As human beings we want to classify. This is how we make sense of a complex world. Yet categorisation can be limitation. Once we put something in its metaphorical box, we are restricted by abstract edge and preconceived lid. We exist in the micro, trapped within walls. Definition the death of innovation.

To create unique concepts and expressive forms one must challenge this reductive way of thinking. The definitive ‘unit' becomes redundant. We move from autonomy to synergy, boundary to overlap, singularity to simultaneity, individuality to multiplicity. Once we let in fluidity of thought, unknown horizons come into view. We explore. We take action. We learn. The application of creativity within new conceptual paradigms is the language of innovation. This is the philosophical grounding for the collaboration between Artra and Balmond Studio.


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One must note that our partnership was not conceived in a theoretical vacuum. Rather it emerged from observation and conversation. Azara and I were talking about innovation within the post-millennial artistic landscape. More specifically, we started exploring the perception of art as a discipline in Sri Lanka, its ‘apparent' place within society and art's connection with the individual. We were discussing the subject in very broad strokes, looking at a generalised and wider picture.

For many, art is something inaccessible, a mystery hidden behind velvet ropes and glass boxes. Media hype, the verbose musings of critics, socio-economic connotation - all these elements culminate to fuel misconception. Artistry is thought of as an almost intangible process, existing in a world belonging to the artists themselves and a select group of society. Old thinking dictates that art is non-vocational and therefore, an independent entity from the societal and economic mass.  

A creative singularity living outside of the larger population as static discipline.

Yet artistry is inherent within the human psyche and spirit. In other words I believe that every person contains expressive and creative possibilities. It's just a matter of tapping into, and unlocking, this potential. What if we could give people knowledge and comprehension? What if we could empower people with insight to start making artistic choices in their daily lives?

The seed of an idea was born.


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Now the contemporary definition of art as an externality, a discipline operating outside of the individual, has changed. Artistry is engrained existentially within mind and life. Singularity replaced by multiplicity and simultaneity. This is a new philosophical paradigm within which we apply new creative thinking. As previously stated we create a new language of innovation.

What's next? Enter design. If we are talking about creative and artistic choices to enhance daily life then design has to come into play. After all design is about the application of creativity to improve experience. Enhanced functionality equals enhanced quality of life.

We have two giants juxtaposed - art and design. Are they two separate definitive disciplines? Or are there areas of synergy and overlap? I would definitely say the latter. Both are creative. Both are expressive. Both engage in the exploration of aesthetics. However we are still stuck in conventional thinking. The consensus is that art is about personal expression, where the purpose and value of art is fully contained within the art itself. Yet design is viewed differently. Design is about functionality. Its value is determined by external factors, namely the purpose that the design serves and the user that it benefits. I am not saying these are incorrect observations however there is a rigidity here. Where is the fluidity of thought? This boundary between art and design is permeable in my opinion.


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We will bring art and design together to form an innovative language of expression open to all. This will be known as Art & Living – a new column and content stream across both Artra's print and digital platforms. The content will be co-created and co-curated by Arta and Balmond Studio. With this fusion of artistic and design-focused organisations, all of our knowledge, experience, expertise and wider communities will synergise. The result? Insight and advice extracted from many minds from many places. Our content will help people choose, experiment and explore creative possibility in the everyday. We hope to empower everyone to add an expressive mark on the world.

Art & Living is a vast and dynamic area to explore. Over time we will journey though many areas and ideas. Initially, we will be focusing on the most intimate and essential space to daily life – the home. It is a personal and relatable space. A place where people have a tangible and experiential connection to the environment. This seems like an appropriate catalytic stating point for our new journey.

Every space is an opportunity. Every wall a canvas. Every floor a possibility.

Everything can be an expression of you.