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Home truths: How do you hang (your artworks)?

PUBLISHED: 10:51 30 December 2016

If you don't need them for storage, free up some shelves to display pictures, plants and nick nacks

If you don't need them for storage, free up some shelves to display pictures, plants and nick nacks

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Prudence has discovered that frames are your friend if you're art collection errs on the eclectic side, while India's hesitant to even call her decorative maps and mementoes art.

Prudence: is building an art collection of sorts

As an art history undergrad, I always imagined that by the time I was 30 I would have a home (which I owned, but that’s a whole other article) filled with ‘real’ artworks by successful artists that I’d picked up for next to nothing during the early years of both their and my careers.

In common with most millennials, my adult life hasn’t panned out quite the way I imagined it and my grand dream of owning a collection – bought for peanuts, worth millions but never sold because of the sentimental value – didn’t quite transpire.

That said, a combination of inheritance, those IKEA picture frames with built-in mounts, and the good old HP mean my walls don’t look too shabby.

The first serious framed artworks I owned were two mid-century oil paintings, which my grandparents had acquired from a painter friend.

For a few years the paintings looked somewhat incongruous amongst the blue-tacked posters they were surrounded by, but gradually, the IKEA frames were introduced, making £3 prints and vintage magazine covers look quite smart.

Moving into a bare-walled new flat coincided with my boyfriend turning 30, which for a 20-something was a symbolic moment heralding an overnight switch to adulthood. There seemed to me at the time something a bit pathetic about entering your fourth decade without owning at least one proper piece of art properly framed.

Obviously budget was an issue so a true original was out the window but an edition was within reach, especially with the help of the Own Art scheme, an interest-free loan to buy art with, which you pay off in instalments. So that’s how I own a work by a Turner Prize-winner.

A similar finance plan funded my biggest purchase yet, a huge abstract canvas, which I lived with when I lived with Edd who painted it, and realised I would miss terribly when I moved. It’s still waiting for me to live somewhere big enough to truly do it justice but I love it even if it dwarfs the living room.

Nowadays, most of the artists I know are way out of my budget, even at mates’ rates – fantastic for them, not so great for my interior decor. Still, I may not own a coherent collection of the hottest artists out there, but what I do have is at least representative of my life and tastes.

And anyway, most fashionable contemporary art is either film-based work or light installations, and what flat has the plug sockets for that?

India: is still not adult enough to frame things

As close readers or relatives (hi, Mum!) may have discerned, my esteemed editor and I share a similar past. Both of us were at one time students at the University of York, although separated by a handful of years, and both of us studied History of Art.

So it is with great shame that I must reveal to her and to you that my bedroom does not feature a tasteful array of art prints framed and hung in a casual yet considered manner.

Instead, my walls are a colourful and transitory hotchpotch of happy memories and things I simply like the look of.

I do have one simple black IKEA frame, hung on those nifty Velcro type wall stickers in which I have put a photo of musician and all round babe Grimes that I tore out of the Evening Standard magazine. All other wall decorations have been tacked up with that blue and sticky bane of landlord’s lives and destroyer of deposits.

Over my bed is an illustrated map of Budapest I picked up on a trip last summer. If you find yourself on the Pest side of the river and you’re on the lookout for an arty souvenir then head to Printa on Rumbach Sebestyén. The gallery-cum-coffee shop has rails of graphic art and typography inspired by Hungary’s vibrant capital. I have lofty aims to get it framed in a clear frame so I can alternately show off the illustrated key on the back but for now

I’ve settled for blu-tack.

Struck over the rest of the wall is a string of fairy lights with those rainbow coloured cotton balls that cost a fortune from cutesy interiors shops but I haggled for in a Cambodian night market and stashed at the bottom of my backpack for a month in South East Asia.

I’ve jerry rigged a photo display using string and a pack of mini pegs, on which I’ve strung pictures from a disposable camera I used up over a summer of staycationing.

Pictures of friends in the mud at Glastonbury, hiking on Cornish headlands and lounging on London rooftops are sunny reminders of a summer well mis-spent and a tactile alternative to scrolling back through my Instagram feed.

On my other wall I’ve pinned up a sheet of wrapping paper with a repeating pattern of green leaves on a pink background from Oliver Bonas as a renter’s gesture to a feature wall.

Next to it I’ve used stray hooks to hang a hipster triptych of my bubblegum pink Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 instant camera, a piece of my own hand embroidery and my silver backpack when not in use. The backpack is something of a lucky charm – I was carrying it when I came to interview for this job and Prudence rather fancied it.

Turns out a matching arts degree and taste in metallic’s makes for something of an interiors dream team, even if her walls are a lot more sophisticated than mine.

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