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How to choose artwork

Lucy Feagins, founder and editor of The Design Files, offers some tips on choosing artwork for your home.

Let’s face it, art can be intimidating. It’s expensive, it seems complicated, and you rarely feel informed enough to have an opinion. First and foremost, buy what you like. Don’t get caught up in trends, or perceived future value. If you’re investing in artwork, it should appeal to you aesthetically.

Choose artwork that you’re drawn to for its colour, its beauty, its symbolism, or simply the way it makes you feel. Don’t be overly concerned about choosing artwork to match a room at home – follow your instinct.

Seek out graduate exhibitions and fundraiser shows for collectable names at affordable prices. The West Space gallery annual fundraiser show is well worth a look, for instance. High-quality art prints are also worth considering; Contemporary Editions produces limited-edition reproductions by some of Australia’s best contemporary artists.

When hanging, always use a professional framer to frame your artwork. Original artwork and prints on paper require archival framing by a professional to ensure the adhesives and techniques used don’t affect the pigments in your artwork over time.

Also, a professional frame just looks a thousand times better than an IKEA frame. If artwork is worth investing in, a great frame is too.

In general, most mid-sized to large paintings work best hung with the centre of the work sitting slightly above eye height. A pair of similar-sized works makes an impact when hung side by side.

For a collection of smaller works, try a salon hang. Start off by hanging your largest work somewhere in the centre of the wall, and arrange smaller works around it to create a cluster effect.

Photo: Caitlin Mills