Bruce Nicol and his brother Ian manage Tartan Homes, which is a family business founded by their father Wes Nicol. In addition to running a respected home building operation, the Nicol family is known for supporting the community, often with a leaning towards the arts.
Bruce notes that artistic talent is in his genes and states, “there are lots of artists in our family going back many generations, both visual artists and musicians.” This family talent is the catalyst for The Findlay Creek Art Collection, an event held in Tartan’s Findlay Creek model homes to showcase the work of local artists within the livable space of a new home. Bruce shared his philosophy on bringing artwork into a new space with Ottawa At Home.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO HOST THIS EVENT? As a new-home builder, we spend a lot of time and effort trying to get our model homes decorated just right. This includes selecting the appropriate artwork, and hanging it to its best possible advantage. The artwork we select is generally a safe choice. It’s pretty, and integrates with the surrounding furnishings and colours. But for most of us, this is not the primary reason for selecting art.
WHAT CAN VISITORS EXPECT WITH THIS EVENT? The artworks we are displaying are more noticeable, more interesting, perhaps more provocative than the art which is normally hanging in model homes. Visitors can play around with what it feels like to hang original artwork in a pretend home. They get a chance to consider how high, how big, and how much the artwork integrates within the surrounding furnishings. If people have never considered hanging the works of contemporary, local artists, our hope is that the Findlay Creek Art Collection will help them to consider this idea seriously.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR CLIENTS GAIN FROM THE EVENT? Visitors will have some fun playing around with different ideas on how art can be displayed. I think it will broaden people’s ideas about the kind of art they might like.
WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON BRINGING ART INTO YOUR HOME? I remember moving into my first home. My housemates and I spent a fair bit of time wondering about what art to hang on our walls. I recall wondering about the tradition. Why hang art at all and for what purpose? Is it simply about home decorating, or is it an attempt to express something? Perhaps we hang photos of loved ones, or hang a painting done by a relative or friend. On some level, we wish to have each piece of art express something about ourselves.
As we go through life, it is certain that our tastes in art will change. There are all kinds of reasons. Ways of Seeing by John Berger is an excellent book about the traditions and reasons for hanging art in our homes.
WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT IT’S IMPORTANT TO DECORATE/DESIGN A HOME WITH ART IN MIND? Pretty much every home has art hanging on the walls. I think if you entered a home that had no art on the walls, it would seem strange. The Findlay Creek Art Collection might help people think a little bit more about this. I think it’s good to ask oneself, why do I want to hang art on the wall? There will be numerous answers. They are all worth considering.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW HOMEBUYERS ON BRINGING ARTWORK INTO NEW HOME SPACE? Think outside the box to expand the possibilities of what might work really well in your home.
WHO: Artists on display include Crystal Beshara, Erin Thibault-Morphy, Bar Zuchowicz, Alison Fowler, David Jones and Sandy Sharkey.
WHERE: 120 Helen Rapp Way, Tartan Model Homes, Findlay Creek Community.
WHEN: Oct 27-Nov 27, Monday-Thursday 1-8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday 12-5 p.m.