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Meet the Artist & Designer: John Ishmael

Artist John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design

John Ishmael in his Home Art Studio

“Because I am an artist, I have always been fascinated with color, texture, light, and emotion, all characteristics of great interior design.  My inspiration and love for design have grown naturally from my love of art,” John said. “Therefore, when I work with my clients, I see myself as a conduit for their creations. The finished product for my clients should always reflect their personality and not mine.” 

Art by John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design

A painting by the artist hangs over the fireplace in this cheerful brownstone in Aiken, South Carolina.

John joined the Nandina Atlanta team as an owner and lead designer with more than 20 years of experience in the field of interior design.  With a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, John owned and managed a successful custom workroom where he specialized in draperies, slipcovers, and custom furniture. His love of fabrics and delight in creating new spaces segued seamlessly into his successful career as a designer, and he is known for his creative use of textiles in designs. He is also passionate about art and enjoys a successful second career as an artist.  His powerful abstracts are often the jumping off point for some of his most memorable interior design projects.  

What is your personal design style?  

Quirky. 

Our home is filled with pieces I’ve collected over many years – not antiques, but finds from all decades and design styles that speak to me. I love to mix them in with something new and edgy. Clients often ask to see my house early in their own design process. While I’m happy to give a glimpse, I’m hesitant to share too much at first of my eclectic, somewhat chaotic home. I want my clients to know that for me, designing is about creating a special space for their family that feels like a personal extension of themselves, whatever the style. 

Home of Artist and Designer John Ishmael

A photo of John’s living room in Atlanta. We love seeing that John supports other Artists and love these special pieces of art that he has chosen to display in his own home. {Artists Unknown}

Never-fail design tip? 

Always wait to pick your paint color at the end of fabric selection. So often paint color seems like the easiest and first thing to get checked off on a long list. I have learned the hard way that it’s a lot easier to match a paint color to a fabulous fabric find than to try and find a fabric you love that is perfect for the paint! 

Design by Artist John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design in Atlanta, GA

Muted greys with rich pops of blue are the foundation of this serene bedroom designed by John.  A large abstract from a Nandina art vendor (not an original) pulls the entire pallet of the room together.

Who are your influences in the art world?

My biggest influence was my high school art teacher Carole Williams because she made me feel I was talented enough as an artist to pursue art as a career.  I know, by looking back at the work I produced when I was 16, she had a special gift to see potential because I have come a really long way.
Artist and Designer John Ishmael in his Home Studio
artist 

John’s painting hangs above a bar cart in the home of his sister, Susan Victor.

What is your favorite color palette in which to work? 
I am not sure I have a favorite color palette, my work changes over time, and if I look back on older work, I see that the colors in my work have become more varied.  I will do a very soft color palette of taupes, grays, butter yellow and white, then I will do — what I call my sunset palette —  oranges, coral, yellow, lavender, soft blue and purple, and this is not soft at all, more energized.
Design by Artist and Designer John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design

John worked with his clients to transform this master bath into a luxurious retreat. We think this bathroom is a work of art in it’s own right! {Painting on the top left is Artist Unknown}

Living Room designed by John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design

A perfect example of John’s sunset palette – we love the lavendar and soft blues in this Atlanta sitting room. {Painting to the left is Artist Unknown}

As an artist, color, texture, light, and emotion have always played into the way I create pieces of art.  I think these ideas are very influential characteristics of interior design that drive my inspiration.  My love for design has grown naturally from my love of art. Therefore, when I work with my clients I see myself as a conduit for their creations. The finished product for my clients should always reflect their personality, while a finished painting of mine is mirror of my personality.

Enjoy looking through some of our favorite paintings done by John.

To see more or purchase, visit his new website: www.johnishmael.com

“Part of the Process” by Artist John Ishmael. Available for purchase at www.johnishmael.com

Painting by Artist and Designer John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design

“Letting Go Will Pay Off” by Artist John Ishmael. Available for purchase at www.johnishmael.com

Painting by Artist and Designer John Ishmael of Nandina Home and Design

“Left on Lucky” by John Ishmael. Available for purchase at www.johnishmael.com

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