Art in the Home by Lucy Feagins
It’s easy to feel a little uninformed on the subject of art. Whether wondering what to buy, or how to display, there’s often a sense that you’ll ‘get it wrong’. In fact, that mindset couldn’t be further from the truth.
First and foremost, buy what you like. Don’t get caught up in trends, or perceived future value. If you’re investing in artwork, it should appeal to you aesthetically. Imagine waking up to it every morning. You want to really love it.
Melbourne gallerist Sophie Gannon warns against treating art as decoration, though.
‘Don’t choose art to match your furniture – good art will outlive your couch’ she says. ‘Art will be with you forever’. Seek out graduate exhibitions and fundraiser shows for collectible names at affordable prices. The West Space gallery annual fundraiser show is well worth a look. High quality art prints are also worth considering – Contemporary Editions produces limited edition artwork reproductions by Australia’s best contemporary artists.
Alternatively, photo-prints are becoming more and more popular as an alternative to original art. There are so many options in this space, but for a print with real impact and longevity, we like work by professional photographers such as Derek Swalwell, Brooke Holm and Kara Rosenlund. It’s definitely worth investing in a great framer for large scale photographic work, as incorrect adhesives and poor quality framing materials can affect photo quality over time.
Buying art is a highly personal decision, and though you will probably want to do some research to justify the investment, at the end of the day, selecting an artwork to start your very own collection is a little like falling in love. When you find it, you just know.
TIPS FOR BUILDING A COLLECTION
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing and investing in art, but there are a few guidelines you can follow.
• If traditional ‘gallery’ art buying isn’t your thing, think outside the square. Art comes in many forms, from a child’s treasured drawing, to a carefully framed souvenir, or even a scrap of beautiful fabric. Challenge your perceptions of art.
• Great framing is non-negotiable! Don’t scrimp, use a professional framer. Any artwork is instantly elevated by a proper, custom made frame, and professional framing will preserve the life of the artwork, too.
• Avoid matching your art to your colour scheme. When artwork matches perfectly with your sofa, an interior can start looking too contrived. Instead, seek out complementary contrasts.
• No great art collection has ever been amassed overnight. Embrace blank walls, and wait for your collection to evolve over time.
TIPS FOR DISPLAYING ART
• There’s no such thing as ‘too big’ – a large artwork always looks great, no matter what size the wall. In fact, an oversized artwork in a small room provides a focal point, and can often make a space feel bigger.
• If you’ve accumulated a collection of smaller artwork, try grouping four or more small pieces together in a ‘salon hang’ – group by theme such as colour palette, or subject matter.
• Just like in a gallery, artwork should be well-lit to be enjoyed. Don’t hang paintings in shadowy corners, and consider adjusting ceiling lights (where possible) after hanging new artwork in a space.
Written by Lucy Feagins.