Original Art vs Mass Produced

I attended an excellent presentation at the Nova Scotia Interior Decorators Association. As part of our Annual General Meeting and Professional Development Day, our guest speaker was Andrea Smith, Executive Director of Teichert Gallery in Halifax. Andrea shared her knowledge of how to introduce original art into our lives, general rules for hanging and lighting artwork, and information on Teichert’s art rental program. Some of the information I knew already, but some I didn’t. Because we all enjoy art in our homes and offices, I thought I would pass along some of Andrea’s wisdom.

Original Art Speaks to You

The idea of using original art is mistakenly considered to be a luxury that few can afford. I often buy mass-produced art when I’m on a very tight budget and in a rush. However, 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 less of a commitment than an original piece. Think of it like buying a piece of inexpensive clothing. If you don’t like it, you can donate it or pass it along to a friend and buy another piece.

However, somehow that takes the enjoyment out of it. If you have ever purchased a perfect piece of art that spoke to you, you know what I mean. It 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.

Original art - painting of the white chicken’s tail on a black canvas.

Teichert Gallery offers original art at all price points. They have pieces by students from NSCAD University as well as more established artists. The cool thing is, 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.

Tips for Hanging Artwork

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

  • Hang it about 6 -8 inches (15-20 cm) above a piece of furniture. Yes, lower than you think.
  • If there is no furniture, hang the piece(s) so that the centre is between 57-60 inches (145-152 cm) above 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 consider the height of your ceiling when choosing the size of your art.
  • Always use two hooks about 12 inches (30 cm) apart to keep large pieces level.
  • If you are creating a grouping, put a little more “weight” (focus) on 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 the artists? Care to share a story about a special piece?

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