“What we call a home is merely any place that succeeds in making more consistently available to us the important truths which the wider world ignores, or which our distracted and irresolute selves have trouble holding onto”
– Alain de Botton
The concept of home is simultaneously familiar and difficult to distill. Other cultures have untranslatable terms that speak to this feeling, recognising that the walls we live between are more than shelter. In English, Alain de Botton has his own crack. For him, the home is a place that reaffirms our sense of self in a world that otherwise might disorientate us. And art, as infinitely symbolic, is instrumental to this. Evermore than wall-fillers, here's how art reflects and adds heart to our homes.
Values don’t have to be intangible; they can instead, steer the decisions we make, especially when considering how we populate our homes. In the work below, John Perceval draws his then infant daughter, Tessa. This is a celebration of new life, family and the dawn of a relationship between daughter and father.
When a project is too fixated on the end result, it leaves little room for serendipity; this is no different in the case of art. As your taste evolves, collecting with a mix of reason and feeling will almost always be a reliable guide. Learning to trust ourselves develops over time.
Throughout his career, Charles Blackman followed his intuition wherever it took him. Like his beloved Alice (of Wonderland), he took a tumble through the rabbit hole - dreaming up the adventure that awaited.
We don’t think curiosity killed the cat, we think it saved him. Prizing curiosity when selecting art means pushing your creative boundaries and discovering new perspectives that might otherwise, have been missed.
In his own rendition of Alice in Wonderland, Auguste Blackman prizes the power of wonder. Born from his own boyhood curiosity in his father’s practice, ‘Wonderland’ rings of boundless curiosity.
There will always be new trends, knick-knacks, hot-shots and must haves. While entertaining these can be fun, keeping up with the limitless stream of trends is not only unsustainable, it’s inauthentic. The salve? Embrace your individuality.
Born in London in 1919, Prunella Clough was a true trailblazer. From an era where women artists were bound to dresses, still-lives and drawing rooms, Clough donned pants and forged her own unique, social-realist style. By filtering closely observed details through her memory, her work is a triumph of individuality.
If you decorate your home with these ideas in mind, the urge to redecorate will arise less often. Being at home may also grow more vital. Leaving space for the layers of life, choosing art for the home is a life-affirming experience. In the wise words of the philosopher from Oz: there’s no place like home.