Ceiling artist returns to Juneau

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2001

Intricately patterned ceilings and wall coverings that range from grass cloth to leather have been part of Barney Bogart's craft and workaday life since the late 1970s.

Now he's returning to work in Juneau, where he originally learned wall covering as a teen-ager in the early 1970s.

"Wallpapering is really his forte," said Brad Cure, owner of the Perfect Fit, a commercial construction and service work business. "I've seen some of the work he has done and it looks like he's really quite a craftsman."

Bogart began his work in design as an apprentice to Swiss-German master painter Werner Emmenegger. The two men hung the veneer in the lobby of the Baranof Hotel together in 1972 before Bogart moved on to work on the Alaska pipeline, Bogart said.

A move to Vermont in 1978 allowed Bogart to return to his work in design. He expanded his area of expertise to include historical renovations and ceiling motifs, and has since worked on schools, nursing homes, banks, hotels and resorts around the United States.

"Some projects I will spend a year of my life doing," Bogart said. "Those are Victorians, either historical renovations or replications."

Hanging wallpaper is a time-consuming process, particularly with more unusual coverings. In the house of an Anchorage businessman, Bogart installed 34-foot lengths of mylar gold foil. Time and space had to be carefully allowed for the material to expand.

"It's a highly specialized form of art," Bogart said. "It takes a lot of craftsmanship and experience to hang some of these difficult fabrics. ... If it's not applied right the seams will pop and you'll have curls on the corners."

Ceiling inlays are similarly involved processes. Bogart generally follows previously-provided designs, which can take up to three years to compose.

One finished project integrated 2,364 separate pieces.

"It takes a lot of patience - an incredible amount of patience," Bogart said. "They're architects. They do it on paper. I have to change the motif to fit the space. ... I just methodically do it, and it takes a lot of energy."

Bogart is interested in focusing on projects in Juneau that involve historical renovation. In the past, he's searched out or copied retired wallpapers for clients, renovated ceiling and wall coverings and refurbished old jobs.

"I can improve the value of buildings in Juneau by replicating historical work that was done here," Bogart said. "There's a lot of historical renaissance going on right now."

Cure thinks Bogart is up to the challenge.

"What he's capable of doing is the old style of wallpaper that would be in the Victorian buildings," Cure said. "It's (a) hand silk screened type of work and ... you have inlays and patterns that are spliced in perfectly. That's the kind of stuff I think he's really good at."

Bogart can be contacted at 586-0124.

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