I want a home that feels simple and clean, but full of life and character, layered with books, textiles, and art...lots of art. It's this last bit is hardest to obtain, because amassing a collection of original pieces costs money, money perhaps better spent on fixing up a bathroom or hocked away for retirement. But art will enrich my soul in a way they never could. Earlier this week, my mother-in-law popped by to drop off my birthday present- a painting of a rodeo cowboy from her collection of California art, one of my favorites, a total surprise. She knew I loved it and thought I should have it. A few months ago my friend Pete gave me a favorite original oil pastel sketch from his collection that I was helping him to photograph. And a few years ago, my mom gave me a beautiful illustration done by her late brother, an amazing artist who died before his time. Art is sentimental and important, and worth ten thousand kitchen sinks when it speaks to you and makes you happy. My favorite local artist, Clare Elsaesser is stocking her Etsy shop with more of her originals, and I am so in love with the one pictured above. I would love to hold on to it for someone to have one day...
Now that I am helping clients to find special pieces for their homes I'm on the hunt for original art. Here are some of the places I look...
1. Coffee Shops and Restaurants. It's a mutually beneficial thing, a space needs art and an artist needs an audience. I love the crazy deconstructed art that hangs at Central Market here in Petaluma. If you like something, find out who made it, keep a list of artists. If you find something you love for sale, think about it. Art is forever.
2. Flea Markets, Antique Fairs, Thrift Stores, and Consignment Shops. You can find absolute treasure for pennies or you can spend lots of pennies for something that will appreciate over time. It's all for the taking. I like pieces that have something weird and special, a pop of orangey-red in a sea of gray. I don't care if someones grandmother painted it in an art class.
3. Small galleries, First Fridays, Market Events, and Art Trails. These are places that you can make a day out of visiting, you can meet the artists who made the work, it's local, and that makes it personal.
4. Online. This is tough for me because I like to see things in person, but there are some great resources for original art. My new favorite is Serena and Lily's online art shop, full of originals and limited edition prints and photography from emerging and established artists.
5. Research and seek out. I'll sometimes look up the artists on these sites, Serena and Lily, One Kings Lane etc. and discover more of their work elsewhere. If I see something I like in an online art shop with prints like Minted, I'll try to see what else they have to offer. I have a list of artists who's work I've seen on blogs, or magazines. If it catches my eye, I try to keep it close, if not for me...for you.