Have you ever felt intimated by art? You know what you like, and yet you aren’t sure you would invest in something that you’ll love.
For me, it comes down to three questions.
1. How do I want to feel when I am with it?
Art exists to elicit emotion. When you choose a piece for your home or office, it needs to offer an emotional connection that jives with how you want to feel. When it doesn’t, it feels . . . well, icky. Off. Not right.
How do you want to feel when you walk into the room and see it? Joyful? Contemplative? Charged up? How do you want your space to feel (or how does it already feel)?
2. Where will it live?
A woman raved about her art collection and invited me to her home to see it. It was absolutely stunning. It was also stored in three separate closets because she didn’t know where to put her pieces.
I’ve met so many others like her who invested in gorgeous, moving pieces they love and yet can’t or won’t find a place for. My guideline is that if you don’t already envision it in a particular place, it’s not the piece for you. And maybe I’m difficult, but I won’t sell a piece or begin a commission until the collector can tell me, and ideally show me, where the piece will go. It’s my responsibility to match art with people, and it’s easier for me to do when I can see the space.
When you honest-to-goodness love it, you’ll know where it goes and will not hesitate to make it happen. And that reminds me . . .
3. Would I miss it one year from now if I didn’t have it?
I like my relationships to last a long time, and because it is a part of my daily life I have relationships with the pieces of art in my home. We have stories. I remember when I brought them home or why I decided to commission them. I clean them. I admire them.
While one year isn’t long, it works well as a threshold. Does this piece make enough of an impact that You will think about it later if you don’t take it home? Now that you’ve seen it, or imagined it for a commission, do you want to be without it? Will you miss it? Would it be like one of those missed connections that people post about on Craigslist and social media? You know, when a person happens upon another and sparks fly, yet they remain strangers because they didn’t share any contact information.
That’s the piece you want.
As a grief artist, I move from hilarity to heartbreak and back again frequently, both with clients and with my own family. I cry a lot. I laugh a lot. Mostly I marvel at how full my life is and how honoring grief helps me see that.