The possibilities are limitless when we begin buying art. We are potentially embarking on a lifelong journey of exploration and sharing— sharing with ourselves and our friends an artist’s message that we, too embrace and bring into our homes and offices.
Many people often perceive art as a commodity reserved for the cold, white walls of a local cultural institution. But it’s easy to forget that these works of art are created in artists’ spaces, comfortable workplaces that usually have more in common with a home than a museum.
When you collect art, you are, in a sense, ensuring its return to a similar place from which it was created.
The first step toward welcoming art into your home may not be the easiest to embark upon, but it is necessary to the adventure. So, where do you begin your journey?
The obvious choices are not always recognizable, and some valuable resources could be right under your nose. For example, magazines and books on your coffee table or shelves may provide clues to the type and style of art to which you are drawn.
The most obvious locations to discover art are showrooms, local galleries, art fairs and even Internet sites like Etsy.com. All of these provide a multitude of choices from which to build a personal collection.
An art gallery is an obvious place to start, according to Linda LaFontsee, co-owner of LaFontsee Galleries.
“I love it when someone walks in the door who has never purchased a work of art,” says LaFontsee, “because those first steps are often followed by the phrase, ‘We want something for our home, but are not sure.’”
Choosing art that suits your style and personality:
LaFontsee, like many gallery owners, guides buyers through a series of questions to help them choose pieces that suit them. Questions such as:
- What does your space look like?
- Do you have a photo that references the space or wall you are looking to place your art?
- Do you have a personal favorite
artist or artistic period?
- What do you like?
The last question is crucial to the process LaFontsee explains, “You should welcome art that you connect with on some level. The importance of it being personal is because you will be living with this work of art in your home.”
Fear of making the wrong choice can also be a factor for the novice art buyer. LaFontsee, however, has figured out that the best way to get acquainted with a new work of art is to let the person take the piece home. This process allows the client to begin a relationship with the piece by observing how the art looks in their home.
“A work of art changes over time with the changing of the day,” LaFontsee says. “A piece can look one way in the morning light and at night display a whole new beauty as subtle details are revealed over the passing of time.”
The placement of art in your home:
Placement is an important part of the selection process, so it’s always best to know where the work will be displayed before you purchase it.
A person may not be ready to fill a whole room at one time. For this reason, LaFontsee thinks it’s wise to look at other areas in the home like a hallway, a breakfast nook or a study.
The study is a great place to assemble highly personal pieces in groupings of a single theme, also known as “salon style.” Favorite themes or collections may already exist in your home and can be expanded upon over time with additional acquisitions.
For example, if you are a person who travels a lot, then postcards placed under chunky black frames with a white matte can bring the eye to these mementos of one’s adventures.
LaFontsee has found that one of the best ways to arrange a salon wall, if this is the direction you wish to proceed, is to lay the pieces flat on the floor in front of the wall and begin to move items around until you find the proper balance and spacing for your collection.
“It is a simple process,” LaFontsee says, “and it will save your walls from unnecessary nail holes, too.”
A good rule of thumb to remember when hanging artwork is that it is always best to consider spatial relationships and the work of art.
Thematic groupings, though, do not all have to be hung salon style. Another trend, according
to LaFontsee, is to pair three-dimensional with framed works on the wall. These groupings
can be an exciting addition to a hallway or nook where visiting friends or family will have a chance to interact with the artwork in a relaxed, familiar setting.
If wall space in your home is filled or limited, feel free to set a few framed works of art on a shelf or horizontal plane to create a dynamic harmony around an existing collection of objects or knickknacks. A discerning eye will appreciate your efforts.
Works that are smaller in size should not sit orphaned or be placed alone in oversize spaces, which diminishes the power of the work and increases the likelihood of it being overlooked.
No matter where you choose to begin showcasing an art collection, LaFontsee says it’s important to take that first step.
It really is that simple. And often, that first step can lead to a lifelong adventure along the path to your personalized art collection. So, when you open your doors to friends in years to come, you can continue to share that journey with them every time you add a new piece to your collection.
Not every room has to be about acquiring the shiny and new in order to create dynamic collections. These vignettes above illustrate the diversity of options found from items already in your home. When creating areas that reflect who you are, it can be as simple as buying a single new piece of furniture and adorning it with favorite objects to create themes or inspirational spaces.
Coordinating Furniture from Furniture Row: