Art Deco and Southwest... What do these styles even have in common, you ask? To many, the answer is not much. To me, everything. Often referred to as Deco, Art Deco is a popular combination of architecture, design, and visual arts that can be traced back to France during the 1920s and 30s. If you’ve ever visited Paris before (jealous!), there’s a good chance the buildings, furniture, fashion, cars, art, and jewelry has caught your eye. Maybe you didn’t know exactly what is was that had you going back for more, but it was Art Deco. When it was at the height of its popularity, Art Deco oozed glamour, exuberance, and luxury. What’s not to love, right?! From the geometric patterns and jaw-dropping designs to the beauty, sophistication, and romance it evoked, Art Deco was a game-changer.
Southwestern style, on the other hand, combines various materials and textures associated with the Native Americans and their culture. Hand-painted tiles combined with leather, sturdy woven fabrics, and a traditional palette of bright yellow, rusty orange, turquoise, and desert-toned hues are all a giveaway for Southwestern design. As with Art Deco designs, Southwestern style packs a whole lot of history into one genre. Many people associate Southwestern design with the Wild West, but I like to think of it more as an iconic representation of multiple cultures and periods of time. Take it for what you will, but I find so many parallels between the two design styles it’s almost overwhelming!
Why These Two?
Today many artists (including me!) take their inspiration from the influential era of Art Deco design, adding in exotic elements of design that play with different colors, shapes, patterns, and materials. Deco was all about making a statement and tapping into a hunger for life and desire to feel good about oneself, which is something we can all get behind. For me, Art Deco represents an opportunity to think outside the box and tie in other fun elements - which may not always go together in the traditional sense. (In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I am not a traditionalist!) This is where Southwestern elements come into play. I love nothing more than combining elements of both Deco and the Southwest in jewelry. I am a sucker for a challenge and for digging into my creative side to come up with something that hasn’t been done before or is perhaps unexpected.
How Do They Work Together?
I am extremely inspired by both the Art Deco and Southwestern design, which is often characterized by earth tones, rough textures, brightly-colored woven fabrics, tons of terracotta, and geometric patterns for days. Again, I ask you what’s not to love? When combined with Deco elements, I find the finished product to be like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Both Deco and Southwestern designs rely heavily on geometric patterns, which I have a huge soft spot for. Maybe I’m crazy, but I see many similarities in the patterns, textures, and inspiration taken from both Deco and the Southwest. It is my goal to try and tie these different eras together through my designs, relying on lines, use of color, and the repeated patterns that are associated with both of these eras. Incorporating the simple shapes and lines of the Deco era with bold Southwest colors like turquoise, my jewelry speaks to what I find captivating about both styles. Who doesn't love art deco jewelry and southwestern design? Especially when the southwest design patterns have a cross over of art deco designer pieces as well.
As you can see, there are definitely some similarities and crossover between the color palettes used in the two eras.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a designer and lover of all cultures is the opportunity to pull different elements from different eras and tie them together. There is something magical about seeing a finished vintage Art Deco necklace that has clearly been inspired by the deep-seeded culture of the Southwest. My vision changes from piece to piece, but I always strive to create something fresh and that speaks to what I find moving about these different cultures. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s what being a designer is all about. I don’t simply want to repeat history and what’s been done before, but incorporate elements that build off of one another. Check out my eclectic collection of art for the body and home, and let me know what you think about this Art Deco/Southwest style mash-up!