Jonathan Rachman on decorating with art

Bay Area interior designer – and 2016 San Francisco Fall Show vignette designer – Jonathan Rachman brings the best elements of East and West, classical, old-school, and current to his individually tailored design projects. When asked about his approach to decorating with art, he shared the following:

“As with everything I do, it is always about the people… So I approach decorating with art the same way, it is for the owner of the space and I make sure they enjoy the art I select. It must be evocative – in a positive way, of course! Art to me is like a jewelry: it can make a room or ruin it. At times, it is the last thing I select, other times it is what inspires me as a starting point.”

Interior Design by Jonathan Rachman, Photo by David Duncan Livingston

“Art is so obviously personal… By nature I am a sentimental romantic, so my personal art selection is just that: sentimental and romantic – it may not necessarily be romantic in style, but it is romantic in subject matter. I collect all kinds of art: folk, modern, and I enjoy what the experts call classicism. But I also collect silhouette art in various mediums, as well as various types of decorative arts. It all depends on the purpose or intention. Artists I admire from different periods and styles include: Jeremiah Goodman, Gladys Perin Palmer, Marc Antoine Coulon, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Antonio Canova, Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, Hahn, Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur, Philip de Laszlo, to name a few… When it comes to my clients and projects, it all depends on their collection (I have been appointed to manage their art collection and select for different properties) or what I am commissioned to do – I typically plan the overall scheme and look of a space or a mansion or a resort, and art is a very important factor in my design process.”

Interior Design by Jonathan Rachman, Photo by Suzanna Scott

“When shopping for art, the piece must speak to me personally – it might be the color or pattern, but more importantly what emotions or thoughts does it evoke? Memories? Does it inspire a room for me to base my design on, or does a room need this art?”

Interior Design by Jonathan Rachman, Photo by Aubrie Pick

And finally, here are Jonathan’s dos and don’ts when to comes to decorating with art:

  • Be daring in your art selection, but know when to be safe
  • Make sure the room can handle your art selection: be it in scale, style or placement
  • Try the art when possible – in the space… many dealers allow a 24-48 hr approval period
  • Light your art! Be sure to use the proper temperature of lighting
  • Rotate art in the space you design, change things up, you will be pleasantly surprised with how quickly the room changes!
  • Never force a piece of art simply because you or your client owns it
  • Don’t be afraid of using a type of art you have never worked with before
  • Don’t buy anything simply because the artist is famous
  • Don’t get stuck in the same period of art because that’s the only thing you know
Interior Design and Photo by Jonathan Rachman

by Vera Vandenbosch