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What is the fundamental difference between contemporary and bygone-era approach to interior decoration? Today’s city dweller pays a lot of attention to the functional value of his space while striving to make it look attractive and comfortable. Nevertheless, the dominating feature of modern approach is its distinction between the useful and useless, the functional and decorative, the necessary and unnecessary. A well-off house owner of the Renaissance would hardly be able to take it in. In his understanding a perfect living space was to combine architectural, functional and decorative value. Artworks used to be an inseparable part of that equation to demonstrate not only the owner’s individuality but also to mark his social status, emphasize his wealth, versatile interests and taste or the absence of such. All those things served one purpose only – to turn a man’s life into an artwork, to make it as integral as possible, not to miss a single element be it homeware, sculpture, a piece of art or an exquisite furniture item.
Art has become much more affordable with time and much more diverse. However, attitude to art, and in particular to painting, graphics and photography, still has a feel of elitism to it, although art has managed to penetrate all spheres of our life of which interior decoration is the most traditional one. Such negligence towards interior decoration is deeply rooted in our desire to be effective, quick and functional. Depriving ourselves of feelings and emotions we lose the brightest colors of life; similarly, an accurately thought-out interior remains cold and impersonal without decorative elements.
Art perception is strictly individual. A painting in the interior is always a personal story which will be seen differently by different people. If you look at the bookshelf at somebody’s house you will be able to tell a great deal about the host. How much brighter a story told in paintings, graphics and photos can be! Take away all these essential elements out of your space and you will instantly feel disoriented.
What story would you personally like to tell? A painting is capable of totally transforming your interior as well as your mood. What would you like to see on your bedroom wall when you open your eyes in the morning? It might be a serene landscape which reminds you of your childhood or an extravagant fantasy which will fill you with creative energy. What parts of your Self would you want to project, to reflect in color or in light-and-shade?
The choice of an artwork should be primarily based on your emotional response. If you choose a piece of art out of love (or maybe it chooses you), its effect is sure to increase with time, giving you positive vibrations and creating an air of comfort in your living space. Proper hanging and a carefully selected place for the artwork will make your interior look complete while enhancing its value. Every other painting will push the limits of your interior creating new meanings and filling the space with You and Your projections.
The size of the piece also matters greatly. One sizable artwork can become a serious declaration overpowering all other elements of the interior, which might serve well an airy room with little furniture. Graphic works can be grouped creating soft points of attraction in various places. Graphic art is amazing not only because it suits any interior but also owing to the amount of detail it provides. It takes a thoughtful look and you would go into a kind of trance which will help you to get rid of everyday anxiety.
And, of course, a painting should interact with the rest of the interior. Glass, metal and cold tints typical of high-tech style will go well with contemporary art and art photography, artworks by great masters of social realism will fit perfectly in both classic and modern space, whether it is a retro-style living room or a spacious study.
The universal value of interior art along with still life and landscape is worth mentioning. Interiors depicted in art and graphics have a special magic about them. Within a closed space they seem to be windows into a different world. A room decorated with such paintings becomes a portal to a parallel reality, be it a stage set, a sunny terrace in a country house or an antique-looking sitting room. Landscape is a special genre meant to cure us of common city claustrophobia. Nature in its full splendor invades your space with sun rays, the smell of sea salt and wet grass. Diversity and peculiarity of contemporary still lifes is simply overwhelming. This humble genre has long transcended the limits of pure decoration reaching not only for philosophical dimension but for the metaphysical one as well. Depiction of objects can be equaled to a deep meditation that is why still life suits any living space starting from a traditional kitchen and out to an ultramodern office.
Painting and art, on the whole, have long stopped being luxury products and entered the category of basic necessities. Their value for our inner world is undoubted. Interacting with art on a day-to-day basis we not only take in positive energy but also start to transmit it to the outer world. After all, turning your life into an artwork is an excellent idea! So why not start with your living space?