Under The Garden Art Umbrella
A plethora of garden art products from off-the-shelf hardware store items to custom made and highly personalized garden art creations are available on the Australasian market.
So what is garden art? An outdoor structure that exists for no purpose other than to create an accent or focal attraction in a garden. Some garden art is multi-functional – such as decorative garden art screens, which shield neighbors or water features, which cool an outdoor space.
Garden art ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, but has generally been accepted as essential in a contemporary residential outdoor space. Garden art can help establish a theme or a mood. Just think of the number of Balinese gardens springing up across the suburbs – the ubiquitous stone Buddha is now available at your local hardware store, and once accompanied by a few broad-leafed tropical plants, your Balinese theme has been created.
Products, which exist under the garden art umbrella, include:
• Garden sculpture
• Garden furniture
• Water features
• Garden art ornaments
• Garden mosaic
• Wall décor
• Urns and pedestals
• Garden art murals
• Garden fountains
• Gazebos and arbors
• Garden art screens
• Neighbor screens
• Decorative pots and planters
• Kinetic garden sculptures
Garden Art with an Artist
Truly unique garden art is hard to come by but here are some ways Australian homeowners, and their landscape designers are working with artists to create their own unique garden art landscape elements:
• Garden Art Mosaic Work – It takes some hunting but mosaic artists are everywhere and able to design, construct and install a unique bespoke piece.
• Wall Garden Art and Screens – One-off pieces made of steel, tile and mirror can be commissioned from landscape designers or supply stores.
• Garden Murals – Can be commissioned from artists, or via landscape designers who are in touch with mural specialists. Most mural artists will offer a 5 year warranty on outdoor work, which means you get to enjoy your own piece sparkle and age gracefully.
• Sculpture – Going to the artist direct can be a rewarding experience, although many landscape designers have pre-established relationships with the key suppliers in each city.
Trends in Garden Art
As Australian’s re-vision their backyards as outdoor rooms, trends have emerged in garden art for domestic projects.
• South East Asian Themes – No we’re not all over the Balinese Retreat, in fact the Bali theme has been one of the most persistent and enduring trends of the last decade. The cocooning instinct has led homeowners to desire meditative and tranquil tropical spaces at home. Bring on the garden art Buddha.
• Bespoke Steel Stone and Wood Sculpture – Expensive though it is, more people are seeking original garden artwork in their outdoor spaces.
• Spheres – Spheres in fountains, or just as garden accents; if it’s round it’s in.
• Bright Colour – Anything but green to compliment all that green. Flowers are transient, but garden art elements deliver brightness all year round.
• Garden Art Mirrors – Garden Art mirrors bring light, expand a small space and can add colour with a mosaic or colourful border.
• Recycled Materials – It’s not just the Public Art designers who are getting in to adaptive re-use of old materials. Iron cast-offs, old machinery, Victorian iron lace, and more. In North America they’re going for adaptive re-use of the bowling ball as garden art.
Outdoor design article tags: Garden Art. Garden art design. Garden art mosaic, garden art sculpture. Garden art screens. Garden art wall décor. Garden art murals.
Public Art (Outdoor Design Backgrounder)
Public Art affects the users of the public space it occupies, and as a result has become a hot arena for public debate in Australian Cities. Melbourne has long established its credentials for successful public art installation – citizens of the increasingly urbanized city have adopted their public art as a badge of pride, making their cityscape distinct from others. The City of Sydney is working hard to catch up with an increasing array of taxpayer-funded public art installations.
So, is the Big Banana necessarily bad public art, and how does an open space planner avoid the controversy around public art? The success of a public art installation can be said to be in the degree to which the public adopt the piece as their own. Not all appreciation of public art may come in the form of critical acclaim of course - in Australia the awarding of ironic names to public art pieces is a national sport. While the artists may not necessarily agree, it is at least a sign of acceptance. If the public doesn’t like it then expect derision, or at least vandalism, as in the case of West Australia’s Yagan Statue which has its head stolen regularly. The artists themselves often add to the controversy around public art with competition for commissions and public debate around creative differences. As they say in the Public Relations game – being noticed is better than not being noticed at all, and at least some debate around the piece before it recedes in to the background of the streetscape is not a bad thing.
Community consultation on public art – or at least, taxpayer funded public art – can make the difference. Public art consultancy is often managed by the Landscape Architecture fraternity, or increasingly by Public art Consultants who are often from a Landscape Architecture or Built Environment background but have developed a specialty practice in the field of public art. It is fair to say that most public art strategies are developed in an interdisciplinary fashion drawing upon input from artists, social planners, Architects, Landscape Architects, Urban Designers, Town Planners, Heritage Consultants, and Social Planners.
The typical public art process starts at an early stage in the overall construction of public space and is customized to the needs of the individual client who is funding the work. The steps in a public art process may include:
• Forming a public art strategic plan
• Developing a public art policy
• Site curation
• Managing the process of selection the artist/artwork either directly or by managing a design competition
• Community and stakeholder consultation
• Management of the development of the actual design and documentation
• Overseeing the installation and collaborative processes
• Management of the approval process
• Public art maintenance, conservation and management plans
A public space must support the cultural and creative life of the community that inhabits it, so cultural planning is a process often adopted by public space managers before they get to the nitty gritty of planning individual public art works. A Public Art Consultant can create a broader Cultural Plan, which may include any of the following processes:
• Cultural Landscape studies and analysis
• Community Consultation
• Cultural mapping
• Cultural Plans
• Development of a specific Arts Precinct Management plan
• Interpretive plans
Public Art planners often go to great pains to create work that is site-specific and reflective of the values, history and culture of the community that surrounds it. Although pubic art should not aim to be entirely free of controversy, a professional approach that involves a degree of public consultation helps create successful and powerful public art outcomes.
Outdoor Design Article Tags: Public Art. Public Art Consultant. Landscape Architecture. Cultural Planning. Cultural Plans. Public Art Strategy. Cultural mapping. Arts Precinct Management Plans. Public Art Policy.