In the meantime, while I’ve been laboring outside, I’ve been doing some interior planning. Around the time that the house purchase was being finalized, The GF and I came across a large original oil painting at a decent price ($350). It’s an abstract piece and I chose it to be the new focal point for my living room. The two original oil pieces that I have now are in a genre called abstract illusionism and are both by the same artist: J Kugler. The new painting is by an artist I can’t find any info on (because I don’t know the name). I’m in the process of hassling the seller to hassle his art dealer to get me the name of that artist. This is slightly more important now because I recently found what appears to be another original piece by the same artist in another store. Of course, that seller had zero idea who it was or where it even came from. So, I would like to have two sets of two original paintings by two artists. That would be pretty solid. But, I really want to know how the artists are.
I’m embarrassed to say that even though I know that how you decorate your house speaks volumes about you, this house says little to nothing about me. And that’s probably an accurate reflection about how I felt while living there. The one room I claimed as solely my own does actually say a bit about me, but the rest of the house, nope.
And that’s going to be changing. I have a fair amount of art that I can hang up, and at least one more piece is planned to be purchased. I’ve done my fair share of reading on art collecting and I’ve come up with some personal guidelines for how to proceed.
First guideline is that I have to like it. It sounds like a weird guideline, but consider the simple statement, “Wouldn’t that look good in the dining room?” And that could lead to a case where, yes, it may look nice, but it would be buying art for the benefit of the house. And everything that I know about houses is that they don’t really have any art preference. The guideline also brings with it the difficulty of “I love it, but where would it go?”
Second guideline is that is has to be quality. Quality comes at a price, unfortunately. But, that also brings exclusivity and a bit of cachet. Like my CD collection, my art needs to be discussable. You can either have knowledge of the art’s subject or of the artist, but you should be able to talk about what you find exciting about the piece. This is why I am pushing to get the artist’s info so I can speak with knowledge instead of just “Isn’t it nice?”
The third guideline is that it has to be elegant and simple. There is a recent explosion of multi-piece paintings that fit together like puzzles or become broken murals. While these designs don’t exactly turn me off, a lot of times it feels that the structure of the elements overpowers the image that is being portrayed. Bluntly said, it’s kind of gimmicky. I’ll stick with single art pieces and try not to clutter a wall with too much art or decoration.
My history in art and décor has gone through plenty of back-road detours and I got stuck in the “I have no idea what the hell I’m doing” rut like so many young adults do. Some of the worst items I’ve ever decorated with:
- An incense burner shaped like the grim reaper, where the incense smoke would come out of the empty hooded face.
- A large, hanging porcelain light in the shape of a skull – life-size or maybe slightly bigger. Its name was “Beaner” for the number of times you accidently hit your head on it.
- A painting on black velvet. Not Elvis, but an eagle. Yup, I’ve actually owned one. When I sold the painting at a garage sale, it got a lot of attention. I don’t understand.
- My high school prom glasses. Nothing says “I haven’t grown up” any better.
With those days far behind me, I’m able to make a fresh new start. Or at least get back on the path I started when I bought my first original paintings almost 20 years ago.