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The right frame of mind

Know what you like before purchasing art for your home

POSTED: August 5, 2011 1:30 a.m.
/Associated Press

This undated photo courtesy of Christina Wedge shows a room designed by Brian Patrick Flynn. Flynn often turns his clients' favorite possessions into art by having them professionally photographed, then framed. The frame of the photograph pictured here is made of linen, while the wall covering is grasscloth.

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These days, more and more people aren’t satisfied with just hanging mass produced pieces of art on their walls. A growing number of shoppers are seeking original art for their homes, says interior designer Robert Novogratz.

By seeking out new artists, hunting for unexpected treasures and even creating art of your very own, it’s possible to get art-gallery style at department-store prices.In their new HGTV series, "Home by Novogratz," Novogratz and his wife and co-host, Cortney, use original works of art to decorate each week. "We try to feature an artist in every single episode," he says, and the pieces are often very affordable.

For the last 25 years, Gainesville resident Don Griffin has been helping area art lovers find just the right piece to hang in their homes.

"We have a very eclectic town. In the last week, I have sold two fantasy pieces, a World War II military piece, two Lake Lanier pieces and three or four wildlife pieces," said Griffin, owner of Frames You Nique in downtown Gainesville.

"I’ve also sold some western art. I think people are getting to where they like to use their home as a refuge and so they’re doing what makes them happy, instead of (following trends)."

Trendy or not, homeowners are finding that distinctive, original works of art don’t have to break their budgets. The first step, says Novogratz, is to discover art that speaks to you by exploring museums, galleries and art magazines.

"We rotate exhibitions every six to eight weeks," said Amanda McClure, executive director of the Quinlan Visual Arts Center on Green Street in Gainesville.

"When we do an opening, we often have multiple artists at one time doing a show."

Exhibits like the ones at the Quinlan are a good starting point for art buyers who are still trying to pinpoint what turns them on and what doesn’t. From medium to artistic backgrounds and subject matter, McClure and staff work to ensure that their exhibitions are diverse.

"We like to showcase things that are compelling and thought provoking," McClure said.

Once you know what you want, start hunting. Buying pieces from up and coming artists is a win-win situation because you can get the piece that you love for a reasonable price.

"Artists often approach me which is great, but I also go out and look for new artists too," McClure said. "Sometimes I go to gallery openings, or art festivals like Art in the Square (in downtown Gainesville)."

Another consumer-friendly way to find new artists is by searching the internet, which McClure does from time to time.

If you are in the market for new pieces of art, the next time you take a trip — near or far — check out the local art scene. A quick stop could yield a lifelong treasure.

While broadening your exposure to different artists, you may want to also broaden your thoughts about what exactly constitutes art. These days, works of art are more than just paint strokes captured on canvas.

A print of a distinctive, original photograph can be less expensive than an original painting or sculpture, but offer just as much artistic value.It’s also possible to turn your own photography or friends’ work into art, if you crop a shot creatively or use it in a very large format.

"These days, there are quite a few artists that work in the realm known as mixed media. We’re seeing that more and more," McClure said.

"For instance, there’s one artist who is using an iPad to create art. It’s uniquely different from anything I’ve ever seen.

"It just shows that the sky’s the limit when it comes to art."

No matter the medium or price, buyers should select artwork that moves them personally.

"We don’t try to push our customers one way or another," Griffin said.

"When they look at it five years from now, we want them to still love it.

Associated Press contributed to this article.



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