| | | | | |

Why Art Is So Much More Than an Accessory

“Everything is BIG in Texas” is what I had heard. What was BIG for me, my husband and business was an unplanned move to Texas from New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina’s disruption was profound on many lives. Once here, my professional triad went to reset, our new reality was relocation for us and my business, Arterior Dimensions, focused on art and interiors.


The parallel of art and design

Interior features common to both cities are big walls, high ceilings and fireplaces, just waiting for attention, either big canvas art or decorative paint finishes. Tuscan and older homes begged for rich, subtle glazes and “new builds” for vibrant metallics or venetian plaster. Precast stone mantles are upgradable by adding finishes such as rich limestone, travertine, or various marbles. Happily, new projects, show homes and my published works followed.

For the past 40+ years, I have balanced my triad of integral professions, interior design, faux finishing and visual art creation. Art and interior design are parallel, with the same or similar elements and principles that are crucial to the project’s completion, and successful execution, be it a home, workplace or piece of artwork.

“Crown of Ethiopia”

There are various genres within “visual art,” from painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpting, to mixed media, etc.  As an artist, my time between interiors and decorative painting projects has allowed me to explore and freely create art that speaks for me, and commissioned art for other interior designers and buyers.

Discovering art as a creative passion

A blessing is clients who become friends, and friends collectors of my art. It is common for them to relate to my lifelong passion, art. From early childhood, art was my preoccupation. The purpose that drives an artist to create comes from deep within, it’s not just an interest, job or even a career. There is a drive to explore, examine, create and respond on a visual level to something seen or felt. An artist’s artwork communicates it’s particular message or feeling through the visual impact and/or beauty its elements project.


I strive as an artist to create art reflecting positivity, strength, pride, beauty and  harmony. A landscape can evoke a sense of peace, a painting of a Jazz band can conjure up a mellow memory. Abstracts evoke reaction as well. As with all genres, proper use of art’s elements, color, texture, value, repetition and movement should be harmonious, adding the desired level of excitement and life to an interior. For example, a baby’s room colors and decor should be a balance of stimulation and restful nights.

My favorite media are acrylic and metallic paints, along with embellishments for mixed media art. I enjoy drawing, painting, creating abstract, contemporary and African inspired art with a contemporary twist. My images are often African and African American female portraits, embellished with body and facial painting, wired beads, cowrie shells, raffia, fabric, and gemstones.

My art is the Black Diaspora

My art pays homage to all our African ancestors for their horrific journey to America and their subsequent cruel enslavement. Specifically to all African women who have taught African American women, by example, the determination, strength and pride to be who we are today. I create images so that viewers who see them can recognize those same traits not only inside themselves, but also within all Black people.


Recently I began my family tree and had DNA testing. It awakened my sense of identity with my ancestors, new unknown “cousins”, and all from the Black diaspora, those whose spirit I share. I now understand my strong attraction to African culture and people. The art that flows from within me, the textiles, colors and patterns that I embellish with are what I put on my canvas and in my home. I am proud to share the blood of my various ancestors’ ethnicities.

“Ceremonial Dress”

Art is not an accessory, it tells a story

Most consider art to be an accessory. As an interior designer, I know the elements, principles, goals and process. But as an artist I know art is underrated, too often used as a space taker, or an afterthought, just a pop of color, a casual nod instead of a conversation. 

Art is a language, a communication  between artist and owner or viewer, a reflection of the spirit and  personality of both. Message understood, the art, owner and space live harmoniously. Art is not an accessory but an extension of not only the artist but also speaks to and for the owner.

“Kuba Queen”

Artist Contact: Bari Davis Jenks, Arterior Dimensions, email barijenks@gmail.com, website Bari Jenks.com

Thanks for checking out our first guest post. I would love to feature an artist, furniture/product designer or similar creative that works close with the design community at least once a month. Know someone? Send their name along to info@calminggroundinteriors.com.

Similar Posts


  1. The art that you shared here is gorgeous! You’re so right it isn’t just an accessory. It should evoke emotion. Love it!

  2. Such beautiful art! I love how you mention “ART IS NOT AN ACCESSORY, IT TELLS A STORY”. I am such an advocate for this. As I look around our home, each piece of art truly does just that.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love this quote “Art is not an accessory but an extension of not only the artist but also speaks to and for the owner.” SO well put!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *