One of the things I’m commonly asked about (especially over on instagram) is where I bought particular posters in our home. And it occurs to me that affordable mass produced art is something we all find a little difficult. Nobody wants a wall filled with cliche or overly produced identikit art, but at the same time most of us (me included) don’t have a budget of £1,000, or even £500, to trot off to the nearest studio or affordable art fair and purchase an original.
Art is a really personal choice, it can say so much about us in a seconds glance, equally it can fall into the category of simple interior design solution, a way to complete a space, tie it together, so that we have something nice to look at on our walls, with no more depth than just that – a wall filler.
There are lofty arguments that eschew cheaper mass produced art (twentieth century doyenne of cultural criticism Walter Benjamin I’m especially looking at you!) and for this reason I tend to avoid any reproductions by the masters. But outside of this one rule I don’t recognise rules as we all need something pretty on our walls whatever our budget!
In the post-internet age of modern mass production we have multiple options, maybe too many, it can feel limiting when the market is so swamped with choice. Do you buy prints direct from graphic designers, download printables, invest in real work by young artists at around the £100 mark on Etsy, or pick up a poster for a fiver at Ikea, the choice is as unlimited as you want it to be.
So today, dotted throughout this piece, I’m sharing some of my current favourite pieces within the easily affordable bracket from the sites that I use when I’m looking for a piece of art for either myself or a client. Some are giant websites with thousand of options like Desenio, others particular designers and small design studios I go to time and again – Atelier CPH, Tom Pigeon, Fine Little Day, Coco Lapine & Lane by Post being reliable stalwarts. I also recommend looking outside the lines of traditional prints, for example Cavalini do some brilliant wrapping papers that reproduce vintage designs and can look great when framed giving them a lot more bang than their buck has earnt!
I tend to shop in the mid price range of £30-£60 on prints I love, and as with many things I find that our Scandinavian cousins are a great source of design and style, I often use Opumo, Poster Club, Paper Collective and Desenio. Just be careful with these beautiful Scandinavian sites, some of them don’t ship to the U.K as I recently discovered when setting up an account with Wall of Art, who offer Storbritannien as a postal option before dashing your hopes at the checkout.
Splashing the Cash
If I am feeling glad with the cash then one of my favourite places to look for wonderfully colourful unique and original prints is Brighton store Unlimited who have an online site too. And another great company recently on my radar are Surface View who produce really high quality designs from the collections of some of the worlds best galleries, you can have the designs produced on many kinds of media and I’m partcilatlr drawn to the giant cancas prints from their ARCHITYPE range.
Texture is everything:
If walls could talk, mine will definitely tell you that they are not just for plain 2-D prints. Adding texture is a stylists trick to make a space feel more personal. I like to add texture with favourite plates, old charts and tapestries, entomology, wreaths etc. This adds depth and personality, so if you have a favourite item that you can conceivably see up on the wall, put it there!
The cheap seats;
Finally, never overlook or discount naff places as a trove for finding art. In the bedroom I have a reproduction of a vintage Virginia Woolf book cover from All Posters that people ask me about all the time. It cost barely over a tenner and there are some real gems on here if you are prepared to trawl past all the band posters!
I’m interested, as this is a topic that so many of us battle with, where do you rate as good places for art? Let me know in the comments below.