When I was growing up my mother returned to college to study art and graphic design. I loved watching her drafting and drawing and creating beautiful things. Her friends were artists, with names like Ivan “The Wizard” and paint splattered dungarees. Her best friend was a picture dealer and visiting his house was always amazing, with pictures stacked 10 deep against walls because he just couldn’t stop buying them at auction. I grew up surrounded by art and it has influenced the person I am. When I started decorating my own room as a teenager I couldn’t bear an empty wall, so I created carefully crafted displays of images cut from magazines, Athena postcards and photos of friends. It is what made it my haven. I love the power of great art to fill your soul and I love the fact that art makes a statement in someone’s home about who they are.
I have noticed recently that design is moving away from wallpaper and that art is pushing itself forward to fill “the space”. I love working with art as the first step in building a scheme and often use a client’s favourite piece to build the decorative scheme round. If you are in the market for buying a statement piece then go hunting with your heart. Though you can see you need something a particle size or colour don’t just buy with your practical head on, after all this work of art will be with you for life, maybe even your children’s life, and says a lot about you, so buy what you love. In Tunbridge Wells we are spoilt with many galleries to pick from, as well as the pop up art shows which are well worth checking out, run by artists-unveiled.com
However, more often than not we have walls to fill and no budget to do it on. Fear not, there is always an affordable solution with great taste you can apply. I often resolve this problem by displaying sentimental things, which could so easily be lost in a draw. I love this record display, and by hanging so many in a series it creates huge impact on the space. A similar effect to the VOGUE covers shown here. For your frames, John Lewis does album frames and for all other frames I head straight to IKEA and their RIBA range is simple and budget friendly.
Not everything we love is square so don’t shy away from using unlikely items in a frame. I love sophistication of the small military jacket with the black mount and will soon be doing the same to my grandfather’s WW2 flying jacket. I adore these mismatched gloves, and think the sense of humour that has compiled them is great. Don’t overlook what you already have. I have had lots of art I inherited and reframed to bring it up-to-date and a fresh look.
Art also has things that come and go in fashion so what are the interesting things to be looking at now? When buying with your heart don’t worry about trend just “Look” and “Feel” your way through. However for some on trend wall fillers I have noticed some more traditional works being used in very cool locations, such as this man in this white room or these lovely ladies scattered through the hallway. The Victorian bird, science or botanical print seems to be popping up all over the place. Hunt out the originals at Antique Fairs or auction, or for a quick fix head to www.art.co.uk and look for the work of John James Audubon. I have seen his work used in various designs and always as the star of the design, such as these very different rooms below.
John James Audubon's classic work in wonderful modern homes
For some art is something to fill a wall, for others, it is something that fills your soul, either way make a big splash in your home and use art to tell your story.