Monday, February 15, 2010

Q&A: Climbing the Walls

Hi Jackie!

I just moved into my new place and the bare white walls are making me feel like I live in a mental institution. What are my cheap art options? I don't want to buy the same IKEA or Bed, Bath & Beyond prints everyone else has -- then I WILL end up in a mental ward!

It's a good thing we got to you in time; padded walls may be fun to bounce off of, but it's hell trying to hang a picture through all that cushioning.

Finding unique art on a budget is totally easy. Here are some things you can try:

If you're not talented enough to pick up a brush, hopefully you're still capable of picking up your computer's mouse, 'cause that's all you need. You can upload your own photos to services like Shutterfly, which allow you to order prints and frame them with a few clicks and a credit card. There's also Etsy and DeviantArt, which allow independent artists to put their work up for sale online. The range of artistic styles and subjects are infinite. Whether you want a pretty picture of flowers in a field, or if you want a picture of naked ladies doing things that are illegal several states, you can find it.

If you're feeling creative but know that your artistic skills won't support an entire work of art on their own, do like you did on a high school math test: cheat.

Go to a thrift store, flea market, or garage sale, and pick up a painting you kinda like. You don't have to love it, but it has to have potential in your eyes. Then break out the markers and paints and draw over the existing work. Maybe that floral still life would fit your tastes better if you added your favorite flower. Maybe that oil portrait of someone's grandma would look better if she had a martini and ciggie in her hand. Maybe that dashing man on horseback would be sexier if he had Clive Owen's face on that body. If anyone asks, say that you were inspired by British artist Banksy. Clearly, he knew that a battle scene would be way cooler if there were aliens shooting people with laser beams.

Finally, just remember that if you can hang it on a wall, it can be art. Seriously. Try it. Pick ANYTHING and display it on the wall; if you've got more than one of the item, so much the better.

Try a board game...

Or a dress you don't wear but can't bear to part with...

Or flash cards if you still need help with the alphabet.

So there you go! Hopefully these ideas will get you started and keep the men in lab coats from coming for you...

Via Shutterfly, Etsy, DeviantArt, Art of the State, Lifehacker, and Apartment Therapy.

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