A Fresh Start with Art

When the pandemic hit New York, renowned artist, creative director, and author Samantha Hahn (you may have seen her work grace the pages of the NY Times and Domino) was ready for a fresh start. Her family relocated from their beloved longtime rental apartment in Brooklyn to a client’s cottage in Western Massachusetts. The cottage’s access to nature “put us face to face with the reality that we wanted a change,” Samantha told Simply Framed.

As fate would have it, a house next door to a friend in the adorable and walkable town of Montclair, New Jersey, came on the market, and the Hahns jumped on it—sight unseen. “It felt really intense and fast,” Samantha told us, as she and her family navigated the move, all while continuing to manage work and online school for the kids.

Samantha knew that art on the walls was key to creating her new home. “I took a deep breath and started thinking about how I could make the space feel like ours, knowing that we could be spending a lot of time in it, especially during the pandemic. I wanted to lean in to having art that had personal meaning behind it, and wasn’t just pretty pictures.”

samantha hahn rainbow gallery white

Case in point: Samantha’s original rainbow painting, which became the focal point in her daughter’s room. We asked Samantha a few questions about how this bright piece has brought her joy and calm during her transition. Need more rainbows in your life? You can purchase Samantha’s uplifting prints at her print shop, Maison Rainbow.

Simply Framed: Tell us about the creation of your rainbow paintings. Where do you find your inspiration and what is your process for creating them?

Samantha Hahn: I believe colors have power. They elevate us to higher states of mind. Rainbows are the purest manifestation of color in nature. They deliver prescription-strength chromatic medicine for the soul. In a time of gray skies, we need to fill our eyes with rainbows more than ever.

I have always loved painting colorful abstractions. They feel like a break from my tighter commercial work. I started an all-rainbow art shop, Maison Rainbow, hoping to bottle a bit of the rainbow’s magic for people and help them add some brightness to their walls. I don't often start painting with an exact outcome in mind. I usually stay loose and playful with both color and shape and sometimes a good rainbow emerges.

samantha hahn rainbow gallery white

SF: You were considering a few different originals to frame for this room. Why did you choose this one in particular?

SH: I had the most difficult and rigorous client directing me: my daughter! When I told her we were moving I promised her a custom rainbow painting for her new room. She said she had a certain palette in mind. I tend to go for less usual color combinations, but she knew exactly what she wanted. I convinced her to not go with a traditional rainbow arch, but she did insist on the colors you see here. It was a negotiation!

I got the nicest Arches watercolor paper and painted at least 10 options for her to choose between. I laid them out on the floor so she could see them all together. She knew which one spoke to her—and that's the one you see up on her wall.

SF: Tell us about the Gallery White frame and floated mat style you chose for the piece.

SH: Arches watercolor paper has gorgeous raw edges and I wanted to allow those to show. I chose to have it floated in the frame to let the texture of the paper and edges stay visible. I wanted the art on the wall to be the center of focus in the room while not being too noisy. I tend to go for simple clean white or black frames so that the art itself can speak.

samantha hahn rainbow gallery white

SF: What does it feel like to see the piece on the wall of your new home?

SH: Getting this piece framed felt like a real gift. When I was nervous to move, thinking about this piece up on the wall in the new space made it really feel like I was creating a home. I knew the rainbow would be the center of focus in my daughter's room, and it is so great to know that the piece is now preserved as a family heirloom.

We could all use a fresh start in 2021. Head to SimplyFramed.com to frame art that will make your walls brighter.

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