Art Attack

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My TIPS FOR USING ART as a basis for a Springtime interior refresh

We recently purchased our forever home, a Georgian country pile that is hopelessly stuck in a time warp and in much need of some major renovation. I made a promise to my husband that we would not touch it or buy any new furniture for two years. To give us time to live in it and to get excited about our over extravagant, and way too ambitious, plans for it’s transformation.

Now 18 months later and I’ve an itch to get started. Especially now that Spring has arrived. The urge for a clean, fresh, bright and new interior scheme feels far more pressing than it ever was over the Winter months: It’s amazing what roaring fires, candles and low lighting disguise.

So, have I kept my promise to my husband? Sort of. We haven’t touched the house and I haven’t been secretly buying furniture. However I have been able to bring some freshness into our home through careful and considered purchasing of art. It’s truely amazing how a piece of art can transform a room. Providing a focus point or complimenting an already existing feature or scheme. 

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It’s truely amazing how a piece of art can transform a room

For me, I’m happy investing in art. I love supporting emerging talent and it is probably the one thing I can purchase now knowing it will be used (and loved) when the big build is behind us.

For our clients, it is one of the first things we discuss. Even during the early phase of a new project, while proposing new layouts and still scribbling on floor plans, we start thinking about art: Vistas and views from one room into another, along corridors where your eye will catch, perfect places for hanging paintings, placing sculpture. All the images here, for example, are from a recently completed project where art was very much the starting point.

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Art can be many things. It is not exclusive to paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture

So where do you start on your own art attack? How do you go about finding art for your home? Here are my top tips:

  1. Use IG to locate artists whose work you love. Start following them, strike up a conversation and you’ll discover more and more contemporary artists’ work. Local artists are great. Being nearby usually means you can meet them and view their work. Most artists working today will be delighted to hear from you and many will be happy to discuss a commission if you have something particular in mind.

  2. Look up London and Nationwide Art Schools. Find out when their end of year shows are. Put the date in your diary. It’s always great to be able to support new artists fresh from their degree courses.

  3. Pop in to local galleries. Search out galleries when you are on holiday. Ask to join their subscription lists so you are the first to know about up and coming exhibitions. Especially group shows. I currently regularly purchase from a great gallery in Cornwall that we happened upon a few years ago while on holiday. 

  4. Go to eBay and Etsy. Play around and have a good search of what is available. If you are looking for a drawing of a nude, for example, type in “drawing of nude”. If you want old then add “vintage” or “antique”. Ditto with anything that takes your fancy. I know it sounds obvious but describe what’s in your head and you’ll be pleasantly surprised that often it actually exists. Even better it’s available to buy.

  5. Junk shops, flee markets and car boot sales are always a lucky dip but with enough perseverance you’ll find a few treasures. Try and look at the work itself however ugly the frame. A good framer will transform anything. We have worked collaboratively with the same framer for some years now. All our artists love how their work looks when framed. And clients are equally enthralled when we take away their art and return it transformed.

  6. Remember that prints and drawings can be just as stunning as original canvases. They are a great way of owning one of your favourite artist’s work for a fraction of the cost.

  7. Individual works hung together in a group can fill a large wall and can be as effective as one single large piece. Think out of the box. Choose different frames to illustrate the uniqueness of each.

  8. Art can be many things. It is not exclusive to paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture. I’ve used perspex boxes with various contents, have framed a multitude of items such as keys, grouped plates and piled up crystals. You get the idea.

  9. Buy what you love. Not what you think will appreciate in value. It might well be you find this generation’s Picasso but this should never be the motivation for a purchase.

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Buy what you love. Not what you think will appreciate in value

And finally, have fun. Choosing art for your home is a great way to spend time with your (house) mate. It’s also the perfect vehicle to find your joint style or bring two individual styles together under one roof. Either way if you do have the urge for a splurge, a Springtime refresh, buying some art is a great place to start.

Now where’s my pen to scribble on our new floor plan?

A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN WILDFLOWER MAGAZINE

ISSUE 3.  SPRING 2019 @WILDFLOWERPRESS

ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF @PAPERANDWHITE

photography www.theinteriorphotographer.com