“Art is the highest form of hope,” Gerhard Richter 

2020 was a difficult year and it was a particularly hard year for the hospitality industry. The emergence of Covid 19 and the closure of so many commercial interior spaces from restaurants, hotels to work spaces, at times it will have made the future of the sector for look bleak. Yet here we are in a new year, and while we are not out of the proverbial woods just yet, we at Art Story wanted to share with you our thoughts on hope.

What is hope? Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. Hope is the future that we strive for. It is the space between discontent and contentment. Hope is a yearning for better position than the one we find ourselves currently presiding. Therefore 2021 by its nature is the embodiment of hope. Much like Edward Ruscha’s 1998 artwork entitled Hope, where the artist has attempted to abstract the word hope by use of a spray gun. We are not out of the darkness yet but hope is present and emerging.

Activist Yana Buhrer who set up the Global art campaign ‘Spring to Hope’ via the non profit platform Fine Acts suggests that “Today, more than anything, humanity needs hope,” following on that “Art has immense power, so we wanted to unleash it and help people during these difficult times,” The ever growing collection from artists and illustrators is a bright array of creativity on display. Some artists refer to poets while others have focused on the budding flowers of spring as the eternal symbol of hope and optimism. When we look to the spaces we will inhabit once this pandemic is over, it is important that we continue to nurture this sense of optimism. 

As a company, Art Story has recently launched our own campaign to inspire hope into the next generation of artists. UK art students have had a difficult time with many not being able to access much needed facilities alongside mounting debt and mental health concerns. We feel it is important that these young creatives are nurtured during this time so we have given them the opportunity to share their story and to receive a 12 month mentoring programme to help boost their early career. You can follow the hashtag #tellyourartstory to discover the wealth of incredible talent that is emerging and also to get a pulse on the stories of a new generation going through an unprecedented time. 

In retail, another industry ravaged by the pandemic, Hope is being utilised in window displays. Holly Tucker MBE recently announced that ‘Hold on to Hope’ as the theme of her workshop at Holly & Co in Twickenham. The January theme ‘Hold on to Hope’ is in collaboration with Rosie Johnson a bright, colorful illustrator. The wall art and window display features a celebration of diversity in the community.  The aim is to encourage a hopeful rather than a hopeless mindset to ensure that this year we don’t just survive but thrive both personally & professionally. The engaging immersive space is a beacon for industry standards on how space can be transformed to boost engagement and in this case hope, within the wider community.

Aside from hope being the subject matter of an artwork, colour is another key way to visually boost a sense of hope.  Pantone announced that the colour of 2021is the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating yellow. The two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to support one another. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of the two colours illuminates’ strength and positivity by the nature of its contrast. 

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive director of the Pantone color institute suggests that “The union of an ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow illuminating expressing a message of positivity supported by fortitude. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”  Whether it is the colours that pantone suggest or another combination of your choosing it is worth spending time considering the emotions evoked by the choices we make. Every colour has is own agency to enrapture and evoke emotion. Artists have harnessed this power of colour theory for years but it is available for everyone as a tool of communication. Let’s spread hope.

Naturally, as art consultants we believe in arts ability to tell a story. The way art is incorporated into the interior space allows for art to become a conversation or a soliloquy. Art can stand alone or it can be a wandering tale through told through several artworks by several voices. It can be as harmonious as a choir joining voices or as jarring as a political debate. In the spaces we curate moving forwards it is imperative that we inspire an uprising of hope to soothe the collective anxiety experienced in the past 12 months. After a year looking at the same faces and walls we all look forward to meeting again in joyous spaces. We hope to meet you there soon. 

1 German painter Gerhard Richter in 1982, in the catalogue text for the Documenta 7 exhibition.

2 https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ruscha-hope-ar00063

3 https://fineacts.co/hope

4 https://holly.co/visit/themes/hope/

5 https://rosiejohnsonillustrates.com/

6 https://www.pantone.com/uk/en/color-of-the-year-2021

Image Credit: ‘Emilys Bees’ a mural Created by Art Story Artist Collaborator, Martina Nehrling (that happened to be created among bee hives) for the O+ music and art festival in Kingston, NY. in 2016.