How To Avoid Buying Bad Art

So does bad art exist?  I’ll argue that it does.  But before you angrily close this tab, please hear me out! (And no, the photo above is NOT bad art!)

As an interior designer, I’ve always been surprised by the number of people who say they are looking for items to “fill up space” on their walls or built ins.  Almost as if they don’t care what it is, so long as it gets the approval of their designer.  And we in the industry are equally to blame; we promote and sell what I call “generic art” to our clients.  I define generic art as art that is generally mass-produced and sold by a third party who does not know the artist or story.  The piece does not have any meaning or emotional value to its owner.

Sure, not every single item has to have an elaborate, emotional story connected to it, but do you really want your home to look and feel like a model home?  Not me!

Original art adds a personal aspect to a home.

Am I saying that mass produced art is bad?  No!  Am I saying that if you bought art from Home Goods, you’re to be shamed?  Absolutely not!  I am simply suggesting that you only buy items that give you some sort of positive emotional reaction or have a personal meaning.  Bad art is art that doesn’t do anything for you other than fill up space on your walls or built ins.  Bad art might match your color scheme, but that’s about all it’s doing for you.

This print of Charleston, South Carolina was a Salvation Army find and is proof that not all art has to come with a high price tag.

I’ve had clients tell me that they own items because their designer picked it out for them, but they never really liked whatever it was.  Yikes!  So, how can we avoid this?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of buying art for your home.  You’re in good company!  My husband and I lived in our house for about five years before we started hanging things on the walls.  I felt confused about what I liked vs. what I thought I was supposed to like.  Then, as I spent more time in the design world, I started meeting more artists and actively seeking them out – both in person and online.

Through the process of getting to know these talented artists, I have developed relationships with them and have a deeper appreciation for their stories, their talent, and their passion for the craft.  The gift that these artists give us customers is really quite beautiful if you think about it; creating art is so personal, and the act of sharing it with the world is both generous and brave.  So what makes a piece of art beautiful?  Of course, the form itself, but also everything italicized above!  I recently read somewhere that art does not exist in a vacuum – amen!

My dried floral wreath! Read more about the artist who teaches these workshops in my companion journal entry.

In the art world, I am a fan, a cheerleader, and an advocate because artists bring life to the walls of your home, and frankly, makes my work look good.

To my clients: next time you’re at an art fair, gallery, studio, etc. and you see art that you find attractive, go up and talk to the artist.  Ask questions.  Follow them on social media.  You don’t have to purchase anything right away, but start building up a knowledge of what exists and why. 

This is one of many pictures I’ve taken while trying to find art for clients.  Unless I know something about the artist or the piece, it’s very hard to make a recommendation to a client.  Otherwise, I’m just going off of size and colors.

Wondering where to start?  Check out my journal entry featuring some pretty amazing artists.  And when you’re ready to make a purchase, call your designer (yeah, me!) for help on sizing, placement, and integration. 

Don’t have the time to be a super-fan (like I am)?  Consult with me on what’s out there.  It’s my job to be that connection for you with whatever you need for your home.

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