Millard Wells

Our home is our sanctuary. What we hang up in our sanctuary says a lot more than we think.  

While we often think about our home and its general mood and décor, the artwork is something that most people don’t really think about. At the most, art is regulated as something good to fit that space on that wall in the bedroom or the bathroom. Art is more than decoration; it is a reflection of us and our interests. When referring to a work of art or artwork, I’m talking about photography, sculpture and paintings.

You spent a long time getting your home just right; you might as well have the art reflect what you want it to. Decorating a house is a big job; that is why there are interior designers to help you create your own home. But all too often the artwork gets ignored or is chosen because it is the right size color. The artwork should speak to you. It should be something you find interesting. 

It is difficult to talk about art — it is a subject that many people shy away from. Choosing the right color or fit replaces looking for a work of art that you like. Why? Because we don’t want to be wrong; we don’t want to look ignorant. It is easier to say “I picked it for the color” or “it just fit” than admitting that we liked the image. Why are we afraid to choose the wrong artwork? It is your home and should mirror you and your family. Even if we just pick anything to hang on our walls or nothing to hang on our walls, that says just as much as the artwork.

Art and photos are important. It might seem like an afterthought. They are something you will see every day as you pass through your house; why not make it something you enjoy? Artwork has tremendous power and perhaps that is why we often choose to just settle. Think of a beautifully framed photo of you and your family on vacation. You see the photo with everyone’s smiles on their faces. Perhaps there is a photo of a loved one who is sadly no longer with us.  There is a print of your favorite fish hanging on the wall on the other side of the room. You go down your hallway past some artwork from your trip to Italy hanging carefully on the walls. As you walk throughout your home you realize just how much of your life and personality is hanging on the walls.

Okay, that is great and you understand, but you don’t have the time to curate the art in your house. Curate: a stuck-up little word that probably had you going back to choosing the artwork based on color or size. While the word might make you think of a museum and something you don’t want to do, it just means that you are selecting what is right for you.  Museums and galleries have a tough time trying to find art that is relevant for them, their area and how it fits in the history of art. You are not doing that; you are just finding artwork that is for the unique individual(s) you are.

The artwork doesn’t have to be fancy or even important; it should be something that makes you feel the way you want to feel when you see it. The art can be from a world-famous artist, a local artist, a photograph of your favorite place or even a poster. Remember the artwork should be something you enjoy and will continue to enjoy looking at. 

Where do we go from here? Now that you are starting to understand, it still seems daunting. I would start with family photos; nothing brings more happiness than seeing your loved ones.  Where do you want to hang the pictures? In the living room? Down a hallway? Please, not a bathroom. When looking through the photos, do you want some of them enlarged? How do you want to arrange them? I know it is starting to sound a little overwhelming but take it slow. If you need help, you might have a friend or a family member who has a good eye and can help you arrange the photos.

Traveling is one of life’s truly great pleasures. Purchasing artwork from your trip will help you remember the trip and enjoy it all over again. You can take photos and put them in photo albums, but they often stay on the shelf. They are not something you see while walking throughout your home. Because of our phones, most of us just have the photos stored digitally.  It is time to go past that and hang some photos of your trip up on the walls. One of the neat parts of traveling is meeting new people and discovering new art. On your trip you found a photographer who took some amazing photos of the area. You find an artist who beautifully painted a local landmark. Seeing this artwork in your home will help you get through tough days and be a stimulating conversation piece. 

Now that you are starting to understand, take a bit of a leap and start looking at artwork and photos by artists. Not from trips you have taken, but just art, photos and sculptures that are just for art’s sake. You don’t have to go and buy right away. Explore and meet up with various local artists and visit different galleries. If you feel uncomfortable in a gallery, then that art probably isn’t for you and that is okay. You will find art that clicks with you. You can talk to the artist and photographer and see what they were thinking when they worked on a piece. This can help you see if the artwork is right for you.

Don’t be afraid to think of it as a new world to explore. The right artwork will help you set a mood, it will make you feel. When you see that open space in your house, don’t be tempted to just fill it up; make it exceptional. 

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