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Your Thoughts on Original vs. Mass-Produced Art?

I’ve talked a little about the vintage painting over my fireplace before. I like it, but it’s not my favorite. It doesn’t ‘speak to me’ or remind me of my time in Venice (seeing as I’ve never been). If anything, it reminds me of the painting that hung above my grandparents’ sofa. They had probably bought it in the late 60s or early 70s, and it was mass-produced to look like it was hand-painted. It was a cityscape, of Venice or maybe some vaguely Italian city, and it plugged in so the lights in the buildings’ windows lit up. It was pretty tacky, but also pretty fantastic.

I know that association doesn’t say much for my painting. I went for it because I liked the look well enough though, and I wanted a painting over the fireplace as opposed to a print or a mirror. It was the right size, color, and price, and I liked the way it was framed. I wouldn’t hesitate to sell it if the day comes that I find something else to replace it, but I’m not in a hurry.

Vintage Painting of Venice

I was walking through the art selection in a big store recently and I started thinking about how people approach art for their homes — more specifically, paintings, not prints. I do have some original art that I’ve slowly collected over the years, but paintings are expensive. I’m not saying they aren’t worth it (because artists should value their time and expertise and charge accordingly), but the fact is that they are typically pretty pricey and therefore often out of reach, especially for larger works.

Big box stores make art more affordable, but there is sometimes a snobbish stigma attached and I’m curious about it. Is it that you’re spending your money at a catalog or chain store rather than supporting an independent artist through a direct purchase? Is it that you may have the same art hanging in your home as many other people? Stores and sites like Z Gallerie, Ballard Designs, Art.com, One Kings Lane, Target, Crate & Barrel, Home Decorators Collection, and Pottery Barn all carry paintings printed on canvas that are mass-produced but aim to look like hand-painted originals. Some can be pretty generic, but there are plenty of interesting options out there too. How do you feel about them? Tacky or tasteful, or does it vary case by case?

It’s easy to advise people to eschew faux-original paintings and only buy the real thing (whether vintage or new), but that’s often easier said than done. So if you’re not a fan of mass-produced art, what do you choose? Will you save up until you can afford a one-of-a-kind (directly from the artist, through a gallery, or through sites like Etsy, Chairish, or Serena & Lily)? Paint something yourself? Search for a well-priced find at the flea market or a student art show? Maybe you tend to choose something else (like a mirror), go without entirely, or you make a distinction between canvas prints offered by independent artists vs. those from big box stores? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Some of My Favorite Abstract Art Prints

I had been looking for a few new prints for the bedroom recently, and Artfully Walls was kind enough to send over a few of my favorites. A portrait, Bette, by Tali Yalonetzki, and The Bridge, by Nell Waters Bernegger, joined my vintage painting of flowers above the bed. The portrait is printed on canvas and while I love when that’s an option, I feel like the white sides are calling out for a frame, so I’ll be on the lookout for a vintage one I can cut down to size. Also, I’m not sure about the double cord hanging method but I’m trying it out for now. The kids jump, dance, and wrestle on our bed on a pretty regular basis, and art stands a better chance hanging from the picture rail than it would if it were on a nail or picture hook.

Vintage Painting with New Art from Artfully Walls

The dresser on the opposite wall is now displaying a large photo I’d had my eye on for quite some time: Checkered Floor in Buenos Aires, by Sivan Askayo. I prefer the look of one large photo over the dresser, so the woven hanging that was there before has been moved into August’s room and I’ll have to find new places for the two smaller paintings. I have a couple of other prints that I’m trying to find just the right spots for too, but I think they may end up in other rooms.

'Checkered Floor in Buenos Aires' Photo

I thought I’d share a few more of my favorites below. All of these together would definitely put one over the ‘abstract art quota,’ but they’re all so good!

Artfully Walls - Abstract Art Paintings

Favorite Abstract Art Prints from Artfully Walls

Row 1 — Yellow September, Heather J Chontos • Color Study No. 10, Emily Rickard • History Lesson, Emily Rickard
Row 2 — Divide, Elaina Sullivan • Window, Heather J Chontos • Beast Coast, Matthew Korbel-Bowers
Row 3 — A New England Pond, Jacquie Gouveia • Seaglass, Heather J Chontos • The Bridge, Nell Waters Bernegger
Row 4 — Oxford I, Britt Bass Turner • “Fluid”, Bethany Mabee • Oceans and Arrows in Red and Black, Heather J Chontos
Row 5 — Rhodochro, Anna Ullman • Blade, Elaina Sullivan • 1905, Eran Partouche

Artfully Walls Giveaway

24 Merry Days of Giveaways

I’ve written about Artfully Walls before (on Babble), and now we’ve teamed up for our 24 Merry Days giveaway! Artfully Walls does a fantastic job of creating cohesive gallery walls that are ready to go, but you can also buy individual pieces or create your own collection. For today’s prize, I created two collections (a $500-600 value), and chose the print sizes, framing options, matting, arrangements, and even the backing wall color (Symphony Blue and Sparrow, both by Benjamin Moore). All the winner has to do is choose a favorite and then hang ‘em up!

The first grouping I put together features an abstract print by Britt Turner framed in black, a photo by Catherine McDonald, also framed in black, and a stretched canvas portrait by Tali Yalonetzki. Feminine, with plenty of pink — you know I want this one, right?

Artfully Walls Gallery Art Arrangement by Making it Lovely

Ah, but I also love my second arrangement. The frames are a little glitzier here in gold, with a grouping that includes an illustration by Anat Maoz, a photo by Catherine McDonald and another by Sivan Askayo, and a stretched canvas print by Emeline Tate-Robertson.

Artfully Walls Gallery Art Arrangement by Making it Lovely

Either collection, in full and framed, is up for grabs to one lucky winner to be chosen randomly. The giveaway is being run via Rafflecopter and is open to US residents only, so follow the instructions for multiple ways to enter below. Good luck, and remember to check 24 Merry Days for new prizes each day from now until Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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