To The Maximalism!

For some reason, today I couldn’t stop thinking about Lisa Frank. As a kid, I had real feelings of joy  and wonder when confronted with the rainbow intensity of her notebooks and locker accessories. Real Joy! Why do small staring animals swathed in plum-magenta ombre umbras make me feel happy? That is so weird!

Lisa Frank is a maximalist. Which is what I’m calling the opposite of a minimalist.  Probably there is some fancy art word that means maximalism. But you know what I mean.

So I got to thinking that sometimes, overwhelming the senses with maximalism can evoke a sense of wonder, which is one of the happiest feelings of all, and that might explain the seizing chemical effect Lisa Frank has on my brain.

All of the maximalist images below fill me with wonder! Some in a good way, some in a bad way. But the great thing about approaching the world with wonder as opposed to say, judgement – is that even when something is wonderfully appalling or offensive you get to learn from it.

Las Vegas Casino Carpet

"Italian Opera" collage art

Wat Arun temple in Bangkok.

Self Portrait by Sarah Buetens

Genting Highlands, Malaysia

Christmas is of course, rife with maximalism.

Photo by Kevin McShane

The girl in the back probably thought an all-over purple sequin tube-top with hot-shorts and fishnets was maximalist. Clearly she was mistaken.

Photo by Vickie Rans

Happy Maximalists!!

Art cars: loved by maximalists


Graffitti walls: collective maximalism

Maximalist Shoes by Irregular Choice!!

Besides the wonder of having so much to look at, I think that maximalism impresses me with the diligence and dedication it takes to encrust a car with a gazillion tiny mirrors for example, or sew a gazillion sequins onto a dress or hoist eight life-size reindeer onto your roof, or whatever.

Before I die, I want to encrust something with a lot of smaller somethings. I want to make something that assaults the viewer with gaudiness, something that offers a new detail every time you look at it. Probably it will involve small plastic sea creatures and model cars and shoes.




About Carrie Leilam Love

i love words, babies, and shoes better than everything.


  1. michaelvonbraithwaite

    You’re talking about horror vacui! The fear of empty space. Not that you’re talking about fear, but that’s the concept behind visual art that uses every possible millimeter of space– it was a popular basis for interior design in the Victorian Age, which makes a ton of sense. Actually, all major societies created art that exemplified horror vacui, usually at the pinnacle of their scientific and cultural advances.

    • Mrs.B

      another thought is tikkun olam, or “repairing the world” . In the book BEE SEASON ( and movie with Richard Gere) it is described, and I remember it vividly. The wife: ” She takes this meaning literally of reuniting the shards of the world.”and slowly collects trinkets she finds beautiful (sometimes breaking into people’s houses and stealing them) and storing them in a warehouse, trying to hold the light of God in them. for more about the movie or a link to tikkun olam go to

      I say these examples are crazy beautiful to be sure

  2. Pingback: Jil Sander, You’re Breaking My HEART! I Think « Ironing Board Collective

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