One of the second or third or fourth loves of my life is art. Art is such a broad term and can take on so many different meanings, depending on who you are talking to, what country you are in and how many glasses of wine you have had. It is subjectivity at its best and I would argue that the reason subjectivity as a word in the dictionary (do people actually use hard copy dictionaries anymore besides my mom and her best friend when they place Scrabble?) even exists is because of art and creativity. For me and for purposes of this Ann Written Note, the art I will refer to is my interior artwork that hangs in my home. I personally like being the artist that creates art within my home and I want each piece to tell a story. Everything from the art on my walls, furniture to kitchen towels to the fragrance of candles and diffusers, I spend more time than I would like admit on the details. But when it comes to my passions, I rarely cut corners and today I share with you the story of my interior artwork and the encouragement that we all can be self-proclaimed artists (it’s subjective, right?!). I also want to offer a statement that I hope you will remember forever. You never have to buy art from IKEA again. Never. I know, amazing, ha? See below and I hope you are inspired. And if you aren’t inspired enough, write me a note and I will be your personal home art designer…for a fee, of course 🙂
Welcome to the Ueno’s!
I had a bunch of books, small signs from places we’ve traveled, candles, frames, etc. and instead of my house looking like a knickknack shop, I made a little nook which allowed me to use the space and offers a nice visual right when guests walk in and prohibits people from nominating me for the Hoarders TV show on A&E. Whew.
Hint: Have your entryway be personal and welcoming and use a space that may not have otherwise been used in a creative way (ahem, storage for your knickknacks…man, I sound like my mom using the phrase “knickknacks” which I actually have no idea how to spell).
Will Travel For Art
I have a few missions when I travel. One, eat the local food and drink the local drink. Two, meet new people and learn their culture. Three, buy cheap art. Almost every single trip I take for leisure I pick up one new piece or ensure my camera works hard for me.
Hint: Flea markets, local vendors and even the touristy spots can have unique posters, prints, etc. for cheap! Try those before the fancy boutiques 🙂 It’s all in the framing when you come back home. And for those of you in Chicago, I am a Frame Hamlet loyalist (in Old Town).
This was a poster I bought on the street in Madrid for $6. I had it personalized with “Ricardo Y Ana” as clearly it looks like Rick and I. And then I picked out matting and the frame when I returned home and here is the finished product (it’s roughly 4′ x 2′).
I didn’t have to travel far for this poster, which makes it that much better! In 2009, Rick and I went to the Fall French Market at the Lycee Francais de Chicago. This poster was designed by Yann Legendre for the French Market and I scooped it up immediately! Only 200 were made so I bought it, framed it and it now hangs at the top of our stairwell. This is my favorite framed piece in my house 🙂
The picture of this doesn’t do it justice but I bought this outside of the Westin Madrid Hotel for $40 from an Asian student who allegedly was an oil painter. This was oil on canvas of a beautiful Flamenco dancer. Took it in to get framed and there you have it (it’s about 1 1/2′ x 3/4′).
Vintage & Modern
Ahh, nothing makes me happier than art that’s old, cheap or free and awesome. The history and character make it for me. And the best part about the below pieces are that they are from my house growing up. My mom bought these on the streets of San Fran 40+ years ago (for likely $10 or $20) while she and her best friend took a little trip out West. And the frames (which are hard to see) were made from real wood by my Uncle Armond. Cost = $0 = PRICELESS VINTAGE ART!
Hint: Scope out your p’s basement or attic for some hidden gems!
Photography as Art (and my obsession with Barcelona)
These days cameras work very hard, even for the leisure photographer, and you don’t have to go to Columbia for 4 years to take amazing pictures. If you have a vision, the eye and some creativity, you can make your own art! The below are actually shots I took and are now on canvas.
Hint: Don’t doubt your little digital Nikon (I personally have a Canon but both are good options!) and have some confidence in your photography abilities. Use a company like Canvas on Demand and end results = amazing, personal and cheap art!
This is a picture I took of a wall (yes, a wall) in a delicious chocolate shop right off the Mediterranean in Barcelona. It now hangs in our guest bathroom.
This was a picture I took in a plaza in Barcelona that was a sign that stood in front of an art exhibition to draw people in. It grabbed my attention so I immediately busted out the Nikon and snapped and felt I didn’t need to see the exhibition as I had the best picture already! It now hangs in our living room.
Antoni Gaudi is an iconic architect in Barcelona and this shot was taken at the Battlo House designed by him. It was a hallway of cement-textured white walls with arches. Gorgeous! It now hangs in our living room.
Books as Art
I love collecting books I’ve read and it was so fun to create a mini library when Rick and I moved together and merged our reading material. Instead of storing these in drawers or under the bed, I decided to display them in our living room. I love the way the colors come together with the rest of the room.
Hint: If you have books, display them as personal art! They are also great conversation starters.