Artist: Helen Kuster

Design: Helen Kuster

Artist: Joy-Sherbon

Design: Joy-Sherbon

The FDAA's Artform - Folk & Decorative Art

“As long as people have had homes, they have decorated them with paint or pigments. Drawing images of everyday life and using colours of a traditional palette, ordinary people have striven to brighten their surrounding and express their sense of belonging to a cultural group. The embellishment of domestic objects and surface in this way is sometimes called folk art or, more commonly, decorative painting.”

Decorative Painting of the World, 1993. World Living Arts Pty Ltd

A straightforward definition of Folk Art is hard to achieve. It is used to describe a wide range of artistic expression centred around the people of a given region or country. Painters were often decorating everyday items and depicting in their work ordinary activities of daily life. This early art was ‘of the people’ and reflected their lifestyle using stroke work, naive figures, bright colours and distinctive patterns.

Social custom as well as changes in lifestyles and prosperity saw the emergence of a commercial artesian who travelled and painted. Their contact with different geographical regions further developed the local styles and enabled exporting of their own style to other areas. Painting furniture, frescos and portraiture became a serious commercial pursuit.

Many of the traditional folk art styles are known by the names of the villages or regions from which they originated or by the foreign name associated with the region.

Contemporary Decorative Painting has its roots in techniques and styles from folk art of the past. In recent times, interest has grown in the decorative painting of the past. Traditional folk art styles have been and continue to be researched. Artists learning from past techniques, combine modern products, tools and fine art techniques to create a new heritage of decorative painting styles. Decorative themes include flowers, lace, fairies, teddy bears and contemporary adaptations of traditional folk art designs.

Copyright © 2010 The Folk and Decorative Artists’ Association of Australia, Inc.

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