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James Andrew with artist, Edward Granger

James Andrew with artist, Edward Granger

As an interior designer I’m constantly searching for exciting new art and artisans. Last February I was thrilled to be included in @60 Inches Get the Look which included my New York City apartment and a selection of works featured on the site. I included the work of New York City based artist Edward Granger not really knowing anything about him, but I was drawn to the exuberant playfulness of his Crayon series.

Later, as I was clicking away, lost in one of my Instagram k-holes, I stumbled upon Granger’s work once again, and immediately struck up a dialogue with him.

We soon met over a few martinis and burgers at my favorite little hang-out, Blue Smoke. I love to hear life stories, especially ones as inspirational as Granger’s. A native of Louisiana he describes himself as a “sauvage.” As a young boy he was always drawing, creating, and getting into a bit of trouble. Later he was able to channel this energy into more productive time attending a high school art academy. He later attended the University of Louisiana and majored in architecture, which Granger describes as being immersed in a “soup of creativity.” However, upon graduating and working for a few architecture firms he became frustrated with the lack of creative expression that the employ offered him. This led to a return to painting. Broke, with barely enough money to buy paint, he confides that he actually – we’ll call it – “liberated” paint and other supplies, and utilized found objects and whatever he could get his hands on to produce his work. He was very quickly picked up by the Sibley Gallery specializing in works of emerging artists.

With an otherwise complete lack of support from family, etc., he pressed on, actually supporting himself through the sale of his paintings. Granger had an innate sense of the importance of social media to get his work out to a larger audience and very cleverly used it to his full advantage – a bit of sex appeal can go a long way – he soon had fans around the world and started to sell to New York collectors.

Painted Work by Edward Granger

Painted Work by Edward Granger

At some point during all of this, a major New Orleans gallery essentially told him that he had no talent and that he should give up any hope of a career in the arts. Quite hurt by this, he kept pushing on and made his way to New York City. A few modeling gigs helped to bring in much needed cash as well as a growing list of patrons. He also connected with an artist’s agent who has been extremely helpful in securing him some rather large commissions as well as sales of his work.

"Fractal I" by Edward Granger

“Fractal I” by Edward Granger

"Fractal II" by Edward Granger

“Fractal II” by Edward Granger

“My very first drawings in architecture school were always precise and geometric,” Granger explains. He incorporated this, combined with lessons in “geometric theory.” to produce iterations of a square divided into four equal parts, each containing one of the four basic types of lines (vertical, horizontal, diagonal left, and diagonal right). This then draws a larger awareness of the flow and allowed the viewer to create his or her own storyline within this ‘geometric wonderland,” as Granger likes to call his spaces.

His dynamic crayon series were created in multiples of three. “These pieces were titled ‘Come fly away…’ because they all portrayed a sense of playful optimism, and an insightful discovery into a whole new realm of my style rather than being based upon a direct correlation of passionate or arresting thoughts.”

"Come Fly Away" by Edward Granger

“Come Fly Away” by Edward Granger

These mosaics are a smorgasbord for the senses; full of the raised texture of shaved crayons, and the nostalgia of smell and the vibrant colors we all came to know and love as children. “I never have a drawn out thinking process, I never draw with a line, I just use a kind of curvy organic motion. The next line tells you where it wants to go, and if there’s an empty space I fill it. It creates its own path and tells me what it wants to do – I don’t like to dictate my work because that makes it feel forced,” Granger emphasizes.

We love to bring you stories like Granger’s – his passion and steadfastness, his belief in himself and courage to pursue his dreams are all elements that inspire.

He fantasizes about creating large scale installations in the spirit of a James Turrell. Needless to say, we here at WIJW are encouraging him to dream BIG! In the meantime, I’m placing several of Granger’s works with clients as well as proposing a mural for a potential Miami project all executed in shades of sand and abalone shell.

Do look him up on Instagram and acquaint yourself with his site. You’ll be quite glad you did!

For our lovely and louche photo (top), I’m sporting a Tom Ford era Gucci navy velvet jacket, slate blue wool cashmere flannel pants, brown leather belt and brown suede tasseled loafers all by Tom Ford, Turnbull and Asser red and white striped cotton shirt with contrast white collar and cuffs, vintage pearl and pale blue sapphire cuff links, Rolex, Etro silk paisley scarf worn as ascot, navy and white silk min dot pocket square from Batistoni and my fragrance is Tom Ford Oud

The Lyford Cay Club Second Annual Design Weekend

James Andrew at Lyford Cay

James Andrew at Lyford Cay

If I haven’t made it clear by now, I’ll say it again, I am just wildly crazy about Lyford Cay!

This impossibly chic bastion of old world manners, charm, elegance and sophistication is always beckoning me back, and so it goes without saying that the Second Annual Lyford Cay Club Design Weekend was a not to be missed affair—and with honorary chairperson, Newell Turner, we were guaranteed a wonderfully edifying weekend!

First off was a tea and guest book signing. Later came cocktails and a superb lecture by legendary interior designer, Nina Cambell, followed by a screening of photographer and film maker Bruce Weber’s “The Life of Elizabeth Taylor.” The film is a deeply moving tribute to Taylor and I can tell you there was not a dry eye in the house upon its conclusion. (Do see it when you can).

We ended the evening with the most delicious dinner at the Lyford Cay Yacht Club where I had the great honor to be seated at the aforementioned legendary Bruce Weber’s table! It was a thrill to be able to convey to him how inspirational his pictorials in GQ and elsewhere were to me as a younger man in the 70s and 80s and how his work continues to enthrall and inspire me today.

Saturday’s program provided us with tours of selection on distinct and contrasting homes in Lyford. There were eight homes in total on this year’s tour, highlighting the many different styles that exist here, all reflecting a range of aesthetic held by the highly individualistic members of the Lyford Cay Club.

Our tour included my dear friend, Lulu De Kwiatkowski’s family home, “Serendip Cove,” which was originally decorated by Sister Parish and updated by Kwiatkowski with all of her rather fabulous fabrics and bedding – it is one of the most storied homes in the Caribbean with magical tropical gardens and a massive swath of one of Lyford’s most beautiful beaches.

We were also treated to “Bayview,” a magnificent home perched high on top of a ridge overlooking Lyford with the most ravishing interiors by Amanda Lindroth. I hope this property will grace the pages of design magazines soon, as it simply must be seen – a truly monumental project!

Complimenting the tour was “Chelsea House,” the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Bond. It’s a modernist Lyford “cottage” originally built for Sir Guy and Lady Henderson that is beautifully decorated by my dear friend and Lyford host, the impossibly chic John Fondas, who has created a splendid lux modernist tropical retreat to die for.

Our day of design drew to a close with another gorgeous Lyford ritual cocktail hour followed by a designer panel moderated by Newell Turner with designers David Kleinberg, Mary McDonald, Miles Redd and Jennifer Boles—giving us a chance to hear their shared musings on design and inspiration.

A delicious “Elsie de Wolfe” dinner capped off our wonderful Saturday in the main dining room with the most sublime menu created by my brilliant friend, chef Alex Hitz in concert with Lyford Cay’s renowned Chef Pascal.

Lyford Menu

Dressed in suitable dinner regalia (another time-honored and respected Lyford observance), I’m sporting a spectacular Tom Ford “Wetherby” suit in ocean blue wool silk linen melange, white cotton shirt with French cuffs, pale blue silk knit tie by Turnbull and Asser, pale blue, royal and white silk pocket square, pearl and pale blue sapphire cuff links, vintage Rolex, Pierre Hardy cobalt suede demi boots, and my fragrance is Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

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Alvaro Nates

James Andrew with Alvaro Nates

James Andrew with Alvaro Nates – photo Alvaro Nates

Having been quite smitten with his bold photographs posted on Instagram, I’ve managed to become “Insta-friends” with the brilliant Mexico City based photographer Alvaro Nates.

I was desperate to work with him and jokingly wrote him asking when he was going to put his “big fat lens on me.” Well, providence was smiling, and miracle of miracles, Nates had already scheduled a trip to New York City! As you might have surmised by now, he also joined us here on WIJW for a spectacular photo shoot!

Alvaro Nates self portrait — James Andrew interior

Alvaro Nates self portrait — James Andrew interior

Nates was born in Columbia and as a child he tells us he had aspirations to become a clown – I am happy to say that despite never becoming one, his humor is well intact—he exudes such warmth, energy and infectiously charming playfulness!

Nates’ sister was quite the “it” girl on TV and a young handsome Alvaro was quickly discovered while accompanying her on casting calls. He had a long stretch as a successful model. On his travels he became increasingly interested in the view from behind the camera, and a Poloroid camera he happened upon became a new vehicle for the sort of creative expression Nates yearned for. Fast forward—working for NatGeo, Nates continued his travels, meeting amazing people and perfecting his art. Portrait photography, drawing, and videography are all now a part of his artistic quiver.

photo Alvaro Nates

photo Alvaro Nates

While in New York City, Nates and I came up with the concept of playing “Tom Ford” by referencing a makeover segment Ford recently produced. I dressed our friend, Nates, in Tom Ford and we set about creating a WIJW photo drama. It not only captures Nates’ professional eye, I think, but demonstrates a good deal of technical prowess, since many of these are pairs of individual shots seamlessly spliced together.

James Andrew and Alvaro Nates - photo Alvaro Nates

James Andrew and Alvaro Nates – photo Alvaro Nates

Fortunately we were the exact size so all my clothes fit my friend quite exquisitely.

Nates and I had the most divine time together playing dress up, and we celebrated our production with martinis followed by oysters and champagne at Wild Edibles followed by burgers and more martinis at Blue Smoke—needless to say, we had quite an evening!

Cheers! - photo Alvaro Nates

Cheers! – photo Alvaro Nates

I dressed Nates in a Tom Ford green tweed windowpane suit, plaid cotton shirt in browns and purple, purple wool knit tie, brown and purple polka dot silk pocket square. I’m wearing a Tom Ford amethyst wool tri-color window pane “Country Jacket,” lavender and white striped cotton shirt, brown wool knit tie, brown and ivory glen plaid silk pocket square, brown corduroy pants, brown leather belt with rose gold buckle and brown suede and crocodile cap toe shoes, antique moon stone cuff links and my fragrance is Tom Ford Oud.