Art is a wonderful way to add personality, color, and visual interest to your living spaces, but because it can come with a steep price tag, you want to ensure that you’re going to be satisfied with the pieces you collect for a long time. Whitney Forstner, the founder of art-curation company INTO/ART, offers advice for those looking to find the right art for their homes.
What is a good starting point for finding art?
I always ask my clients what in life is important to them, and we can find ways to represent that in art. If they love the beach, I know they like blues and greens. Or if they love rock and roll, that interest gives me a sense of the vibe they like. These life interests can create a connection for you to the art that you’ll love now and later in life. And when you enter a space, ask yourself what you see and where your eyes are resting. That can help you prioritize a wall or another specific area first.
How does art differ from room to room?
Every space in a house not only has a unique personality that requires a different type of art but also a function that requires different styles. Depending on your decorating style, the living room is where you could hang something large and more traditional, whereas, in the kitchen, I encourage people to be more spontaneous and have fun. You could have a surprise piece of art that doesn’t necessarily go with the rest of your house. But in kitchens, you need art that’s more resistant to smells and splatters and won’t absorb substances like canvas does, so we recommend pieces behind glass or with a durable finish like resin that you can easily wipe down without damaging it.
For bedrooms, we want to help people take it down a notch and find calmer pieces for their walls. Since color can have a huge impact on the feel of a space, something calming, like a painting with blue or green, will mirror the nature of the room. I don’t recommend a lot of oranges and reds since they increase energy, which is typically counterproductive to the nature of the bedroom and can make the room feel off. You might not know why you feel good or bad in a space, but it’s the combination of the furniture and the art that can make you feel that way.
Where should people shop for pieces?
You should first shop locally for art created by artists in your city. You can go to their studios to see multiple pieces and get a sense of the scope and scale of their art. Artists will often let you take art out on approval, which is a trial process where you can temporarily hang a piece in your home before purchasing it. So if you see something from an artist that you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to ask if you can take it home and try it in your space.
You can also find artists from all over the country through Instagram and Etsy. If you find an artist you like, you can look at who they are following, and it might expand your visual network. Once you find something online, I recommend printing out the piece, or some version of it, and holding it up on your wall. While it’s not a perfect rendering, you can get a sense of what direction you want to go. You can also cut out cardboard and see the differences between the sizes of art on your walls. This gives you get an idea of the scale of a piece, and it’s one data point you can use to find pieces online or at an art gallery or shop that will fit your space.
What do you recommend for people with lower budgets?
Buying art doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are amazing opportunities to find art that speaks to you at every price point. For example, if you find an emerging artist who is practicing their craft, they’re experimenting and figuring out their style. So buying art from those budding creatives is a great way to support an artist whose price point might be more attainable.
If you’re afraid that you don’t have enough money to buy a big piece, just wait. It’s better to save your money for the right one than it is to fill a wall with a lot of little things. However, the more expensive pieces are awesome and acknowledge the expertise of the artist and their journey to become the artist that they are.
Since art can be an investment, what do you do if your design style changes?
The art you buy should evolve with you. I always make sure that a piece of art can fit in multiple places in a home. If it no longer needs to take primary residence in your living room or dining room, find another place for it. Put it in a kid’s bedroom, a bathroom, or even a closet. It can still be visually interesting without being the primary art in your home. If you’re spending the time early to buy artwork you’re drawn to, you’ll always find a place for it. You will still want that memory somewhere in your home.
What advice do you have for people looking to start a collection?
Be patient and comfortable with blank walls. You don’t want to rush into making a purchasing decision. I see people rushing, and they end up either not buying the right artwork or regretting the purchase later. When you are patient, the right thing will show itself. You can find pieces that make you feel something and bring character and joy to your spaces.
Just remember that there are no wrong decisions and answers when it comes to buying art. Art is very personal, and it’s what makes each person’s house their home. We could have the same sofa, wall color, and pillows, but it’s the art that differentiates our homes. It has to do with what you like and how you want your spaces to feel. If your art collection takes shape and holds meaning for you, then that’s what matters. When it has a real connection to who you are, it changes the room and can make you light up when you’re in it. That’s the beauty of art.
For more info, visit intoartcreative.com.