Rethink Your Art: How Unexpected Finds Become Treasures

Rethink Your Art: How Unexpected Finds Become Treasures

Landis Carey
Aug 25, 2010

These landscapes have added color to many rooms throughout their life, but they may be more cherished today than ever before. They've changed hands at least twice and, just in the past eight years, they've hung in two Manhattan studios, a Brooklyn condominium, and now they've found a permanent home in New Jersey. We don't know the paintings' origin—only that they were bought for $200 from the resale store Housing Works on Manhattan's Upper West Side—but that's alright because we've imagined their histories as the most delightful scenarios.

Rewind approximately eight years when my future husband, who I did not know at the time, purchased these gems. They were inset in wooden frames and mounted to grass cloth when I arrived on the scene. And what a scene it was. These lovelies were haphazardly hanging in a bachelor pad next to a Jim Morrison poster and above an oversized gray microsuede couch, which had a dozen throw pillows on it of all different sizes and textures. Even then these paintings were great splashes of color, but I didn't yet realize their potential.

When it came time to combine our belongings, we decided to rethink these landscapes and give them new life. We turned to a local frame shop and, after debating the best way to exploit these works' color and size, we decided less was more. Rather than expensively reframing the work, we mounted them to float on the wall. And today they do. Their woven edges sit about three inches from the wall and their power is felt much more now than when I first met them.

Even though the works have exceeded expectations—their color enlivens our dining room and bedroom and their scale makes an undeniable impression—there's still something else about them that I cherish even more: the fact that they are on, at least, their third life.

What unknown treasures are in your home that you can rethink to be green and save green?

To evaluate the art that you already have, hang it in a different room, maybe reframe it, but to truly see a piece's full power, position it in a gallery-like style with its center five feet from the floor. Also, make sure to give it lots of breathing room. To really see how you feel, view the art in different lights and at various times over the next week—only then will you realize your art's full potential.

(Images: Landis Carey)

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