Artwork in a business office, whether it’s a small company or a big firm, can serve many purposes beyond filling blank wall spaces and preventing sound echoes.
For some firms, office art reflects a company’s philosophies and inspires its workers.
“We were looking to create a space that would inspire us daily,” says Jason Kennedy of Vagabond Media Group, a multi-platform media house that he owns along with partner Monica Walton. “We’re creative and we wanted a relaxed and fun environment instead of a corporate vibe.”
Vagabond’s small office on Forum Lane in Camana Bay features murals on the wall painted by Jason, including replica Banksy graffiti art.
“Monica and I are both massive fans of street art and Banksy,” says Jason. “Monica really likes this piece because it’s fun and can be interpreted to mean many different things, or nothing at all. But it’s also fitting for our space because we get inspired by music.”
There’s also a mural portrait of Alfred Hitchcock on the Vagabond walls. “He’s kind of an inspiration to us,” Jason says of Hitchcock. “He was the ultimate storyteller through video and when we do a video, our philosophy is that it’s not just a video, it’s a story.”
Jason’s partner, Monica Walton, says the company’s office art was chosen for a purpose. “All of the artwork reflects our company culture,” she says. “We wanted a well-balanced, creative workplace that would also reflect who we are to our clients.”
Just down Forum Lane, the eclectic artwork at The London & Amsterdam Trust Company is there not only for aesthetic purposes, but as conversation pieces as well, says Managing Director Rankine McMillan.
“Everyone is into contemporary art, but ours is totally different,” he says of the collection, which combines local art with interesting pieces and antiques from various places around the world. There are original lithographs by local artists David Bridgeman and Chris Mann, an original watercolour painting by the late Annette Zalewski, porcelain art from Japan, silver sculptures by African artist Patrick Mavros, oriental rugs, Italian tables and more. Perhaps the most striking art in The London & Amsterdam office isn’t really art at all.
“It’s actually garden furniture from England,” Rankine says of the four-piece set that is supposed to represent a campsite around a watering hole in Africa.
Visually impressive, the furniture itself is not all that comfortable.
“We use it for meetings and various things, but I use it as a hiring and firing room,” Rankine says with a laugh.
At the law firm Ogier on Nexus Way in Camana Bay, it’s all about Cayman art.
“All artwork in the firm is local artwork,” says Operations Manager Chuck Quappe, adding that Ogier sponsored an art award for several years. “Part of our deal was we told the winners that their work would be prominently displayed.” Some of the local artists displayed in Ogier’s office include Dready, John Bird, Gordon Solomon and Terry Grimes.
In the firm’s boardroom, there’s also a metal sculpture of a turtle by Karoly Szücs of Artisan Metal Works. Like many pieces of art that elicit conversation, that sculpture is associated with an amusing anecdote. Firm Managing Partner James Bergstrom commissioned the piece and when Karoly went to show him the finished sculpture for the first time, he unveiled, from under a sheet, a small plastic turtle he had fashioned to use as a model for the sculpture. Witnesses, some of whom were in on the joke, said James’ face turned white when he saw it, thinking it was the real artwork.
“The turtle was commissioned for five figures and after the tiny plastic turtle was unveiled, James assumed that he was going to have some explaining to do to his other partners for spending that amount of money on a tiny plastic turtle,” says Chuck.