Home is where the art is

The immeasurable beauty of art in our homes

Art and homes are intrinsically linked. We hang art to add fulfillment to a space, to make an impression, to spur a purchase or, simply, for the love of it all.

In art-filled city-fringe neighbourhoods, this seems to go hand-in-hand with property discussion. Perhaps now, more then ever before, there’s a growing affinity for people to individualise their homes.

While certain circles are more actively engaged in the art world, a wider regard always seems to exist. From mass-produced ‘art’ to carefully selected designs or one-off masterpieces, it lives all around us.

Interpreting it all

Art helps us make sense of the world — our inner world, cultural world and political world. It’s also that single tangible thread of culture that continues to survive as an explanation of history.

For art consultant Mark Hughes, art as pleasure and art in our homes is about our human need to express, and our need to experience that expression.

“The value of art is in the experience of it,” he says. “Artists have to make art. They do it whether or not anyone will see it.”

Our enjoyment of art then turns the deeply private experience of making it, into an experience to be shared.

Letting art in

So it’s no surprise how much art influences a space. Everything including images, colours, textures, and even the height of a painting can influence how we read, feel and understand a room.

It creates discussion points within a home and changes the mood of homemakers and guests. Just as paint will change a room, art can comfort and soothe, provoke thought and inspire.

“Take an empty room and then position an artwork in there that people can experience — it genuinely transforms everything,” Mark says.

It’s a different involvement than changing a space with a sofa, cushions, or curtains. While perhaps carefully chosen, they soon become part of a space, moving from the new to the predictable.

Yet art makes an enduring impact on the inhabitants of a home. While that effect may change over time, any sensation it might evoke remains unexpected. What stirs you one day will sway you differently tomorrow.

Art has even more impact when perfectly matched to its space.

“Where people have taken the care to hang the right thing on the right wall… it’s a fabulous experience,” Mark says.

“For many homebuyers and decorators, they will prioritise the space over the art, perhaps 75%. But for the hard-core collector, it’s always about the object.”

Sydney’s art beat

Throughout Sydney and the city-fringe, residents are blessed with a melting pot of galleries, museums and institutions of inspiration. The Art Gallery of NSW sits on the edge of the Domain and The Rocks is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art.

From the galleries of the leafy East, to the artist-run hubs of the Inner West, there’s something to suit all tastes.

Carriageworks in Eveleigh has become a cultural hotspot. Across in Paddington, the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is one of the most established spaces around. Nearby, an assortment of activity bubbles away — from Sarah Cottier to Martin Browne, Jensen Gallery and Sherman Galleries. Then there’s the artist-driven MOP in Chippendale, First Draft and Artspace in Woolloomooloo, and Yuill Crowley in Darlinghurst.

Across town, artist-run initiatives such as SNO are injecting new character to Marrickville and surrounds.

All this excitement unfolds within a 10km radius. The more we search, the more we realise what’s out there to explore.

“People are complex,” Mark says. “Our taste will change with our moods and as we grow. And we’ll find excitement in different forms of art.”

It’s this journey of self-knowledge and self-discovery that can keep art intriguing. It’s a chance to look at our interests, seek them out in the art world, and bring them into our lives.

It means our homes can be a medium, where everything might suddenly become clear.

Then again, it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone except yourself — or even yourself.

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