Over the past fortnight we’ve been focusing on redefining luxury, inspired by a blog written by the former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK, Michelle Ogundehin. In her blog she champions art as a crucial element in making one’s home a personal place of solace and support. Here in Australia we feel Michelle’s sentiment echoed now more than ever as we look for ways to create these inspirational and comfortable spaces. Local interior design expert and owner of The Gallery by Fenton & Fenton Lucy Fenton says about art, “It’s one of the main things in the house that gives it a certain feel.”
If you’re on the lookout for a piece of art, the number one tip that all Affordable Art Fair gallerists give is to buy with your heart. The emotional nature of art means your love of it should be the primary motivating factor. “I’ve said it so many times and I’m sticking to it,” Lucy Fenton says. “Buy what you love. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big, but if it resonates with you, that’s the number one reason to purchase it.”
We’ve asked some of our favourite Australian gallerists their thoughts on choosing that perfect piece of art and about their own personal sanctuaries.
HOW ART MAKES A HOME
Beulah van Rensburg of VRG*
First up is Van Rensburg Galleries founded by Beulah van Rensburg, an Australian artist with experience living and working in Sydney, Eindhoven, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Last year she decided to set up her gallery in the community of Milton, New South Wales with the mission to feature an exciting array of artists. Some of her favourite artists produce works that have a modern sensibility that is emotionally rich and poignant, but conveyed wit and humour. One such artist is Johnny DeFeo whose interior paintings are full of quirks and charm.
On collecting art, Beulah suggests, “grab a glass of champagne or wine or whatever you like to drink, and walk around quickly once, eyes and heart open, and see what jumps out at you. Then walk around again slowly and see what it is that really moves you.”
To browse VRG's selection of artworks, bubbles in hand, visit their gallery in Milton or have a look online.
Karen and Steve Beardsley of The Gallery Eumundi
Having founded The Gallery Eumundi in 2008, Karen and Steve Beardsley have been working collaboratively with their artists to represent them in both Australian and overseas markets. The gallery has evolved to become a web-based platform delivering contemporary art for online sales whilst continuing to work closely and in person with clients on an art consultancy basis.
The couple have given us a sneak peek into their own art collection, which they constantly move around to reinvigorate spaces in their home in new and exciting ways. ‘We love to be welcomed home by some of our favourite art,’ the couple say of the collection in their entranceway, ‘Our art collection is part of the family, discussed, dissected and debated on so many levels by us all...’
Art has many functions in the Beardsley home from providing a familiar sanctuary to initiating conversation with family and friends. Just by looking at a small portion of their collection we think we could chat about their art all night!
Shazia Imran of AAD Gallery
“The process of making art and sharing with people is a ‘luxury’ for me. My home and studio is my sanctuary.” - Australian Art & Design (AAD) Gallery founder Shazia Imran.
For many artists we’ve talked to, creating beautiful pieces destined for the personal sanctuaries of others is a space of great joy for them. Whilst 2020 certainly has not been easy, Shazia, who usually travels internationally for art fairs and exhibitions, has stayed home in Sydney and has instead focused on bringing “positive energy by painting colourful and lively paintings.” Her painting Just A Reflection is one example of her gloriously colourful new works.
As well as developing her painting style, Shazia saw an opportunity this year to open a bricks-and-mortar space for AAD Gallery in The Rocks, Sydney to support like-minded artists and to create opportunities to meet collectors face to face.
Tamsin and Steve Buic of Vernissage Art
After having a physical gallery in Melbourne, Vernissage Art moved online in March (timing coincidentally with Covid-19 in Australia). Representing Australian and international artists with unique, beautiful and thought-provoking art, the team behind Vernissage Art are always happy to chat art and interior design. Run by Tamsin and Steve Buic, nothing makes them happier than “seeing the right artwork sitting in the right space.”
However, they understand it can be tricky to know if a work will fit into your home before hanging it on the wall, so this is where their graphics expert comes in. Send in a photograph of your interior space and they will digitally place artworks on your wall as realistically as possible to assist in your decision making. Better yet, it’s a free service! Vernissage Art offer a diverse range of artworks to suit a variety of budgets and styles, so why not see if they can help you find that perfect piece?
Kerry Bruce of Fern Street Gallery
Located in the beautiful town of Gerringong on the south coast of New South Wales is the artist-run Fern Street Gallery. With a select group of resident artists on permanent display as well as changing group exhibitions, there’s always something new and exciting each time you visit. Gallery director and artist Kerry Bruce has kindly shown us her own personal sanctuary featuring her painting Love of Blooms.
Kerry describes this space in her home as “my personal sanctuary, my style and my secret place to sit and relax. This beauty is hanging in our reading room surrounded by vases of dried flowers, my SW jewellery boxes and a magazine or two. My love of all things pink is jumping off this canvas and is like my own personal recipe book of pink. This piece reminds me every day why I love creating and sharing my passion of all things art.”
Thanks to all of our gallerists for their advice and insight into finding that perfect piece. To get further inspiration, why not visit our digital wall of personal sanctuaries, including contributions from professional interior designers, the Affordable Art Fair team, and avid art collectors from around the world. Alternatively, to simply start browsing over 17,000 affordable works from the comfort of your couch, click here to visit our online marketplace.
Featured art from first to last:
Johnny DeFeo, Wildcat Conservatory, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in, 2017, USD2500 [SOLD], Van Rensburg Galleries.
The Gallery Eumundi - entranceway.
Shazia Imran, Just A Reflection, Mixed Media on Canvas, 51x51cm, Australian Art & Design.
Digital Placement of Artworks by Sharmain Lowe(left) and Alison Percy(right), Vernissage Art.
Kerry Bruce, #Mypersonalsanctuary, Fern Street Gallery.