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Art advice - 05 October 2017

The Art of Being Productive

When buying a piece of art, we’re often imagining where to hang it before we’ve even completed the purchase. And it’s common to pick a space in our home that we associate with socialising, fun or relaxation. As a result, spaces where we need to work and focus often get overlooked — whether it’s a scruffy corner with walls covered in post-it notes, or an entire room dedicated to our professional life.

But a few carefully placed prints or paintings on the walls where we work can undoubtedly boost our general mood, helping us to be more productive and get work done faster. As a recent article from The Guardian argues, a bright, creative workspace can help employees be more productive, lower stress levels and increase overall wellbeing. Dr Craig Knight explains, the tendency to choose clean, sanitised workspaces — viewed as allowing staff to focus and avoid unnecessary distraction — is actually misplaced. “If you enrich a space people feel much happier and work better,” says Dr Knight. “A very good way of doing this is by using art.”

We couldn’t agree more and think that these ideas can be easily applied to home working environments - whether you work at home full time, or use your desk as a place to think, plan, or get domestic tasks sorted. Take a leaf out of the book of the businesses who rely on art works to uplift and excite their interiors, and experiment with a few pieces of art within your working environment. To help, we’ve trawled our online shop for a selection of pieces we’re sure will give you a boost. Whether you’re in the market for something soothing, invigorating, unusual or funny, our fabulous roster of artists have you covered.

Pam Carter, Flight to Dun Caan, oil on canvas, 2017, £6,000, Art Agency.

Be inspired by big and bold work

If your daily tasks often leave you distracted and bored, injecting a few bright, dynamic pieces into your working environment could help to focus and inspire you. We love the vivid paintings of Pam Carter, which feature expressive portrayals of the Scottish landscapes of Skye and the Outer Isles. These richly atmospheric pieces combine bold colour palettes with unspoilt imagery of the Scottish coastline, meaning her work is both exciting whilst evocative of remote lands.

Amelia Wood, The diving board, acrylic on canvas, 2017, £2,500, The Art Movement.If something a little more graphic is what you’re after, how about Amelia Wood’s punchy compositions, with their vibrant abstract splashes of colour inspired by both Kandinsky and the ‘New Wave’ pop movement. As The Guardian stresses, bright contemporary pieces are great as they make good talking points in spaces like meeting or waiting rooms — but placed within a home office, they can be wonderful mood-lifters, and a great way to make you smile when you’re busy.

Work to help you relax

Alice Cescatti, October Sky, mixed media on board, 2016, £4,200, Ingo Fincke Gallery.There’s a reason the desk isn’t a place associated with relaxation and fun: in many careers, feelings of stress and pressure are a part of the daily working life. If you have a highly pressurised job, a couple of soothing, soulful pieces which relax you can help put things into perspective. This may be a painting which you associate with happy memories — a day out with the family, or a holiday — or it could be artwork designed to transport you elsewhere.

Beth Richardson, Find, acrylic on canvas, 2012, £4,500, Greenstage Gallery.The beautiful, brooding works of New-Zealander Alice Cescatti, with their wide-open spaces and neutral tones, would be a welcome addition to an office, giving you space to think. Similarly, the pretty and understated work of Beth Richardson, who mingles bright colours with simple subject matter, is an ideal way to add a little calm, boosting your mood and helping you to focus on the task in hand.

If you don’t have the luxury of a full room reserved for work, then art is a great way to signify the beginning of your working environment — be it a fold away desk or a corner of the kitchen. Simply sitting in front of the piece that signals it’s time to focus on your work. You’ll be amazed at how hanging a new piece and keeping a vase of fresh flowers nearby can mentally engage you with your to-do list.

Kuno Vollet, Infinitum 1, bronze sculpture, 2017, £3,460, Folly & Muse. Mix things up

It’s not just minimalist pieces that can help you focus — the more interactive and engaging the artworks, the more ongoing stimulation which may help you to voluntarily spend more time at your desk. Take for example the unusual sculptures of Kuno Vollet, which bring together themes of science and philosophy within his crystal-like, abstract forms. Introducing something a little unusual such as sculpture can reinvigorate and uplift a space, making it a more interesting place to be.

Johnny Christmas, Where Love Lives, acrylic on board, 2017, £2,300, My Life In Art.

For something really special, try a light installation! Many big corporations rely on moving or light sculptures in entrance halls and lobbies to add some dynamism into work spaces. We can’t get enough Johnny Christmas’ Where Love Lives  a brilliant piece that is bound to cheer you up and have you smiling at your desk.

Vanessa Cooper, Mrs White’s Best China, oil on board, 2017, £2,250, White Space Art. Add a little silliness

If work tends to make you cry rather than laugh, an upbeat, quirky and amusing print may be just the way to lift your spirits. Take Vanessa Cooper’s charming depictions of personified animals crowding round tea parties, or Hannah Battershell’s adorable pieces… we definitely couldn’t resist a smile.

Hannah Battershell, The Snail’s Funeral, mixed media on metal, 2017, £250, GX Gallery. And don’t forget – many galleries at our fairs let you try before you buy and returns are free of charge on our online shop! So, you can try a few options at home and see what works best for you. Just like everyone has their own working style, similarly you may be surprised at how an artwork impacts you, so experiment with a few different pieces and see how they affect your productivity and mood levels over the course of an afternoon. And remember… have fun!

Discover, and fall in love with, more mood boosting works on our online shop »

Main image:
Sandra Elfast interior, taken for Affordable Art Fair Stockholm.
Featured art from top to bottom:
Pam Carter, Flight to Dun Caan, oil on canvas, 2017, £6,000, Art Agency.
Amelia Wood, The diving board, acrylic on canvas, 2017, £2,500, The Art Movement.
Alice Cescatti, October Sky, mixed media on board, 2016, £4,200, Ingo Fincke Gallery.
Beth Richardson, Find, acrylic on canvas, 2012, £4,500, Greenstage Gallery.
Kuno Vollet, Infinitum 1, bronze sculpture, 2017, £3,460, Folly & Muse.
Johnny Christmas, Where Love Lives, neon limited edition, 2017, £2,300, My Life In Art.
Vanessa Cooper, Mrs White’s Best China, oil on board, 2017, £2,250, White Space Art.
Hannah Battershell, The Snail’s Funeral, mixed media on metal, 2017, £250, GX Gallery.

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