How to display art in your home

affordable art fair

March is upon us again, which means the luminaries of the art world will be descending upon the city as plentifully as the spring rains. While most of the action takes place at the end of the month when leading contemporary art fair Art Basel Hong Kong, homegrown art and lifestyle event Art Central and a plethora of satellite events take centre stage, the calendar through the rest of the month is packed with exhibitions and other creative programming related to the arts. 

Over the past few years, Hong Kong has transformed into an Asian hub for the arts — and, accordingly, more and more home owners are beginning to collect art to hang in their homes. For those new to the undertaking, however, it can be difficult to know where to begin. According to Stephanie Kelly, fair director of the Affordable Art Fair, there’s no one right answer to that question, as one’s approach to art and art collecting hinges on individuality. “Art is about expressing yourself,” she said. “It’s about finding those pieces that express you and your personality, bringing them into your home, and playing with them.” 

While the average Hong Kong apartment definitely poses a challenge compared to larger homes, Kelly explained that art can elevate small spaces, too. “What art can do is maximise your space,” she said. “People can shy away from large artworks, but it can actually make your apartment feel bigger, roomier or lighter than before.” Artworks can also help delineate specific zones in an area that serve different functions — working, relaxing, or eating in a living-slash-dining area, for instance. 

What art does best, of course, is add interest to your space and kick-start conversations. “The art that I like personally has double meanings,” she said. “You might look at the artwork and understand more and more throughout the years and the longer you have it on your wall.” A piece might even appear differently depending on where you hang it. Kelly gave the example of a large abstract oil painting that she placed near some natural light. “Because of the oils and different colours, it changes throughout the day,” she said. A single larger piece in the middle of an otherwise blank wall can be a signature piece that leaves a big impact within a space. Another piece in Kelly’s own home is Cape of the Pacific Voyages by Rebecca Jewell, which she hung in her entryway. “That’s the piece that everyone looks at and talks about when they come in,” she said. Another option is to do a salon hang, a “cluttered but curated” array of different works positioned together, which can then be surrounded by photographs, souvenirs and other treasured objects. 

“Collecting art and building your home are really personal journeys,” Kelly concluded. “For me, really, art is the heart of the home. I always feel that wherever you hang your art is your home.” In a way, then, it’s impossible to wrong with an at-home art collection — so long as you follow your heart. 

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