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Living With What You Love: Bill Indursky

When Bill Indursky founded VandM.com in 2006, he had a goal in mind: "There are millions of things to collect, but the key that I preach on my website, VandM.com is to be curatorial and choosey. I love objects to have a great history and story. The more human for me the better." Prior to the launch of VandM, Indursky was the founder and owner of the award-winning marketing and interactive firm FLASHcap Interactive, where he and his team produced projects on behalf of clients such as Sony and Panasonic. He also ran the technical designer portion of Liz Claiborne's RUSS division for a number of years.

Indursky is, to put it mildly, extremely knowledgable about antique and design trends. When we visited his apartment (which Apartment Therapy has already listed on three of its Top Ten Lists) we were amazed not only by the rarity of some of his finds, but also by the wealth of knowledge he had for each piece. Here, he tells us about the history behind some of the pieces he loves to live with.

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"The lamp is Jonathan Adler. It is made of metallic ceramic. I love how it deceives the eye. I have four of the same lamp in the apartment. They are placed to create symmetry and activate the space above the desk - so that it will transition to the walls smoother.

I am a 'weekend painter' and was instructed in the art of drawing and painting using the Bargues method, which was invented in France in the 1840s by artist/director of the visual arts of France, Jean-Leon Gerome [1824-1904].  He developed a drawing course with hundreds of exercises based on the classic Roman & Greek models. It took me 2 1/2 years to learn to draw well. This small 12x12 oil painting, created with a palette knife is a modern more minimalist interpretation that I painted several years ago. It is called Vanitas: Bone and Ash."

"I paint and collect Vanitas.  Vanitas is a small sub-genre within still life painting. It was developed in Holland around the 1600s, during the black plague. People were sick and dying in the streets and their bodies required burning. But this made skulls, the symbol of the human plentiful and everywhere. Painters would use a skull and set it up among lush table feasts and riches to represent the fleeting nature of life.

I love Vanitas.  Most people find skulls scary. I think they are amazing beautiful. I stare at them for 40 hours or more to create a painting and the beauty and subtly of looking at something so long makes you really appreciate it. I have over 30 Vanitas works. The one above is a charcoal drawing created from life (not photography) by a student of Classical Realist painting. This piece I got on my own site, VandM.com when we were promoting a sale of student works.  I love that the student did a classical Vanitas theme but updated it with Vampire overtones and symbols.

The bottom Vanitas is from a painter friend who is basically the only other full time artist who paints Vanitas in the US today."

"My personal favorite collectibles are small wooden items that show human craft. I recently got this German Black Forest tramp art box from 1912 at Brimfield flea market. It came to the US only a week previous and was what we call 'Farm Fresh'. I have not even removed the bug cocoons off it.  You can tell the box had been in a basement or attic undisturbed for years.

"Most of what I collect is American. The two New Orleans African American gourd & carved walnut character finial maracas in the front were made for the coronation of King George VI of England on May 12, 1937. For New Orleans natives the coronation was a joyful and hopeful time when the “godless” older brother abdicated to the religious younger brother (to Mary Wallace Simpson) the thrown. It is a Creole and African-American tradition taken from the native American’s of carving walnuts for the head of dolls, using either seeds or small glass beads for eyes (A voodoo doll tradition). The pair of maracas each have a carved character final out of walnuts, one male and one female. Writing on the male figure gourd “H. M. (His Majesty) the King in coronation Robes may 12 1937 Hearty coronation greeting” and the female figure gourd “Here came the 1937 RhoumBer fou you? Hearty coronation greeting” with “Babdosos” written on back of both maracas and on the handle. I purchased them for about $40 and it is easily worth about $850.

The Buddha in the back is a wooden one from about 250-300 years ago."

"I was fortunate to collect that trench art puzzle chain that is hand carved by a Civil War soldier, while waiting to go into battle. Trench art is mostly thought of during WWI and WWII but this more rare since it is from the Civil War. It is displayed on a museum mount."

"The little bird whistle is another German piece. It is antique Black Forest, hand carved wooden tourist whistle from Wiesbaden, Germany, c.1840s. It was probably created as a souvenir for Europeans and wealthy Americans traveling on the Grand Tour during the era.

The American tramp art box on the right is unique because it is part of collecting called Prison Art. Prison art, like the name states, were created by inmates in an American prison. This one is from 1932 based on the newspaper that the interior was lined with.

The small foot drawing on the back right side is part of the Bargues drawings. It was one of my first."

"The chandelier was from a small cottage industry maker in Canada which I got off Ebay. The horns are made out of resin and I painted them pure white. The metal shades I added later."

"This whimsical bull head is made of lightweight aluminum. But even then it is very heavy. It took forever to secure it to the wall. It was made in India and is new from ABC carpet and home, $250."

"My eye glass collection has grown over the years.  Right now I prefer the all natural dyed horn glasses that I have from Morgenthal Frederics.  The same parent company that owns my company VandM.com owns Morgenthal Frederics."

"Odd Nerdrum is one of my favorite painters.  I prefer his early works.  My painting teacher worked alongside him.  Also pictured is a rare Japanese printing of the clothing artist Yoshiki Hishunumi.  We actually did a small article on him in our VandM.com magazine, DESIGNinTELL."

2 thoughts on “Living With What You Love: Bill Indursky”

  • Kim

    I loved seeing your favorite things and the way you display them at home! I, too, feel it doesn't make sense to display things in my home that have no history or meaning to me. Would love to see more of this column featuring other decorators, curators, or more of your things. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ann Williams

    I am crazy about your collections, Bill. If you thought my stone books were unusual and interesting, I think your Vanitas paintings are phenomenal!! I love skulls and find them sort of amazing miracles. To collect them and paint them yourself is really, really fascinating. Great article - I want to explore your house!