Leslie Saul says, “Start with the Art!”

Photography by Elisif Brandon

Get inspired to do your own creative work or buy art for your home or office! Art in a space can lift your spirits. I can attest to that, as the art on my walls contrasts with the gray snowy skies outside. I have recently downsized to a smaller apartment with relatively high ceilings. When I moved my art from a space three times as big, hanging my art was a challenge and made me look at my art in a whole new light (pun intended). The photo above is a corner of my living room, where one of my own COVID era paintings looks like it was inspired by the lamp that sits next to it. The painting was done in a completely different room, but of course I do love these colors. This kind of serendipity can happen when you take everything off the walls and rethink/re-hang it.  The paintings will start talking to each other and to you.

Let’s start with lighting. Once the space or house is designed, we designate important views to both the outside and inside in order to organize the space visually and support your art collection. Lighting a sculpture or an important painting/wall art is a necessity, as is taking away light for a video display area. (I noticed recently that some artists are actually combining painting and video or other technology that will present its own lighting and electrical challenge). Lighting can raise ceilings, lower ceilings, and force your eye to look to a particular area.  I could write a book about lighting.  Get a professional to help even if your art is not “museum quality.” With proper lighting it and your space will look so much better than you think is possible!

What about the wall color? You can contrast (bold color art with quiet walls, or bold color walls with quiet art); match (pull that lavender swish onto the walls); or be neutral (all walls a quiet gray, cream, or white). Those same 3 choices must be made for the pattern or texture of the walls. Interestingly, some of the most modern art museums have dark colors or silk damask walls for some of their old master paintings. Be a curator or hire one. Although the question that generated this post was “how to tastefully use artwork within a living space”, I answer, “Don’t worry about being tasteful, buy what you love and your designer or curator will help you live in a space that works and makes you feel good, even when it’s “gray and ordinary” (nod to Mary Poppins).

I’ve been asked many times to help with selecting art that goes with our design, placing/installing art, and designing rooms to go around a significant or favorite piece of art. I was once able to design a palette for a whole house based on a favorite painting. The style of the art doesn’t have to match the architecture or the interior design of the space. The Italians have long understood that ornate plasterwork and parquet floors with oriental rugs goes perfectly with modern furniture and contemporary art. This supports my commitment to Eclectic Design. I can tell you that Art doesn’t need to go with your sofa. Please, Start with the Art!

If you are interested in collecting art and don’t know how to start, or if you have a somewhat disorganized art collection and you want a space that enhances both the art and your experience of it, give us a call, text, email, or contact us through our website. We can’t wait to meet you and talk about art!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *