For 6 months, my breakfast room wall was completely naked. What can I say? My wall was a hussy. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with this big, blank canvas, but I knew I had a friend who painted and I liked a lot of her work. In true NYMS form, I drunk-texted her one night to set up a date, and the rest is history.
Gail Strebel started her own company, Faux Finesse, in 2002, and works with both residential and commercial clients. Purchasing a piece of commissioned artwork is a lot more involved a process than going online or even to a brick-and-mortar gallery. Your taste, ideals, and style aesthetic are forefront in the artists’ plans. In fact, Gail told me that she tries not to have any preconceived notions of what is expected before meeting, or at least speaking, with a client.
After talking on the phone a few times, giving rough measurements and discussing size and scale, Gail made plans to come over and look at the space she would be working with. She had asked me to bookmark some art that I liked, things that moved me, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wanted for the space, just to get a better feel of what I like. In looking through the art I had bookmarked, we also discussed what I definitely did not like. Art is very personal and can be super taste-specific. Personally, I have something against the color maroon. I don’t know what the deep, warm shade of red ever did to me, but apparently it was very traumatic. Burgundy, rosewood, chestnut, and carmine are all variants that evoke the same internal revolt. On the same side of the color wheel, the cooler shades, like magenta or even a cherry red, I love! Don’t try to figure me out. Most people probably aren’t as particular as I am, but if you are,you need to let the artist you’re working with know what moves you, and what makes you want to move far away.
In looking through the pieces I bookmarked and the rooms I had decorated in my home, Gail noticed a commonality and almost a theme; I’m kind of obsessed with the beach. It’s true; I love the ocean, the warm sunshine, the color of sand and the smell of the salty sea. Completely unintentionally, I realized as I explained to Gail that I’m actually supposed to live on the coast, that the shorts I was wearing at that moment had faint palm trees all over them. Nice. So I suck at subtle. Since she had just done a table with an octopus, I told her that I loved the little guys! Before she left, she double-checked the measurements and told me she’d call me in a few days and that she expected to be finished in about 3 weeks.
In waiting for my paintings to be completed, Gail only had a couple of questions. She said she felt she had a good grasp of my style and what I wanted, and I actually trusted her! This is strange for me, because I’m really particular and I don’t think my style is very cookie-cutter. Still, something told me she understood me and would make me very happy.
Finally, after a few weeks, she called to tell me my artwork was ready! She sent me a text with a preview and I was so happy! Gail definitely gets me, and I’m beyond thrilled with the final product and how it looks in my home. When she came over to help me mount my beautiful triptych on the wall, I confessed that I couldn’t do what she does, and I wasn’t referring to just the painting part of her job. I just think I would be too anxious working on a piece for someone else. Even when working on a project for myself, knowing my own taste very well, I sometimes miss the mark! I couldn’t imagine the stress of trying to do that for someone else, but she is truly gifted. I admire her and her work, and wish her continued success in doing what she just so happens to love doing.
If you would like to contact Gail or see more of her artwork (she does a lot of different techniques and can accommodate many different styles!), check her out!