Supporting small artists aboard Scenic’s luxury cruise ships

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Australian artist Mitch Gobel uses resins to create pieces that reflect the colors and movement of the ocean

Now, as many cruise ship interior designers strive to become more sustainable, they are increasingly turning to local artists, businesses and carpenters to source furniture and decorate the interiors of their ships. For example, when designing our new 228-guest ultra-luxury Discovery yacht, Scenic Eclipse, we carefully selected every inch of the materials on the vessel to ensure it is unique, relevant and sustainable. Selecting the right artist and artwork is an extremely important part of this process, and we are among many cruise lines that draw inspiration from small, local artists relevant to the destinations our ships visit.

The artwork and upholstery on board a cruise ship can be crucial in bringing together a vision for public spaces and are essential in guaranteeing a relaxing, beautifully designed space for guests to enjoy. Some cruise lines have even gone so far as to appoint a dedicated art curator to help build gallery-worthy art collections on board. The sheer number of individual works of art, even on a small ship, can be astounding – and with that, the industry can really make a difference when it comes to supporting the arts, especially small artists.

When designing our many public spaces aboard Scenic Eclipse, the artworks have been hand-selected by our experienced interior design team to showcase one-off pieces by artists from around the world. The art on board is diverse, ranging from incredible resin art by Mitch Gobel – an Australian artist from Byron Bay – to an amazing geisha by British graffiti artist Carl Hush.

Reflecting the colors and movement of the ocean, Gobel’s beautiful work demonstrates a passion for life and the environment that is at the very heart of Scenic Eclipse’s design. In curating the artwork collection for Discovery yacht, we commissioned three original artworks and selected a selection of 124 prints to be displayed in all ship’s suites. These pieces are all by Gobel alone and Scenic Eclipse currently owns the largest collection of his abstract resin work – an honor of which we are incredibly proud.

Choosing an Australian artist was incredibly important to Scenic as an Australian owned company. We wanted our art collection to have something unique and Australian to reflect our heritage. Gobel’s work reflects the country’s incredible talent and demonstrates pride in Scenic’s origins.

Meanwhile, the geishas of Hush feature prominently at the stunning Koko’s restaurant aboard the Scenic Eclipse. Hush’s work focused on the female form, depicting the beauty and sensuality of geishas through traditional colors and modern graffiti style to perfectly complement the warmth and subdued atmosphere of the ship’s design.

The Newcastle-born artist draws inspiration from graphic novels, animation and the ephemeral quality of street art. Hush’s mix of zany anime-inspired characters and pop-inspired imagery creates an intriguing commentary on urban culture and has been described as urban abstract pop. Hush has worked across Asia, Europe and the US – all key destinations for us as a brand. His interest and immersion in different cultures have shaped his art, which is recognizable for its cross-cultural influences.

It’s important for interior designers to consider how an artist’s style fits into the ship’s design and atmosphere on board – and in which areas of the ship it should be used. For example, Scenic Eclipse features an inspirational spoon sculpture located outside of the onboard French champagne bar Lumière. Shaped like a dress, the sculpture consists of 5,400 spoons and was created by artist Francois Bertrand. It symbolizes “teatime” and connects the kitchen on board with the heritage of this fascinating piece.

Art is a lesser-known aspect of the cruise, but it offers us an opportunity to give young and contemporary artists visibility and more opportunities to increase their presence and awareness of their art. Additionally, cruise ship outfitting is another way for cruise lines to give back and invest in the local communities, both where they come from and where they visit. Finally, it allows us to surround our guests with original works of art to enrich the entire cruise experience and create moments of enchantment along the way.

Nichola Absalom is Director of Global Brand and Marketing at Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of going to press but may have changed since then.

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