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Pretty as a Picture: Dress Up Your Home With Fine Art

by Jill Gleeson

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday September 3, 2019

Work displayed on your wall should be at about the eye level of a person standing, but it's totally up to you in what room you place it.
Work displayed on your wall should be at about the eye level of a person standing, but it's totally up to you in what room you place it.   (Source:Wolf & Nomad Gallery)

Fine art is one of the best ways to embellish an interior, infuse it with personality and turn a house into a home. But if you haven't hung much more on your walls than a plexiglass poster of Idris Elba shirtless, the process of selecting, purchasing and displaying art might seem daunting. Luckily, we snagged some pro tips from Asa Wolf, gallery director of Wolf & Nomad Gallery, to help.

Get Inspired
It's never a bad idea to begin anything a little in the know. If you missed out on art history courses in college, consider taking a continuing ed or online class in the subject. Otherwise, Wolf recommends visiting museums and art fairs to "decide what sparks your interest" adding, "Art fairs like the Affordable Art Fair are a great place for new collectors and art patrons to begin."

(Source: Wolf & Nomad Gallery)

Avoid Snap Decisions
Sure, while you're wandering the aisles of that art fair, you might fall in love at first sight with a piece. But that kind of emotional sizzle can sometimes fizzle. Avoid buyer's remorse and "take some time with the pieces" that catch your fancy, Wolf says. "Imagine it in your home, imagine seeing it every day, or try to identify the exact emotions or story that it tells you. It is also wonderful to support young emerging artists in this world, so I enjoy hearing the artists background before I decide whether or not to go forth with my purchase."

It's a Frame Job
There's nothing worse than good art in a bad frame. While what Wolf describes as "the surrounding style of the space" where you're placing your art should help determine the look of the frame, it's also crucial you opt for a quality job. "Cheap frames from stores like Michael's or IKEA can be problematic as they usually come with flimsy plastic or cheap glass," Wolf says. "If you are framing a piece that needs UV protection or needs to be well-sealed I do not recommend you go this route. Many local framers who can help you out at a decent price."

Artist Simon Vargas in front of his portrait series, "Mujeres de Providencia."  (Source: Wolf & Nomad Gallery)

How's It Hanging?
There aren't many hard and fast rules about how and where to hang art in your home. Generally, work displayed on your wall should be at about the eye level of a person standing, but it's totally up to you in what room you place it. "If it is a painting that is not varnished or coated with a protectant we do recommend placing the piece in an area where there won't be too much direct sunlight and in a relatively dry and smoke/steam-free environment," Wolf says.

If a piece is particularly valuable monetarily or emotionally, Wolf does suggest hiring a professional to install it. However, he notes, "If it's a small, relatively light work of art, all you really need is a good eye, a tape measure and a decent leveler."

Up and Comers
While the work of the art world's more established stars might be out of reach financially, there are plenty of artists on the rise whose work won't break your bank — and some are part of the LGBTQ community. "As a gallerist and a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I have always taken it upon myself to represent and nurture emerging artists who identify as LGBTQ," Wolf says. "Currently one of my favorite up and coming artists is Colombian/Spanish artist Simon Vargas. Simon is a young multidisciplinary artist based in the U.S., but gaining popularity internationally."

Wolf also recommends queer artists John MacConnell, who he calls "a prolific portrait and figurative artist based in New York City," and Jonathan Lyndon Chase, currently based in Philadelphia, whose work he believes has "a playful, childlike, possibly Basquiat approach."

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.

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