Interior Design: Mark Mothersbaugh's Area Rugs
Published in Interior Design, Fall Market 2009
When not scoring a film for Wes Anderson, or crafting tunes like his famous Mac computer jingle, Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh flexes his artistic muscles in another way. An accomplished visual artist, he became obsessed with drawing as a child, from the moment his legal blindness was transformed to 20/20 vision via corrective eyeglasses. "I saw smoke coming out of chimneys, birds and clouds, people sitting across the table, and I was blown away," he recalls.
While touring with Devo, he would illustrate postcards that he would send to family; soon postcards became larger artworks in gallery shows. For his music business, Mutato Muzika, he designed a logo, but instead of planting it outside, he opted to fashion it into the office welcome mat. After walking across it for nine years, he had an epiphany: to translate his favorite postcard drawings into rugs. The resulting collection, now numbering 88 designs, is partially based on those illustrations, which he describes as "a concerned social scientist's attempt to make sense of chaos on planet Earth."
Many have an edgy or quirkily cartoonish look, and sometimes a personal story. There's Freaked Pig, based on his oldest pug dog freaking out over the addition of a new family pooch; Super Thing 3000 and Here to Go—Shout, which take their names from Devo songs; the AMT series revolves around airline turbulence and what appeared in Mothersbaugh's line of sight while flying. Others, like Pink Meatball and Devo Rope, are more random. The vibrant pieces are woven of nylon, wool, or silk, depending on the design. Perhaps a natural transition from flooring, Mothersbaugh is currently toying with the idea of wallpaper.