Curated Interiors Celebrates Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
by James Coulter
When you look upon the artwork of local artist, Cherree Mallette, you might assume that her paintings are merely of ordinary bubbles and splashes of water. To her, her artwork is much more.
In one painting, she sees a dragon rising from the sea. In another, she sees a rabbit leaping out of the clutches of a wolf. Her artwork of blue bubbles and splashes are more than just portraits of water. To her, they capture the very embodiment of the boundless imagination of children.
“It is not just a bubble, it needs to have a story behind the bubble,” she said. “It is not just a splash, it is a story. And you will see something completley different, and that is what I want you to do: to be happy, to be within your inner childhood mindset.”
Mallette herself was inspired to create paintings about bubbles and splashes based upon a childhood memory from first grade in Catholic school in New York. She was called upon by a nun teaching her class and asked what comes to her as a bubble. She replied that she liked bubbles because of the color.
Several years later, after her own artwork career in New York was hurt during the great recession, Mallette thought back upon her childhood memory and decided to move onto artwork based upon what she liked most: bubbles.
“I said that I want to be happy,” she said. “I want to be refreshed from all the junk I hear in the news. I want something so unique that nobody else has done. That is when the bubbles and splash arrived.”
Since then, she has been creating dry brush paintings that combine water bubbles with splashes to create a unique blend of watery imagery, something that truly captures the imagination and has its viewer seeing what they want to see.
She uses only the finest tools for her artwork. She receives her brushes from Spain, her paint from Holland, and her paper from Italy, she said. What results is something truly unique to herself.
Though she admits she could be making more money as a banker or engineer than as an artist, to her, like any true artist, her art is not about the money.
“I am not wasting my time, I am making a statement,” she said. “To me, that is more important.”
Mallette and her paintings of bubbles and splashes were showcased for a demonstration and presentation she hosted during the ribbon cutting ceremony of Interior Designs in Lakeland on Thursday evening.
Curated Interiors is a fine art venue and furniture store that, according to its website, “makes it possible to design a beautiful home environment that is uniquely customized by you!”
“Curated Interior offers unique items for home decorating,” their mission statement reads. “Our goal is to help regional artists continue working in their craft by selling their art to the world. Guests have the opportunity to purchase original fine art created by regional artists, and quality furniture.”
The owner, Kia Troutman, had been living in Lakeland for the past four years, having previously resided within Fort Lauderdale. She was awe-struck by the community’s love of art, from the Polk Museum of Art to the various murals and swan statues downtown. As such, she wanted to enhance the local artistic experience with her own venue.
“I feel that art is an important part of our community, and I wanted to start a business revolving around art,” she said. “I wanted to see a beautiful space where artists would have the opportunity to showcase their work, and be able to make a living doing what they love, which is art. So that is what inspired me.”
Her downtown venue showcases several art pieces from local artists such as Mallettee, as well as several unique furniture pieces. Her venues plans on hosting several art events in the future similar to what they hosted during their ribbon cutting on Thursday.
“People can expect a lot of energy and color and excitement around the arts, also a promotion and encouragement of artists as well,” she said.
Lakeland Mayor Bill Muntz, who cut the ribbon that evening, commented on how the new venue helps accentuate the local community and its affinity for the arts. While most other cities would consider art to be the first thing cut within their budget, his own city understands the intrinsic value that art provides communities such as his, he said.
“We all know art and creativity enhance the community, so having a space where people can express their talents and showcase their work is a real testament to your efforts, and gives Lakeland a chance to experience what you have to offer,” he said.
Michele Ledford, Lakeland Chamber Chair, welcomed the new business on behalf of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. As with Mayor Muntz, she also commented on how art better accentuates the local community, and encouraged the new venue in its endeavors to further promote the arts.
“It makes me happy to see you believing in our community by investing in a business and starting with us and being here with us downtown,” she said. “It is a beautiful space. I am glad to have come down here to see what you are doing. And I know you will be successful because I know that is who you are.”
Curated Interiors is located at 122 W. Main St., Lakeland, Florida. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.curatedinteriorsfl.com/