Updated: Sep 29, 2021
This blog post has been on my list for a while since the topic came up more and more often in my professional interior designers' group. Just to clarify, I am not trying to be the expert in art and I have no education in art other than the usual common knowledge passed to us in high school. I have just always been interested in art in an intuitive way. I merely give advice from a home owner point of view, who wish to complete the look of their home with decorative objects.
1. Classic art
What we used to call "art" in school. This is an area where you simply cannot take advice from anyone, other than an expert. If you wish to decorate your home with some very valuable art pieces from hundreds (or less) of years ago, you need to find art dealers who are specialised in this type of artwork. These artwork not only very expensive to buy but they need to be properly insured and thought as investments.
The most valuable pieces are owned by museums or in private collections, so you will need to find the dealer who have a reliable network of dealers and can find what you are looking for.
2. Contemporary art
I won't hide the fact, that this is actually my favourite! Contemporary art covers just such a huge range of art that would be very hard to fit in to a blog post or two. It also means that there are endless options to choose from and therefore there is something for EVERYONE.
I like going to museums and galleries but many people find it boring. I get it. Sometimes I find them boring. I have one rule and one expectation. My rule is never spend more then an hour in the museum. This is how much you can actually take in in a place where there is so much to see. My expectation is that there is no expectation.
I often go to the Saatchi Gallery in London. I just like the place. The gallery doesn't have a permanent exhibition but instead they have various exhibitions through the year. Sometimes I walk around and don't like anything. Other times I like a bit of everything.
But in most cases I find one or two pieces that just fascinates me and touches me so much I will never forget. The last time this happened I tracked down the artist (young African artist) and talked to him on Instagram! He advised in which galleries I can enquire about his work, I then found the painting and it was sold a couple of years before for £60,000!
So, by all means, this category is not about getting artwork for cheap! But the main thing is that as there is a huge range of contemporary artworks, there is a huge price range, as well.
One place to look for affordable contemporary art is https://londoncontemporaryart.co.uk/, and just bear in mind, art doesn't mean only wall art ;)
3. Local art
I am lucky to spare my time between London and Budapest so I have access to a lot art galleries and artist. But you don't have to be based in a big city to be able to access good quality art.
First of all, a lot of artist are now advertising themselves on social media. A lot of art dealers have their collection shown online, also. If you prefer supporting local artist, that would be best, though, as it gives you an instant connection to the art piece you are about to have in your home for a long time. And that connection is essential. (More about this later in the post.)
Another advantage is that local artist usually sell their products directly and therefore it is cheaper. It may also be the case that you can ask them to make something specifically for you. Go on, check out if there are some artist or independent galleries around you!
In this category, I would like to mention charitable organisations who are supporting artist with disabilities or autism. Buying from these organisations like the Artbox will give you something truly special. A perspective of an artist who sees the world in a whole different way.
As they say:
Buy from us and you’ll get unique artwork with a great story to share with friends, family, colleagues and clients. Profits from art sales are shared between Artbox London and the artists so you’ll be making our artists feel valued and appreciated as artists (and providing an income to those most excluded from the job market), while helping Artbox London to run more workshops that support people with learning disabilities and autism to flourish.
4. Prints and reproductions
Prints have become extremely popular lately and I can see why. It is affordable, the options are unlimited and it is very easy to make it personal and/or integrate it into any concept.
There are also uncountable online shops to order from with or without frames, in many size and on various media.
Just to give you one example, Junique is one of my favourites and they ship internationally, as well.
I have another favourite, who is actually a Dutch graphic designer, Posterjunkie.
His work is very recognisable and I just love it. He also ships internationally and I have a couple of his works in my own home on oversized canvas prints. I highly recommend you check him out!
I added reproductions to this category - rightly or wrongly - as in my head they are basically prints. If you wish to add some classic art to your home for the price of prints, it is possibly the way to go.
I cannot encourage you with my whole heart, I would rather get something original let it be artwork or print, but I do understand that this could be desirable for some. If that is the case, maybe look check out Great Big Canvas here. Just be careful not to be tacky if that's not what you want.
Last, but by all means not least! Your artwork can be the most personal and meaningful if it is something you, a friend, your children made.
You may actually have a whole bunch of your children precious drawing on the fridge or in a messy drawer, or you have boxes of treasures of cinema tickets from a first date or a concert, a boarding pass from your honeymoon or the football world cup, or you have a collection of black and white photos of your great grandparents, and I am sure you have a zillion of photographs of important moments taken by yourselves.
Well, what if you make them into artwork? What would be more personal and meaningful? With the right frames and arrangement all of these little memories can be transformed to art and so you get to see them every day to remind you to these happy moments.
I hope you find this blog post helpful! I try to give an option for everyone.
Just let me give you some guidelines when choosing the right artwork for your home, whatever it might be. Regardless of price, prestige or quality, you need to find connection to it to be able to enjoy it.
Look beyond the colour of the artwork that goes with your colour scheme with the layout of the room, the design on your wall (if you have wall panelling for example). Look beyond the price that will show your status.
Let the artwork have a meaning instead of a self-serving decoration on your wall, that you hardly ever look at. Choose something that you would like to actively look at every day.
Until later! x Agi