I would rather see a blank space than hang a piece with no soul or personal meaning.
To me it just clutters the space, (and the mind) to see something on the wall just because it "matches" the room. Collecting art or anything else for that matter, should be deeply personal. It should evoke some emotion or response from those who live with it every day. It should be valuable to you.
This is not to say it has to have provenance, or cost a fortune--quite the contrary. Maybe it was a special gift, or shows a place that is dear to you. Perhaps you picked it up on a wonderful vacation, or found it on the street at an art fair. Or maybe it was handed down from your grandparents or painted by your little pre-schooler.
It does not matter where it came from, it should just matter to you.
A wise man once said:
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." - Aristotle
Below are a few pieces from my own collection--none of which have any special provenance or significance other than they hold a special place in my heart...and that is why they are, for me, priceless.
The piece above was done by my uncle, Fritz Janschka, and was given to me when I graduated from college. It is a circus scene, sculpted with wood and hand painted with astonishing detail. It was the perfect reminder of the circus that I had to look forward to now that I was embarking into life the real world.
This little number was a lucky draw from a fundraiser for Gods Love We Deliver in New York. I was working at Elle Decor at the time and we were sponsoring the event. They asked different contemporary artists to donate a small work to the cause and the guests were given a number and then matched it up with a painting. Lucky for me, I scored this -- an original Sean Scully.
This colorful painting from John Pope Antiques was done by abstract impressionist Elyssa Rundle (1934-1994) and hangs above an antique English sideboard. I love the tension.
This is another piece done by Fritz....this time a wedding gift to Matt and me. It is called "Bridal Veil Falls". Porter and Fritz gave all of us art for every occasion---my siblings and cousins are lucky enough to have started quite a collection as a result!
This piece is a work on paper by New York artist, Dunston Spear. It is from her Sound and Fury series inspired by the poetry of Stephen Crane.
Another photo showing the intricate detail of her work with the pins to create depth and dimension. Its a little voodoo which I love!
The piece above the mantle in our library is a photograph by artist Gil Mares. It shows an upclose view of the hull (and it's reflection in the water) of a large tanker ship. It reminded me of the huge ships that sail in and out of the harbor here in Charleston, and I loved this altered perspective.
This painting is by a dear old friend of mine, artist Tim Hussey. As luck would have it, he was having a solo show called "Drown then Swim" at the Waterfront Gallery here in Charleston. It opened the week we moved back to town in 2010. I walked in and this painting literally took my breath away. I knew it needed to come home with me.
This piece was done by another old friend (and surf buddy) from Sag Harbor, Darius Yektai. I love how it simultaneously evokes the peace and solitude of being alone in the ocean with the immense power of the wave.
Here we have another interpretation of the ocean by artist Judy Cox. She uses oil on board and coats it with a thick layer of epoxy (the same material they use to coat surfboards). This makes it essentially weather proof, so it was the perfect medium for this piece which we commissioned her to do to hide the doors of the TV cabinet on our porch!
This piece was done my Connecticut artist Olivia Munroe. It is a collage of cut paper layered with beeswax. The photo does not do the layering effect and texture justice. It is incredible. I love all of her work and have several others in our house. It is available through my friend Adrienne Conzelman of ARC Fine Art....
With Adrienne's help, I also discovered this artist, Josh Dorman from New York. He does very intricate collages using antique atlases, maps, and books. I commissioned this piece for Matt's 40th birthday. It tells the story of us making the move out of New York and down to Charleston.
Speaking of birthdays, I try to give our boys art for their birthday every year. This one is a particular favorite. I got it for my son Charlie just after he had taken up guitar. It is a print of Johnny Ramone (2008) done by Shepard Fairey. I have known Shepard for a long time, we grew up around the corner from each other. He was nice enough to sign it "Happy Birthday Charlie--Rock On" It is one of Charlie's all time favorite birthday presents....
My parents gave us this gem as a housewarming gift. I have never been much of a portrait person, but this one makes me smile. The artist, Martha Thomas, perfectly captured my 15 year old teenage angst. And now that I have a few teenagers in the house, somehow I just love this more....I can distinctly recall as I sat for the artist, plotting the night's mischief and how I was going to get around my parents' watchful eye....
Ok I know I said I was not much of a portrait girl, but how could I resist a portrait of the King done with Legos?
And last but not least, one of my favorites. A robot collage done my one of my boys when they were in preschool. It is simply construction paper and glue, but I loved it so I had it framed and it now takes pride of place in our hall.
Like I said, it does not need to break the bank...it just needs to make you smile every time you look at it....Enjoy...