Lafayette artist Francis X Pavy and his wife, Cathi, are taking his art in a new direction with the launch of a line of wallpapers and textiles from their new company, Pavy Art + Design.
The line, officially launched on Tuesday, includes eight fabric patterns in two to three colorways each and seven wallcoverings in one to three colorways each, printed with Louisiana-inspired images from Pavy’s corpus and never-before-seen sketches.
The project took nearly four years in the making, the couple said. In 2018, Cathi Pavy retired from BBR Creative, a Lafayette advertising agency she co-founded, and the couple used the moment of transition to reassess what they wanted professionally and as a family.
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Cathi Pavy said that after years of support from her husband while building her business, she saw an opportunity to bring her art to the forefront and push it to new frontiers, while building a legacy business for their two children. For Francis, the new release was a chance to take an idea the couple had had for more than 25 years — a homeware line — from concept to reality, he said.
“It’s always a gamble… You don’t know if it’s going to be successful or not – but why not?” said Francois Pavy. “I had a hundred ideas, but in the end it came back to me so many times that it’s time to try it out and see what happens.”
The artist, whose career spans 40 years, said reinventing and trying new things is a key part of his process. Francis Pavy got his start in the arts as a child watching drawing lessons on Saturday mornings on his family’s television, then taking lessons at a local park, before exploring mediums such as photography, ceramics, glass work and printing, he said.
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“I try to keep asking questions and challenging myself. That’s just what happens. I love to paint. I love to create images, so I’m always looking for other ideas, ‘other workplaces to try to expand what I do. It almost feels like a ball of wax that I’m adding to, like it’s a cumulative effort,” he said. he said, “It’s a challenge for me to work outside the boundaries of what I’ve done before.”
Production for the homeware line began with paint, said Francis Pavy.
Each artwork has been painted onto a piece of canvas wrapped around a large tube, ensuring the repeating pattern connects seamlessly at every edge. Next, the paintings were meticulously photographed and moved into Photoshop for adjustments and stitching – where Francis worked to ensure color integrity, paint stroke translation, and pattern sharpness.
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Digital fine-tuning took from 40 hours for some parts to more than 100 hours for others, he said.
Once completed, the digital files were sent to the couple’s maker in Connecticut, who created erasures, or samples of the printed fabric, for the couple to review. Each piece was sent back and forth for adjustments until completion, he said.
Selecting the prints to use for the first collection was a collaborative effort.
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Cathi Pavy said the duo would hold up a piece of cork board which they would shape into a frame for paintings in Francis’ studio, trying to focus on icons and details that would best isolate in repeated prints . Francis Pavy said his wife also unearthed the inspiration for his favorite print from the collection, Tunica, while rummaging through sketchbooks of unused concepts.
The goal of each selection was to communicate the culture, history and spirit of southern Louisiana, Cathi Pavy said.
“Everything is stamped ‘Made with Love from French Louisiana’ because one thing we’re trying to do is really elevate the South Louisiana brand and share it with the rest of the world. We both really believe that we have a culture that is special. We just want to make sure people understand what it is and hopefully experience it one day,” she said.
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Working as a husband-wife team, the duo got to see each other and their work from a new perspective.
“We share the same values, which is essential to the partnership and the work ethic. And also the vision of where we are going. Sometimes we can get into the weeds because I have a background in marketing and his is in art… that can be one of the areas where we have the most friction because he is focused on maintaining integrity of the work and I always try to stay focused on the client and what they need and want, but I think those two things together strike a perfect balance,” he said. she declared.
Although it was a long-held dream, the experience was difficult, she said.
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There was the learning curve of entering a new industry and understanding what it means to produce an attractive, high-quality product for designers and how to capture their attention. Add to that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused supply delays and production process starts and stops, and the past few years have been both exciting and scary, said Cathi Pavy.
The range of wallpaper and fabrics are available to buy on the Pavy Art + Design website, but the couple said their main focus for now is business-to-business selling, working with designers, design showrooms and fabric sales representatives to bring in their fabric. market and in the hands of professionals in the interior design and decorating community.
For launch day Tuesday, the couple is hosting an open house for interior designers, architects and trade professionals from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Pavy Art + Design Studio at 100 East Vermilion Street, Cathi Pavy said. .
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With the initial market push underway, the Pavys said they are already looking ahead and considering next steps. Francis Pavy said he plans to flesh out the existing collection with an expanded range of colorways in the coming months, while considering iconography that could be used in a second collection.
Cathi Pavy said the long-term possibilities for business growth are endless; the marketing strategist says she wants to one day produce a line of dog beds, inspired by the family’s pugs, Otis and Lincoln.
For now, the couple are focused on growing the business around their current products and are excited to see how the products translate to the spaces.
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“The warmth of our home and the joy we have in our home is what we want to bring to other people’s homes and interiors,” Cathi Pavy said.
“I expect it to be beautiful. I have no idea what people are going to do or how they are going to combine things. I can’t wait to see how it’s used and where it’s going to be used,” said Francis Pavy.