Saturday, May 31, 2008

How to Choose Artwork

I will be taking a short break for the next few days. Final Fridays always wipe me out!

I did want to share a helpful resource that I have often referred people to. Often, during my Open Studio, I hear people talk about how difficult it is for them to decide whether a particular piece of art would look right in their home or office. The artist Kim Johns has posted a very helpful article about this very subject. I posted the article below.

by Kim Johns
How do I choose artwork for my home/office?
There are many approaches to choosing artwork, particularly abstract art. Some methods include: incorporating art into the existing room color scheme, creating a new decorating scheme based on the chosen work, selecting a piece to contrast existing decor and create a focal point, or falling in love with a piece and making the art and the space work together.
How do I incorporate art into the existing room color scheme?
When looking at pieces to work within an existing scheme, it is important to note the key colors of the room, the overall style of the room (classical, contemporary, minimalist, baroque, etc.), and the size of the space you are going to fill.
An ornate reception room may not be the best solution for a minimalist sculpture piece. However, a contemporary living room with a few bold colors provides the perfect environment for a large abstract painting with similar colors. A large space begs to be filled with an eye-catching centerpiece for the room. Smaller spaces work well for accent pieces. Colors make or break a room. Select a work with similar colors and consider allowing one color to stand out in the work.

Figure 1
Figure 1- “Duet” works well with the reds in couch and the yellow walls. It fits the space nicely and adds a cool gray to the room. (Baby furniture, such as the bouncer on the right, never matches anything.)
Can I use a piece of art as a starting point for new room décor?
This is easily done. Once you’ve found a piece that represents your basic idea (i.e. colors or a style such as modern), start shopping! It’s a good idea to research styles if you are unfamiliar with them. The Internet and design books (often available at your local home improvement store) provide great examples. Take details into consideration, light fixtures, rugs, and accent art should be consistent with your theme. Remember to spice it up! The artwork represents a focal point, so choose something that will hold attention.
If I want to add something bold in an existing room, how do I choose the right piece to offset everything else?
When choosing art to contrast an existing room scheme, you can select a piece that totally contrasts everything else (this is more effective if the room’s design scheme is very consistent) or select a piece that has one thing in common with the room (a color, a style, a theme, etc.). The example below shows a completely different painting added to an almost monochromatic scheme. It instantly captures the viewer’s attention. Imagine this room with a simple red painting and you can see how much more interest this piece brings to the room. This is a great method to “reinvent” a room on a budget. Instead of changing everything, select one piece that will stand out. This will give the room a totally new context if the change is big enough.

Figure 2
Figure 2- This painting definitely captures the viewer’s attention. It is a nice contrasting focal point to the smooth furniture and rich reds. Image: interior-design.htm

I found a work of art that I love, but it doesn’t go with anything in my house! Is there anything I can do?

Don’t worry! You can bring in a different piece with a few small changes. Find accent items that have the same colors as your artwork and place little touches of them throughout the room. That will balance the colors and/or the style. Also consider allowing the work to contrast the room, as in the example above. If the artwork is a completely different style, (such as modern art in a baroque room), see if you can alter the style a bit with new fabrics and textures.

There are many ways to enhance your living space through art. The tools of décor do not have to be expensive. When considering making changes, don’t forget texture. Artwork can be smooth or rough in texture and utilizing this fact can help you subtly tie everything together more completely.

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