“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” This is a quote from Plato that beautifully sums up the human response to art. Art has always been a way of both stimulating and provoking our understanding of the world and our place within it.
Similarly, deciding what art you want to bring into your home can be both a rewarding experience and an insurmountable challenge. Knowing exactly what you want to adorn the walls of your home means understanding which pictures you’ll want to look at over and over again.
Here we’ll help you begin to get a feel for what might look right at home on your wall space.
What Do I Like?
Most of us recognize that art provokes an emotional response. Be it a calming seascape or a vibrant splash of color, our reaction to art is immediate. Committing yourself to hanging artwork around your home does require some consideration; after all, what we display says something quite personal about who we are as an individual.
- Fine Art is perhaps the most easily appreciated; this style depicts easily recognizable subjects. Fine art is unrestricted in its expression and focuses on creating a feeling of absolute aesthetic beauty communicated between the artist and the observer. Fine art often displays well in living rooms, dining areas, and bedrooms and can take the form of landscapes, seascapes, and portraits.
- Figurative Art is an abstract edge, says Highland Cow by Steven Brown. A real-life object is displayed in a slightly abstract way. The highland cow is painted to resemble a cow, but the color choices used — reds, yellows, greens, and blues — communicate an abstract theme. This art style is often bright, bold, and communicative, sitting comfortably against more neutral wall colors.
- Abstract Art takes its subjects from reality but presents shapes, colors, and marks to achieve an artistic impression. Henri Mattise and Jackson Pollock are both abstract artists that remain hugely popular today. This type of art gives the viewer unadulterated freedom to give the painting meaning that is personal to themselves. Abstract art is often a challenge; the viewer is often unsure of where to begin or how to assign meaning. Many appreciators of abstract art would say the challenge is the ultimate beauty — finding meaning where there appears to be none is a gift itself.
- Non-Objective Art, on the other hand, takes absolutely nothing from reality. Instead, this art form is centered on using materials and elements to create art to evoke the senses. The artist Kandinsky was a dominant artist in this emotive branch of visual art. Kandinsky’s work suits the modern contemporary interior but is equally at home, making a bold statement against classic décor.
- Commercial Arts incorporate photography, illustrations, printmaking, and graphic design. We are absorbed in commercial arts daily, and they are designed to appeal to mass audiences. The display of commercial arts within the home has become a contemporary way to decorate wall spaces. Think of the Pop Art movement: Andy Warhol, Alphonse Mucha, Salvador Dali, and Norman Rockwell, to name but a few. These avant-garde artists have been hanging on the walls of appreciative audiences for generations and are still regarded as having much to say.
Once you have explored your tastes, perhaps by visiting local galleries and exhibitions or even venturing to the larger national galleries, you can begin to collect pieces that you connect with. Your next step is to consider how to display your growing collection of art.
How Should I Display Art?
Of course, the hammer and nail technique have served their purpose in the pursuit of recreating gallery walls in our homes for centuries. Art arrangement is a personal thing, but we can be liberated with the techniques we use to display art. Gallery Walls and gallery picture hanging systems are a modern twist on ensuring our living spaces look exquisite. Other options such as picture ledges or shelves can be used to make a focal point of display. Staircase steps are ever-popular, and so too is using the mantel as an area to show off art collections.
Understanding that art is made up of different branches is going to help you to decide which styles you are drawn to. But only the experience of really seeing art, letting it communicate with your senses and toy with your feelings, is going to teach you what you deeply love.