Art is a means of expression. Ancients adorned the walls of their caves with images, colors, and designs to reflect their beliefs, hopes, and dreams. But more than that, cave art made those who lived there feel good. It brought them pleasure. It transformed an anonymous cave into a nurturing refuge.
It's easy to go wrong with art. Instead of buying what we love, we choose art that reflects the tastes of others. What's hot in the art world may (or may not) be our cup of latte, but we buy it because someone tells us to. We secretly hope that others will be impressed.
Whether your crew even knows what's hot (or cares!) is open to debate, so there's no guarantee that the "right" art means you'll be perceived as the next big thing. What's more, if what's hot in the industry doesn't make you feel good, you're stuck with eyesore art, no matter how much you spend on it! Choose art to please and express yourself. Chances are excellent that you'll please others too.
How To Buy Art
Buy whatever makes you feel good when you look at it! A low budget doesn't mean you'll be limited to mass-produced and uninspired knock-offs. From original reproductions and prints to flea market discoveries, your search for art should be leisurely and self-centered. Don't go to the mall and expect to find everything in one afternoon.
Let your collection come in bits and pieces; add and subtract as you go along. If you want originals on a budget, visit gallery exhibitions featuring young and exciting artists. Browse online to see what's out there. Your art collection need not be confined to one genre or one artist. You can mix abstracts with Old Masters, but do pay attention to color. Choose pieces that will augment your decor, be they the latest in original Aboriginal acrylics, a captivating framed photograph, or a charming watercolor hand painted by your talented grandmother.
How to Hang Art
Placement and picture hanging is just as important as color and composition. The guiding principles are flow and relationship. Artwork is an extension of decor and most pleasing to the eye when its position relates to something else. Artworks are correctly placed when they add a new level of balance and harmony to the room.
Designers say that art should be hung no more than 3-6 inches above furnishings and should not be wider than the furniture it overhands. Experts also agree that art should be positioned at eye-level, generally 63-66 inches, and that smaller pieces look best on small or narrow wall spaces. These are great guidelines but there's a bit more to it.
A mid-sized painting at eye-level smack dab in the center of a large bare wall will look absurd. A large, bare wall requires either a very large painting a large grouping of smaller ones. While you're in the process of collecting, try decorating the wall with a tapestry or use a colorful shoji screen to camouflage the bare space until your art collection expands.
Hanging is best done with a friend. One person holds the work in position, the other stands back and makes an assessment. Get creative and try different placements on different walls at different heights. Eventually you'll find a spot that seems made to order for your new work.