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26 Jun

Inside the HeART of Design


Ever wonder how you can incorporate art into your interiors?

We recently spoke with Robert Leleux, creator of the Southern Style Now Festival and moderator for AmericasMart’s upcoming July Market panel, The HeART of Design: The Indispensable Role of Art in Interiors, for the inside scoop on all things art and design.

 Q: What’s happening in the world of art and design right now?

 A: It’s often the best place to begin designing an interior. Many designers I know begin with art and family heirlooms and things that are absolutely distinct and personal and irreplaceable to an individual, to their home, and then you go forward from there.

Q: How does one incorporate art into a room design?

 A: Once you have the art, then you can incorporate the design tricks. You can use it as a launching pad for all of the setting decisions you make in a room. You can pick upholstery based on the colors of the painting. For example, if it’s a botanical painting, you can try to mirror the botanicals in the fabrics that you choose.

Q: Why is this panel important?

A: Designers have a passion for art and are always engaged in the topic of who the next great artists are and what they can learn from trends and art to apply in the interiors that they create. I think it’s a very relevant topic and one that should be popular.

The panel is great. Amanda Talley’s work is so distinct to New Orleans that you can’t see a beautiful house without seeing one of her paintings in it. Susan Hable is such a talent: a textile designer, a fine artist, and a furniture designer. And then William McLure is an incredibly prolific painter whose work you’re going to see more and more. I’m amazed to which the work of Southern artists drives the national art conversations.

Q: What’s a tip for someone just beginning?

A: Educating yourself about art helps to make a beautiful home. Don’t just look at great magazines like House Beautiful or Architectural Digest, go to museums and that will educate the eye. Not just in terms of the art that you’re attracted to, but it will develop your aesthetic sensibility in decorating your home.

Q: How do you know if the investment is worth it?

 A: Buy art that you love and it will always be worth it to you. Having a lot of friends that grew up in the New York of Warhol and Basquiat, the works of those artists were really affordable at the time, so you just never know. And the fact that you never know should liberate you. You should feel free to explore and buy things that you think are edgy and that appeal to you, because who knows if you’ll win the lottery and your investment will multiple in value. I think that’s the attitude to go into it with.

Make sure to save the date for The HeART of Design: The Indispensable Role of Art in Interiors featuring Robert Leleux, William McLure, Susan Hable and Amanda Talley on Thursday, July 13, in Building 3, Floor 2, Main Stage.

For a list of all upcoming July Market seminars, visit

Christina OFlaherty
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