How expert advice from an Art Gallery Manager can completely up-level your home – and it’s free to access
Chris Morgan, Gallery Manager at super-cool Newcastle-based Hancock Gallery offers free at-home art consultations - whether you're in the market for a print or an investment piece.
I know exactly what you’re all thinking. I don’t live in a mansion, I don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on art, I’d feel pressurised to buy something and bankrupt myself. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s not like that at all.
Had we not been working in partnership with Hancock Gallery on this piece, I’d have been thinking the same thing. But I was actually really pleasantly surprised. Not only was the whole experience fun, no-pressure, and educational, but having an Art Gallery Manager cast his expert eye over my home has changed my entire perspective on how I can use the space to significantly up-level my home interior.
WHAT DOES A HOME CONSULTATION ENTAIL?
Hancock Gallery carries out home consultations for three main reasons:
- People have been into the gallery and have an idea of what kind of art they like. However, they’re unsure where it could work in their homes, and perhaps need guidance on sizes or framing. In this case, Chris visits with a number of pieces that suit their taste and try them in different areas of the house.
- A customer has set their heart on a particular piece of art, or are choosing between a couple of pieces. Art gallery lighting can be very different from the lighting in your own home. And not only that, you need to take into account space and existing furniture. In this case, Chris brings the pieces down so you can discuss and compare them in your space. Any art is an investment, so this gives you peace of mind that you’ll love it once it’s in your home.
- When people have no idea what they like, probably have IKEA prints on the wall and want some guidance to introduce art into their home. (This was me). In this scenario, Chris fills his car with a wide range of sizes, styles and frames. He’ll walk around your home, casting his expert eye then suggesting where art can really accentuate a home, and how it could all work together.
WHY IT FEELS SO DIFFERENT HAVING AN EXPERT LOOK AT THE SPACE
One thing I really noticed is that because of the nature of his job, Chris sees the space differently. There are walls that were almost invisible to me, that I’d never have considered even hanging art on, but once he demonstrated particular pieces, it was so interesting how it brought attention to the space and actually, made the room feel bigger.
Chris says: “Nearly every single person whose home I’ve visited has changed their mind once I’ve brought pieces down and moved them around in their space. Because of my experience, I’m able to quickly see the potential in any space and can suggest pieces of art that will really bring it to life.
“Budget-wise, home visits give people comfort that they know they’ll love the art they’re investing in when they get it home. Whether it’s a £40, £400, or £4,000 piece of art, everyone wants to look at it and love it every day – not feel regret that perhaps it’s too small or the wrong tone for the room.”
Don’t let framing put you off
Oftentimes in a gallery, the frame a piece of art is in can actually put people off buying it for their home – don’t let that happen. If you love a piece but feel that the frame isn’t right, Chris can bring alternatives and show how it could look.
HOW HAVING ART BY AN ARTIST CAN UP-LEVEL THE SPACE, AS OPPOSED TO MAINSTREAM PRINTS AND CANVASES
The three prints on my wall were from IKEA about 5 years ago. They were, in my opinion at the time, the right size to fill the space, and inoffensive. But when I looked at them in comparison to the art Chris brought, I noticed three main things:
- What is the point of buying ‘inoffensive’ art that almost blends into the wall in its neutrality?
- Good quality frames (that aren’t even that expensive) really change the feel of a room.
- Choosing a piece of art from an artist actually gives you an opportunity to reflect your personality in your home. I’d had images of a horse, a mountain, and an owl on the wall for years – none of which reflected me at all.
Chris said: “Mainstream department store art is designed to fit in as many people’s homes as possible. It’s inoffensive, with neutral or muted colour palettes with vague subject matter. Whereas art by an artist is not designed for any other reason than to be itself. So if you love it and resonate with that piece of art, it’s a reflection of your personality. Which, when you start to build them up in your home, makes it really feel like your space reflects you.
DOES IT MATTER WHAT TYPE OF HOUSE I HAVE?
Well, no is the short answer. I’ve got a new build and to be honest I would have thought that mainstream department store art would almost suit the space better, but I was wrong. Firstly, Chris put a vibrant gold and red lip print on the wall. It completely changed the space and felt bold and energising.
But next, he tried an oil canvas, with a more muted colour palette and I loved it. The texture of the oil painting and contemporary framing really made the room feel more sophisticated. And because I spend so much time relaxing in that room, it felt much less invasive than the lips.
Now, I’ve got a pretty narrow staircase, one which I’d never consider hanging art at the bottom of, a wall which I’d say is practically in a constant shadow. But trying a couple of small square prints on the wall made the room feel so much bigger.
Chris said: “Art draws people in, and so when they walk into a room, their eyes focus on the art. By strategically utilising space, it can make spaces appear bigger but more importantly, just more interesting. Every wall has potential.”
IF WE HAVE A BLANK CANVAS, WHAT COMES FIRST? DECORATING OR ART?
“I’d say the art first, decor second,” said Chris. “You might think as a Gallery Manager I’m bound to say that, but actually it really makes financial sense too. If you’re investing in art, you know you’ll love it for a long time. So buy that first, fit it into the space and then you can choose a colour to decorate the rest of the room around. When you want to re-decorate, the art can stay, and you can just pull different colours or tones from the piece to start again.”
INTERESTED IN TRYING IT FOR YOURSELF?
Hancock Gallery offers free, no-obligation home visits. Contact Chris at [email protected] or call 0191 241 0442.
Hancock Gallery, 2 Jesmond Road West, Newcastle NE2 4PQ