When they moved into their new offices on Capitol Hill this year, rookie Palm Beach County Reps. Lois Frankel and Patrick Murphy both sought to decorate with a longtime staple of political interior design: original artwork from back home.
But after more than two months on the job, their offices in the Longworth Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol are a study in contrasts.
“We’re trying to get local art,” said Murphy, D-Jupiter, who plans to display the handiwork of students from his Palm Beach-Treasure Coast district but still has mostly bare walls.
It’s been a lot easier for Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, to obtain local art. Six large paintings in her office are her own creation.
Frankel describes the untitled works, rendered in brightly colored acrylic paint, as “abstract faces” that are inspired by doodles she makes while sitting in meetings.
As a freshman, Frankel said she usually has to wait until the end of a hearing to ask questions. While she waits, she often doodles — which she said shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign her mind is wandering.
“I pay attention,” she said. “There is an art to having to sit in meetings and really paying attention.”
In that regard, liberal Democrat Frankel shares a bond with conservative Republican icon Ronald Reagan, another famous political doodler.
Frankel said she began painting in the 1990s while she was in the state legislature. Asked if eye-popping paintings were influenced by a particular painter or style of art, she said, “I don’t know. I didn’t study art. I just feel it. I’ve never been trained.”
Frankel said she’s also planning to display artwork by school children from her Palm Beach-Broward district.