I have to confess that I have a slight addiction to HGTV - there's just something about home remodel and decorating shows that sucks me in, and I often find myself writing blog posts or responding to emails while I listen to HGTV in the background. And just about everytime I do this, I find myself getting all riled up when the subject of art inevitably comes up. A lot of the shows on HGTV are all about design on a budget, or doing it yourself, and I can't tell you how many times I've seen a designer on the show set up the homeowners (or carpenter or dog or whatever) with an enormous canvas and paint and have them make their own piece of art to "match" the new room design (the "art project" segment of the show, if you will).
My issue with this is twofold.
First is the obvious assumption that there is no point in purchasing fine art, since anyone can do it. While I agree that anyone can throw some paint on a canvas in colors that will match the couch/chair/entertainment center, etc., I disagree with the underlying suggestion that this is fine art. To me, the artwork that I have in my home is deeply personal - each original piece that I own resonated with me for a certain reason, and having the work of other artists in my home recharges and inspires me.
Second is the assumption that artwork is just a design element, or a decoration. As a landscape artist I know it would be unrealistic to assume that my collectors never give any regard to whether or not my paintings match the couch they'll hang above, but in a perfect world I would love to have that not matter - I would love to think that all that mattered were the person's initial gut response to the painting. My favorite piece of artwork in my house doesn't match anything, but I could still stare at it all day, so it always hangs where I can see it when I'm going about my businesss all day. It's the impact that matters to me.
Anyhow, I don't mean to rant, I just mean to say that collecting art is about something deeper, and that sometimes I feel like these shows don't do much bring the masses to a greater appreciation (which is not their goal, btw, so that's all right).
SOOOO, I was pleasantly surprised when I caught an episode of "Deserving Design" today, in which host Vern Yip actually commissions the deserving couple's favorite artist to do what is ultimately a really fantastic original piece of art work for their living room. Not only that - he visits the artist in his studio and gives a short talk about how purchasing an original from an acclaimed artist is a great investment, financially and emotionally. There's no talk about the artist using colors that match the design, or anything of that sort - the final painting has an emotional connection to the couple who own the house and their story, and is the centerpiece of the final design for that reason alone. How great is that?
Of course, then it took me a good half an hour to find James Way's art online, since the network didn't bother to include him in the credits or link to him on their website, but I guess I can't expect too much all at once!