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art, interior design, and mixing and matching different styles

GQgeek

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As many of you already know from other posts. I'm moving to a significantly bigger place next month. I've picked out most of my furniture, but I have nothing to put on the walls (of which there are many). I'd like to get some real art, but I don't want to break the bank since I'm already spending a ton of money on all new furniture and an HDTV (or projector & screen, haven't decided yet) over the next couple of months. I intend to buy gradually as pieces catch my eye. I'm unclear as to how I should go about mixing and matching and placing them in my apartment. Some of the pieces I've seen to date and would consider purchasing have been abstract, others have been figures of women, and one was a painting of Audrey Hepburn's face.

My apartment has high ceilings with moldings, hardwood floors, french doors, etc. When I move in it will have a fresh coat of white paint although I haven't decided whether or not I'll have it re-painted, but I doubt it. I want to keep the place light and airy. The furniture I've selected is all modern italian designed stuff. All of the wood furniture is dark stained oak (living/dining room) or maple (bedroom). The bed I've selected is a platform bed with attached night stands. The dresser is the same maple with a couple frosted glass drawers. I'll post some pics later in the week when I go back to the store. Either way, I'm sure you get the general idea.

My question is what are the main things I should consider when selecting art? I suppose the easiest thing to do would be to select a bunch of abstract art the matches or contrasts with my color scheme, but in perusing works online, I inevitably came across works that just wouldn't fit in. Should I care? Should I put them in the hall? Is it generally advisable to keep similar style paintings grouped together in a single living space? For example I could put the big abstract paintings in my living room, figures in the bedroom, and landscapes in the halls?

Also, are there any good books I could read on art? I'm primarily interested in paintings although I'm quite ignorant. As long as I'm considering buying art, I might as well learn to identify what makes art "good", so that I can make better choices.
 

caelte

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Try drawings. They always look modern in the right frame.

Drawings are really underpriced and are more impressive than paintings.( You probably wouldn't want to pay the price of a good painting anyway.)

When you have drawings, it says you actually know something about art.
If you don't know much about art, buying drawings is a good way to learn.

Every period and style is available.

Check out EBay.
 

Violinist

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This depends... are you a person for whom culture is important, or do you simply need things to cover the walls? If it's the latter, I'd suggest you just go with some structuralist stuff to complete the typical urban chic look that it sounds like you're going for.

If art is something that you view as an expression of the human experience, and something you feel says a lot about who you are, then this takes a lot of time. Head to Sherbrooke, start walking from about Drummond, all the way west. In that 2km stretch, there are like 500 excellent galleries, not to mention the ones up on Laurier and the Mont Royal area around St. Laurent.

Here's one example of what's available (albeit further though) in the area;

http://www.galerielamoureuxritzenhoff.com/ourworks.html

I'm working on acquiring one of Gisèle L'Épicier's paintings.


In my opinion, you shouldn't rush this. Personally I don't like reading about art very much. To me, it's better experience it and decide for yourself what you'd actually want to encorporate into your every day life. Be warned though, most reasonably established artists will sell a paiting for ~$5000, and it can get expensive. But again, if it's just for appearance, go to Ikea and get a bunch of prints and save the money.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by caelte
Try drawings. They always look modern in the right frame.

Drawings are really underpriced and are more impressive than paintings.( You probably wouldn't want to pay the price of a good painting anyway.)

When you have drawings, it says you actually know something about art.
If you don't know much about art, buying drawings is a good way to learn.

Every period and style is available.

Check out EBay.


I'm looking at ebay now and frankly a lot of the stuff I see selling for thousands doesn't look any better to my eyes than stuff selling in the hundreds. I think there are lots of good paintings by relatively unknown or beginning artists that don't cost a lot of money. I don't really care if the artist has name recognition or not. I'm just looking for stuff that is pleasing to my eye and improves the appearance of my apartment.

Finding art I like for a reasonable amount of money isn't my issue. It's placement strategy and reconciling my interest in different styles & colors with my decorating requirements.

EDIT: My intention isn't just to cover my walls. I did the ikea thing in my last apartment and it worked out ok in terms of color schemes and decor but I really want something that's more personal this time. Besides, real art is so much more attractive than prints.
 

caelte

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Originally Posted by GQgeek
I'm looking at ebay now and frankly a lot of the stuff I see selling for thousands doesn't look any better to my eyes than stuff selling in the hundreds. I think there are lots of good paintings by relatively unknown or beginning artists that don't cost a lot of money. I don't really care if the artist has name recognition or not. I'm just looking for stuff that is pleasing to my eye and improves the appearance of my apartment.

Finding art I like for a reasonable amount of money isn't my issue. It's placement strategy and reconciling my interest in different styles & colors with my decorating requirements.

EDIT: My intention isn't just to cover my walls. I did the ikea thing in my last apartment and it worked out ok in terms of color schemes and decor but I really want something that's more personal this time. Besides, real art is so much more attractive than prints.


My suggestion was based on your not knowing what "good" art is.

The small town where I live has several art galleries and cafes where unknown artists show their work.

This type of thing seems to be going on everywhere.
You shouldn't have any trouble finding what you want.
 

itsstillmatt

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We have very modern furniture in our house, but in a different style than you have chosen. We have almost no wood furniture, preferring lacquer for surfaces, and light rather than dark colors. None of this really matters, but I though that I would give you a sort of picture.

As for art, we have everything from paintings by Paul Klee to very minimalist photography to drawings to sculpture made from toilet parts and scrap metal. I think it all works very well, bu some people might not agree. I think that if you live without for a couple of weeks or months, you will quickly know what it is that you need.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by iammatt
We have very modern furniture in our house, but in a different style than you have chosen. We have almost no wood furniture, preferring lacquer for surfaces, and light rather than dark colors. None of this really matters, but I though that I would give you a sort of picture.

As for art, we have everything from paintings by Paul Klee to very minimalist photography to drawings to sculpture made from toilet parts and scrap metal. I think it all works very well, bu some people might not agree. I think that if you live without for a couple of weeks or months, you will quickly know what it is that you need.


Do these very different works of art occupy the same space? Or are they spread out in different rooms? In a living room, for instance, would you put a figure painting in acrylic in shades of blue with an abstract in a totally different color on another wall? Or do you try and harmonize everything in the same space?
 

itsstillmatt

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I cant say that I have thought about it that way. Each room seems to have a mix of things. Some choices were made because of the size of the pieces and of the available walls, some because of colors in the rooms and some just because.

I would venture to guess that our artwork is less colorful than most, so that probably makes it easier.
 

Kent Wang

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Originally Posted by GQgeek
Do these very different works of art occupy the same space? Or are they spread out in different rooms? In a living room, for instance, would you put a figure painting in acrylic in shades of blue with an abstract in a totally different color on another wall? Or do you try and harmonize everything in the same space?
My taste in art and the pieces I have are too eclectic to really "theme" certain areas. It is a matter that I do take into consideration and you raise a good point. Ultimately, I recommend that you not reject a piece because it is does not fit your decor.
 

caelte

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I think you need assistance with decorating, not art.

That's easily accomplished.

Judging by what you have already purchased in furniture you are into the new traditional urbanism but are expressing an interest in the eclectic.

To find out more on how to accessorize your existing furniture, there are magazines from Metropolitan Home to, my current favorite, Dwell, that you can look through for ideas. There is, literally, a ton of design books.

Art is not so easy.

"Good art" isn't what most people think it is.

Art is about something passing through the artist and as it passes through, the artist gives it something to take with it that can be seen in the final work.

This quality seems to be invisible to most but it is the aspect that most interests me. It takes awhile to learn to see it. It could turn up in most anything.

If you want art, go buy what you like and don't worry about how it will look.
Live with it. Fill up your place.

Sell or give away what you don't like until you find those pieces that really speak to you.
 

Violinist

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Yeah, to me it looks a lot more like you need help with decorating.

The people whose houses I've seen with the finest art collections don't really mix and match stuff based on how it looks in the room. Art is generally meant for a higher purpose than that.

If I were you I'd just pay some Concordia art student to come to your house and make you a bunch of Kandinsky as well as some abstract/minimalist things. That way you'll get unique works in a non print medium, which is to me, incredibly depressing. That way you also won't have to pay a ton. I think that could actually be a very fun project, so you can be very much involved in what goes up and be a patron of the arts at the same time.
 

GQgeek

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Maybe I'll take designprof up on the offer he made to Kent Wang after I move in to my new place and take some pictures of the space after the furniture arrives.

btw I came across this site. It hosts UK based artists and there's a pretty large variety of stuff on there that's quite affordable.
 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by Violinist

The people whose houses I've seen with the finest art collections don't really mix and match stuff based on how it looks in the room. Art is generally meant for a higher purpose than that.


I think that you have the right idea, but are not exactly right. No art collector is going to have art in a room that looks like shit with the rest of the room. It just doesn't make sense. Usually it is not a problem as a person's taste is generally consistent from art to architecture to design. It would be almost schizophrenic not to be. The consistency may not be readily apparent on the surface, but it is there.

I grew up in a house of art collectors. There was everything from Rothko to Ruscha to Calder etc. There were also some prints, but very few. They are not necessarily depressing, only when they are meant to substitute for what you really wanted. For example, we used to have a John Baldessari "original" (his stuff is not really catagorizable) that I hated. I found that his prints were more pleasing to the eye than a lot of his original work. He is truly a master printer.

As far as art being for a higher purpose, that is debatable. In the beginning, art and furniture were both comissioned to work together in grand houses. They were one and the same. Later art became more of what we think today and did seem to have somewhat of a higher purpose. Unfortunately, today art seems to have a new purpose. It is not to live with or enjoy but to show to others that you have some bit of money and class. This, to me, is art that is depressing, even if it is beautiful.
 

designprofessor

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Paintings,buy some of mine


I actually have some options. (road trip)

The above advice of not rushing it should be taken. You have alot of time to buy and collect QUALITY works from tableware to furniture. This is the fun part, so don't rush it just to fill your new space. Another thing, as you take time to learn and broaden your ideas, your tastes will change.
What I didn't like 5 years ago, i now have an aquired taste for. The ebay option on art I wouldn't really worry about.
You seem to prefer going and seeing and getting to know the artist. This is the way I would go about it.

Again, relax, go to the book store and begin plowing through every Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, etc.
Start a folder with images that catch your eye.
You'll find alot of ideas. This will begin to focus your
decisions on what initially seems like an infinite number of options.

But take a tip from this forum, do your research, ask advice, don't by crap. Get the good stuff- and that doesn't mean it always costs alot of money.
 

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