Harriet Stallibrass in How to Guides — 23.04.2018
Although we’d all love to have the epic design mind of Daniel Chadwick to create a space that is as much a modern art gallery as a practical home echoing with children’s voices, when it comes to choosing art for an interiors scheme we are often caught awkwardly between getting a framed Ikea print and shelling out for a name that we know but don’t particularly like.
Recent exhibitions in London have suggested a rising interest in the relationship between art and interiors. 'Matisse in the Studio' at the RA last autumn exhibited pieces from the artist's home decoration which you see then acting as visual models in his work, like a hand painted Algerian side table and a 19th Century chocolate pot. The Tate Britain inversely showed how Rachel Whiteread plays with the idea of architectural space itself to create art. Anya Cooklin-Lofting in the Independent writes, 'Art is fast becoming recognised as an essential component of a modern home, with influencers and interior designers singing the praises of gallery walls and the like.' And so here we are with some advice on how to bring art into your home.
♦ Hang artwork at eye level or just above and never underestimate the importance of framing, this is a cost you should never hold back on. The right frame can transform a picture and is critical to the overall feel of the artwork.
♦ Create shapes and patterns with multiple pieces to form a gallery wall, remembering also to keep uniformity and structure in the final shape. If you have two portraits, face them towards each other as if they're having a conversation and make themes like putting all your pictures of animals together, even if they're of different styles and eras. The important thing is to tell a story with your wall.
To go one step further with this, play with colour for example using all monochrome pieces then one vividly colourful work in the middle. Enjoy creating your own art with the individual art pieces you have acquired.
♦ When thinking about matching to a colour scheme, pinpoint one or two of the boldest colours in your room and reflect them in your chosen artwork. Or working inversely, pick out a colour in your artwork to highlight by using the same tone in cushions and other soft furnishings. This works similarly with shapes, mirroring a circular shape in an image with a spherical vase or sculptural lamp for example.
♦ Martin swears by repeating the same object on a large scale to create a dramatic impact. Whether this be Life magazine covers, white plimsole shoes, African bowls or toy cars, cover a whole wall to create a clever visual effect.This works well particularly in commercial spaces where you can paint the backdrop wall in a confident colour or use a lacquered wallpaper behind for some reflective gloss.
♦ Remember you can create the same effect of art without using artwork. Martin advises: "Headboards are an inexpensive way of transforming a bedroom. They act as a focal point without the difficulty of choosing artwork". A bold mirror does the same thing and think carefully about what you will be reflecting, a houseplant or a fabric pattern on upholstery or curtains can create an element of suspense and adventure.
♦ In the same vein, creating a feature wall with statement wallpaper allows you to have fun with pattern and colour without the huge cost of art. We even have wallpapers such as Gallery and Rockefeller which emulate the Renaissance flavoured halls of the National Portrait Gallery and the modern art scene in New York.
♦ Don't be afraid to put very contemporary art in a traditional space, or vice versa, it is often the merging of seemingly incongruous styles that creates beauty through surprise.
♦ And finally, only ever buy something you like. Art, above all else, should always be personal.
To find affordable gems head to the Affordable Art Fair, Lots Road Auctions or explore here our new range of neons and our collection of 3D artwork, which reimagines the use of everyday objects such as pencils - all quirky, textural and fun in true Andrew Martin style.