interior design

Intern Introductions: Emily Cheetham

This summer, the DeGroot team includes a new intern, Emily Cheetham. Joining us all the way from Texas ahead of her senior year of college, Emily brings a variety of previous internship experiences in the art world–from Dallas to Rome. We are thrilled to introduce her to art consulting and the Chicago art world.

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My father is an architect. Growing up, I spent my summers at his firm’s office in San Francisco. When I wasn’t hiding under his coworkers’ desks, I played architect. A day in the life of my architecture business involved creating new sketches for my building that would leave a footprint on the Manhattan skyline. I rattled on about bathroom tiles to fit the pattern of blues in my new apartment complex and began designing the infinity pool that would soon fill the backyard of my dream house. As I got older, however, I became less interested in designing buildings–and more interested in the fine art that fills those walls.

In high school, I interned at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas. This museum houses modern and contemporary sculpture. I served as the social media and event planning coordinator. One of my major projects involved developing an interactive feature for museum visitors to use with the photo-sharing app Snapchat. The project helped boost audience engagement with the museum, allowing young people to relate and respond to the physical artwork at the museum they may otherwise have only seen in textbooks. Because I was a young teenager who loved Snapchat, this was a great introduction to working in the art world.

I began my undergraduate career at the University of Georgia as an art history major. UGA offers many courses in this field, ranging from ancient to modern. While dabbling in every area, I have a passion for American and European modern and contemporary art. Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Pablo Picasso–to name a few–are artists that captivate me. I am interested in the sensory experience of viewing abstract pieces. For instance, the powerful blocks of color on a Rothko canvas completely engulf the viewer, heightening the senses.

Recently, I studied abroad in Rome. I was implausibly excited to leave my friends and family and venture out into a world I was unaccustomed to. There are very few cities with as much connection to European art history as Rome. Viewing the Sistine Chapel ceiling was a truly eye-opening experience. As cliché as it may sound, chills ran up and down my spine as I observed Michelangelo’s mastery.

While in Rome, I interned with a gallery based in the city. Run by Virginio Ferrari and his family members, Ferrari Studios is a collaborative gallery and shared studio space. Working with Italian artists and learning about different work culture was very interesting. I discovered that different countries and cultures have varied ways of working–even in the art world.

Now that I am back in the States, I am thrilled to be interning at DeGroot Fine Art for a summer. Art consulting is something I’ve always been attracted to and wanted to learn more about. I am interested in the business and project management aspects of art consultancy and I am enthusiastic to learn more. And, as I have many architectural building plans in my past, I am looking forward to seeing how architectural and interior design relate to art consulting. I’m sure my father would love for me to follow in his footsteps as an architect–but I think he’ll be just as happy for me to help adorn the walls that architects build.

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Visualizing Artwork in a New Space

Collage by Stephen Eichhorn

Collage by Stephen Eichhorn

When helping a client select artwork for acquisition, a key tool we use is drafting simple interior drawings and mocking up the artwork in the room. Many of our clients purchase artwork for new construction before their space is completed. This can make artwork selections particularly difficult, since the scale of the space can be hard to understand and visualize when construction is in a nascent stage. We encountered this in a recent project: the client had floor plans and a design palette for a new executive office and was having trouble deciding which artwork would be most impactful yet cohesive with the new build out.

Finish Package from Designer

Finish Package from Designer

To help our client make their decision, we drew up a simple room layout based on their floor plans, which focused on the anticipated artwork locations. We worked with the finishes selected by the designer to find furniture examples to include in the illustration; this helped contextualize the scale and surroundings of the artwork. We find that construction plans often shift and keeping things visually minimal helps the presentation stay focused on the artwork.

When acquiring artwork for an existing location, our presentation process includes more detailed mock-ups. We work with CAD drawings, Photoshop, and 3-D rendering programs to compile an image of the space with the new artwork options inserted into it. This photo-realistic method is an efficient way for the client to gauge how well the artwork fits their aesthetic and goals, as well as make decisions about custom framing or display options.

Artwork Mock Up

Artwork Mock Up

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