artful living

CJ Hurley

Artist, Designer, Consultant

My art and design work is rooted in the desire to reclaim art as a way of life, to bring art back into the home where it can be fully enjoyed. The contemporary art world has become too lofty, and disconnected from our lives and art isn’t lived with anymore. It has been relegated to museum collections and galleries; this forces people to have to visit a specialized institution in order to spend time with art. This is unfortunate because art is one of the essential joys of life. The understanding that architecture, and the applied arts are of equal importance to the human environment inspires me as an artist. My desire is to find a way to seamlessly incorporate art into our living environments, where life and art are not separate from one another, but are a holistic one. My journey as an artist has been subtly unfolding like a flower. For years my paintings centered on social, spiritual, and gender issues. The iconography of Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, western and eastern goddess mythology, religious studies, and eastern philosophy informed and explained my work, and I was compelled to apply philosphical and spiritual insight to an exploration of the chaos inherent in the world. Yet there was one idea that I couldn’t reconcile with painting alone – the ideal of art and life united as one. This unification I felt held the key to inner peace and contentment in a world of chronic violence, war and disorder. Drawn to the writings and philosophy of Japanese art critic, Okakura Kakuzo [1862-1913] I began to explore art as not merely paintings on canvas, the creation of objects, but as environment – as an extension of where and how we live. I began to explore my own artistic vision with art as a way of life. I found it in the revolutionary idea that all art [architecture, fine and applied arts] are of equal importance to the human environment. Therefore, I began exploring the integration of architecture, the arts [painting, sculpture, textiles, ceramics, metalwork, and furnishings], and the natural environment as a seamless whole. The holistic integration of the arts with life offers the opportunity to bring the highest ideals, values, and philosophical ideas that art has to offer into every day activity. While the life and art relationship can readily be seen in the interiors I’ve created, I apply the same values and ideals to all of my work, whether it is a painting, a piece of pottery, metalwork, or any other medium. “Creating works of art that fire the imagination, stir the deepest emotions, inspire the soul, and offer new things to explore upon each viewing is the most gratifying and satisfying thing I can do with my art. Art and life are part of a greater whole, and I strive to bring high quality art back into people’s lives, where they can interact with it intimately and make it an enriching part of their daily life.” -CJ Hurley