Artist Catherine Strongman told us about how luxury plays into her art, her inspirations and how she lives her best life.
Living Luxe: What does living luxuriously mean to you?
Catherine Strongman: For me, living luxuriously speaks to an abundance of sumptuous textures and comfort. I love different textiles, arms-wrapped- around-you bedding, to-die-for fabrics, beautiful pillows and cool lighting. These are examples of things that ooze luxury and can make a house a home. Having the people who I love the most in the world, and finding comfort and warmth in my home, means more to me than anything. Creating a luxurious environment can be done on any budget if you are adventurous enough to play around with your vision.
LL: How does luxury and extravagance factor into your work?
CS: When people come to look at my work or choose to commission a piece of art, I am compelled to ask them what it is that they are hoping to “feel” when they look at their finished piece. This question is often a good tell for me as to what the client is actually looking for. Art is not a luxury, per se, it is more of a necessity. Your choice of art speaks to who you are. Luxury and extravagance factor in when I am researching a piece, deciding on materials and technique. It is a luxury to be able to create for others. The extravagance comes into play when I add intensity and passion, depth and heart. It is the part of myself that I give away.
LL: What plays a role in allowing you to live your best life?
CS: The family and friends I surround myself with. I strive to bring joy to others while never expecting anything in return. My “best life” is not a commodity, but rather an ideology that speaks to my desire to bring good things into other people’s lives. The essence of love, excitement, intelligence, beauty, curiosity and joyfulness are all integral components of my best life.
LL: What objects do you surround yourself with to inspire and support your everyday growth and why?
CS: It sounds cliché, but I like to surround myself with objects that speak to my five senses. Delicious, nourishing food; sculptures and art pieces that I can stare at for hours; scented candles; fabrics and textiles that feel comforting and tranquil; orchids that fascinate me with their elaborate beauty. These are everyday things to some, but necessities for me.
LL: How important is it to you to refresh and revitalize either your work or yourself?
CS: Sometimes months will pass before I am inspired to begin work on a new piece. It is not that I am not motivated to work, but rather that I am not prepared to work emotionally or physically. Taking on a new piece requires a cumulative amount of energy, inventiveness, commitment and solitude. I prefer to work alone, with no distractions. Life is full of amusements, and these can take me away from the full concept. I refresh by visiting museums and galleries, having a spa day, delighting in a bottle of wine, reading a great book and so on. Time away from my work makes me yearn for it and I find my acuity is inexorable once I have regained it.
LL: What would you tell others about living their most luxurious life and how they can strive to be their personal best?
CS: I often tell my children that they are the only ones who can hold themselves back. I live this same mantra. If you want to live a life full of ease and comfort, beauty and contentment, then it is up to you to find the things and people in life that bring you the most love and joy. Waking up every day with a sense of dread about how the day will unfold is no way to live your best life. If you can refocus and truly strive for a beautiful life, then there is no reason you can’t achieve that. I love the song by Nightbirde, “It’s Okay” because it gives you the right to make a choice, and I will always choose happiness and hope others will too in order to find themselves living their lives as their best version of themselves.