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Fresh Ways To Display Art

27-Aug-2018 11:54

Or how to display your art collection when you run out of wall space!
Since moving into the earthship I've had to change the way I collect and display art. Yes, I'm an artist who also collects the works of other artists, I know, shock horror. Isn't it strange how musicians will listen to the music of other musicians. Artisan chefs enjoy the food of other artisan chefs. Actors watch other actors in movies. But artists collecting the works of other artists? Not so common, but that's a subject for a different blog post.

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Tree root hangers inside Earthship

Back to limited wallspace and collecting art. Years ago I was talking to a lady at an art fair, she was raving about one of my paintings (very nice compliment indeed) but then she said she had no space on her walls so couldn't buy it. Oh I responded, do you collect a lot of art? Well not really came her reply, in fact, it turned out that she'd bought a job lot of paintings at an auction years ago and since then not bought a thing. Ah I said, so you love what you bought? Oh no, came the reply, I only really liked one but they all came together and I wouldn't know what to do with the others if I took them down. At the time this surprised me so much I had no response and off she wandered into the crowd.

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Disregarding the sad idea of her taking up precious wall space with a job lot of paintings that she didn't particularly like, she did make me think - how do you carry on collecting art and displaying new works whilst keeping older works that you (hopefully) still love?
It got me thinking. How often do I change the art on my walls? In fact I change things around quite a lot, that could be due to my design background (I just can't help myself redesigning spaces in my head), but when I delve deeper I realise it's to keep things fresh. I find if I leave art in the same place for months or even years I stop looking at it as much. Somehow it disappears as an art piece (which to me is something that elicits an emotion or memory or talking/thinking point) and becomes just a part of the room decoration. But when I move it to another room or position it reinvigorates my senses and speaks to me again.
Over the years I've created quite a collection of art in various forms and I still enjoy collecting new art. Originals, limited edition prints or sometimes even art cards sent to me by friends and family or bought myself. There's no way I can display all this art at the same time, especially here in the earthship where wall space is limited so I've devised three main ways to store and display my ever expanding art collection.

1. On shelves - we have quite unconventional walls made of tyres with shelves of mud. Sounds bizarre but actually they make great display areas. The mud shelves are great because I just prop the art on the shelf making it easy to change. You could replicate this in a more conventional home by putting up floating shelves, they can be quite narrow and, if painted the same colour as the walls, almost disappear. They also make a great place to display other items that maybe relate to the art - I can never resist bringing back pine cones, feathers, twisted wood, leaves and all sorts of other things from our walks. Combined with my nature inspired art, this makes a great display and could even change with the seasons.

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Floating shelves to display art

2. In a collectors album, folder or portfolio - over the years Iíve collected original pieces that are small enough to keep in a portfolio. The idea evolved from seeing Japanese scroll paintings kept rolled up in drawers - the act of making time to carefully take these originals out to view them appeals to my life in the slow lane ethos. It's also a really good way of preserving more delicate pieces of art where even indirect sunlight can have a bleaching effect. There's something quite decadent and seductive about having a hidden place full of original paintings that I can delve into and enjoy whenever I want - like opening a box of chocolates without the calories!

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A few pieces from my portfolio of originals
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Homemade portfolio for my tea bag watercolours

3. Lastly I have a box, a big box, where I can store larger paintings "taking a rest" from my walls. They're works of art that I would never consider passing on as I still love them, even after years and years of living with them. Obviously you need to make sure they're wrapped properly and kept in a dry, cool place. But what joy I have revisiting stored loves when it's time to change it up a bit on my mud walls. And what a buzz I get when I find a piece that Iíd forgotten about - itís almost the same buzz as I had when I first bought it.

But what happens if a piece of art stops moving me? It gets passed on to give someone else joy of course. Although I have to admit this rarely happens because I choose my art as carefully as I choose my friends.

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How do you like to display art in your home? Do you have a decadent album of originals? Can you share any other ideas for displaying art or managing your collection? Please leave your comments below...

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