Monday, January 5, 2015

Into The Light: Los Angeles Artist Scott Waterman


2015 will be an exciting year on THE STYLE SALONISTE. I’ll be writing and editing a fresh series of new designer portfolios. I’ll be writing about surprising travels to rare and undiscovered places, talented people and beautiful things from around the world. All are exclusive to THE STYLE SALONISTE and written for my readers, and art directed by designer Brian Dittmar.

Brian and I have been working together on THE STYLE SALONISTE for almost six years, and we love to present exciting new discoveries, books, art, fashion, architecture, leading design thinkers, and style provocateurs. Come with us into a fantastic new year.


To start the New Year off with a creative burst this week I’m introducing you to Los Angeles artist/decorative painter/creative genius SCOTT WATERMAN.

He recently completed a new series called ‘Mediation on Lotus’—in watercolor, ink, gouache on heavy watercolor paper. I love this new collection and I wanted to share it with you.


I’ve featured Scott and his artful San Francisco and Oakland residences in several of my books on interiors, including ‘California Interiors’ (Taschen) and ‘San Francisco Style’ (Chronicle Books). Scott’s interiors (improvised, fresh, enchanting) serve as his studio and background for creating large-scale, highly original paintings. Monographs, mixed-media constructions, and one-off prints all commissioned for top interior designers like San Francisco’s Pamela Babey at BaMo, as well as architects and decorators around the world.

Scott is also a superb decorative artists, creating murals both hyperreal and surreal. His prints allude to classical design, and the patterns and imagery are usually abstract and allegorica.

Come with me to meet Scott Waterman. You’ll be inspired.


All about the new series, ‘Meditation on Lotus’

I asked Scott Waterman to tell me about creating his new lotus series, and he wrote the following notes that reveal his process, his series, his thinking, and his ideals:

Like sipping nectar through the stem of a blue lotus.

You just can't wait to bite into that lotus. Tennyson. You know: “Eating the lotus day by day, To watch the crisping ripples on the beach, And tender curving lines of creamy spray; To lend our hearts and spirits wholly to the influence of ”… something, something… You get the point.

July 12 and 13, the Lotus Festival returned to Echo Park Lake for the first time since the lake had been drained to begin restoration two years ago. In 1929, an L.A. Times photo caption reads, “Right now the beds of lotus lilies in Echo Park, Los Angeles, are coming into perfection. These are the sacred lilies of India, symbols of immortality, and to the Hindu mind the most perfect of all flowers.

The lotus is a symbol for the centers of consciousness (chakras) in the body.


One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water. — Bhagavad Gita 5.10


One of my yoga teachers advised us, his students, as we endeavored to hold steady our most difficult poses not to struggle but to breath calmly, sips of air like nectar. The quote above is from him.

Soon after first moving across the country to San Francisco, Maupin's ‘Tales of the City’ aired on PBS. I had never been able to get into the books but I became engrossed in the televised drama. Mary Ann Singleton is about to begin her adventure in San Francisco and Mrs. Madrigal quotes Tennyson referencing the lotus eaters.

A decade before moving to L.A. I visited famed Echo Park and happened upon the Lotus Festival there. Sometime after I moved south the lotus practically diedout and the life of the lake was so seriously compromised that it was drained in order to start again. And again by chance I happened to visit the lake and the festival in the first year of its new life.

The lotus in my work are not drawn or painted from life. In artistic terms they are post-modernist appropriations and are taken from historical copyright-free sources. These found images are take a step further as I convert them into a cross hatched drawings like the steel plate engraving found on currency or traditional postage stamps. My drawings are laid on top of a ground of color laid down in an intuitive abstract expressionistic manner. These works have not been shown publicly yet.

Scott Waterman, artist and problem solver

I asked Scott to tell me about his work and the nature of his art. Here is what he told me:

It's Santiago Chile on the phone. The canvas has a wrinkle in it! What should we do? That actually happened to me. I thought the problem I was solving was to create a big painting for the Japanese restaurant, Matsuri, at the Grand Hyatt in Santiago, Chile.

I carefully considered the architecture, interior design, and the location and proposed a painting, 14' x 15", an iconic abstract form that hinted at calligraphy, kelp bending in sea currents, and most importantly an image that reads transculturally. Well, stretch it, I told them. They did and my painting for Matsuri hangs prominently above the sushi bar visible from every table in the restaurant. It is the signature work of art. That is what I do.

I make art and solve problems. I work with architects, interior designers, art consultants, and creative thinkers who challenge me to do my very best for them. Sometimes works are selected right out of my studio and often I create pieces that are site specific. Typically I work off site and can create an entire room in my studio which I did for a dining room on The Peak in Hong Kong.

Other times I will paint on location as I did for an office in Holmby Hills that was covered in silver leaf. I added a fantastical Chinoiserie motif, elegant and monochromic. Their Picasso looks gorgeous on it by the way. It was my first Chinoiserie room and it was published in Architectural Digest. It is a fact that from one commission to the next my work is as different as can be imagined and I rather like it that way. The constant is a commitment to the best idea, executed deftly, on time and on budget.







1981 – Present

Go back to 1981 with me and you can see my painting of Ramesses II at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta. That along with my restoration painting at the Ponce also in Atlanta are some of my earliest works as a professional artist. I wrote about them and included pictures on my blog, Corbu's Cave. Since those early works in Georgia I have placed my paintings in homes from Paris to San Francisco as well as creating large scale murals for estates in Scarsdale, New York and remote Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. I am currently based in Los Angeles but accept commissions worldwide. All interested inquiries, comments, and salutations welcome.

About the Artist

Scott Waterman’s paintings are characterized by strong graphic elements that combine representational and abstract iconography.

Waterman’s education includes college level plant identification, ornamental horticulture studies, studio courses at RISD, and a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art. His studies in computer graphics are also evident in his contemporary work.

Instruction by Dr. Nancy Jay of the Crealde Art Center may be credited with the development of Waterman’s fine draftsmanship and attention to detail while Que Throm, Valencia College Art Department Chair emeritus, is responsible for his exposure to postmodern thought.

Contextually Waterman’s paintings fit broadly into Surrealism and its psychological foundation. The influence of 19th century Japanese prints (the floating world) is also apparent.

Scott Waterman was born in Ft. Myers Florida has lived throughout the country and has spent most of his adult life in California.

Scott Waterman
3647 6th Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90018 

All paintings and art works here are by SCOTT WATERMAN who holds the copyright. The images are used with his express permission.


MJH DesignArts said...

I am stunned by the beauty of these works. Timeless and placeless. Thank you. Mary

peggybraswell said...

s w is the best! + I am a fan + he sent me your wonderful piece on him yesterday.

Lynne Rutter said...

What a refreshing and gorgeous post. Bravo Scott! It's always nice to see someone so skilled and gifted getting noticed.

Karena said...

Diane, Happy New Year!
Scott's works or art are incredible and I have always loved his work! There is both a graphic and ethereal element about them that inspires me!

The Arts by Karena