Hang your art.

This was going to be an article about the vibrant colors of summer and painted front doors.  But today I helped a friend make a decision about a new piece of artwork over the lunch hour.  She had arranged to see a piece by local artist, Michael Schmidt and needed help deciding which one to take home.

That lunch hour was an instant reminder for me of the shift that takes place when we experience art.

It didn’t take more than fifteen minutes of looking through Michael’s latest paintings to feel an already busy day, slow down just a little.  Art of all kinds creates a response in the brain. It triggers imagination and is shown to be a healing, transformative, stress-reducing experience.  On top of that, it helps us to become better problem-solvers because it brings our attention to details.  Colors, shapes, negative space, positive space… the who, what and why of the art.

Research shows that as technology takes a more prominent place in our jobs and daily activities, we experience less and less creative expression.  Yet, as a trained artist and professional interior designer, whenever I suggest art as a starting point for the design of a space the most common response is, “Oh, well, we can’t afford art…”

Not true.  Surrounding yourself with art is simpler and more cost effective than you think.  Here’s how to start:

  • Chances are good you already own art and you probably do know at least one artist.  Look in the attic, your child’s backpack and ask around your community.  If it moves you, makes you smile, laugh or remember someone or something; it’s art.
  • Display it.  Pictures should have a frame, objects need a shelf and textiles need a blank wall and bracket to hang from.  Millwork and window frames can be easily repurposed as frames for artwork, shelves and brackets.  Get creative or visit a major retailer for simple black and white frames in all sizes and shapes, many for less than $20.

Whether it’s a handmade quilt your great grandmother sewed or a collection of objects gathered from outside, “Art,” tends to be misinterpreted as expensive collector’s items made by reclusive, avant-garde members of some far away urban place.  Now you know better… art is everywhere, you just have to slow down long enough to notice.  Next week, painted doors and summer colors.

For more about artist Michael Schmidt, click here.

To find local artists in Minnesota, click here.

-Holly Bayer, ASID