Artful Terrain

A bold new collection by San Francisco painter Clare Rojas for Peg Norriss and Schumacher brings her artwork home

Above Image: The artist Clare Rojas. Photo © Schumacher. 


The undefined terrain between realms—human and animal, built and natural environment, figuration and abstraction—is what interests Clare Rojas, an American multimedia artist known for her bewitching, richly layered paintings, installations, and works on paper. Since Rojas emerged in the 90s as a crucial member of San Francisco’s graffiti- and folk art-inspired movement, she has achieved national acclaim for her magical-realist sensibility, combining figurative scenes and abstract forms with motifs from Quaker art, quilting traditions, and Byzantine mosaics.

Rojas’ works evoke her magical world. Boundary Lines (2009), Color aquatint, spitbite aquatint & sugarlift etching on Somerset White Paper. Paper size: 43½” x 35.” Untitled (2019), Acrylic on panel, 84 x 96 inches.

The artist’s vibrant color palette and delightful geometry have further contributed to her success and, recently, earned Rojas an invitation from interior designer Barrie Benson and gallerist Chandra Johnson—the duo behind artisan studio Peg Norriss—to develop a collection of wallpaper and fabrics based on her work. Asked what drew them to Rojas’s aesthetic, Benson says: “Clearly we were aware of her superb body of work, and I’d followed her for almost a decade. I had a gut reaction that her symbolism and gorgeous hues would translate beautifully into repeating pattern for textile and wallcovering.”

Indeed, two years in the making and available this month exclusively through Schumacher, the capsule collection meticulously distills Rojas’s visual lexicon into four joyful and quietly edgy wallcovering patterns in three colorways, most with coordinating fabrics. Peg Norriss (named after the founders’ grandmothers) has partnered with Schumacher to adapt several other bodies of fine art for decorative applications since it launched in 2018, so when the duo homed in on Rojas—originally at Art Basel and later at SOCO Gallery where they noted the artist had painted directly on the walls, already in an unmediated relationship with architecture—the team knew exactly where to start. “Color saturation was the primary focus because Clare’s hues are very intense,” Benson explains. Capturing the artist’s precise way of mark-making was another priority, she recalls, noting it was “important to Clare get a really crisp line.”

“We knew the symbolism and gorgeous hues would translate beautifully into repeating pattern.”

The Bleeding Hearts wallcovering in Red in an interior by Barrie Benson. Photo © Barrie Benson.

To ensure these qualities came through, original paintings and prints were lent to the design team for close study. “The works were gorgeous, there was such evidence of the artist’s hand,” recalls Natalie Horvath, co-director of design at Schumacher. Concepts were mocked up and brought into computer software, then digitally manipulated to perfection with input from Rojas. “She directed us to adjust the scale and exact relation of color she wanted,” Benson says. Meanwhile, Schumacher advised on the best canvas and printing techniques to replicate Rojas’s unique style.

The vertically- oriented Bleeding Hearts pattern, for example, is based on a lovely floral motif from an existing aquatint etching and derives its delicate silhouette and nuanced tonal gradients from an engraving process that pulls fine detail from the plate. Made using a similar method, Forget Me Dots—reminiscent of a classic Swiss dot—is inspired by the artist’s whimsical moon motifs merged with botanical embellishments, a blend of celestial and earthly charm. Or take the mural-like Flying West, a tribute to Rojas’s affinity for birds, which sets stylized black cranes—their sensuous wings tapered to impossibly knife-edged tips—against a horizon line of neutral stripe. In Confetti, originally a gouache work, the riotous arrangement of broken, multicolor stripes cascades vertically in a nod to falling water.

The collaboration pushed Peg Norriss into new territory as well. “It was our first time creating fabric to coordinate with the wallpapers,” Benson says, “being able to wrap an entire room in Clare’s art really transports you into one of her paintings.”

Clare Rojas for Peg Norriss Available through Schumacher.

Two Henry Adams Street, Suite 2M-33
San Francisco, CA 94103