Your 101 Guide to Collecting Wall Art

Wall art in 2015 is more exciting – and accessible – than ever, with oil-painted landscapes making way for captivating graphic pieces and contemporary photography. Here is the essential guide to purchasing, hanging, framing and collecting art for the novice.

If you don't have an eye for design, choosing the right art for a living space, can feel like a daunting task. To take away the stress, follow these top tips by founders of The Artwork Stylist Sara and Amy Chamberlain. 

1. Experience art

Keeping up with upcoming artists is essential if you want to really reinvent your interior space, so don’t always choose the ‘takeaway’ art on offer en-masse in every second homewares store! Instead, pop into your local galleries – or any you may stumble across in your travels – and put your name down for gallery exhibitions, urges Sara Chamberlain, one half of The Artwork Stylist.  “Start experiencing art in different spaces to really appreciate it,” she suggests.

2. Purchase with heart, not a heavy wallet

Art has the ability to appreciate in price when it's limited edition, notes Amy, co-founder of the Artwork Stylist. But a $10,000 original is not always in the budget; so don’t be shy about choosing some mid-to-low price range pieces to get you started. “Prices vary so much, as art is so objective,” she says.

The four main indicators of price are:

  • Quality of design or artist’s work
  • Quality of materials (stock, ink and frame)
  • Exclusivity
  • Edition size and artwork size.

3. Try new trends

Art can date easily, cautions Sara. To overcome this, buy good quality pieces such as chic, timeless prints, which always remain on-trend, and don’t be afraid to mix and match frame colours, sizes and mediums throughout the house to keep it contemporary. Look for:

Evocative photography: Sara notes that this is becoming a staple in your best-dressed interior spaces. “The beauty of it is people no longer have to have their family pixie photo on the wall to have a large piece of photography. The world is beginning to realise that a photo is a piece of art," she adds, even more so when it is mixed with other forms of artistic expression

Bold striking graphics: These are also effortlessly timeless like the little black dress of the art world, notes Sara. “People are playing with different art mediums at the moment. Pixelated images, shapes, and large printed words/letters are still on trend.”

Size matters: Landscapes balance long spaces - for example over a couch - however pairs of portraits can work too,” notes Amy. “The most important part for us is the hanging height. Don’t hang off picture rails from the existing string, instead, hang with wire and drop them down to your desired length. For an urban feel, lean larger pieces on the floor or against consoles."

Let there be light: “Be careful with framed pieces and too much reflection,” cautions Amy. “For example if a window is facing the piece directly, you may get a great framed view of your outdoor area rather then your piece of art!” To avoid this, place spot/track lighting over artwork to give it a strong, gallery feel.

The frame game: For contemporary artwork anything with a grove is out! “Also stay away from grainy painted woods. Go with flat-box in blacks, white and blonde woods for a timeless expensive look,” advises Sara. Thickness is relative to the size of the print, so it’s best to stay with a medium thickness, she adds. “We are also seeing a mixture of prints with a 'white border' and prints that run edge to edge within the frame." This is an excellent way to increase the size of a photographic image without changing the frame.

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