"Oh interesting...which Ikea did you buy your skyline print from?"~ Said no one ever.
I always thought mass-produced prints or as I like to call them faux-artwork to be a strange phenomenon. They are really a piece of home decor that is a place holder for real artwork and we are all complicit in pretending they are. There is only one thing worse than blank walls folks, and that is walls covered with something a huge machine made literally hundreds of thousands of copies of for the same huge corporation and which people have hung in the exact same place. Don't be those people. Be original. Read on...
1. Buying Original Art is Sexy
I don't care if you live in a mansion or a basement apartment- having original art on your walls puts you in a whole new category. It shows you have taste, you are an original thinker, you have a certain level of culture and you are conscious of how you spend your money- not to mention that you are basically guaranteed artist friends. That series of original prints you invested in speaks volumes!
2. Living with Original Art Makes you Smarter
A recent study by the University of Houston, which set out to measure the effect of art on the brain found that " when viewing art, there is a major increase in a brain's delta wave connectivity, which is linked to a person's decision making and sustained attention. There is an even higher increase in the brain's gamma wave activity, which is linked to information processing and cognition." So being in the presence of original artwork that you find meaningful will actually boost your brain's activity up to 10%.
3. Buying Original Art Can be Very Affordable
Most people are intimidated by the prospect of buying original art. There are certain assumptions out there in the ether that make everyone flock to the messy canvas print wall at HomeSense because the idea of looking for something original scares them. The biggest assumption of course is that original = expensive. Let me shed some light on this one- false. Original art, especially if you are buying from an emerging artist doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg. Your local university art departments are full of insanely talented artists that will sell you some gorgeous pieces for a dent in their rent money (been there).
4. Owning Original Art is an Investment
Trust me on this one- that generic print you bought is never going to increase in value- ever. In fact the best you will be able to do is sell it on Kijiji for a tiny fraction of what you paid for it. That painting you bought (and love) from that brilliant young painter, however, can be worth something one day. A Jackson Pollock was selling for $1500 in the 1950s and Van Gogh didn't sell any of his work while he was alive. You just never know!
5. Supporting Local Artists is the New Black
Don't misunderstand this last heading as a form of charity. I don't believe that buying art should be a charitable act. You should only buy a piece that you love for what you and the artist decide is a fair price. That being said, artists are some of the most economically undervalued members of our social fabric. Without them we would be living a drab existence indeed. Supporting them shows that you are in tune with that fact and are willing to do something to change it.
So you moved into a new place, bought all the furniture and now you are looking at those blank walls. You know something is missing but the idea of looking for art is daunting to say the least. Sound familiar? Well don't fret, fledgling art collector- I got you! Read on...
4 STEPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT ARTWORK
1. Assess your space
The first thing you need to do is narrow down the wall space in question. Are you looking for something for on top of the couch, over the dining table or in the bedroom? I would highly recommend tackling each space one at a time. This way you will make sure that you are not buying similar artwork all at once and that each space has it's own vibe.
Tip: Most people decorate their living rooms first. Think about which space you spend the most time in during your week and focus on it!
2. Decor & Mood
The right artwork can truly transform a space. It can bring a totally different mood and accent and compliment your decor and personal style. You need to consider how you want to feel when you walk into that room. Art can have a profound effect on our psyche and mood and it's important to think beyond inches and budgets when choosing it.
For example, artwork that is hung in the bedroom should put you in a different mood (*wink) than artwork in the dining area. Your decor too will vary within each room. Your space is your sanctuary and you should have full control of how you want to feel in your own space.
Tip: Look at the space through the eyes of an interior designer and ask yourself the following: Do I have any dominant colours that I would like to accent(eg. cushions, carpets) Do I want the piece to match or contrast my decor?
There are various ways you can arrange artwork. You could go with a large statement piece (perfect for living rooms); a pairing of two square pieces (works well in dining areas and bedrooms) or a gallery wall cluster (ideal for hallways and areas with pass-through traffic). Think about the space you have selected and choose an arrangement. This will determine how many pieces of art you will need.
Tip: If you are new to this I would suggest choosing an area with a single painting or a pairing to start.
4. Be Original
You are original, one of a kind, an individual...so don't even think about buying mass-produced prints. This is what I like to call faux-art. They are printed in huge, industrial facilities overseas for pennies and re-sold to us as 'art'. The big box retailers know that all they need to do is put a "certificate of authenticity" sticker at the back and people will actually fool themselves into thinking they are buying actual art. It is better to find and support a local artist in your community. Go to an art show, troll instagram, ask your friends. Trust me you can find some amazing, affordable pieces for a lot less than you expect. Bonus: they come with a story and you are supporting an actual human being and not a giant corporation.
Tip: Reach out on social media by searching for artists in your area or if you are in the GTA give me a shout.