POSTED ON JULY 18, 2012:
Tricking out your pad in underground style
Often we see design style in terms of what is popular with a certain group, such as the phenomenon of "shabby chic" or the endless array of "country and western" in all its incantations. Challenging the status quo creates 'sub-cultures' ripe with artistic expression.
Here are four distinct home style guides from some of our resident subcultures. Each unique spin on alternative living contains suggestions on colors, accessories, a DIY project, and a buying guide with local talent and locations. Dust off your "will to be weird," flex your non-conformist muscle and take on a project, a whole room, or even better: your entire castle.
Paint it Black
Ah, the '80s: large hair, even larger shoulder pads, and it was during this time the Goth subculture twisted and clawed its way out of the post-punk movement.
Gothic decorating is all about darkness and decadence, and it can range from the shiny leather of the cellars of fetish parlors to the sophistication of Victorian sitting rooms. Color choices here are easy: black, black, black, with blood red and Halloween purple mixed in.
How does one create an air of opulence on a pauper's budget? Think of things one might already have around the house. Those red chemise blankets you were snuggling under last winter? Why not hang them as curtains? Tres chic -- and they help keep the sunlight out, creating style and saving on electric bills. Pair those curtains with some lace donated by a dead relative and throw them up as a valence in the shape of bat wings.
Nothing says Gothic like wrought iron, and a good pair of candle holders should lend a decadent and dark flare to your interiors, especially in the bedroom. If one really wants to set the scene, painting one's walls in any color-range from Bordeaux to purple orchid will create the feeling of a dark lord's secret chamber.
Other notable additions for this design palate are peacock feathers, red velvet or satin accessories, and lush homemade bath products, such as Dragons Blood Bath Salts kept in a fine china bowl next to your black claw-foot tub.
Have a bare wall, no inspiration, and little in the way of funds? A spooky collage of dark fabrics as art set in black glossy frames showcased in a set will create an air of sophistication. Check out Tulsa's Owl and Drum on Etsy.com. Their selection ranges from sublime to fabric that would make every witch in Hogwarts proud.
Another great local resource is artist Tonia McNeill of New Creations Art. Her work contains many pieces that would be considered just dark enough to grace a decadent mantel.
"One of my dark pieces called Through My Eyes represents all the pain I have endured on my journey in life and letting go of all of it in this piece ... more or less bleeding out all the pain I see through my eyes," McNeill said. Check out her works at facebook.com/NewCreationsTKM.
God Save the Queen
Before Goth there was Punk in all its chaos and glory. From Mohawks to the glam rock scenes of London in 1975, nothing gets more anti-establishment than punk.
Anarchy in your room starts with a red vinyl shagging couch with notches on the wall to remember your conquests. Sid Vicious would be proud to be photographed on your Union Jack throw rug.
Colors in this genre are straight from the runway ala Vivienne Westwood fuchsia and are best applied via spray paint. Sharpie marker will do in a pinch -- and use it everywhere: artwork, linens, that yappy neighbor dog, etc.
An easy DIY project is to turn that old Ramones concert t-shirt into a pillow by cutting off bottom and top, fill it with polyfoam, sew up the ends, and embellish with safety pins. If you are truly crafty, another great project is to fish out those old leather pants, cut them into a pattern for bolster pillows and sew them together with red metallic thread.
Gunmetal would also set off all your new pop art very nicely -- as will anything spiky, such as a cactus or yucca plant. If you really want to go the full Monty, download some vintage "Anarchy in the UK" posters and make artwork out of it by applying to a canvas or to your living room walls.
A great source of punk-vibe artwork is from a group called Point Blank Design. Their collection ranges from Oklahoma-inspired ephemera to classic horror movie characters to the sexy girls and guns collection.
Picking subjects that matter with a comical slant, Sara Bowersock of Point Blank Design gives us a peek into her process. "I try to pick subjects that I personally love, not necessarily what will be popular," Bowersock said. "I find the best piece of art is going to come out of something I am truly passionate about, which is why I generally don't take commissions to do family portraits," she said with a laugh.
Select Point Blank pieces are available at Dwelling Spaces downtown and Ida Red Boutique in Brookside or on their website pointblankdesign.etsy.com.
Rock a What?
From the resurgence of victory curls on pin-up babes to fixing up old cars, rockabilly conveys a kick-back to yesteryear with a kick-ass attitude. Blue collar workers, burlesque, and everything from the '40s, '50s, and even '60s are a big inspiration to this look.
If your kitchen needs a bit of sprucing up, why not invest in a silver shiny dinette set and re-cover the fabric in black sparkly leather? Red or white polka dots, cheetah print and cherries are also appropriate designs that would work for everything from curtains to coasters.
This look really lends itself to thrift store finds. Cherry Street is bursting at the seams with vintage furniture and clothing outlets.
Local artist Jessica Woody could whip up something very colorful for your drab tabletops. Her one of a kind pieces are hand painted upcycled decoupage art conversation starters and can be found at etsy.com under the name "Eco-Friendly Freckles."
Woody explains her view on the importance of purchasing locally-crafted goods for the home. "Although I love online shopping for certain items," Woody said, "art is something I like to buy local. Furthermore, I love Tulsa and I feel it is important to support local artists and our community. By purchasing art and home design pieces locally, I am supporting small businesses and helping our economy."
Gears and Teeth
Steampunk is another throwback to the '80s -- the 1880s. It is a historical costume phantasmagoria of corsets, top hats, gadgets and pistols, and has been a splash in everything from art to clubs. Airships, leather, tinkering, cosplay and science fiction fantasy are also largely influential in this movement.
Home furnishings range from tricked out grandfather clocks to ornate bed frames. Gears are a huge component of this look, as are spats, lace and period appropriate boots, and the taste ranges from mildly demure to full fantasy "comic-con" style slutty.
The metal that enhances this look is bronze. One might not be caught dead in public with goggles, but they make a nice adornment for the kitchen caddy along with the demure white lace linens. Adding gears and other brass or bronze oddities to a book shelf will add an old-world flare to library.
A great DIY project is to trick out a bathroom in Steampunk attire. Perhaps some decoupage prints of gears neatly wall papered over a trash can. If you really want to make a statement, how about wall paper depicting airships in flight all over your powder room with old-world toiletries to match? That would certainly make a bold statement.
For something completely unique in the Steampunk vein, check out the workings of Bohemian Romance at MADE: The Indie Emporium Shop on 5th and Boston in the Deco District.
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