Sourcing Street Art

Elisa’s sixth sense for place also considers what’s missing: What aspects of the client’s past seem absent in their present home? What elements, expressed as important, remain elusive in reality? 

For a young family of former city dwellers now ensconced in the Cleveland suburbs, Elisa recognized an opportunity for art to bridge their past lives with their present context. The couple expressed an affinity for street art and yet their wall décor remained more traditional in tone. So Elisa proposed an art-buying trip to Southern California, an excursion that would honor their urban years spent together and chart a fresh course as collectors. Aesthetic mission set, the trio enjoyed a whirlwind tour of galleries in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles—markets Elisa knows well having studied in LA. Their timing couldn’t have been better; now more than ever, top galleries are teeming with work by talents schooled as graffiti artists and muralists. A favorite from the trip: the art of Brendan Murphy, whose contemporary compositions pulse with the swirling inspiration of beat poetry and the bold palette of spray cans. Often working with acrylics on chrome board, his text-based paintings glimmer with the sheen of a new car hood, conveying an impulse at once urban and personal. With the latter in mind, Elisa worked directly with Brendan on a commission for the Cleveland clients. The final painting encircles a thumbprint in words resonant with the couple: beauty, pleasure, emotion, embrace. Now, the country refuge they’ve built for their young family also celebrates their city roots and aesthetic edge. Achieving such texture is what distinguishes a high-end house from a highly-personalized home. For Elisa, mission accomplished.