I recently read a blog post from a gallery in Ottawa that was trying to make the argument that having original art is as important as having a bed. The author posted several good reasons to have original art in the home and I fully support the concept of everyone having original art in their homes (#supportlocalartists) and I’m not even going to focus on the absurdity of the blog title which, in it’s entirety is: 13 Reasons Why Original Art In The Home Is As Important As A Bed.
However, you knew there was going to be a however coming, I do take issue with a couple of the reasons (numbers 3, 9, and 12) you should eschew a comfortable sleeping surface for some pretty little piece – of artwork. But the majority of my disdain is saved for number 6:
Inspires and Fosters Creativity
This one is simple – in rooms with no art, artistic expression is lacking and therefore the need and want for creativity is not very prominent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, original artworks foster creativity, expression, artistic inspiration. This is particularly important in homes with children as being surrounded by artwork will allow creative thinking.
Now, some of you might have grown up in an art museum like a real-life Claudia (the delightful protagonist of the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler) or lived above an antique dealer that specialized in French portraiture or maybe even spent your summers inhaling turpentine fumes in your grandfather’s studio. But my childhood home, and the homes of my friends and close relatives, had virtually no artwork – original or otherwise.
In my grandparent’s house one living room wall was taken up by the front windows and door, one wall was predominantly banister and rails but also contained the large, book covered entertainment center which also held the TV, one had an large archway to the dining room and the remaining 5-6 feet of space on that wall held only family photographs, and the last wall had an incredibly large mirror (it had been a wedding present) centered over the couch and flanked by two wall sconces. I don’t know where she could have put a painting and any pottery/vase type thing would have just been in the way of people’s feet, drinks, and books. The living rooms of my aunts and uncles were similarly crowded with 3 walls of windows or windows and fireplaces and always – always – archways and staircases and doors. My grandparent’s dining room was, artistically, fairly barren while the kitchen was again too small and crowded with tile, windows, a bar and the one and only telephone to really “art up.” The kid’s bedrooms were like the dining room – devoid of artwork and adornment – but in my grandparent’s bedroom there was a crucifix, a handmade bill holder, and little Hummel figurines on the large dresser. Obviously, not really what the art gallery blog had in mind as far as artwork. And again, this was typical in my experience. Most of the people in my family’s sphere decorated with mass produced things and family and graduation photographs.
Yet I don’t feel my creativity was stifled in anyway. In fact, I could make a counter argument that I had to be creative due to the relative placidity of my environment, in other words, if I wanted to see something wild I had to make it myself. And I did – I drew, colored, and painted a lot. I made zoo-fuls of Play-Doh animals as well as people-animal hybrids. It never even occurred to me to directly copy another’s artwork until I was required to do it for a project in school. I creatively created all over the homes I lived in for years and still do – regardless of what’s hanging on the walls.