Dorothy Willetts 'Speaks' Art, Knows Where it Lives
The language of “art” can seem high and lofty, reserved for translation by a discerning few. (If only there were an app for that). From avant-garde abstracts to the raw, natural elements of realism, the diversity can be daunting when it comes to identifying the right piece. Couple with that, the perception that art is meant primarily for the “hallowed halls” of luxury environments.
Dorothy Willetts, acclaimed interior designer and Founder of Willetts Design & Associates in Palm Springs, speaks the language not only with fluency, but with the gleam of an ardent educator.
Uniquely, she brings expertise in fine art, design and architecture to A-List clientele in the California desert, Seattle, British Columbia, Chicago, and beyond. East coast roots, and an upbringing with English antiques, ground her approach with a priority for detail.
Photo Source: Willetts Design & Associates
Dorothy has a determination to prove the ease with which great art melds in different (and even unlikely) settings. This was her for vision for Living With Art, a project with the prestigious Heather James Gallery. Dorothy and her team designed twelve different 12 x 12 spaces in a dizzying twenty four hours, centrally incorporating the art of such masters as Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder.
"I wanted to make sure that people understand - art is not just for the uber wealthy, it's for all of us."
Translating that to consumers and her clientele, she’s eager to express that it’s all about education; a progression, beginning with foundational genres; what's familiar, then connecting modern, abstract, even informing rugs and furnishings.
According to Dorothy, trending from opposite ends of the spectrum are romantic influences and street art. Social media is constantly “changing the channel,” presenting new styles and art forms, almost non-stop. Simultaneously, what’s handcrafted and bespoke plays all the way from art, to fixtures and home furnishings.
She's never been one to shy away from a challenge. When presented with the prospect of creating a garment for ASID’s El Paseo Fashion Week, Dorothy utilized materials normally reserved for room design, to reproduce a Tony Duquette gown in sumptuous Jim Thompson fabric. Is it any wonder, she walked away with first place? (We soon hope for a collection reveal and front row seats for Fashion Week).
Listen to the complete interview here.