Studio Brunstrum


Art Enthusiast: David Yarrow

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’m no longer seeing in color; as of late, I’ve been seeing in black and white, and I’m not talking about zebras, but photography. Black and white photography is one of the hottest trends in art today, and one of my favorite photographers is David Yarrow.

Image via

David’s work is featured in my dear friend Arica Hilton’s gallery.  David’s wildlife images – actually, he has photographed zebras, elephants, tigers, lions, polar bears, wolves and more – are mesmerizing. He often photographs animals from below, looking up into their eyes, which makes me feel like I can see into their souls.  I love David’s lion photo in the living room of a home we recently completed for a bachelor.

Image via Sweet Peas Design

David was born in Scotland, travels the world often in remote and isolated places I’ve never even heard of, is an ambassador for Land Rover and his work is on display in select galleries and museums across Europe and North America. I’ve had the chance to meet David a few times and he is down-to-earth, dedicated to his work and his conservation efforts are quite impressive – he has donated over $1 million to preservation causes from sales of his work.

David began his career as a sports photographer, capturing a now-iconic image of Diego Maradona following the victory of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico City. He was asked to photograph prestigious sporting events such as the Olympics, but didn’t want to be pigeonholed so early into his career. He instead chose to follow his own path, exploring and expanding his many interests. It wasn’t until recently that David discovered his true passion for photographing the natural world and serving as an activist and conservationist.

Image via

On the design side, black and white photos are an exciting way to complement other elements in a room, especially colorful art.  Eliminating the color in photographs makes them more striking, timeless and focused. Truly versatile art pieces, they can be used as a large focal point or a complementary accent to pull the room together.

Susan Brunstrum





Does Art Trend?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are there trends in art? I think so… but I believe they are motivated by the artists’ desire to make a statement about what’s happening in the world around us, whether that’s political, environmental, cultural, spiritual or something else. At the massive EXPO Chicago Art Show I noticed four distinct trends among the art on display.


“Reflection” by Dennis Lee Mitchell/Photo Courtesy of Todd Weiner Gallery

There were tons of black and white works of art, and not just in photography. It made me think about the growing polarization of opinions in our country, particularly among our politicians. There seems to be only black and white, with no compromise in the complicated gray areas of important issues. I don’t know if that’s what artist Dennis Lee Mitchell wanted to say in this dramatic piece he calls “Reflection,” above, but he certainly made me reflect on the state of the world, not to mention his technique of creating art with smoke on paper. Amazing! I’m really drawn to the organic nature of his work and the almost transparent layers of brush strokes.


“Confidant” by Lilliane Tomasko/Photo Courtesy of

Completely opposite from the black and white trend, I saw even more really bold, colorful art, as if the artists are reconnecting with the Crayola crayons of their childhoods. Maybe they want to bring some joy and youthful innocence into our lives to cheer us up as we face the major – and minor – issues of the day. This energetic oil and acrylic piece by Lilliane Tomasko, called “Confidant,” made me smile.  Everyone needs someone safe with whom they can share secrets. For me, the black brush strokes represent that protective barrier – whatever we say here, stays here!


“Tasty Sensation 14” by Darrell Roberts/Photo Courtesy of

Very thick applications of paint, such as this oil on canvas by Darrell Roberts called “Tasty Sensation 14” left me a little puzzled, but inspired a lot of thought.  Are we insulating ourselves? Creating a barrier between who we are and the person we reveal? Or maybe it’s about oversharing every “tasty sensation,” as on social media? This is the first time I’ve noticed this approach as a trend, but I think we’ll be seeing more of it. The technique is reminiscent of some of Van Gogh’s work.


“Oslo, Midsummer with E,” by Jim Dine/Photo Courtesy of

Artist Jim Dine, who created this acrylic and sand painting called “Oslo, Midsummer with E,” is just one of many artists experimenting with paint drips in their work. There’s so much to contemplate in this drippity piece! I see hazy images of somewhat eery people who seem to be melting off the canvas like the Wicked Witch of the West in the “Wizard of Oz.”  Is it a statement on global warming – haha! – or perhaps Dine is trying to symbolize that behind our perfect facades, our confidence and optimism are melting away. There aren’t any right or wrong answers when it comes to interpreting art, so give free rein to your imagination!

Susan Brunstrum



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