Powerful Reinventions

Eric Herman Headshot
photo of pool tile art
photo courtesy Randy Beard | Pure Water Pools

There's something wonderfully empowering within the concept of renewal. The idea that we always have an opportunity to improve the way we do things, that each day is a new beginning and that future is never lost so long as we believe we can make it better — such meditations always light a fire in my heart. As a wise old woman once said to me, "There's never a bad time to get a clue."

Color me a bit sentimental, or even cliché, but the opportunity to begin again and correct the mistakes of the past by replacing them with better thoughts and ways of doing things is why I've always loved New Year's resolutions. It's refreshing to think that this year will be better than the last. And maybe, just maybe, 2012 will see the onset of better economic times.

No doubt, we can make positive changes each and every day on our own and we shouldn't reserve the process of betterment for one day each year, but we humans are creatures subject to the symbolic and there's nothing wrong with gathering wool as we turn the calendar and setting our sights on better days ahead.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law, one of the most optimistic and successful people I know, former hockey pro turned commercial real estate broker, Steve Bogoyevac, shared with me his habit of making lists each New Years of the things we want to accomplish in the coming 12 months. I took his advice and have been doing it ever since. My list this year includes some familiar items, losing those extra pounds, finishing that book I've been working on for the past couple years, saving money and continuing to lead a sober lifestyle. I also have listed learning a new skill, trying a new sport and learning to play piano.

If the past is any indicator, the process of listing those goals does have a measurable impact on the likelihood of them coming to pass. The point being in all this is that change is a wonderful thing, but if you want to make it happen, you need to identify the outcomes and make a plan to see them through.

Art And Renewal

In the January AQUA Architecture section, we'll be hitting on two themes that fit into this grand idea of renewal – renovations and the value of art.

First, renovations: let's face facts, the history of the pool and spa industry can be largely defined by an almost endemic adherence to mediocrity, and this is not an abstract concept. If you look at a majority of pools, especially those built before the turn of the millennium, most of them are not overly distinct. In fact, I would say up until about 10 to 15 years ago, the vast majority of them were flat out boring, if not downright ugly.

Fortunately, things have changed for the better and these days, the pool and spa industry includes a growing number of people who strive to create meaningful works of art in the form of aquatic environments, including magnificent renovation projects.

In the issue, we have a wonderful example of just that. On page 34, my good friend Randy Beard of Pure Water Pools (Costa Mesa, Calif.) shares a recently completed project where he took a drab pool-and-spa combination and through the application of a dramatically expressive all-tile mosaic finish, turned it into a true art affair. And, as Randy points out in a slightly cheeky way, it's probably no coincidence one of the visual motifs used in the tile mosaic is that of the ultimate of natures reinventing acts – the butterfly.

For Tomorrow's Sake

Prior to Randy's discussion, you'll find the other side of the discussion in the form of David Tisherman's take on the importance of art and specifically why a background in art education is crucial for just about everyone in the industry, especially those involved in the design and construction of custom work.

I'll leave it to David to make the case in the way only he can, but I will add that in the discussion of art and developing a base of knowledge in all things artistic, there also resides an element of renewal. Because artistic knowledge and ultimately skill in execution represents our finest forms of self-expression, through art we are able to not only understand the past, but also make statements that reach into the future.

When we learn about the world of art, we give ourselves new tools with which to build our future works. It can be effectively argued, I believe, that gaining an understanding about art is one of our most potent forms of renewal in the way such knowledge redirects our efforts, challenges past assumptions and best of all, opens new roads of both understanding and creative pursuit. You simply cannot learn about art and remain pessimistic. Art is the power of creation and that can only ultimately lead to a fuller more hopeful view of tomorrow.

By the same token, art is about the past as well, and as such almost all artistic endeavors are derivative in one way or another, which leads to my set up for the final piece in this suite of articles. On page, 51 you'll find Mark Holden's latest entry in his series "Beautiful Spaces." This time around he looks at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Again, I'll leave it to Mark to do the heavy lifting other than to say that this piece is about the massive renovation of, appropriately, an art museum — and one that just happens to include a number of beautiful bodies of water.

Taken all together, these three pieces, all written by truly fantastic artists working in the aquatics realm are all about renewal and artistry, and in their own ways, all about the optimism of facing tomorrow with fresh eyes. Look for these articles and more in your January issue of AQUA.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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