One local artist is practicing social distancing with her art, while bringing a historic medium to Savannahian’s garages and doorways.


Janie Atkinson is a decorative artist who hand paints fantastical images on walls and windows, creating staircases and gardens where once there was blank space. During the coronavirus, while many residents have been sheltered at home, her unique artistry has risen in demand as she creates new worlds on familiar spaces residents see each day.


Her art has roots in the French artistic tradition known as Trompe l'oeil, which translates literally to "deceive the eye." The unique painting style is an artistic technique which uses realistic imagery to create optical illusions of objects in three dimensions on a flat surface such as a wall, window or door.


Atkinson is able to transform common patio floors into intricate Roman tiles; garage doors into dense forest landscapes and kitchen drawers into lush depictions of fruit and wines.


"You’re really only limited by your imagination," Atkinson shared. "A lot of it is very practical – creating portable screens or panels to beautify appliances and unused doors."


The roots of American decorative painting stretch back to colonial days when settlers who could not afford the expensive wallpapers and paintings of Europe hired local artists to hand paint walls and exteriors of their homes with imaginative murals and designs.


Atkinson herself first started honing her craft in the early 1990s in Charleston, working on historic homes to replicate hand painted wallpapers and murals dating back hundreds of years.


"It’s like a fine art portal to the past," Atkinson shared. "It’s something that says magical murals, and enhances the designs of a home. It’s a very old art form."


All of her work is commissioned by her customers. Her works have included intricate tile patterns on flooring, hand-painted windows on interior walls looking onto lush gardens and paintings which transform dull refrigerators into the shelves of a greenhouse, with vibrant plants and flowers.


Beyond interior design painting, Atkinson also commissions portraits. Many of her customers request paintings of their loved ones or a favorite pet. "Something personal - maybe grandchildren at the beach or a beloved pet, they are great personalized gifts during this time that can become a keepsake," she added.


Atkinson says she enjoys the challenge of seeing a new space and trying to imagine the possibilities that her art can create for it.


Once she sees a space in a home, Atkinson works with the residents to come up with a fun and creative way to transform the area into something from another place and time.


"It’s always a great topic of conversation," Atkinson shared. "We take it outside and look at their doors and garages and make it look like you are going into another room. The possibilities are endless."


For more information about Door Décor and commissioned paintings, email Janie Atkinson at janieatkinson@gmail.com or call (843) 532-3882.