As an artist, it is my responsibility to portray an era and it’s society accurately to maintain the integrity of a story. My means of being an artist are anything but conventional. I am a technician and carpenter for theater plays in my community, which also explains why I chose to major in engineering. I have built things ranging from spiraling stairs to petrifying caves and lit up the set all to ensure that the decor gives life to the story itself.
Coming from a Hispanic family, traditional decor has always been around me, but I never truly noticed the niche significance of it until I was in theater. One day on set for, The Little Mermaid I was asked to set the scene for Ariel’s grotto. Swiftly, I made my way towards the theater basement to the closet filled with decorative rugs, lamps, tables, vases, and props from shows dating back to the early 1900’s. I scoured for anything nautical or eye-catching in nature and quickly ran upstairs with my treasures. Almost immediately, I was scowled at for my decor pieces. Apparently, the plastic binoculars were clearly from the 20th century and not up to par with the 17th-century look we were going for.
As much as I hate being proved wrong, the decor truly made the difference in the cohesion of not only the scene but also the story. From the audience’s perspective, the detail is the difference between being mesmerized or having a subpar performance. What I took away from this experience is that decor is a gateway to our nation’s history that I am glad I had the opportunity to portray through theater decor.
Decorating is not just about appearance. In fact, it is deeply symbolic of the culture and individual. Nearly every object used to decorate is, whether consciously or subconsciously, an expression of identity, feelings, thoughts, and actions. For example, the extravagant palaces of the ancient Greeks demonstrated their power and influence. Interior design is highly representative of the individual.
In my own life, interior design is a high priority for me. It is an artistic expression, and it has power over the environment. For example, a dorm room that contains only the essentials such as a desk and bed will feel a lot more like a prison than a home. But, by decorating, a dorm room will become much more comfortable and reflective of a home. Before moving into my current dorm room, it was a bleak, desolate wasteland. It had extremely scratched up green tile, white walls, and a light that offered the same hospitality of an insane asylum.
But, the decor made all the difference. I hung two banana leaf tapestries to create an accent wall, followed by warm icicle lights. Then, covered the barf-green floors with a cool grey shag rug, hung fairy lights around a few minimalistic posters, threw white faux fur covers over the chairs, and placed to white faux fur decorative pillows over each bed. Then, my roommate and I each had warm LED lamps to cancel out the atmosphere created by the asylum light. Once the room was finished, it was unrecognizable. The power of decor was undeniable. Although it didn’t seem like much, our room became the most hospitable room in our hall.
But, the decor isn’t just a reflection of our personalities. Sure, my roommate and I love the style, but what we really wanted to create was a room that felt like home. The ambiance of our room has created a safe, restful atmosphere to de-stress after a long day of class. It became home to many late night talks with friends on our grey rug, and many laughs from watching the office in our white fur chairs atop our area rugs in Chattanooga TN.