Art, Appliances, and Renate Neumann

It has been a whirlwind spring! While theoretically on spring break for the last six weeks, I’ve been busily building new online courses and traveling—and, of course, watching creativity all around me. My busy “break” has reminded me, yet again, of the ways travel can spark creativity, helping us to see the world through new eyes. My next few posts will share some of my creative discoveries, from as far away as Chile and as close as Detroit.




In the airport in Santiago, Chile, I was surprised to see a display of beautifully decorated Oster appliances. Curious, I photographed the name of the artist, determined to investigate. It took a little persistence but I finally found this English link for Chilean artist, Renate Neumann. Neumann creates lovely colorful works on canvas, on walls, on automobiles and on appliances! I admit I wish my blender looked like that.

Her work made me think how interesting it would be to have students create artworks intended to decorate common objects. Imagine having students decorate appliances (real, perhaps from a garage sale, or simulated), either with their own inventions, or perhaps in the style of artists being studied. How might Monet design a coffee pot? What could Picasso have done with a toaster? Neumann’s work could inspire all manner of options in ways I’d never before considered. I wonder if I could mosaic my blender. . . . ? P.S. Those of you who speak Spanish may enjoy this video about the Oster project. Unfortunately, I’m only able to catch a few words, courtesy of my limited French.

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