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Artworks as gifts vol.2

Last year, at the same time I wrote about artworks as gifts. Well, it is this time of the year again… No matter how much you try to avoid it, you cannot hide from the festive music in shopping centres and noticing giftsets everywhere. Artwork is a great gift if you are looking something for someone who already has everything. However, you do need to know what they prefer if you want that piece to be installed in their home. What if you are looking for something different, but are not that comfortable in choosing the artwork yourself?

How about an art experience? It can be an art class, where the recipient can paint or draw something or a ceramics workshop, where they create a three-dimensional sculpture or perhaps a gift card for bespoke commission? There are benefits for each option:

  • Art class – the success of this option depends very much on how confident the person is in art themselves. If they create something that they don’t like in the end, then the artwork will probably not end on their wall. However, I’m sure that with a good tutor they will enjoy the experience itself. The same goes for the ceramics or any other crafts workshop for that matter.
  • Gift card for a bespoke commission – this option will offer the recipient to commission a bespoke piece within the agreed budget. This way they will probably receive an artwork they are looking for, but without the experience of creating the piece themselves.

Whichever option you will go for, it will be a unique experience and you will definitely be remembered.

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What does it mean for an artist to have their artwork on your walls?

So far we have spoken about what it means for you to have artwork on the walls at your home. Where to get them, where to install and what to look out for. Which colours to choose and which artwork to put to which room. We also looked at site-specific installations and wall murals which are fixed on one specific wall and are not standalone works.

But have you thought what it means to the artist? The knowledge that someone has liked their work enough to want to see it every day at their home? This, of course, applies when you have bought the artwork directly from the artist or gallery, which has a close relationship with their artists. This means that the artist has the knowledge that their work is with you. Having somebody believing in your art and like your art that they are willing to pay for it is very high acknowledgement. No matter how big or small the artwork is or how much you have paid for it.

When you buy original artwork, keep that in mind. You create a creative bond with the artist. This, of course, doesn’t apply to the artworks which are mass-produced, and you don’t know the artist in person. Yes, it implies to very consumption-led approach, as at this stage it doesn’t matter whether the buyer bought the artwork because they valued the work or because it looked good with their existing décor. But this is an entirely different conversation. 

This article will be published in HEM Life October 2019 issue

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Buying art for your home directly from an artist

Buying art is an exciting process. There are various places to buy art: an online gallery, a physical gallery, a dealer or from an agent. Just to clarify, this is about purchasing original artworks, not room decorations.

An overlooked option, however, is purchasing artworks directly from the artist. This is also a good way to get to know the artist. You are not buying the artwork because it looks good with your pillows on the sofa. Each artwork has a story to tell and it’s the artist’s story. You buy into the artist, their journey, values and beliefs because you can relate to them.

Once you like the style of the artist’s work, you will be looking to commission them for unique work. If you have already found the artwork that you like, great! However, when ordering a commission, bear in mind that the artist cannot read your mind. They might create something that is not what you are looking for. In order to avoid disappointment, have a proper conversation with the artist beforehand. Show the photos of the room where you would like the picture to be hanged. Depending on your relationship with the artist, you might ask them to see the work halfway through to make sure that it is what you are looking for.

Artists are not wizards, there is no guarantee that they will recreate something exactly the way you imagine it. The more information you provide to the artist beforehand, the better. 

This post is written for HEM Life Magazine which will be published on 6th Sept 2019
Artworks by Steve Evans

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Your home as an artwork

Artwork at home does not always mean that it has to be framed and hang on the wall. Sometimes the artwork can be an entire wall. Either it is a mural painting or a wall size digital image in the form of a wallpaper. But bear in mind that in any case, you need to have a reason, your ‘why’. Why is this particular piece necessary.

Wall art can have several benefits:

Statement piece

You want to walk into the room and go ‘wow!’. Any artwork can have this effect, but nothing compares with an artwork which covers the entire wall.

Making the room seem larger

You can achieve fascinating results even in narrow hallways. Of course, it very much depends on imagery. When the aim is to make the room look larger, make sure to choose artwork or a photo which depicts distance. E.g. a beach scenery with a view of the sea or a road which leads far away. Including sharp perspective, angles would also help.

Creating an ‘escape wall’ or dreamland

This approach is especially positive in bedrooms for kids. This allows their imagination to flourish and you don’t have to worry them knocking an expensive artwork off the wall.

The only problem with having a wall art or a mural painting at home is that it has site-specific nature and you will not be able to take it with you once you move. It is an investment, however, the results, when done well, are worth it.

Mural painting by Artwork by Joe at a teenage boy’s bedroom in Langham.
Custom printed wallpaper at Biddle & Webb Auctions’ jewellery valuation office in Jewellery Qtr., Birmingham.
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Artworks as gifts

Looking for a gift that that special person? But what do you get to someone who already has everything? A unique and quirky artwork might be a good option. When choosing artwork, there are a couple of things to pay attention to. After all, you would like the artwork to be cherished and displayed rather than just placed away for regifting.

So, how do you nail that gift and find the perfect artwork?

  • Familiarity – how well do you know the person? What does the person LIKE? Don’t assume, just ask. Once you nail that gift and find the artwork that compliments the overall interior, you will be in their mind every day.
  • Existing interiors – what does their home look like? Is it a Victorian-era house or a modern newbuild? What kind of furniture do they have? What is the colour scheme? The answers to those questions will help you to establish the type of artwork.
  • Price is a big factor, but it needn’t be. There are loads of emerging artists who produce original pieces of work for entry-level prices.
  • Visuals – what is depicted in the artwork? The abstract is a good universal option. Classical landscapes can fit most interiors. Artworks of nature work most of the time
  • Colours play a huge role when choosing artwork which will suit the interior. You can have a great depiction, but if the colour scheme doesn’t fit then overall artwork doesn’t fit.

These pointers should help you to find that perfect gift every time.

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Where to purchase art

Want to have some artwork in your home but don’t know where to start? Well, the first thing you need to establish is the budget. Do you want a splash of colour to decorate a dull wall in a kitchen which you can change often or you want a statement piece for the living room, which you can pass to your children as it’s also an investment? Your budget will dictate where you can buy these artworks.

Here are some tips:

  1. Galleries. Gallerists will help you with advice and suggestions which would match your personal preference and budget.
  2. Online galleries. The beauty of online galleries is that you can browse them from the comfort of your own home. The downside is that there is so much to choose from.
  3. Directly from artists. This would almost be the ideal purchase because you can purchase art cheaper compared to buying via galleries who add the commission on top of the artist price.
  4. Furniture shops. This option is usually frowned upon. However, if you are buying coloured cushions and looking for something to compliment your choice, then the good chance is that you can find an artwork just next to them.

You need to ask yourself: is art important part of who you are or you just need something instead of wallpaper to cover the walls? If it is the former, then your options are the first three. But if you incline to be the latter, then the fourth option will suit just as well.

Featured image: Artworks by Alan Yaffe.

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Escape in art

‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.’

This quote has been attributed to several people, including Pablo Picasso and John Lennon. But what did the author actually mean?

How many times I have heard that ‘oh, I am not creative at all’ or ‘I hated art classes at school and am still covered with cold sweat if I am asked to draw a stickman’. Sound familiar?

My response is ‘Can you write your own name?’ and if the answer is yes, then you can draw. The drawing as an act itself is not a problem here, the issue come with what others think about it. The ‘grow up’ part of the quote means ‘society thinks that your artwork is not appropriate’, is not in accordance with the ‘norms & conventions’. That’s why we stop.

Do you doodle when you are on the phone with somebody? Do you make notes and then start colouring the letters in or make a squiggle on the corner of the page without even thinking about it? Majority of us do. Why? Because this is how your brain relaxes. Nobody will see your doodles besides you. It can (and probably will) go straight to the bin. But how did it make you feel? A bit relaxed? Perhaps yes, perhaps not, but the bottom line is, you managed to express yourself.

So take 5 minutes when no one is watching and draw. What’s the worst that can happen?

But if you have more than 5 minutes, say 2 hours, why not come to our next art class. See all classes here.

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Why do we need art at home?

For some people, having an artwork in their home seems to be obvious, but not for everyone. Here are a couple of thoughts on why artwork at home is a good idea.

A picture is worth a thousand words’ – what is the artwork at your home saying about you or to you? Art can evoke a lovely memory or have a special meaning and representation. The artwork is a great tool to initiate a discussion and evoke creativity. It is a way of expression. Your choice of artwork at home shows your taste and how much effort are you willing to put into showcasing great work. However, not all art looks great. But this doesn’t matter as long as it carries a meaning to you.

Featured image is a sample of  DJ’s artwork in the living room. See full DJ’s portfolio here.

An original piece of art brings a bit of personality to your home – we are constantly surrounding ourselves with more and more automated and digital equipment. Having an artwork which is created by a person adds warmth to your home. All artists find this being a great honour that their work has been displayed. Especially in such an intimate place as someone’s home.

Whatever is the reason for having an artwork at home, make sure that there is a meaning to it. The artwork is more than just a pretty picture which compliments the cushions on the sofa. Art is not a substitute to the wallpaper or colourful wall. All art is a decoration, however not all decoration is art.

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Unleashing Inner Artists

In August 2018 we have introduced a new initiative – Unleash Your Inner Artist. These are art classes for adults with no or very little art experience. Our aim is to show that creating art is more about the process and the enjoyment of it rather than purely focusing on the end result. The classes take place once a month on every third Monday of the month. Participants can come to just one class or visit regularly. Unleash Your Inner Artist is developed in a way that there is something new to do each class. We focus mainly on developing various drawing skills, which participants learn and can implement whilst drawing independently. All materials are provided on the spot and the participants can take their artwork with them at the end of the class.

Unleash Your Inner Artist in September 2018

Unleash Your Inner Artist art classes are run by Jaanika Okk, founder of Okk Arts. Jaanika has diverse experience in teaching in Estonia when she is originally from and in the UK. Jaanika has studied Arts in Tallinn (Estonia), Canterbury, and London.  She holds degrees in fine arts, specialising in printmaking at Estonian Academy of Arts, and earning a Master of Arts in Arts and Project Management from Birmingham City University.

Unleash Your Inner Artist is held at the Lost & Found in Birmingham city centre. This is a restaurant with a private function area, where the classes take place. The classes are aimed towards adults, however, we also welcome parents with younger kids as the classes are tailored to cater to various skill levels.

Here are overviews of all classes taken place so far.

Unleash Your Inner Artist October class


Classes cost £21.55 which include all materials, hot drinks and booking fees. You can book either via Eventbrite link (search  ‘Unleash Your Inner Artist’) or on spot via cash or card. However, if you are intending to pay then, please let Jaanika know in advance that you are attending either by e-mailing: or calling 0121 572 6935

Gift cards

If you are looking for a present to someone who already has everything, then Unleash Your Inner Artist Gift Card is a perfect solution. Each card is handmade and different so you can have an actual piece of artwork as a Gift Card.

Gift for one art class costs £22 which includes also postage. If you are interested, then please e-mail or call 0121 572 6935


Find out what some of the participants thought about the event

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Artwork at home – location and message

Finding a perfect artwork for your home is all about taste and relation. You either like it or not, it either suits with the environment or not. Worst of all is if you just don’t care because then there is no point of having the artwork at all. The artwork has to communicate with the viewer and one way or another, it has to generate an emotion.

What it is that creates emotions? Well, that is entirely subjective. There are a couple of tips that will help. Bear in mind that I am not talking only about wall-mountable two-dimensional artworks, but also about freestanding sculptures and ceramic art. Think about the location and message – which room do you want to place artwork in and what kind of emotions would you like it to project?

Is it a bedroom, where you would like to have something calming with smooth colours. Perhaps some inspirational quotes to read in the morning whilst getting ready for the day. In the living room, the central room of the house, you would like to showcase a statement piece. Perhaps commissioned painting of the family or something less depictive and general abstract work? Something which compliments who you are and what is your taste. For kids rooms, have something they can relate to. Characters from their favourite movies for example.

Whichever artwork you choose for your home, make sure that it represents something for you. Otherwise, it will not be any different than just a wallpaper.


The article was originally published at November edition of HEM Life:

Header image: DJ / Coniston Fells / Oil on canvas / Size: 70 x 100 cm / £1,680.00

You can purchase this work here.