Finding Value in Vacant Spaces

By Jason Matias

What are your walls worth? Sure, they hold up your ceilings (quite important) and keep the casual eye from peering into the rooms they hide. What if they also represented an intangible dollar value? What is a first impression worth? What value does a consistent expression of your values and aesthetic impress upon the people who inhabit your walls?

I urge you to look at the visual spaces in your office and consider their financial value. If you knew that the first impression of the large wall in your reception area represented $10M in cashflow every quarter would you put a $500 giclee on it? Leave it bare, maybe add your name to it, or accent the wall in some trending design color? Perhaps you could find something that makes an impact, expresses culture and refinement, and inspires.

I’ll tell you, I practice what I preach. The long stair up to my loft is capped with an eight foot tall polished live edge slab of wood. It is curvy and sexy and gnarled. It gleams a warm hue reflected from the light above and impresses upon my visitors that they are ascending toward a masculine space with some character. We’ll call that my lobby area. When they enter they find wide open, modern spaces with decorated walls, as expected, and they are ready to engage.

Allow me to introduce myself again for the folks who did not have the opportunity to visit PRK and listen to my talk. My name is Jason Matias. I am a luxury fine art photographer, a USAF veteran, a writer, and an over thinker. I have a Masters in Organizational Leadership, a PMP, and a portfolio with award winning photos from four continents. You can find all that about me and more at www.jasonmatias.com.

In this article I want to give you my one big reason for you to purchase or collect Original Artwork for your places of business (and homes). Then I want to share with you some of my work and let you know how best reach me.

In order to explain why you should place original, quality artwork in your firms I should tell you what ‘original art’ really means. Let’s imagine you could go to a stock website or a licensing company and order a well produced photograph of Seattle (thinking local but this applies abroad). It looks great. It has all the buildings in the right places and facing the right direction. It would fill that dreary empty wall in your office just fine. It also has a hundred similar cousins, any of which you might have purchased had chance brought you to it instead of this particular image and you would have been equally impressed. Or, you could get something like Reviving Twilight | Seattle (not the book with the werewolves, the image).

 Reviving Seattle Twilight

Reviving Twilight shows a Seattle cityscape, at night, if the city had lost power, experiencing a black out. The photograph shows what Seattleites are missing if only they could see beyond the dome of city light. There are so few places to see the night sky without light pollution now-a-days. In a story in National Geographic some years ago, they called this loss “The Death of Twilight.” The story made such an impression on me that, years later, it inspired this photograph and series showing the world what we are closing off from our lives. This is an example of regional, original art. It is not mass produced nor is it easily replaceable. I control the edition size and reproduction of this and limit Reviving Twilight to fifty pieces. Thus, original art.

 Solitude

So, how much are your walls worth? Aside from merely decorating ( breaking up the empty space to make an area feel inhabited) your walls are an opportunity to engage the minds and imaginations of those enclosed in their space. If the art you choose does this well, then it inspires. This is the big point I make to those looking to choose art original art over commercial decoration.

I asked the following question at the PSALA lunch last week, “Where do ideas come from?” Ideas are not created in a void. Ideas are built upon other ideas. They come from reading books. They come from meeting interesting people. They come from being exposed to meaningful art.

Meaningful art comes in two forms: art that makes you think and art that lets you think. My work falls in the later category. I am building my voice around a concept I call comfortable isolation. I spoke on this for five to ten minutes at the luncheon but to sum it up in a few words. Comfortable Isolation is the interspace in your mind (your soul, your psyche, what ever you call it), were one carries on the sort of dialog that results in purposeful, meaningful growth. Such spaces are also the places a person’s mind escapes to to relax and collect itself so that the mind can wrestle the next endeavor or endure the next trial. A piece of art like Concordia (below) or Solitude (right) can be that place; a visual meditation.

 Concordia

Consider your wall spaces and try to imagine what sort of value they represent to the people that experience them everyday. Those spaces are opportunities to unit about a singe talking point, spaces for minds to collate, and places for your clients and colleagues to rejuvenate, respire, and return from with vigor.

Following are several of my favorite pieces for communal areas, lobbies, and conference rooms. You can find more of my work at www.jasonmatias.com. I am available for home and office consultations. I enjoy living room sits, office visits, espresso, and lunches accompanied by a strong drink. You can reach me for any of the above at 808.321.8643 or jason@jasonmatias.com I’m one of those always-working types so don’t be surprised if I offer to grab a drink with you at 9PM.

FeaturedMarjorie Goldfarb