I am so excited to collaborate with Liz Lidgett for a second year in a row. We did this last year (please: read her Q&A from last year… it’s really comprehensive and I still refer to it as it is so helpful!!!!)
This year, she is back on the blog for a guest post, and I am back on HER site for a guest curation, putting together my second ever “digital show.” Liz is one of my favorite resources for any and all things art. She has the most incredible gallery in Des Moines (I say incredible based on her online presence, she and I have been talking about me going out to visit her soon – it needs to happen!) and has some of the best, most informative content about art in her instagram highlights. I love her mission of “art for everyone,” and I love her inclusive approach (she places a priority of highlighting female artists as well as artists of color).
For today’s post, Liz is talking about three big things: gallery walls (and getting them to look cohesive!), whether or not your art has to match/how to get it to all look good together, and (this may have been my question, ha ha) what to do when you feel like you are starting to run out of wall space! On top of that, also for the second year in a row, Liz let me curate a little collection on her site of some of my favorite pieces from her gallery. The “show” will be live for one month (ending August 11th), and if you see something you have been eyeing, the code GRACE will get you 10% off any of the pieces I chose.
3 Really Common Art Questions
Q. I have large walls and love a gallery wall. How do I make sure it doesn’t look too busy?
Liz: I love a gallery wall! They go in and out of “trendiness” level but I think they are classic and will stay in style forever. The great thing about a gallery wall is that you can continue to add pieces as you buy and depending on your budget, it’s a good way to afford smaller original artwork rather than one more expensive large piece. (That’s generalizing, of course, there are expensive smaller pieces too but often times price and size are correlated.)
There are a few “rules” that I think are worth thinking about when you are creating your own gallery wall. Try to give pieces some room to breathe. I like to keep a consistent 3 inches in between all pieces. Also, I try to keep the style of frame to 2-3 types of frames to keep your eye moving and keeping the look clean. Gallery walls gone wrong feel very busy and crunched so giving consistent style of frame and some space around each one will help with that.
Sometimes, as in the photo above, their is no frame at all but it feels consistent because we stuck to a color palette that helps the viewer’s eye travel to each piece.
Also think about using items like a license plate, or a piece of sculpture or felt banner that will help give a gallery wall some texture and dimension. It adds just the right amount of interest without taking the entire spotlight. Mix items that have sentimental value (concert tickets, letters, polaroids with friends) with original art and you’ll create a wall of art that will mean something to you and make you smile.
Q: Does your art have to “match”?
Liz: No! That’s the short answer but let me give you a much longer answer than that too. In my home, I have work by over 40 artists (work perks/hazards of owning a gallery) and I tend to gravitate to the same colors and tones so there is a thread that seems to go through the work in each room. For example, in my dining room, I have a garden mural wallpaper and so I have hung artwork that features a snake sculpture by Paige Barnes Dorsey, a bunny by Hunt Slonem and a floral work by Jenna Brownlee. I thought it would be fun to have work that all felt like subjects that belonged in a garden. None of them match but they do have a theme.
I have found though that if you buy artwork that you truly love, it does not need to match, but it “goes together” because YOU are the common denominator. People often tend to gravitate towards similar styles of artwork because your sense of style stays consistent. So you can see in my living room below there are several different styles but it’s an eclectic style that works well together.
I like to think that artwork has “conversations” together when they’re in the same room. My goal is to always put artwork together that brings out the best in each other. Think of artwork look good friends– they don’t need to be the same but there should be some commonality somewhere to get off on the right foot. Then you’ll find that your differences are what bring out the best in each other. Did that metaphor make sense? It did in my mind…
Q: I’m running out of wall space! Talk to me about thinking outside of the box.
Liz: Okay– I LOVE hanging artwork in unexpected places. I too have this problem and I’ve been having a lot of fun thinking of interesting places to hang artwork around my home. If the canvas or frame is thick enough think of places on table tops or bookshelves where the work can rest. I’ve also found a really great table top easel from Ballard Designs where I have placed artwork recently and I love it.
I’ve also recently been playing with hanging art ON the bookshelf by putting a couple of small tack nails. So they easily could be filled with wood putty later if I want to move the piece.
I’ve even also recently hung a piece in front of a couple of windows. Honestly, I think it’s fun to learn the design rules so you know how to break them. My only caveat is that is make sure wherever you hang your artwork on a wall, window, bookshelf, etc. it’s going to be a place where it won’t be damaged. I think anything surface on the table as long as the area is not a high traffic area or is in intense direct sunlight.
Have fun with your art! Buy what you love! Know that you can live with original artwork even if you don’t want to live in a museum. Art is meant to be lived with and enjoyed so do it on your terms and don’t worry about what others are doing.