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Portraits can say so much with so little. Portraiture requires a very high level of skill and an it's amazing form of art.
Even so, portraits are so personal and intimate that some people can doubt whether it's an appropriate form of art to hang in your home. Let us change your mind and show you how this form of art can be really engaging and will mentally always keep you on your toes.
Symbols in portraiture
Before photography, a painted portrait was the only way people could represent themselves to friends, family or potential suitors.
As a result, the artist had to capture and communicate a lot in one image, such as the status of the sitter, whether they were wealthy, from a powerful family or the subject’s profession. One way to communicate this was through symbols, which could be jewellery, clothes or ‘tools of their trade’, such as a map for a merchant or trader.
If you take a look at the images above it is clear that both sitters are wealthy or from successful families. The older lady is wearing gold and pearls and is dressed in a way that we recognise to be the style of mature, affluent people.
Again, with the young girl you can see that she is wearing pearls, a traditional symbol of wealth, and her dress is made with a rich fabric, which could be silk. The necklace with the pendant also represents a figure, which communicates that she is not only from a rich family, but also a powerful one.
If you want to delve a little deeper then both of these paintings can tell us so much more than what we at first see. For example, why is the little girl wearing those particular earrings, what is she holding in her hand, or why is she wearing that dress?
Just as you would look your best for a family photo - you also want to communicate something about you that shows your personality and identifies who you are, and this is no less the case with a portrait.
Playing with the past
Once photography became popular and mainstream, there was no need to accurately represent a person in a painting, so portraiture became more about capturing the ‘essence’ of the sitter.
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and capturing that depth is key to a good portrait, which can be shown in a variety of ways.
There are some artists that like to merge the present with traditional portraits of the past. Christopher Gill likes to paint contemporary subjects in the style of a Renaissance-style portrait.
By doing this he’s highlighting that there are still similarities and connections between the old and the new. Although the girl in the painting above is in a leather jacket, the painting is framed with traditional gold gilt, typical of a renaissance painting.
The fact that the two elements contrast or conflict with each other, also means it has a great effect. It’s this contrasting of styles, and the associated questions they raise, that makes portraits so interesting.
The pursuit of the ‘essence’ of the sitter remains as strong as ever today, which is why portraits are now captured in so many styles and subjects.
There are some artists that paint abstract portraits in order to catch a mood, and others that use charcoal or pencil to capture the sitter in their ‘rawest’ form.
Your employees are probably now all back from their summer holidays, and with the next break being Christmas, we imagine there’s a fair amount of the holiday blues going around the office.
A great way to help reduce this and boost morale is hanging some great art on the office walls. You may be more of a fan of the clean white walls and wood floor look, but a splash of colour and striking visuals can make all the difference employee motivation and productivity.
To hang or not to hang?
Let’s face it, the main requirements for a business are happy and motivated staff. They mean people will stay longer and create an all-round, positive working environment.
Achieving this is not just about great perks or bonuses, but also about the ‘softer’ touchpoints, such as the office space. The trend for the New York Loft-style interior is now being replaced with colour and vibrancy. Why? Because, quite simply, plain walls don’t increase productivity.
There is a school of thought that a plain office environment reduces distractions and increases productivity, but research from the University of Exeter found that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, they found that people who worked in ‘Enriched Offices’ with art and plants were 15% quicker and had fewer health complaints than employees who worked in ‘Lean Offices’ with plain walls.
To add to that, the University study also found that motivational posters didn’t constitute art and had no impact on the employees or the workplace. Essentially, staff need something visually interesting to inspire and help rest their mind from a task or looking at a screen for too long.
Types and styles of art
Hanging art that challenges the viewer is ideal for the workplace. It also needs to be a good size for it to be noticed and stand out when hung on the wall. If it’s too small, employees simply won’t see it and it won’t have the desired effect.
An office may not be the right environment for a traditional landscape or portrait, but Abstract or visually challenging Photography does work well. The reason for this is because they are open to interpretation, which gives the mind a chance to escape and think of something different. Not to mention inspire creativity.
Art is also good to help reduce noise. If acoustics are an issue, then a painting will help dampen sound, and if you have a noisy reception area or communal space, sculpture or an installation are also useful.
If you’ve gone for a particular look and feel or style in your office, then there is scope to buy art that may clash or contradict the design. As we’ve seen with gallery walls, mixing and clashing styles can really work well together.
Ultimately, you don’t want the art to blend in too much otherwise it will lose impact. You want your employees to sit back, take a mindful moment and embrace the image, so don’t be afraid to be bold!
Colour does have an effect on mood, so it’s important to take this into consideration when buying art for offices.
Blue is calming, whereas Red is energising and can encourage conversation. If your office is in need of a bit more energy and noise, then this colour will help. Yellow wakes the brain up and encourages thought, so is a great colour for the workplace as it can help give employees more energy and creativity.
Black is a very confident colour, so monochrome photography could also work in an office environment. It may be worth breaking this up with splashes of colour to avoid creating the feeling of a ‘Lean Office’.
Art doesn’t have to be a painting or a photograph, it can also be sculpture or three-dimensional, which could really shake things up in an office.
The conventions are to have paintings on a wall, but what about a piece of standalone art within the office space. It could really change the way employees think and help drive creativity. It could also be a little disruptive, but, in a corporate environment, that may not be a bad thing.
Good art is challenging and can make for good talking points with colleagues, which can also help create more of a team atmosphere and encourage conversation. As we all know, it can be easy to work in a bit of a silo, so it’s always good to break out of that from time to time.
Art can be a really positive force for good and can transform any space. The workplace is full of different personality types and interests, but a painting or sculpture can help colleagues find common ground. Not only that but buying original art doesn’t have to bust the budget as there is so much for all price ranges and styles. Go on, get shopping and have some fun!
How many Surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A Fish
Not all of us like conventional or traditional art. Some people may want something a little different, something quirky, that gets them thinking and talking. This is where Surrealist art can be a great alternative, it’s weird, whacky and sometimes a little bit bonkers.
Of course, when we think of Surrealism we immediately think of Salvador Dali, but there’s more to this art movement than you’d imagine, and it’s also a great style to hang in the home.
What is Surrealism?
Brace yourself, we’re about to get Metaphysical and Freudian.
The earliest form of Surrealism can be seen in the work of Italian artist, Giorgio De Chirico. He painted dreamlike scenes that had a sense of the otherworldly, or Metaphysical. De Chirico’s paintings were loaded with symbolism and fused with references to psychology, as well as the Greek myths; as you can imagine, they had a profound influence on the Surrealist artists, who were mainly, Rene Magritte, Max Ernst, and the most famous of all, Salvador Dali.
Alongside De Chirico, the surrealists were also heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud. His book, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ outlined his belief that dreams were driven by the unconscious mind and represented deeper meaning. He felt they were full of symbolism, as well as open to interpretation and analysis to help understand an individual’s state of mind.
Freud’s theories helped shape the themes and content for Surrealist art - think Dali’s melting clocks. Combine De Chirico’s enigmatic spaces with the power and strangeness of dreams, and you have the source of Surrealist inspiration, as well as a deeper understanding of what they attempt to capture in their art.
Although Surrealist paintings capture a dream-state, they’re not just random scenes, far from it. This art is loaded with symbolism and meaning and is very carefully thought out, which is slightly contradictory to the chaos and unpredictable strangeness of dreams.
This movement, however, did want to capture the essence of dreams in all its jumbled, surreal state, leaving it open to psychological interpretation. At a time when therapy and psychoanalysis were becoming increasingly mainstream, Surrealist art certainly captured that moment in time.
In fact, Freudian analysis was so popular, Salvador Dali worked with Alfred Hitchcock on his film, Spellbound, to create the iconic dream sequence with Gregory Peck.
There were artists, though, that did want to capture the immediacy and unpredictability of the subconscious mind, such as Jean Arp, who’s automatic drawings, or automatism, were spontaneous works of art where the hand was allowed to move randomly and freely across the paper or canvas.
There is also another strain of Surrealism that questions accepted norms and standards. Dali questioned why a telephone meant telephone, and why he wasn’t handed a Lobster instead. Basically, he was questioning language and human understanding.
This element of challenging human understanding has become a very popular strain of Surrealism. It can make for humorous and entertaining art. This is probably the most popular form, as it can be nonsensical and easier to ‘read’ than a more complex Surrealist painting that is loaded with symbolism.
As it is a popular style, there are still many artists producing Surreal works of art. Spencer Derry is an artist whose work combines Surrealism and automatic drawings to produce complex and detailed results.
Neil Helmsley is a digital artist who uses this new medium to create dreamlike, haunting images. Digital art enables artists to create more imaginative and experimental works, and something Salvador Dali would have probably used if he were alive now.
Janette Boskett creates landscapes and still lifes with a surreal twist. Painted in a style similar to Rene Magritte, she takes the everyday and plays on the use of language to create lighthearted paintings that amuse and entertain.
The term Surrealism covers such a broad range of art that there are paintings to suit every taste, style and budget. It can range from being lighthearted to very serious and conceptual, which means it can be hung anywhere in a home.
Like Dali, Surrealism does like to show off, so make sure that, wherever you decide to hang it, it’s always front and centre to grab people’s attention. As one of the most famous art movements, some people may feel that Surrealism is a little dated and unfashionable; looking at what’s being created by artists in the present day, we’d say this was far from true.
Landscape art is a style that gets very mixed reactions. There is a perception that it is old-fashioned, a little bit predictable and only shows scenes of rolling hills and lush, green fields intended to conjure up a chocolate-box vision of an imagined Britain from the past.
Well, this isn’t always the case. Landscape art is developing in many interesting ways and there is so much more to this style than meets the eye.
Let's take a look at the latest traditional and contemporary landscapes to show you that there’s something for everyone, and that all is not what it seems.
What is a landscape?
Before photography came into existence, landscape painting was the best way of showing our appreciation of the beautiful British countryside.
Once the camera became a mass consumer product, landscape art responded to the challenge and took to looking at nature in a completely different way. There was less of a need to capture a realistic view in a painting because a photograph did all that anyway.
To add to this, industrialisation dramatically altered the UK’s green and pleasant vistas to create more urban landscapes. Artists started painting politically charged scenes that challenged this change to the natural order. From Constable’s famous painting, The Hay Wain, to Turner’s highly charged, abstract scenes of the sea - these weren’t simply romanticised views of Merrie England but, in part, statements on rural change, mechanisation and the permanent loss of landscape.
Today, landscapes tend to explore the issue of how we live, as well as the impact the human race is having on the land and the environment. They also tend to be more complex and symbolic than straightforward reproductions or nature, intendted to make you challenge and question what you are looking at.
Since the advent of impressionism, artists have felt completely free to interpret their subjects any way they like, and this has been great for landscape art, making it a hotbed of creativity.
Light is one way that has sparked this change. If you travel to different parts of the UK or the world, artists are painting landscapes that are made up of sequences of colours, which are based on the differences in light and shade in that particular area.
Some areas will have a softer light, others starker, harsh light, which is represented through differences in shade or tone. As there is no such thing as a pure colour, artists will use a range of colours to create their interpretation of a landscape.
The artist will give you their vision in a painting, whereas, a photograph will give you the reality (the camera never lies?) As it rose to dominance alongside industrialisation, it seems only natural that photographers tend to capture more urban scenes of towns growing or in decay.
This style of photography is also filled with symbolism around what is seen and what is meant by the image. A run-down building may not be the most attractive view, but when you look at what it stands for and ‘read’ it in more detail, it suddenly becomes something very different.
Not only that, but photography also captures stunning landscapes. Instead of being purely documentary images, these views can take on different meaning and form when taken from the viewpoint of the photographer. Also, unlike paintings, a camera can capture true scale and representation of a landscape with amazing results.
Seascapes and cityscapes
Landscapes aren’t always views of hills or derelict buildings, they can also be scenes of beaches, seas, towns or cities.
Seascapes are very popular subjects for artists as the weather offers constantly changing views and perspectives, so it’s impossible to get bored.
You could have a whole gallery wall of the same beach, but every painting will be different! This is no less the case with cityscapes, as, again, these scenes are all down to interpretation. One artist may see a street or area one way, whereas another may take a completely different perspective.
If you’re a bit more of a traditionalist and prefer a more pastoral view, there are many artists creating stunning landscapes. Emma Cownie paints landscapes and urban scenes, but with a classic twist that are bursting with light and shade.
Graeme Robb is another artist who also paints more traditional views. It was while he was on a charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats that he fell in love with landscape painting. Some of his scenes are dominated by clouds and are very ‘nostalgic’ views of the British countryside.
Cloudscapes are also another form of art that comes under the landscape banner. Constantly changing and very dramatic, they are ripe subjects for stunning scenes and great to hang in a room where you need to be calm and creative, such as an office or study.
So, who said landscapes were dull? There is a lot more to this style than meets the eye and it’s well worth checking out. With so many different types of landscape there is a painting for every room in the house, don’t you think it’s time to check out this very modern art?
As we all know, colour can influence our mood. There are some tones that can make you feel positive and focused, creative and calm and others that can make you feel angry or negative. If you’re looking to update your home or buy a painting in a specific tone or shade, then colour can influence your buying decision, as it’s not just about liking an image or shade, but also the effect of the colour on your emotions.
We look at how colour can affect mood to help you decide what room to hang a painting in; after all, what may work in a living area, may not necessarily work in a study or bedroom.
Why does colour affect mood?
The brain responds to colour, which is controlled by the hypothalamus. This secretes hormones, as well as regulates and controls various impulses, such as hunger, body temperature and sleep patterns.
As a result, in the light of the morning, which is usually blue/green in colour, cortisol is released to stimulate the brain. Whereas, the blue light of dusk and going into the evening releases melatonin to make us drowsy.
The brain processes and responds to colours accordingly, so whether or not we actively feel like our emotions are reacting, colour does have a subconscious impact.
For example, a railway company in Japan wanted to decrease the rate of suicide on the line. In response to this they installed blue lighting, which has reduced these incidences by 74%. Why? Because blue is a calming colour and puts people in a more positive frame of mind.
Sticking with the colour blue, not only is it calming, but it is also an intellectual colour, which is great for environments where people need to be productive, such as an office or studio. It is also said to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Take caution, however, some blue tones, such as a light pastel blue can be quite cool and therefore make you feel detached, aloof or antisocial.
When it comes to red, this is a whole different ball game; it is vibrant, energetic, as well as an empowering and strong colour. Use this colour wisely though, and only in rooms that need a lift in spirit. It’s a colour that encourages conversation so it’s ideal for social spaces such as a lounge or dining area.
As you can imagine, red is not necessarily a great colour for bedrooms as it essentially wakes the brain up and encourages thought. This is where a blue tone would probably work best to encourage a good night’s sleep. If you want to feel creative and confident, then yellow’s your colour! Like the sun, it makes us feel happy and positive.
It’s a great colour for bedrooms, as well as kitchens, social areas or hallways. Just like blue, getting the right tone of yellow is also important to create the right mood otherwise it can have the opposite effect.
As it is in nature, green is a balanced colour that encourages harmony and peace, making it ideal for bathrooms and bedrooms to create that tranquil sanctuary. Orange is also a great colour as it is a fusion and red and yellow, so it is warm and vibrant at the same time.
If you’re familiar with a colour wheel then you’ll know that you can have a lot of fun using opposing or clashing colours, which can work really well in a room. It can show personality and character, not to mention - especially with original art - a real statement piece.
If you’re a little nervous about going all out for colour in a room, then white walls broken up with bursts of colour can look great, and this is where art can come into its own. White is a clean colour but can be quite cool and lack warmth, so breaking this up with a vibrant painting can make all the difference.
Black is Black
Believe it or not, black can have a positive effect on a room, as, when used as an accent colour, it can create a glamorous or sophisticated space that oozes confidence. If you think about various movements, such as Art Deco, black is frequently used as a key part of that style.
More often than not, when we think of art, we tend to think of colour, but going for a darker shade can also be just as effective. Sometimes it can help tone down a bright colour on a wall or create a striking look against a white background.
Like anything in life, rules are sometimes made to be broken, and this is no less the case with art and interiors. The unexpected can often complement each other well and bucking a trend can create amazing results.
Whatever mood you want to create in your home, art can help finish and round-off that look. There are so many styles and genres to choose from, such as abstract, figurative or landscapes, that you can create a space that is the envy of all your friends. Have fun!
Who doesn’t love pop art?! It’s fun, it’s loud, it’s colourful and gets noticed. It’s from an art movement that’s over 50 years old, but still looks great and very contemporary, even today.
By turning the ‘trashy’ or mass-consumer into art, the Pop Art movement has been incredibly influential and has inspired many artists, such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and The Guerrilla Girls who continue to turn everyday objects into art.
If you’re thinking of investing in Pop Art for your home, then you’re going to have a lot of fun selecting a painting. We give you our tips on buying Pop Art and the best rooms to hang this style.
What is Pop Art?
Believe it or not, there are different types of pop art. When asked about this movement, we instinctively think of Roy Lichtenstein’s comic strips, and of course, the Pop Art master himself, Andy Warhol.
However, in the 1950’s when the movement first started, there was British and American pop art. The Brits took a more collage-based or illustrative approach - with artists like Patrick Caulfield and Richard Hamilton leading the field - and they commented on all things American culture.
Richard Hamilton defined Pop Art as: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business
At the same time in the US, there was Lichtenstein and Warhol also commenting on popular American Culture. As we know, the 1950’s was the start of mass consumerism and technological advancement in the states. McDonalds drive thru’s, popular cinema, household gadgets and convenience food. Not forgetting, space travel and an obsession with life on other planets.
This is the fun part! As Richard Hamilton says, mainstream, glamorous, sexy and expendable is what you need to be looking for when identifying and buying Pop Art.
One Artist who really embodies the Pop Art sentiment is Juan Sly. His work represents all things pop and his series of paintings entitled: ‘Other People’s Paintings, only Much Cheaper’, highlights the disposable element of this movement.
In true Pop Art style, Sly also takes iconic images and subverts them to make a statement. His treatment of Donald Trump from Obama’s ‘Hope’ image is a great example, where he’s been placed in a heroic context for purely ironic purposes.
Other artists painting in the Pop art style, include Peter Masonand Joe Henry. Mason uses postage stamps to create his abstract and popularist images, whereas Henry takes iconic figures of the 20th Century and creates ‘pop’ collages.
The best interior styles to have pop art
Pop art is a very strong and colourful style, so this needs to be hung in a more contemporary looking interior. It would probably jar in an art deco or antique space. It’s also best to hang against white or neutral-coloured walls to make it really, well, pop.
Pop art works well with the cleanest and most cutting-edge interiors, and it can also work with a modernist, retro or vintage space. After all, it is a ‘vintage’ art movement. As it’s art that really shouts at you, it’s also worth carefully considering the room or space you want to hang it.
Where to hang pop art
Now, there are no hard and fast rules to hanging art in the home, but you’ve made an investment and you want it to stand out, so it is worth giving it some serious thought.
Going back to Richard Hamilton, pop art is trashy and noisy, so this style of painting needs to be hung on its own and probably not part of a gallery wall, otherwise it will look too busy and confusing. Ideally, it needs to stand out on its own.
This movement is also irreverent, but this is the fun part of pop art. Hang it in a central location, such as over a fireplace, or in a central location in a hallway where it makes people stop to look at it. Pop art isn’t shy, so make it stand out!
We have a great selection of pop art, as well as artists using the medium of art to make a statement on politics and consumerism. Not everybody wants to hang a traditional portrait or landscape in their home, which is why we also showcase the latest and most innovative artists who are bucking conventions and making a noise. Just like true pop artists!
If you’ve always dreamed of having a gallery wall in your home, then why not make it a reality? They are striking, visually interesting and a great way to show off your taste and favourite art styles.
With a little bit of thought and consideration, a gallery wall can give you that glossy interiors magazines look in your own home. We show you how.
What is a gallery wall?
Just like an art gallery or museum, a gallery wall is made up of five to six large pieces - or more for smaller paintings - clustered or grouped together on a wall.
If you’re starting from scratch, this is a great opportunity to think about whether you want to have a theme for your gallery wall or whether you want a mashup of styles or genres. Both can be fun, eclectic and reflect your personalist. Either way, a gallery wall is a collection of art, so it’s a great excuse to start building and developing your range of paintings.
If you’ve got a small collection already, but it needs building, you can start creating your gallery wall now and add to it, each time you find that perfect painting, photo or sketch.
Themed, eclectic or random?
The only rule with a gallery wall is that no matter how different they appear, all the paintings should work or connect together in some aesthetic way and have some sort of visual flow. Otherwise, your viewer is going to get confused and the wall risks looking like a jumble of paintings.
Here are some ways to theme your wall:
A selection of portraits
A series of near-identical paintings or
An eclectic mix of vintage, period and modern
The great thing about art is the way the unexpected happens, especially when two opposing art styles work really well together. How this happens is largely down to the eye and the layout of the wall, but a classical-style painting can sometimes work amazing well alongside a contemporary work of art.
There are also other ways you can make your gallery wall connect by either using the same frame throughout, display paintings from the same artist, hang in uniform rows or randomly ‘scatter’ them on a wall in a mix of shapes and sizes.
A gallery wall is likely to be the focal point in your room, so it's best to keep your walls simple in colour for this to work well. Patterned wallpaper, for example, will make it too busy for the eye, although you could separate the art from the wallpaper to create two distinct sections on a wall.
In the setup below, we have overlapping unframed prints above a patterned wall. The prints stand out against the deep blue, whilst the green of the sofa complements the colour scheme.
Another way is to zone your walls by creating a clearly defined area for the gallery that can be complemented by a different colour scheme. This can also help create a sense of space in a smaller room.
If you have a large space in your home, then a range of different sizes and shapes of painting will work well. However, in a smaller room, it may be worth looking at paintings that don’t overwhelm, and it may be better just to use a single wall to create the gallery.
How to arrange your gallery wall
Gather your paintings, arrange them on the floor and see how they look. Keep re-arranging until you’re happy and take a picture to remember the layout.
Following that, start measuring-up and thinking about distances between paintings. If you’re hanging an eclectic mix of art, then give them a little more room or ‘breathing space’ so the eye can take it all in.
If you’re renting or concerned about nail holes in the wall, then you can also create a gallery wall with picture shelves. These are really effective and look great in any room. Large retail outlets, like Ikea, sell a range, and you can buy them online.
Since a gallery wall consists of many pictures, the eye is not focussed so much on one individual picture as the impression that the whole collection creates. Because of this, the frames you choose are much more part of the effect than when hanging individual pieces.
So, if you’re looking for a more uniform look, then it is probably best to use the same or similar frame throughout. But many people choose to go a bit crazy with the frames to create a more scattergun, eclectic feel.
Mix and match any which way you want. Wood frames, next to coloured frames or light colours next to dark. You choose! The only consideration is whether to place deep-framed pieces next to flat-framed pieces - this can sometimes be too jarring.
If you don’t have the budget for a bespoke framing company, then places like the SAA or Ikea sell-ready-to-hang, cost-effective frames and framing kits. If you’re going for a more aged or weathered look, then junk shops, charity shops and vintage markets can also be great places to buy frames at very low prices. You might need to throw the picture away to salvage the frame.
Where to create your gallery wall
A gallery wall deserves the largest wall in a room, whether it’s above a sofa, a corridor, bed or on an opposing wall, it needs to be in a place for all to see. It needs to hang where people can stop, look at it and enjoy it.
Gallery walls also work in any room in a house, from kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, studies, offices, or even a downstairs loo, you name it, it will look great.
With these tips, you too can create a gallery wall that is worthy of the pages of Elle Decoration or Homes & Gardens, so what are you waiting for?
In a hectic world, minimalist art is a great way to escape and have a tranquil moment. It’s also an enduring interior design trend that never seems to go out of style.
We look at the best art for minimal interiors to help you create a serene oasis within the chaos of family, friends, career or general life commitments.
Minimalism in art
Minimalist art is different to minimalist interiors, but they both converge to complement each other and have the same overall effect; a calm and centred environment.
A minimalist interior is, more often than not, made up of white walls and simply furnished with Nordic-style wood, black, metallic or off-white furniture. It is a very clean style with no additional or decorative objects - or some might say ‘clutter’ - as you would with a Vintage or Art Deco interior, for example.
In contrast, Minimalist art is colourful and bright. It’s usually an abstract composition, but (and here’s where we touch on a bit of art theory) it doesn’t refer to anything but itself. The pattern on the canvas is meant to suggest nothing more than - a pattern on a canvas. There’s no reference to society or politics, which means you can enjoy and lose yourself in a painting for what it is; essentially, it’s an immersive experience.
Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman were the key artists of this movement. They believed in colour theory and its impact on emotion, as they felt that colour and art combined should be a more mindful experience. Which is why this is such a great style for interiors as it’s calming and relaxing.
Today we are very influenced by the impact colour has on mood, especially when it comes to home decorating, and it’s these artists who helped shape this way of thinking.
What to look for when buying Minimalist art
Less is very much more when it comes to choosing a minimalist painting. They’re usually abstract works of art and are always clean and simple pieces. The barest, well, minimum needs to be in the painting, so they are very uncluttered.
Since a minimalist interior is quite white and sparse, it’s often best to go art which includes bold colours, to break things up a bit. Barnett Newman’s paintings were usually just one tone or shade over a whole canvas but were always calming shades of reds, blues and greens.
Although we’ve only focused on minimalist interiors, there are other styles where this art also works, such as mid-century modern and Industrial, which is defined mainly by exposed brick, cool-coloured walls, black piping, neutral browns and woods, especially when it comes to furniture.
The Scandinavian style also uses muted colours but with more of a focus on greys and greens for furnishings and accessories. There’s also the Bohemian style, which uses more natural wicker and hessian materials, patterned and textured furnishings.
As these styles do tend to use a colour palette that is on the cooler end of the spectrum, the colours in Minimalist art will bring a space to life and add warmth and depth to a room.
Due to the mindful nature of this style of art, it needs to be hung in a place where you can sit down, relax, unwind and look at the painting in order to take a moment.
With this in mind, calmer spaces such as bedrooms, studies, offices and even bathrooms are ideal. Even though a minimalist painting doesn’t relate to anything it’s not something you can simply engage with quickly, so it needs to be in a place where you can take time and enjoy the process of looking.
Mark Rothko believed his paintings worked best in a Church environment, so that gives you an idea of how calming this art is supposed to be.
Art reduces stress, and, as we’re living increasingly busy, smartphone-based lives it’s even more important to take a time-out from it all. It’s almost as if the original minimalist artists predicted the future!
There is now also an overall trend towards minimalism, whereby people are focusing on reducing life ‘clutter’ in order to sharpen their minds and create time for the things that really matter in their lives, such as friends, family or hobbies.
The mindful, or meditative, nature of a minimalist painting aims to start you on that journey for a more balanced life, which is a great way to think about original art.
You feel like you want to take a few risks with art and you’re thinking of buying a painting that really shouts and makes an impact when people visit your house. It’s unapologetic and is the centrepiece of any room.
Welcome to statement art.
How to make a statement
The keywords to any statement piece are big and bold. These are not small, polite pieces as they dominate the space, but also work with its surroundings. These works of art can be made up of bright colours, be period pieces or a dramatic abstract statement.
The great thing about statement art is that it works well with any interior style, whether that’s antique, vintage, Nordic, minimal or modern, there is a painting for every taste, not to mention the fact that it can really offset the look you’re trying to achieve and help make that style pop.
Naturally, for anybody, or anything, wanting to be noticed it needs to be centre stage. Statement art is no exception and needs be the main focal point in a room. This means hanging it over a fireplace or on a wall where the eye naturally gravitates.
If your house has space, then the larger the piece the better to really stand out and be the main point in a room.
If you’re hanging it a bedroom, then over the bed is ideal, but make sure you get the right dimensions between the ceiling and the top of the bed, or headboard, to get maximum impact and to ensure the eye naturally hits the centre point of the painting.
The same rules apply if hanging it over a desk in a home office. Besides, studies, bedrooms and lounges, other rooms where this art would work include dining rooms or general social areas. A statement piece would also work at the top of a staircase.
Statement art for smaller spaces
As this kind of art is big and bold, a balance needs to be struck between standing out versus completely dominating the space, so it needs to be hung in a room where the painting isn’t overwhelming.
With this in mind, smaller areas such as bathrooms or small kitchens aren’t ideal for large pieces. If you live in a smaller space but would like a statement piece nonetheless, then going for a medium-sized painting won’t lessen the effect and can still make an impact.
By going for bold colour or striking monochrome the piece can still standout, especially if you have neutral white or cream walls. Again, make them the focal piece of a room to become art that’s hard to ignore.
Usually, people associate statement pieces with landscapes or abstract art, but portraiture can be just as impactful. An image of a person can be just as striking in a room, if not more so, than abstract or landscape paintings.
These days, portraiture is not what people traditionally expect to see in a room, so breaking with convention is also a great way to make a statement.
There is a perception that statement art is expensive, but this isn’t necessarily the case as you can make a statement on any price range – from £45 right up to £4,500.
If you’re looking to buy art as a future investment, but you’re on a tight budget, then why not do some research on up and coming artists or think about latest trends, such as digital art. Statement art isn’t something that only belongs to the rich and famous, it’s out there for everybody and every home.
The early May Bank Holiday weekend is here, and it looks like the weather throughout the UK is set to be warm and sunshiney, at last!
Artists love nothing more than celebrating the seasons through painting, sculpture and photography. Spring is traditionally one of the favourite seasons - with all its promise of warmth and life in the year to come.
Why not spend an hour or two of your downtime this Bank Holiday weekend perusing our nearly 40,000 artworks to find the perfect piece for your home?
To make the idea more tempting we're giving you a 15% discount code. Simply use the code MAY15 at the checkout to redeem your discount. Have a glorious weekend, art-lovers!