The Art of Living
Experience the joy of filling your home with works by world-renowned artists with Maddox Gallery. Fi Lovett, European Director reveals her essential tips for getting started.
Banishing the bare walls in your home with a collection of fine art is an exciting prospect. From mixing different art genres to curating rooms filled with character, Fi Lovett, European Director of Maddox Gallery, gives her top tips on choosing art for your home that will elevate a space, act as conversation pieces and express your personality perfectly.
What should you think about first: the artwork itself, the space it needs to fill or the mood you want to create?
If you are lucky enough to have an empty room and a blank canvas, then I suggest choosing the artwork first. It’s a total luxury and it makes life so much easier. Art has depth and so many layers to help you build the room you want to create. It’s a brilliant reference when choosing a colour palette and it can help you decide on the tone of your room – its form and lines. For example, a Cubist artwork would invite a more formal, linear space, rather than a comfortable, soft and slouchy lounge area, and Andy Warhol’s Pop Art is even punchier within a neutral colour scheme.
Artwork is a microcosm of what you like and can say so much about you. Sometimes, people surprise themselves! Choosing a piece of art first will encourage your personality and uniqueness to shine through and help you make choices about your furniture and soft furnishings. However, this is not always possible. Usually, we fall in love with an artwork, bring it home and find a place for it. This is great in a different way. Where art has so many layers to it, you can keep building your room and adding to it over the years.
Can you mix different genres of art in one room?
You absolutely can and should. Good artwork is visceral – what it makes you feel is everything.
We sometimes walk into rooms that are beautiful but can be reminiscent of a hotel. We can become jaded in our choices, and I think we’re getting tired of expertly styled rooms that lack personality. Even if it’s not to your liking, when you enter a room with character, there is interest. You can tell who lives there and it evokes personality and a narrative. It’s beautiful when that happens.
There are also so many areas you can create within one room – dark corners to seek comfort, a desk to work at – and art can help set that tone and create an area with a purpose.
Does the size of the artwork matter?
This very much depends on the work; there isn’t a rule of thumb. A small piece in a large space gives reverence and commands a room. Similarly, a small artwork in a dark, cosy corner can draw you into a space to sit, relax and unwind. Sometimes, my clients feel they don’t have a wall large enough to install David Yarrow’s Fine Art Photography, however they work best when they fill an entire wall. They create immediate impact and look best commanding a space. Yarrow’s work tends to be scenic, and large, geographical scenes act as a window within the room.
Does the type of room dictate which artwork will look best?
I wouldn’t get too fixated on this, nor give yourself limitations. Be prepared to be surprised and don’t be formulaic. Art should bring you pleasure. Have fun with it and try not to have too many preconceived ideas. I encourage clients to choose their artwork over their interior designer. It’s lovely to see something slightly out of kilter. When it’s unexpected, it encourages people to think and engage. As I said before, artwork acts as a lens to your personality, so go with your gut. Be confident in choosing what you like and what you will enjoy looking at, and not what you think you should have.
What kind of lighting is best for displaying artworks?
Galleries are great inspiration for lighting. It’s worth taking your time choosing light fixtures as it makes an enormous difference to the overall ambiance of a room. To create an intimate area, you don’t want the art to be overly lit. Personally, I think Street Art works best in natural light. If you consider the scene, Street Art is a window to the outside, so a naturally airy, light, and bright space works perfectly. Standard picture lights that sit over artwork tend to look best with pieces that are more traditional. For Contemporary art, I suggest poised down lights for a cleaner finish.
Is there anything else you should think about when choosing art for your home?
My advice every time is, be brave! Go for what you love and what makes your heart beat faster. Don’t play it safe and try not to be too influenced by other people.
ART HAS DEPTH AND SO MANY LAYERS TO HELP YOU BUILD THE ROOM YOU WANT AROUND IT .
– FI LOVETT