A few weeks back I wrote a piece about the launch of Photobox’s Artist Collection, where I was asked to curate their first ever gallery-quality prints. Following the successful launch, I wanted to talk about how to curate your own art collection. I do not believe it is right or helpful to talk about specific artists that I think people should buy, as everyone’s taste is completely different and personal to them. What I can do, however, is to offer a little guidance on how you might begin to put your own collection together.
If you are starting completely from scratch and trying to work out what art might work within your home, then a good starting place is to think about your existing home décor style. What colour are your walls, sofa and home furnishings? Are they bright and bold or softer, more muted shades? This will give you an idea of what might work. This isn’t to say that a contemporary piece won’t work within a traditional home and vice versa.
Another place to start (rather than colour) might be the genre; whether it’s art deco, contemporary, cubism, figurative or pop art, to name just a few. If you know you love nude, figurative pieces then it will be easier for you to begin a search. Once you have found some artists that you like, think about the medium that has been used (chalk, ink, paint etc). The scale of the piece will depend on where it’s going to be hung.
If it’s a gallery wall you are looking to create then you have the option of a formulaic or eclectic curation. Eclectic gallery walls look best with a mix of art, frames and sizes. I really wouldn’t worry about trying to coordinate the genres or palette of the pieces, but I would recommend having a good mix of frame sizes (with large being no bigger than 80cm x 60cm otherwise it will dominate the space).
For a more formulaic curation, opt for odd numbers (3 x 3 so 9 frames in total or 5 x 3, 15 in total) as the eye reads odds numbers far better than even. The frames would need to be exactly the same and equidistant apart (2 inches is a good guide). The art could either be a series of paintings that are part of a collection or pieces that have a similar palette and are therefore unified by colour.
I would strongly recommend arranging the gallery on the floor first so that you can see how it’s working together. This way, you can easily swap items around if you feel they are not working next to one another. Thanks to products such as Command picture hanging strips, you are not totally committed once hung. The sticky tabs act like nails but leave absolutely no residue when removed. This means you are able to adjust the picture slightly without making fresh holes in the wall.
Think about the frame for each particular piece of art, a delicate watercolour may not work in a thick black frame, just like a black and white print may not be right in a shabby chic painted frame. Alternatively, if it’s a large canvas above a console or sideboard, you might want to consider simply leaning these against the wall rather than hanging. We have a few like this in our home and it makes the space feel more relaxed.
In terms of where you hang your art then consider the following; focal points such as above a fireplace, sofa or sideboard; areas that bridge the gap between rooms (such as going up the stairs) and unassuming or otherwise boring spaces – cloakrooms and porches are good examples.
Picture credits: Image 1 (from left) Seascape, Sunset, Helsinki by Izabella Godlewka de Aranda / View from The Tate Gallery St. Ives by Judy Joel / Folded Nude, Midnight by Angie Kenber. Image 2: Dalmation Disco by Holly Frean. Image 3: Exotic by Lucy Banaji. Image 4: Just So Stories by Joseph Rudyard Kipling.
The full collection is now live and available to buy on the Photoshop website