They say that art, or the reaction to it, is subjective. It may be, but I say talent is talent. I may not like something but I would have to acknowledge the talent of the person who created it. I wouldn’t be able to do it, so if nothing else that is saying something.
Now that the niceties are out of the way, let’s talk about good art.
I wouldn’t call myself an art snob; I don’t analyze pieces, but like most people, I just know what I like & what I don’t. And I definitely don’t think there is a correlation between how much a work of art costs and how great it is – or isn’t.
As a matter of fact, I’ve seen things in homes that were shipped from exotic places, purchased for ungodly amounts of money, and wanted to tell them to burn it. On the flip side I’ve seen framed cards and thrift store prints that look amazing.
Some people are lucky enough to be able to commission pieces, which is awesome because it means that any piece will be what they want. I was never 1 of those people… until now. It’s not that I can commission art; it’s that I have found what I like/love & handfuls of people and/or shops that never disappoint. And I am sharing them with you!
**Note: These are handpicked artists NOT art itself **
Jibri Ward – Graphic Designer & Artist
With an Art Degree from Hampton University & a minor in Computer Science Jibri can do all things artistic.
He has a keen eye for detail in typography, spacing & color; designs logos, posters& illustrations; he even does some web design. In addition to all that, he also paints, draws, and creates pieces in mixed media.
Have a look at some of his graphic work here. This is just a sampling of what he can do. Take a look at these self portraits on canvas that he painted using a cell phone photo!
Jibri doesn’t have a storefront; he currently creates by request only.
Mari Corona – Photographer & Fellow Blogger
Based in NYC, Mari takes stunning nature inspired photography, raw & unedited. Find Mari on Instagram at or visit her Society6 shop to buy. I just ordered this print from her & cannot wait to get it framed & on my gallery wall in my office!
These last 2 are not artists, per se. Although it does take the skill/heart of an artist to do what they do.
They are retailers, but not in a traditional sense. Read on to find out about the unique finds they bring and how they do it.
The Gite Gallery – Curator
Local curator of African art & artifacts in the heart of Houston, TX. Everything here is unique, including the owner’s perspective & the gallery itself – it’s in a beautiful home in Houston’s Third Ward. The Gite Gallery also provides consultation service where they will help you decide on the right piece(s), frame & all, for a specific space. Service & the customer experience are top notch. You can even host events at the Gallery.
Minted – Non-traditional Online Retailer
I really like Minted because you can find artists of all different backgrounds with any & all different aesthetics. The prints are high quality & you can search for any type of art you prefer. Plus you can get cards, stationary, fabric, & more.
Minted is like a large online retailer EXCEPT that it features local artists from all over the world AND pays them back for their work. If I were an artist, I’d submit my work to Minted.
Alternatives & Ideas for Creating Good Art
And no I don’t mean that you need to learn to paint, draw, or sculpt. I’m not great at any of those. But I mentioned earlier that I don’t think there’s a correlation between how much a work of art costs and how great it is and that I’ve seen framed cards and thrift store prints that look amazing.
Following are some examples of both of those ideas in action.
Free Art – Kid Stuff
When my oldest son was in 2nd grade, he won a Houston Lifestock Show & Rodeo Art contest. This piece was on display in the school district administration building all year. When it came home at the end of the year, we proudly hung it where anyone who visited could see it – in a small hallway off the entry.
15 years & a few moves later later we still have this drawing waiting to be hung in our kid’s media room.
Now that we have another young budding artist in the family, I have begun to frame and use his art from preschool through now (1st grade) in the same way. This one is on a small wall in our family room.
And this is on the only full wall in his bedroom.
Lately I have started to really like thrifting maybe a little too much. I have to make myself NOT stop at a thrift store just because I happen to be passing by. There’s so much in store waiting to be rescued, revamped, up-cycled, you name it. Garage sales & flea markets fit into this category too, I just don’t frequent those as much personally.
Still they are all great places to outfit your walls on the cheap. You can actually sometimes make some really good purchases on items that previous owners may not have realized were of value. Even if you don’t the prints or the subject matter you find, the frames can a goldmine considering how expensive new frames can get.
I purchased the frame just above at a church garage sale in 1999. I seem to recall it was $5-10, 30″x 42″ maple wood in mint condition. I bought a reproduction black art print and a mat and hung it over my sofa.
Over the years, we moved & as my decor changed, the frame & art changed with it. As you can see, 17 years later I still have that frame (now painted but) with the same mat & glass. It is rock solid.
Fabric & Paper
There’s a growing trend of hanging textiles on walls to represent everything from headboards to feature walls (in place of wallpaper). I don’t follow trends & I don’t recommend anyone else do it either, but this is actually a good idea. And it isn’t really a “trend” – wall hangings, tapestries in particular, go back for ages in multiple different cultures. If you can afford authentic tapestries, then you can probably afford great art.
Otherwise, consider framing fabric remnants that you love, quilt squares, a piece of lace from your grandma’s wedding dress. Whatever speaks to you. But I won’t say a scarf or blanket draped across the wall works for me – that just might be a trend. If you can’t frame it, just say no.
Same goes for paper. With so much scrapbooking and the rise of textured & “vintage” papers, you can come up with any number of ideas for art. Here’s a good example of framed paper that has texture and even a little bling to it.
Prints, Calendars, Photos & Cards
I grouped these together because so often I see people trying to create a gallery with the thought that everything has to be the same – all botanicals, all family photos, all watercolor prints, all whatever. Those are great, but not always realistic and no really necessary.
If the gallery wall is planned and laid out well, items of similar size in similar frames (either in color, form, or shape) can be grouped together nicely.
Family photos are free – we all still have some around the house. And if not, prints can be very inexpensive to order from places like Target, Walgreens, & Shutterfly. Use framed postcards or greeting cards you’ve collected over the years as filler.
Prints & calendars can be used to create a gallery wall of all the same subject matter – the trick is to pick up calendars midway through the year, at the end of the year, or prior year leftovers. They’ll go on clearance and you can snag them for pennies – definitely less than $1. Get some nice inexpensive frames from IKEA and suddenly you’ve got art!
Take a look at my Pinterest board to see more art that I find inspiring. Of course I am always adding to it so if you are into art (or anything home related for that matter), follow the board to see what I find next.