Art is a very personal choice so when I scored a really funky painting at HomeGoods, I was a little apprehensive if my customer would feel the same. I am an artist and designer but selecting art for my customers in not a favorite part of my job. I hate matching paintings to a room, a painting should be purchased because your love it , it speaks to you, you can't leave it behind, you have no place to hang it but you still buy it. That's what art should do. It should speak to your soul. I love big art, paintings with drama. One painting that makes a statement is all you might need in a room. You may choose a soft landscape that helps you to dream, or an abstract that gets you thinking. OK in the back of my mind I may be thinking how this piece of art will fit in that room. How the colors will compliment the space, but I would never buy a painting that did not speak to me.I recently came across a interview from
Infused with a strong sense of the past, but looking forward, with a certain kind of city glamour, fantasy, and happiness I hope!
Start early. Whether it's a small drawing in a bathroom, or a big painting in a living room, art allows you to transform a room that's banal into something interesting with one stroke of the paintbrush. If I had my druthers, I would start with art straight away when designing a space–it's my favorite thing to buy and shop for. At the very least, I have a conversation about artwork very initially with my clients.
Create contrast. What's fascinating about artwork is that even in a traditional interior, a modern painting can make it fresh. I love the juxtaposition. I like mixing old masters drawings next to contemporary pieces. You need to have a good mix and a deft hand combining them. People get so bogged down with paintings, paintings, paintings. But if you have a row of eight paintings, there's nothing for them to be compared to, and they lose some of their power. I love mixing mediums.
Go with your gut. There are certain people who collect American painters or Impressionists, and that's one way of collecting art, and though I'm not a dealer nor in the art world, I just focus on what I'm drawn to–and I'm drawn to a lot. I think the best collections are the ones where people buy what they love rather than trying to fit a room. Also, when people are too specific about what they want they never find it. I had a client who wanted a pair of Dutch master still lifes that incorporated shells and oysters, which was impossible to track down.
Color code. You should consider a palette when selecting artwork. You have to have the bigger feel of the room and the space in mind, but at the same time, a pale blue room with a shocking red painting in it can look unexpected, and make the cool blues feel infinitely more cool.
Shake it up. When mapping out where to hang art, I usually start by shuffling pieces around on the floor as I'm thinking about where I want them to go on the wall. If it's a big surface, you're probably going to need one big piece to anchor your tableau unless you're trying to make a minimalist statement. Some people like to hang things in pairs but I'm more asymmetrical. To me it takes on a more painterly effect. Always work with two people before you nail things into the walls–one person to look and another person to hold things up and move it all around.
Don't be afraid to lowball. People have a tendency to hang things too high. They put things at eye level, but if everything is at eye level you get a real horizontal feeling to a room. Feel free to mix things up. Remember that eye level when you're seated is way different than when you're standing up.
Try things on. You can learn a lot from going to the frame store–that's where you can experiment and get a much better sense of what needs what. It's like getting dressed; after trying on a bunch of different shoes, neckties, and jackets you develop an eye for what's attractive and you get more and more confident in your taste. Personally, I like old master drawings in gilt frames, and contemporary photographs in simple ebony frames with thick white mats.
Give it a rest. I'm also a great leaner when it comes to artwork–though it's not everyone's first choice, I like the casual, more throwaway feeling. It takes the stiffness away from a room. Start with the mantle if you're leaning; it just seems like the place where people don't mess things up, whereas on the floor it can look sloppy.