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When I moved to my new place, I knew one of the first things I wanted to do was hang some great art above my fireplace. In a white white white home like mine art is key to add a touch of colour: I don’t like to plaster my place with it but I do like the odd nod to my personality.
Initially I had my heart set on this LOVE print from LA photographer Max Wanger. I loved the feminine colours and sentiment behind it, and knew it would work with the look I wanted for the living space. But after moving expenses (hello, marble dining table), the $250 for the size I’d need without a frame was just a bit too steep for that time, and so I had to re-consider.
I also really adore the work of artist Yvonne Coomber, in particular her ‘I feel love’ canvas. The colours in this would go beautifully with so many schemes and rooms, and is a piece that would truly last the test of time (and trends!).
I decided to leave it for a while and lived with the bare wall until I decided what to do with the space.
Until one evening, when glamorously cleaning my hard drive, I came across a folder of images I’d forgotten about. They’d been shot just over a year ago in the September after I turned 30 for a campaign I worked on with Speedo. They were all images I was immensely proud of, shot on a chilly morning in the back garden of a gorgeous North London home by a brilliant Canadian photographer and his assistant. But could I stick a photo of myself above my fireplace? All I could think of was Samantha Jones in her nude shoot in Sex and the City: I worried my urge to put myself on my wall meant my ego was bigger than I thought.
I looked through some other images and couldn’t find anything else I was inspired by. I kept coming back to the Speedo photos – they were so beautifully shot and I loved how proud I was of them. I wondered how often I would have the opportunity to display such a gorgeous image of myself and thought, sod it – now is the time.
But which one would I go for? I knew I wanted it to be framed in a light colour (I went with this frame from John Lewis for £45 – it’s brilliant) and with the pink sofa on its way I knew I wanted light, pastel colours, with perhaps a contrasting blue to tie-in with my other furniture.
I decided to get about as crafty as I’ve ever got, and started experimenting. I took a snap of the fireplace on my phone, and narrowed my choices down to four images. I popped my fireplace image into Photoshop (Picmonkey would also work well for this), and pasted the potential choices into the photograph. It worked! By sticking the image in a mock-up of the space I got a really clear idea of how the photo might look in situ:
This was one of my favourites. I loved the colours in the sky and the subtlety of the image, but I wasn’t sure if it was just too random.
Another favourite: it’s landscape, which I thought I’d prefer, and the bikini tan from summer weeks spent on the rooftop of Soho House in New York made me think of happy times. But the pool was just too blue.
Another landscape image, but with full face and a bit of bum I thought it was a bit too much of me.
The ultimate favourite. The colour tones worked well, and someone coming into the house for the first time wouldn’t immediately tell the photograph was of me. I liked it, I liked it a lot.
So I bought the frame and ordered the poster print online (I used Photobox as they were the best value at the time – I went for a matte finish which totalled about £14) and as soon as it arrived I was thrilled. I hung it immediately – ok, I called my dad to come round and he hung it immediately – TA-DA!!!
I love it. I really really love it. It’s been up for a couple of months now, and while I did wonder about the size of my ego to begin with, now it just makes me happy. It means so much more than a generic piece of photography I could have bought from an anonymous photographer I didn’t know well, and as a bonus was about £200 less. Score!
Being able to ‘see’ the art in situ before I bought and hung it really helped, too. OK, so it would have only cost £14 to have another piece printed. but I was so confident in how it would look before it arrived I didn’t even worry about it. I used the same method of choosing art in my bedroom recently (I hung a photo I took of The Alps) with the same results – I love it.
Give it a go the next time you need to choose a piece of art!