August 26, 2012 in inspiring places
Whilst wandering about and exploring with my camera, I ventured down to the harbour walls and jetties in our village, the neighbouring village and the old port of the medieval walled city of Zadar on the mainland opposite. They are areas just off the beaten track, industrial in feeling, and close to but tucked away from all of the beautiful traditional buildings and pretty boats that are the obvious tourist lures.
In these hidden places fishermen make shade to untangle their nets or unload their crates, leaving them on the side overnight. Shapes and colours everywhere that made me think of abstract artworks or the pattern of fabric. Walking around a corner one day I discovered a ram skull and tuna heads and tails tied to posts, mismatched old chairs and painted benches grouped together, and industrial doors with warning signs and beer labels stuck to the wall – a little spot where the fishermen must unwind after a night’s work. All of this was unexpected and felt like I had discovered a secret.
Brightly coloured brush marks on old doors and walls, made over years by boat painters wiping out the remains of paint from their brushes, and sprayed graffiti with a flower growing next to it, as interesting and beautiful to me as the traditional tourist sights. A sprayed cross on the wall, a red circle painted primitively as a warning sign, graphic and expressive. Painted hoardings and temporary structures creating geometric patterns like modern art.
By one harbour wall, at the end of the path, an ancient fire truck had been hand sprayed fluorescent orange with aerosol cans. In the glaring sun it had faded over time, revealing the lines of spray and turning the truck into a three dimensional canvas.
To me these little vignettes are like accidental artworks made by workers, unknowingly decorating their environments in an ever-changing manner.
If you look hard enough you can see art and beauty almost anywhere.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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