From formal groupings to relaxed displays, artwork can add a uniquely personal touch to an interior and it needn’t break the bank. Stand out from the crowd with these creative tips.
Image: Projects on Walls
Buying art shouldn’t be a daunting experience – the key is to opt for pieces you love and to think outside the box. If you want to build a serious but cost-effective collection, head to art fairs and check out online galleries – Artspace is the Amazon of the art world, offering thousands of contemporary options, from paintings to photographs, with prices starting at £50 upwards. Snag original, emerging art at New Blood Art and browse pieces by acclaimed artists at The Royal Academy’s regular online art sales (royalacademy.org.uk/artsales). For chic, won’t-break-the-bank prints and photographs as well as elegant framing, head to Pretty in Print.
Georgia Spray, founder of art curating service Partnership Editions suggests supporting emerging artists too. “Buying from art school students or recent graduates is a great way to start,” she says. “Not only does it mean that their work will be more affordable than artists who have gallery representation, it’s also rewarding to help develop their career.” Make sure you follow artists online too – many have their own websites and Instagram accounts meaning they can easily reach audiences without the aid of a gallery.
Try not to follow trends; instead buy pieces that genuinely appeal to you. “If you fall in love with a particular artist’s work but their paintings are out of your budget, ask the artist or gallery if they have any works on paper available,” advises Scarlett Colicci, founder of Projects on Walls. “These are often much more affordable.”
In the Frame
Image: Projects on Walls
Bear in mind that a frame’s purpose is to enhance the overall effect of an artwork, so a simple approach pays off. If you are framing a photograph, use non-UV glass for preservation and opt for a non-reflective finish to avoid glare obscuring the image. Pay attention to mounting too. Leaving plenty of space between the picture and the frame gives art room to breathe, while float mounting allows textured edges to be seen. For a casual look, eclectic frames can work well, but if you opt for this approach, introduce a note of cohesion in terms of the artwork you are hanging, whether a collection of graphic prints, pencil drawings or tonal colours.
For an effective, informal display, try hanging ‘salon’ style, embracing different mediums, sizes and frames. Achieve an off-the-cuff look by starting in the middle of the wall and working outwards, making your collection as personal as possible. “Arrange your art on the floor first,” advises Prosper Assouline, founder of chic publisher and lifestyle brand Assouline. “Live with it for a few days before hanging. I always aim for a cabinet de curiosité feel, mixing old and new pieces.”
In the Spotlight
“There’s a resurgence of craft pieces right now,” say Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, founders of art gallery Unit London. “Artists are using tactile materials and texture in their work, possibly as a response to the digital, 2D tech culture we live in today. But buy with your eyes and not your ears. A collection should be an honest reflection of your passions and creative spirit.”
Four of the best affordable pieces:
Images: Black Lipstick by Lee Johnson, Hypnagogia XIII by Venetia Berry; Monstera Botanical Plant by Rachael Hawley; Stars by Iryna Kitaieva
- Black Lipstick by Lee Johnson (£550; Projects on Walls)
- Hypnagogia XIII, coloured pencil on paper, 39 x 39cm by Venetia Berry (£290; Partnership Editions)
- Monstera Botanical Print by Rachael Hawley (£10.95; Pretty in Print)
- Stars, Mixed Media Painting on Canvas by Iryna Kitaieva (£1,200; New Blood Art)
Article written by Emma J Page