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Is it bad for your art to match the couch?

by Niki Hilsabeck in Recent Posts
Newsletter 7/18/15 

About that whole “art matching the couch” thing: I don’t think it’s bad if people buy art to match the couch.  


I once was introduced by a friend-of-a-friend at a festival, who happened to enjoy painting in his spare time.  When I asked what he liked to paint, with a wave around the booth he replied “Different from this– you know, it doesn’t match the couch.”  


I can understand the frustration of artists who sell artwork that isn’t ideal for interior decorating.  I don’t paint with people’s couches in mind, but I definitely don’t mind if they buy my work because it matches their decor.  In fact, it would be hypocritical of me to say I did mind.  When I get the opportunity to purchase from an artist, I almost always do it with decor (mine or the gift recipient) in mind.


Owning original work can work the other way around, too.  I have artwork hanging up that I owned before moving into my current home.  When it came time to start decorating, I used the artwork as inspiration.  Years ago, after college and when I was a beginning teacher, my grandmother handed me a portfolio she’d picked up from the local thrift shop– complete with a biography and prints by Maurice de Vlaminck.  I had no idea who he was at the time, but any furniture I picked up in the next few weeks had to pick up my Vlaminck prints.  It was a fun way to make the space my own.


A piece of art that fits into your interior design doesn’t necessarily have to be meaninglessly decorative.  I have a favorite pen and ink drawing handed down a couple of generations in my family that may look decorative, but is actually quite a meaningful piece depicting women at various stages of their lives.  I think of that painting often as I go through my own life phases, and as I’ve watched the women in my family age and die, and see new life in my own little girl.  So it’s definitely a decorative-looking piece, but it’s much more than decorative to me.


In short, if a piece of art speaks to you, who cares how you fit it into your daily life?  As long as you get something out of it each time you reflect on the piece, the way you connect with it is solely your own, and not anyone’s business but yours. 


1 Comment

This is interesting because I decided to "buy a couch" (decorate - choose my color scheme) to match my favorite large artwork!! To me, furniture is the just the background for the artwork.

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