Like most everyone, acquiring real grown-up furniture wasn’t an option or concern during my nomadic college years. But there came a point in my mid-twenties when I decided I could no longer buy disposable or temporary furniture and homegoods.
Now in my thirties, I wonder if I’m late to the game when it comes to acquiring real artwork. I have one canvas that I bought and painted myself and a watercolor painting of my mom’s - given to her by a boy who had a crush on her in college. Even if that boy did win an award in some competition, I question if I have artwork of any consequence. Does that even matter? If it means something to you…is that what lends it significance? If so, then my wall of photos featuring the feet of my family on our travels certainly falls into that category.
My friend Elizabeth loves Charley Harper and has his prints throughout her apartment. My friend Brooke has everything from Hatch Show Prints to Francine Turk sketches and commissioned a fun painting of the beloved family dog. My friend Oliver is a very serious art collector, using his city home as a experimental gallery of sorts. He seeks out up-and-coming new artists and his homes are filled with oil paintings and conceptual installations. He has so much, he has to loan out artwork as if he were a museum and rotate his collections from walls to storage.
At work, we have reps who help us and our corporate clients source artwork. Just like me, our clients often struggle with artwork - balancing need and budgets. A rule of thumb taught to us by Artists Frame Service is for good, better and best scenarios. You should aim to spend $1/SF, $2/SF and $3/SF respectively.
Armed with this knowledge, my 1000 square foot apartment deserves an artwork budget between $1000-$3000. That’s not enough to afford a Damien Hirst spot painting or a Roberto Dutesco wild horse photo, but it has given me someplace to start. Happy collecting!
(Photo source: Elle Decor, October 2010, Photographer: William Abranowicz, Designer: Mark Cunningham, Homeowner: Drew Aaron and Hana Soukupova )