If art tells a story, then Francis X Pavy’s work offers an especially imaginative one. The co-founder of Pavy Art + Design Studio draws inspiration from Cajun folklore and the rich culture of his native Louisiana when crafting his colorful textiles. “I get ideas from firsthand experiences,” he tells Business of Home. “These include narratives told to me in conversation, images that I see or combinations of past experiences.”
Born and raised in Lafayette, Pavy studied everything from ceramics to animation and printmaking at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, where he earned a degree in sculpture. After graduation, he opened a studio in his hometown and began showcasing his artwork in galleries around the globe, quickly earning a devoted fan base including the likes of Paul Simon, Lorne Michaels and the Talking Heads. “I have developed a vocabulary of symbols and designs that I use in my paintings that my followers dubbed ‘Pavyicons,’” he says. “I have always thought they would translate well to cloth or textiles.”
In early 2022, the brand—which is run by Pavy and his wife of 26 years, Cathi—debuted its inaugural line of surface designs based on his original artworks. The kaleidoscopic series spans 22 fabrics and 11 wallcoverings depicting the beauty and complexity of the Acadiana region, also known as Cajun Country, including the rhythmic Canegrass pattern and a multicolored motif inspired by gnarled tree branch stems named Briars. “Acadiana has so much to offer in terms of heritage and imagery,” he says. “My artwork has a lot of decorative elements that serve as a great resource for patterns that stand on their own.”
All of the brand’s patterns begin as paintings or sketches that are then photographed, digitized and turned into repeats before being sent to the printer. The most exacting part of the process, according to Pavy, is getting the palette right. “Color is the most important aspect of my work,” he says. “Each manufacturer has different formulations for pigments that blend and react a certain way, so it can take a while to color-match the designs for textiles.”
The brand uses light, medium and heavyweight European linens for their fabric designs and either vellum or grass cloth for wallpaper—for now. “We have plans to expand our offerings of grounds, including cotton and cotton-linen blends,” says Pavy.
Starting July 30, Pavy’s latest works will be on display at Gallery Ao5 in Austin, and he has plans to release some of his paintings as NFTs later this year. “I’m working toward expanding the colorways in the current line of fabrics as well,” he says. “Additionally, I am researching and working on patterns for a second collection down the line.”
Pavy also has plans to add home furnishings and a more robust selection of fabrics and wallcoverings to the brand’s offerings. “I want to have at least 40 patterns with four to six colorways for each pattern,” he says. “I would like to produce rugs, sculptural lamps and some furniture. I think of Pavy Art + Design as a legacy company to pass on down to our family—so we’ve planted the seed and are tending the growth of our vision.”
Homepage photo: Francis X Pavy inside his Lafayette, Louisiana, studio | Denny Culbert