Art + Design

Art + Design: The Art of Instruction

Do you remember instructional charts hanging on the wall of your grammar school? Leave a comment on this post and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of the book, as well as a reproduction of one of the educational charts featured in The Art of Instruction. We’ll be choosing a randomly selected person next week, so good luck!

An interview with Katrien Van der Schueren by Peter Perez

How did you start collecting these vintage wall charts?
When I was about 12 years old I found a chart in France. It was a map of Europe on a black rubber background and the country lines were in blue and yellow. The graphics were just very strong. But, also, I loved the idea that not everything was defined so, basically, I could dream away. I hung it in my room and I could write on it with chalk and then erase the names after, essentially recreating and redefining the world every day.


Do you have any background in science or biology?
Although I studied science in high school and should therefore probably know at least the basics, I am especially at a loss when it comes to that domain. Weirdly enough, I have always been attracted to all things scientific. My husband, for example, is a scientist. I guess that in itself says it all. And most of my collecting has or had to do with an attraction toward some type of science. I have collected biological skeletons, old mechanics, scientific instruments, etc. But I will always rather look at things through the eyes of a child when making a discovery. Big amazement without comprehension, fascination without necessarily the need for understanding every detail of it. It is the beauty of these charts that attracted me at first. And, for me, their beauty lies in their often ungraspable, powerful graphics and in their innate imperfection. Maybe even their nostalgia appeals to me, as they evoke their story of the past. Contrary to many scientists, I prefer to think of the world as too limitless to pin down.

Once a collector, always a collector. These are some skeletons I got from schools over the years.

For those who haven’t been to Los Angeles to explore your retail store, tell us a little bit about voila! Art for the Modern Eye.
I recently stumbled upon a quote on the internet: BE BOLD or Italic. Never regular. I’d like to think that that characterizes the aesthetic of our studio and gallery. I can only invite you to see for yourself. You can visit our store in Los Angeles or get an idea of who we are and what we stand for on our website. Explore and, hopefully, enjoy.

voila! Gallery: our front at 518 North La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles.

Do you ever get requests for charts covering a specific subject matter? What’s the most unusual request you’ve received?
Sometimes we have people asking for specific subject matters. (More often, though, you have those asking for a color scheme that works with their wallpaper selection, for example.) A few years ago, a man came in asking for a chart on how to copy vintage furniture using facilities in China. He might have been looking for inspiration. Last month I received the Restoration Hardware catalog and I swear that the man on the front page looks remarkably similar to the guy that came in years ago. Of course, with all modern technology, such as Photoshop and the like, one is never sure.

My collection of books and me. They just arrived!

Purchase The Art of Instruction.

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