Art: Original vs Mass Produced

I recently attended an excellent presentation with Andrea Smith, Executive Director of Teichert Gallery in Halifax.  Andrea spoke to members of the Nova Scotia Interior Decorators Association as part of our Annual General Meeting and Professional Development Day.

Andrea shared her knowledge of how we can introduce original art into our lives, general rules for hanging and lighting artwork, plus information on Teichert’s art rental program. Some of the information I knew already and some I didn’t.  Because we all enjoy art of some sort in our homes and offices, I thought I should pass along some of Andrea’s wisdom.

The idea of using original art is mistakenly considered to be a luxury that few can afford.  While you can often find me in a retail store buying mass produced art when I’m on a very tight budget and in a rush, I know that original art is more affordable than you would think, and certainly more enjoyable over the long term.  Purchasing inexpensive, mass-produced art could be considered much less of a commitment than an original piece, similar to buying a piece of inexpensive clothing.  If you don’t like it, you can donate it or pass it along to a friend and go buy another piece.

However, somehow that takes the enjoyment out if it.  If you have ever purchased a perfect piece of art that just spoke to you, you know what I mean.  That happened to me a few years ago when I was in Vancouver.  The artist had just finished this fabulous painting she called “chicken butt”.  I loved it then and still love it today.  It definitely speaks to me.

Teichert offers original art at all price points.  They have pieces by students from NSCAD and many other more established artists as well.  The cool thing is that if you don’t want to purchase a piece, you can try it out through their art rental program.  They have a very robust website showing each piece, with the purchase and rental price options, and a very handy visual that shows the art piece to scale with a piece of furniture.

Once you bring your piece or pieces home, you’ll need a few tips on hanging your art.

  • Hang it about 6” to 8” above a piece of furniture.  Yes, lower than you think.
  • If there is no furniture, you want to hang the piece(s) so that the center falls 57” to 60” off the floor. Again, lower than you think.
  • Your art piece(s) should be two-thirds to three-quarters the width of your furniture piece and you should take into account the height of your ceiling when choosing the size of your art.
  • Always use 2 hooks about 12” apart to keep the piece level depending on the size of the piece.
  • If you are creating a grouping, put a little more “weight” (focus) to the left side.

If you are still terrified of buying and hanging artwork, call in professional help.  Yup, that’s me!

What type of art hangs in your home or office?  Is it mainly from big box stores or from the artists? Care to share a story about a special piece?

“Chicken Butt”

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