“In art, as in love, instinct is enough.” — Anatole France (1844-1924), French author, “Le Jardin D’Epicure” (1859)
In my 22 years in Las Vegas, I have had the opportunity to visit with some new homeowners and one question that keeps coming up is about art.
“Can you offer some guidelines for buying art and using art at home? Is it supposed to match something, or can you just buy what you like? We look forward to your comments.”
Ah, art — appreciation of it is so very subjective. As many folks as there are on the planet, that’s how many opinions you will get about “what is art,” “what is good art” and “how to live with art.”
As you know, there are also many forms of visual art: two-dimensional, three-dimensional, as well as thousands of mediums. It’s no wonder that people get so confused when trying to find art pieces for their homes.
I’m one of these people who believe there should be some relativity to the art in your home and other things in your home. Having said that, I also believe that if you have a certain style in your home your choices of art will reflect that.
But then again, there is the oil painting from your Aunt Bettie and the prized finger painting from your child and your attempt at pottery. It’s all art, and it all needs to be displayed. What happens to that?
Let’s look at how some folks display their art. We’ll address hanging wall art in another column. That’s not an exact science either but gives a lot of people heartburn.
First, let’s look at your personal art: Aunt Bettie’s oil painting, your collection of butterfly images and the flat bowl you made at a pottery party. Because these are all personal to you, the ideal place to show them off is in your personal space.
I knew a lady who did, in fact, collect butterfly prints and images; and her husband collected something very different like fishing flies in shadow boxes. They agreed these were not collectibles they wanted to display in their living room or other public spaces, and so they decided each would have their own wall in their bedroom and each could address the wall any way they wanted. So they each hung their personal art on their own wall.
This worked for them, and while it may not work exactly like this at your house, you get the idea. Find your own little space. If you’re lucky enough to have your own dressing room or office, use that to your advantage.
Relative to “should art match something, or can you just buy something you like?” Yes, and yes. Remember style: If you have a contemporary, sleek space, you will probably gravitate to modern or contemporary art pieces. If you have a country home, serene landscapes or still life paintings may be your thing. And I have a friend now who is making the big change — from standard to very contemporary.
True art collectors often provide a very white or monochromatic background to show off their art. This usually includes white upholstery or at least fabrics with no patterns and, oftentimes, white walls. The space then takes on a gallery look and feel. Having this clean palette allows the owners to collect a wide variety of wall art and none of it really clashes with the other.
If collecting art is not your thing, and you are just looking for something to decorate your walls, there are many options. Retail outlets offer a wide variety of already framed, relatively inexpensive wall art to match any color scheme or design style.
And in this wonderful city we call home, there are so many galleries displaying art by our fabulous talented artists. There are a lot of multitalented artists downtown in the Arts District and quite a few have been featured in a new local magazine, Chic Compass.
Recently I had the privilege to interview four from the Arts District for the most recent Chic Compass magazine: Dray Wilmore, Alex Huerta, Phyllis Pezzella and Deana Khoshaba. You will love their stories and you can read the story online at chiccompass.com. Check it out. Amazing artists!
In art, as with any other aspect of decoration and design, the choices are many, and always remember, there is no design police. The key is to make your home your own by having it be a reflection of you.
Carolyn Muse Grant is a design consultant and creator of beautiful spaces. Questions can be sent to her at email@example.com.