Friday, 15 August 2014

Evolution of the Gallery Wall

I've never posted TWO blog posts in one day before, but since I have published the 'free vintage posters' post today, I thought I may as well tack on this short post about our gallery wall. So here goes...

When we moved to this apartment, (this strange, run-down apartment), my main goal was to get the place looking clean and fresh, yet also somewhat cool and city-ish and hip (I realize that saying that makes me super not-hip, but anyway...)  I settled on a really dramatic, almost manly shade of dark grey for the living room, and I got to work hanging the art for an equally dramatic gallery wall. I don't know what I was thinking at the time, but things definitely got off to a rocky start:

I wanted to achieve a living room look that was cool and chic and city-loft like, in a crappy suburban second floor 'bedroom'. The ceilings in our apartment are high, but they just aren't high enough for the sort of crazy, eclectic look that I was trying for with this hanging arrangement. And also, the room is simply not big enough for that look. This is a perfect example of a design idea that may be good, but isn't good (or appropriate) for the space. 

I quickly said good-bye to that ridiculous arrangement, but I still went for something a little bit over the top:

This gallery is more tamed, but it's still slightly over-powering for the size of the room, and the height of the walls. Yes, it showed off all of my favourite artworks and photos, but the overall shape (or formation) of the pictures is odd and unbalanced. It looks like a lopsided balloon, the way the top corners are rounded and the whole thing comes to a point at the bottom. Weird. Also, it appears that some of the top row pictures are touching the ceiling! What?!

I kept this gallery wall for a year (I know, what was I thinking?), before taking it down this summer. 

Sometimes you just have to do what is right for the room that you have (and not what is right for the large, airy, high ceiling-ed room that you WISH you had). So here is what our gallery wall looks like today:

The look is not as adventurous, but then again, there's nothing exotic or adventurous about this old house that we live in. The size and proportions are now balanced, and the entire corner of the room looks more inviting. In my gallery I've included my new print from, and I've also added a new piece, the butterfly (ink and watercolour) that I started almost two years ago and finally got around to finishing last month!

Want some artwork on your walls, but you're not sure what to put in the frames? 
Finding pieces to display doesn't have to be expensive or difficult. The photocopier is your friend! Copy, print and even enlarge pictures from books (library books are a good source), magazines, postcards etc. High-res colour copies only cost a couple dollars, and framed with a nice matte, they look as good as the real thing. 

Here's what's on my wall: 

- Enlarged black and white postcard picture of the Paris Opera House
Postcards (both the front and back), are great for enlarging and framing.

- Photocopied art prints (taken from a coffee table art book about artist, Bruno Bruni)
If you have a favourite artist, buy their book and have some of the drawings enlarged; it's a great way to enjoy and interact with the art that you like.  Bruno Bruni (a contemporary German lithograph artist, and personal favourite) explores beauty and sensuality with his strange dreamlike pieces. He plays with beauty instead of shunning it. I love his work and I love to see it everyday.

It's free! What more can I say? Print these images at home or at a print shop for inexpensive art.

- Vintage etchings and photogravures that I bought for $10- $20 at antique shops
This one takes a bit more time and effort, but if you're out vintage shopping, don't forget to rummage around for art pieces. Just the old frames alone can be terribly interesting and lovely . I purchased an antique etching of Notre Dame for $20 at a junk shop, and I love it to pieces!

-My own drawings
Anyone can make something beautiful and interesting. Anyone.

- A sketch (print) from local Toronto artist, the 'Steel-Toed Sketch Artist'
What's better than supporting a local artist? Anthony Jim does intricate sketches of the Toronto landmarks that we pass by everyday. I purchased his sketch of my local transit station, a place that I walk to and from almost daily. Done in winter, the drawing is austere and bleak, and it perfectly captures that little corner of my routine. 


  1. Do you have any hanging tips? Do you use any specific hanger products? Command strips so you can move things around easily or change up the design if you get bored, or picture hanging kits with the typical nail/hook combination, sawtooth hangers, etc.? Looking at creating my own gallery wall and would love some tips on hanging options that won't end up showing the hook the print hangs from. Thanks so much!

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