For my first design as a lifestyle artist, I wanted to start with a self-referential project. A fun self-portrait of a lifestyle artist’s work, a glimpse behind the scenes. A self-referential work of art is a conscious effort by the artist to show their creative process (Self-Referential, Collins Dictionary). It brings you into a different world, the artist’s world, and encourages you to abstractly view the art and to think critically about the new world you are viewing (Self-Referentiality: The Meta-Level in Art, CUA). Thrilling, right!?
One of my favorite self-referential works of art is Drawing Hands by M.C. Escher. More precisely, it is a self-referential paradox. The hands are caught in a cycle of drawing one another.
For my self-referential work of art, I decided to compose a silhouette of myself in the act of creating my lifestyle design. The silhouette was an ideal way of keeping the art piece simple and modern to easily blend with my contemporary black and white Scandinavian holiday accents. I also liked the idea of a silhouette because of it’s association to cameos. A cameo could be a self-portrait or, when thinking of it’s other definition, a brief introduction. This project would be my introduction into my new undertaking, lifestyle art. I hung the finished piece in the most prominent space in the room, above the fireplace.
I absolutely love how everything turned out. My need for a holiday art piece above the mantel turned into something more meaningful and unique than I probably would have otherwise done. Check out what I did last year. Last year’s design was creative, but not as meaningful.
The silhouette image works well within the space and with my holiday decor. Plus, my kids love it! They actually both spotted me immediately. Even my one year old yelled “mama” and pointed at my silhouette! My three year old asked why he was not in the picture. Actually, I had originally intended on having both of them in the image with me. I ended up not including them because they were super rambunctious that day and not at all cooperative. Ha! Maybe next time, sweet boy!
Overall, I used simple holiday decor this year. I wanted to keep the focus on my self-referential art. I also wanted the beautiful greenery of our pine tree and cedar garland to be the star. Having such delicious smelling and lush greenery in our urban home is very striking and quite beautiful on it’s own.
For my tablescape, I used my Nate Berkus table runners for my second holiday this season (among other things). When I purchased them I was so impressed by their exciting and transitional pattern, I claimed they could be used for multiple holidays… now I am showing how! First Thanksgiving, now Christmas and then New Years. Look forward to that!
Components + Credit
- photos – Erin Catlin & Andy Bettino
- design – Erin Catlin
- silhouette art – Erin Catlin
- ceramic dish – Daniel Prody
- glass vases – Pottery Barn
- silver & white napkins & tree topper – West Elm
- gold napkins & gold taper candle holders – Crate & Barrel
- stockings, garland & tree blanket – Ferm Living
Christmas Eve Dinner Menu + Recipes
- king crab legs with clarified butter
- Thomas Keller’s Braised Artichokes
- rustic bread with olive oil
- arugula salad
- Floriole’s Chocolate Pot de Creme
- Thomas Keller’s Speculoos & Shortbread Cookies with King Arthur’s Flour Simple Cookie Glaze
- Escher, M.C. Drawing Hands. 1948. The Collection National Gallery of Art, Cornelius Van S. Roosevelt Collection. Boston Globe. Web 22 Dec. 2015. <www.bostonglobe.com>
- “Self-Referential”. Collin’s Dictionary. Web 22 Dec. 2015. <http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/american/self-referential>
- Self-Referentiality: The Meta-Level in Art. CAU. Web 22 Dec. 2015 <http://faculty.cua.edu/johnsong/hitchcock/pages/meta/meta.html>