Filling your home with art you love could do more than improve your interior view. According to research, being surrounded by art work can help reduce stress and improve general wellbeing. Sam Gare and Will Ramsay of the Affordable Art Fair give us a guide to the benefits of collecting art, as well as telling us how we can start our own art collection.
The benefits of collecting art
‘In addition to the visual benefits of tying a room together and adding vibrancy and personality, for a lot of people art makes a house a home and leads us out of our day-to-day lives. We’re all so caught up in the everyday anxiety of going to work and modern life, and surrounding ourselves by artwork we love can really give us something to escape into. More than that, it’s even been said that benefits can include de-stressing and giving the creative parts of your brain a mini work-out.’ – Sam Gare, Fair Director Affordable Art Fair Battersea
Collecting art for wellbeing
‘Art has a very welcome impact on our wellbeing, and studies have shown that experiencing art helps to decrease our stress levels – with many of us juggling hectic schedules it can be a brilliant tool for creating a calming environment to help us switch off at home,’ explains Gare.
‘As well as giving the creative and analytical parts of our brain a workout, research has discovered that when we look at art the parts of our brain associated with pleasure and reward are activated. Looking at artworks doesn’t simply make us feel calmer, but actually brings us joy.’
Finding the right art for you
How can you decide which pieces will have a positive impact in your home? ‘Finding the perfect piece for you is never a one-size-fits-all decision,’ says Gare. ‘When choosing something that will have a positive impact on your home the most important thing is to focus on how it makes you feel and whether it is something you will cherish for years to come.
‘Art chosen for personal reasons can inspire you to focus on your positive feelings by acting as a daily reminder of your dreams and desires. The art that has had the most positive impact on my home are the pieces that reflect my personal hopes and interests. Waking up every morning to a piece of work that conjures up a feeling of contentment calms both me and my home and leaves me with a smile.’
There are certain rules you can follow for different results in your home, explains Sam: ‘Different styles, materials and mediums can all evoke different emotions. Introducing works with natural elements is a great way to create a relaxing environment and is easy to achieve by choosing an original print or painting which depicts a relaxing and serene landscape, sunset or forest scene. Alternatively consider choosing sculptures which incorporate natural materials such as wood. Handmade ceramics are also a brilliant and quirky way to bring natural textures into the home.’
‘If you want something a little bolder, abstract prints or paintings in bright shades are perfect for adding energy to your room and mean you can get away with a more minimal look in your accessories.’
Buying at art fairs
‘You don’t have to be an art expert to buy contemporary art, you just have to know what you like. Develop your taste by browsing some art history books or art magazines, and search online for images and info on artists who catch your eye. Most importantly though, make sure you visit as many museums, galleries and art fairs as you can – nothing beats seeing artworks in the flesh. Art fairs are ideal places to explore what’s happening in the art market today – at our fairs you’ll find artworks by over 1,100 living artists in almost every media and style you can imagine.’ – Will Ramsay, Affordable Art Fair Founder
Collecting art prints
‘For budgets under £500, original prints are an ideal starting point,’ says Will. ‘Prints are generally produced in editions, making them a more affordable alternative to one-off pieces. There are so many fascinating and varied printing techniques – from screen printing and etching, to lithography and collagraphy – you can really build up a diverse, and affordable, collection. If you’re visiting a fair, be sure to chat to the gallerists on hand, who’ll be more than happy to explain the different techniques to you.’
How and where to display your art
Once you’ve started collecting art, and found some pieces you love, how and where should you display them to enjoy the benefits? ‘It’s important to make sure the emotions that a certain piece of art conjures up complement the space in which you place it,’ says Sam Gare. ‘A very personal or calming piece could work well in a private, quiet area such as the bedroom, whereas a bright and dynamic print might be better suited to a sociable space such as a living or dining room.’
‘You can also use art to make the most of an underappreciated space, such as a hallway or bathroom, by simply introducing a cherished piece of art and taking the time to enjoy it as you pass each day.’