Thursday, July 1, 2010

You Can: Create an Art Wall

Although you may think creating an art wall is a far too expensive project to undertake, it can be done my friend, and it can be done on a tight budget.  Decide what kind of size breakdown you want (a few larger pictures, many small and medium sized ones, a combination of all sizes, etc.) then survey your space to determine how many pieces you’ll need.  The beauty of a project like this is you can display anything you’d like so indulge your creative side.  If the purpose of the art wall is to display pictures from your latest family photo shoot or prints from your favorite artist, then by all means, do so…but if you want to make the space a little less conventional, try any combination of the following ideas.  

Love Letters

Even if your own collection of love letters is too private to display, don’t be shy to take advantage of someone else’s!  One of my favorite books of all time is called Love Letters of Great Men- it’s chocked full of breathtakingly heartfelt letters to choose from, and Amazon sells it for less than $12.  Pick out a few of your favorites and have them printed on beautiful paper to create a really lovely display.

Old Family Photos 

If you’re lucky enough to own pictures of your ancestors, now is the time to display them loud and proud.  Whether it’s your great grandparents wedding photo or your dad’s baby picture, there’s something very special about honoring where you came from.  

Family History

Ask your oldest living relatives for copies of old certificates (wedding, birth, dedication), newspaper clippings and the like from generations past.  Or, if you’re a descendent of one of the 22 million immigrants that came through Ellis Island, you may be able to purchase a photo of the ship they came over on, or even a copy of the log where they were signed in during the immigration process.  Click here to search for your family.  The ship above is a picture of the actual vessel my great-grandfather rode when he came from Italy- my parents have it as part of a small art wall in their home that’s dedicated to our heritage.  

Fashion Sketches

Assemble a tribute to your favorite designer by displaying sketches from one (or a few) of their collections.  A little Google-ing will go a long way when you’re looking for sketches to display, but designers like Christian Dior and Manolo Blahnik have no shortage of options for you to choose from.  If you’re stumped, search Ebay or Amazon for books that highlight your designer of choice, then dissect and frame your findings.  

Custom Silhouettes 

In the 1700’s, families who couldn’t afford to have their portrait painted opted for a less expensive hand cut silhouette option.  Although the invention of photography later made this art form less popular, there is a definite sense of refinement associated with it.  For an authentic hand cut silhouette, send your picture to an artist like Karl Johnson who will cut one free hand (just like back in the day).  For a less expensive option, visit a site that will make your silhouette digitally, like AllPopArt.  

Empty Frames

A major trend in home decorating is the “empty” art wall, filled with only frames.  Instead of displaying art, this concept allows frames to take the center stage and become the art themselves.  When it comes to making your selections, keep an open mind.  Let’s say you find a piece that looks too traditional for your space...imagine it painted red with a high gloss lacquer spray-paint and all of a sudden it’s not so traditional after all.  As long as the basic style of your frames coordinate, you can very easily paint them any color or combination of colors, so don’t feel limited to what you see in the store.  


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