Few people get the opportunity to actualize their youthful aspirations. But for designer Barry Lantz, the dream of becoming a professional artist came to fruition in 2010. Now, the Indiana-based creative, with more than 30 years in the design industry, has partnered with high-end decorative art brand Soicher Marin to expand the reach of his works.
Inspired by the simplicity of Midwestern landscapes and a potpourri of color, Lantz is bridging careers that focus on achieving a sense of refinement. “It takes two things to accomplish a well planned space: good design and good art,” he explains.
Launched in the fall, his collection with Soicher Marin features a selection of original pieces reproduced as giclee on canvas with retouches in acrylic pigments done by hand. Pieces range from $550 to $1,600. Up next for Lantz is a display at the Agora Gallery in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood this spring.
We caught up with the designer and artist to learn more about what sparks his imagination.
Take us through your thought process for conceptualizing a new piece.
I always begin with a color range. I love color. The range of color depends on my mood of the moment and what I want to express on canvas. Sometimes it’s calm; other times it’s emotional.
You’ve said living in the Midwest has influenced your art. How do you think it makes you stand apart from other artists?
Coming from rural Indiana and living here my entire life, I find beauty and uniqueness in very flat and horizontal landscapes. Most artists travel to mountain ranges and rolling meadows for inspiration and subject matter. In rural Indiana, the subject is a mood, a feeling–not an object.
What does the partnership with Soicher Marin mean to you?
As a young person, I believed I could become a known, selling artist. It was always a dream. Having this realized in my adult life is most gratifying and challenging at the same time. I am constantly pushing myself beyond comfortable creativity. I find my best works come from those moments. I’ve sold Soicher Marin product since I was in my 20s, so working with Ed Marin and his team has been a lot of fun.
You’ve been a designer for more than 30 years. How does your background influence your art?
Many times, in the process of designing a space, art can be the starting point of the ending element. Starting with the art is a preferred approach. The client is immediately emotionally invested in the space, as art is such a personal decision. I love to design this way, and I love to paint with this thought in mind. Most designers plan the room and after that search for the appropriate art to accent the surroundings. Geometry and movement are the most important rhythms I look for and plan in my interiors. Art can further that approach.
Is there any piece — from the Soicher Marin collection or otherwise — that you’d consider a favorite?
The piece I titled “The Crying Moon” is a strong favorite. I love the colors and the subject. All of my pieces have either a sun or moon. This particular moon exudes sadness and emotion. The unexpected rectangular shape adds a modern, geometric influence to the traditional subject.