The art of decoupage – the art of ornamentation created with paper cut-out images – has been with us for centuries. From 12th century Chinese furniture to 17th century Venetian art, to collage-making by Victorian ladies, it has associations with past ages. Very much a pre-digital art-form. One man however has been working to revitalise this delicate craft, updating it for the Instagram generation. John Derian has turned a life-long passion for historic printed images into a store in Manhattan’s East Village, creating art work and homewares emblazoned with images botanical, nautical and whimsical, all made by artisans in the area.
The shop is a colour-lover’s paradise, with riotous displays of antique artefacts, prints and objects d’art curated by Derian, and every corner inviting you to look once, twice, three times to see ever more details. We’ve been glued to the store’s Instagram feed too, where colour-coded collages are posted, providing fabulous inspiration for anyone interested in the subtleties of colour and how to put different shades together.
If decoupage is about anything, however, it is about the tactile, physical quality of the printed image, and Derian has celebrated this with his New York Times bestseller, John Derian Picture Book, a glossy tome featuring gems from his work and his collection of historical art books and prints. Among the many treasures on its pages are historic paint charts and images from books on colour theory, providing authentic inspiration for historical decorators as well as for anyone with an interest in colour.
Images from John Derian Picture Book by John Derian (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016.