Curate a kingdom of original art

For many, the notion of buying art, much less building an art collection, can be daunting. But whether you do or do not have a degree in art history, or even took a class in art appreciation, there are some simple ways to start filling your home with the beauty and pleasure of original art.

Jody Hemphill Smith, who owns the Castle Gallery with her husband Mark Paul Smith, is surrounded by collections of fine art every day and, as an artist herself, knows more than most about different styles of art. But in the end, she says it’s more important that people love what they choose than it is to follow any particular trends.

“The first thing I ask people is what style they have a passion for,” said Smith. “They don’t even have to know the styles. I take them around the gallery and see what trips their trigger. Whatever art you take into your home, you’re going to live with it for a long, long time, so it’s important that they choose something they like. People think that’s an uneducated way of doing things, but if you’re going to live with it, you have to be passionate about it. It has to be something that you see and know you can’t live without.”

What is less productive is to treat the selection of art as you might a piece of furniture or a new rug. It has to be a more emotionally driven decision.

“People will come in with a color palette or a pillow and try to match something to that,” said Smith. “And that is not the way to buy art. You have to be passionate about whatever you buy, and then once you buy it, take it home. Move it around. See where it looks best. People think it has to be in the front room, but maybe you want to put it in the bathroom. Maybe that’s where you’ll see it most or your guests will see it. Maybe that’s the place you’ll want to look at it. You have to try different places to see where it works the best.”

While following your instincts and passions is a good way to start a collection, Smith says that a bit of follow-up can help as someone wants to expand that one piece into a collection.

“You might want to meet the artist or find out more about them,” she said. “We have events here where you can talk to the artists and find out more about them and their work. As you get to know them, you may feel more of a connection with their art.”

When it comes to displaying the work, there are no particular rules for where to hang it, though Smith says there are practical considerations like doors and walls. But trying to match and coordinate isn’t necessarily the best way to approach it.

“Most designers work from a palette or material coverings, but that’s not really how you want to decide where to hang something. You’re lucky if all of those things work together, but the ultimate decision about how to coordinate an art collection is how it makes you feel. There are trends in the art market, and some people like to coordinate with certain themes. Some people will have a people wall or a woman wall or a horse wall. I like to mix things up. I like variety.”

Image courtesy of Pixabay.


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