There are a lot of things I have on A List for this next house. There are counter tops and paint samples and furniture clippings from catalogs all the way down to drawer pulls and the numbers for the outside of the house. There are a gagillion less interesting things to consider like contractor negotiations, permits, outlet locations and the like.
But the other day something interesting occurred to me. You see, for each room, I can literally “see” the room in my mind’s eye. I can see colors and textures and placement – I can even see a cocktail party. But I realized that in these rooms and vignettes in my head, there is art there – except there isn’t.
In my head I know there is a great, big, striking piece (or series of pieces) that will go on one wall in the den. My head fills that in almost automatically, it appears. In fact, in each room there is art on the wall, but I didn’t realize that until the other day. It didn’t occur to me that art was on A List as well – my subconscious seems to have taken care of that.
I’ve lived without art for a long time. Photographs, yes, but art pieces – it’s been years. It sort of made me catch my breath how long it’s been since something has hung on my walls that was meaningful or inspired. I have owned two pieces that were meaningful in my life – a Calman Shemi that I brought back from a memorable Israel trip, where we got to visit with the artist in his studio, and a hand-framed poster of a Kandinsky, my favorite artist – the one and only time I’ve been gifted “art.” The Shemi hangs in Leah’s room now, the Kandinsky poster was damaged irreparably in a move, and couldn’t be replaced.
I studied art history in college. I never had the guts or talent to try an actual art class (well, maybe once), but for semester after semester I sat in a dark auditorium and watched as images flickered across the screen. The “art” helped make “history” makes sense to me. A few semesters may have included some extra curricular activities with my TA, but that was just a bonus, because every now and then an image would flash on that screen that struck me. It vibrated with… something. Didn’t matter, it was seared in my brain, the image and energy.
I’d forgotten how a piece could make you feel. See, that’s the thing about art – it’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s “good” or “bad” or “quality.” If you get stuck studying the intimidating masters too long you can forget that art exists to make you feel something. We can argue about brush strokes and media and technique at cocktail parties, but sometimes that makes you an asshole.
Buy what you like. Hang it appropriately. Place it smartly. That’s it. If you get to the point where “investment” is part of the vocabulary for your collection the rules MAY be revised, but only very slightly.
There are SO many options around these days at all different price points. Paintings, mixed media, graphic design, sculptures – it’s endless. I foresee a mixture of all of these in this next house. I see spaces full of color and energy and, yes, technique, as well as whimsy and story.
Of course you know what this means, right? The pressure for the PERFECT WHITE PAINT for the walls is ON.