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Different times made different choices. Art Deco did not have a magical unfolding, stay that way unchanged for twenty years, then shatter. Like all art, it developed out of existing trends, acquired popularity, was interpreted and reinterpreted, changed with materials and technology, and finally fell into disfavor as fashions moved on. Anywhere within there is fair game to draw inspiration.

But where are the borders of Art Deco? Who knows. Some objects are Art Deco, some transitional, and some mix influences. There was no neutral body dictating what was and wasn't Art Deco.

So what does that mean to you?

As an creator, you have choices to make, such as which Art Deco trends you want to pursue, what outside influences you want to mix in, how closely you plan to adhere to the rules of Art Deco, and what adaptation you must make for your design to work in your medium.

As an appreciator or collector, the changes in the art form become part of the fun. They reflect their time and place, and more than a few good stories. This change is part of Art Deco as surely as the circle and the line.

Return to: Art Deco 101

Douglas Milewski is a fantasy writer who liked drafting class too much. In his recent artistic struggles to produce art deco for his own covers, he found no internet sites dedicated to the technical underpinnings of the art. Seeing a niche that needed filling, he has documented his hard learned experiences. He doesn't claim that he's right, and would very much appreciate it if someone more competent would save him from his own folly.