Almost eight months ago I started to write my blog on “Art in Interiors” aware of the importance of art in the creation of beautiful and meaningful interiors.
I have chosen around 30 pieces from different disciplines so far: Painting, sculpture, photography, engraving, etc.
One point that I frequently discuss with some of my readers, clients and contacts is the difference between pieces that decorate a space and pieces that are considered serious art proposals.
I think it is time I share with you those thoughts as they may be useful as a starting point when considering to buy decorative pieces or art pieces.
Now what is the difference between both kinds of works?
Before answering this let’s start talking about what I understand by an artist and when his/her work is considered a “serious” work of art.
An artist is a creator who through a chosen medium (media) expresses his/her concerns, thoughts, feelings, etc about a subject or subjects.
The way he/ she or they communicate their ideas creates an open dialogue between the work and spectator, dialogue that depending on its reach and depth will add value to the artwork creating appreciation and the desire to have it in the spectators present and future.
Now the fact that a piece is “popular” does not mean it is a good work of art. In order to receive that “honour” the artist and his/her work needs to be endorsed and validated by individuals, galleries and institutions that due to their knowledge, ethics and sensibility find in his/her work aspects of cultural or/and aesthetic importance.
Understanding this dynamic is really vital as having the sensibility and knowledge for analysing an art work is key for giving the recognition to those who really deserve it. Out there is a scary amount of “artists” who are copying works of others (present and past), who are not creating but in charge of a line of production (basically selling sausages), who are good in mixing but not in creating, who have skills but not depth, whose work is like an artificial soup cream: probably with flavour but with zero substance.
As you can see serious art is not an easy thing.
One way of making this relatively easier is focusing on the discovery of new artists; new talents which work suggest a great deal of innovation, beauty, assertiveness, etc.
In this case you have to have the “nose”, the knowledge, probably somebody that you trust that can help you to choose and certainly you need time. It may lead to something it may lead to nothing that is the risk; the reward? The journey and hopefully in the middle or long term your artist will make it big.
Because of this unpredictable process it makes sense the word of advice given by so many of just buying what you like: If your artist doesn’t make it at least you enjoy his/her work and did not spend that much. Win situation too, isn’t it?
Let’s not forget that the artist should give signs of commitment, have a clear proposal, depth and consistency in his/her work. Probably for many the best artists are those whose work is a representation of the “spirit of the times”.
Keeping this in mind what pieces of work we would call decorative?
A decorative piece as its name suggests lacks depth and more often than not it does not belong to a body of work that is searching, exploring, etc a particular subject, they are exercises of composition in the best cases.
Their aim is to be pleasant to the eye with a nice balance and colours, figures with a message either too literal or too obvious that does not motivate thoughts or emotions. They are just easy pieces to digest… visually.
The market has been inundated by this kind of works now more than ever as individuals and institutions are too focused in not offending anybody because their political/social/ religious believes, etc.
Art is freedom and sometimes freedom calls to provocation, evaluation, confrontation and openness. Excessive political correctness leads to mediocrity and to a shallow society.
Decorative pieces are necessary as serious pieces are. It is a matter of what you feel comfortable with and the honesty in saying and acknowledging the kind of work you want to be surrounded by.