved around some artwork slightly and kept in mind the whole time, My client’s, Inside Out’s audience. Had I styled the story for say a “country style” magazine, it would have been styled quite differently, but as it was meant for a relaxed but contemporary magazine, the approach came quite easily.

Lucas is always a pleasure to work with and Ali, regardless of her state gave invaluable assistance. Lucas went all out, rowing out into the middle of the lake to shoot the house from a rocky rowboat, quite a feat by your self! Thanks so much to Melanie and Sims for a great weekend!

The story features in the Nov/ Dec issue, just on newsstands now in the U.S. 

Also featured here is Lucas and my contributing bio's in the front of the issue, Thanks to Petrina Tinslay for my shot!