Integrating Fine Art with Interior Design

By Cynthia Simmons

Interdisciplinary artist Tim Hazell’s new collaboration with Angelica Baca at Icpalli was borne from the need to explore new ways of doing things. Artists usually exhibit at galleries but when Tim was ready to showcase his new collection of batiks, he approached design stores that carried textiles. Angelica came to his studio to see this collection, and also saw his paintings. She thought they would complement her furnishings and suggested that Tim exhibit his canvases as well as his textiles. What has emerged is an integrated conversation between fine art and interior décor.

Tim’s art is linked with an exploration of native cultures that began, along with his interest in painting, when he was a child. Later, his preoccupation with ancient civilizations, Sumerian, Egyptian and American Indian, extended to other disciplines, including poetry and music. His subsequent shift to a professional focus on interdisciplines based on lineage was a natural outgrowth. Tim works in the areas of painting, music, theater, education, writing and research. He received a San Miguel Community Foundation grant, on behalf of sciences and liberal arts programs, in November; is co-composer, along with Ken Bichel, of Kid's Incredible Adventure; and will premiere a new instrumental suite, A Walk in Wild Herbs, with young violinist, composer and pianist Turkkan Osman, in spring, 2010.

Although Tim has studied major European art movements, and applies some of their principles to his work, his affinity is non-Occidental. He prefers holistic relationships with nature to Western thinking and philosophy. Tim makes symbolic, spiritual, and scientific decisions about the way he handles perspective, color, and size relationships in his paintings and textile pieces. He prefers expressing the essence rather than the visible aspects of form.

Most artists explore one idea until they have exhausted it. In this exhibit, Tim investigates several concepts and methodologies. The stylistic range of the work reflects ethnic and modern styles and mannerisms, perfect for a home design store that needs to appeal to a spectrum of tastes. Generally, Tim’s color pallet is vibrant, but Sleeping Dancer uses only muted tones. The Devil at Rest reminded me of Egyptian cave drawings, while the two smaller pieces that flank it evoke the European Expressionist period. Tim’s explorations of space contribute to other stylistic variations. The Singer is a study of negative space. Dinner is Served, which is filled with images, looks like its polar opposite. Silk Road and Chinese Still Life, investigate the containment and release of space over a freeform background. His new Designer Series, inexpensive abstract paintings designed to mix and match, is a synthesis of his research into color field painting and Jackson Pollock’s action work. His batiks range from relatively straightforward investigations of animal forms to zoomorphic hybrids.

Unifying these stylistic variations are repeating ideas and elements that identify these works as Hazell’s: he explores man's harmonious relationship with the animals and the natural world; he overlaps natural and abstract forms in the same space; he incorporates native and modern art concepts within the same canvas; he depicts figures that are man/animal hybrids, and makes repeated use of hands, birds and fish motifs.

Like Tim, Angelica Baca has respect for native cultures. The name of her store, Icpalli, means seat of power or throne in Nahuatl, an ancient Aztec language. Angelica, a design graduate from Universidad de Guanajuato, founded the store 15 years ago as an interior design and décor source that not only sold home furnishings but could also assist clients with obtaining fabric for interior decoration, creating sophisticated window treatments, and coordinating all their design elements. Angelica has never solely relied on the home furnishings supplied by manufacturers; she creates pieces for the store based on her ideas and those of other interior designers and also customs designs furniture based on their clients’ needs. One of the store’s signatures has been its modern reinterpretation of equipal furniture. Equipal, derived from icpalli, was one of the first pre-Hispanic chairs. The inclusion of fine art with its other home furnishings is a natural progression for Icpalli.

The amalgam of Tim’s art with Icpalli’s home furnishings allows us to see fine art in a more organic setting. Instead of seeing paintings in an empty space, we get an idea of what they’d look like in a room, hanging above a sofa, a sideboard, a table - how other home accessories can be incorporated into an area to create a unified design statement. This incorporation of fine art with home décor allows you to better appreciate both. Add a visit to Icpalli, Correo #43, to your schedule. The store is open Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm, closed weekends.

Additional works by Tim Hazell can be viewed on his website,, which also contains links to research, poetry, music and a recipes section.