The World Is Our Village: Style Your Home While Supporting Local Artists
Written by guest writer Alastair McDougall
The human animal likes to follow its herd, it is easier for us to join and be one of the crowd than it is to wander off on our own, and this truth is obvious when you look around: people on every continent, people who speak completely different languages, all wearing the same clothes!
Our High Streets are mostly deserted these days, made obsolete by global trends – buying off the internet or from out of town superstores/malls.
I am an artist. Of course, I want people to buy my pictures. So next time I stand there in front of the big blank canvas, wondering what to paint on it / what style / what colors, I know that these same forces – global trends, are influencing how people set out their homes.
How they cover their walls, what fabrics they use around the home – call it interior decoration if you like, but most of us are not conscious of the megatrends, we just want to make our place look ‘nice’, not old-fashioned like granny’s.
On-Trend Home Styling
We also want, consciously or not, people who visit our home to say nice things about it, and that is more likely to happen if the ‘look’ is on-trend.
At an exhibition of my work last year, I was really hopeful that this one lady was going to buy a big oil painting. She was giving off all the ‘buy’ signals, and I was trying hard not to behave as the car salesman on commission, but finally, she turned around and said ‘No, it won’t go with my carpet.’
I now appreciate that she was absolutely right. She clearly liked the painting, but had to think of where she would put it and how it would look in that context.
Other artists urge me to pay no attention to such matters; “Paint what you love” they say. That’s fine, and my storeroom is full of pictures that I loved painting.
If I want to create paintings that people choose to hang on the wall of their home, I must produce work that will fit with everything else in those homes.
I have also learned that the way a picture is presented in its frame, or with no frame, is a crucial factor in the customer’s buying decision, which is obvious really in light of what I’ve said above – the frame has to complement the ‘look’ of the space.
Contemporary & Avant-Garde
The word ‘contemporary’ means up to date, or ‘on-trend’ at this point in time and if I choose to create artwork that should blend nicely into contemporary homes, then I need to produce contemporary paintings safely framed in a contemporary style.
I can wander into one of those huge global stores to look at their interiors section to see what this means.
Or …. ‘Avant-garde’ which means ahead of the crowd.
I know I am not anywhere close to being a Warhol, Pollock or Picasso – a game changer whose work made everyone sit up and say ‘Wow!’, but neither am I willing to spend my time producing wallpaper or big postcards.
And you? Do you want your home to look the same as everybody else’s, all over the world?
Are you happy to sit in the middle of the great herd, wearing the same clothes, all made in the same factory in China, as people everywhere else?
Or are you willing to be part of your own local community, showing art on your walls that means something to you, reflecting your local interests?
Go out and buy art from someone local, art that is not the same as is in the galleries in the big cities, art that you will enjoy and will say something unique about your home. Make a statement.
Alastair McDougall lives and paints in the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales, UK.
Having worked for many years in the man-made environment of large organizations, his quest is now to evoke among the viewers of his art some of the sensations he is able to enjoy walking in the hills.