Why You Won't See Much Art On The Walls in Our New House (For Now)

An interview with Geoffrey about our new approach to art...
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When G and I moved into our new home, the vast majority of our art did not come with us. With the exception of one investment piece, our art was a hodgepodge of paintings and prints I'd sourced from flea markets over the first ten years of our relationship. As we considered the design of our new home together, we realized a lot of it no longer fit our style. While we're both working closely with Katie Hodges on the overall design and furniture for our house, G is going to be "in charge" of sourcing art. It's always been a passion of his—he nearly minored in art!—so I asked Leslie to interview him about the approach he's taking to outfitting our new home in art:

How did you approach art when you first moved in with Emily?

Emily and I had very different styles when we first moved in together. She was much more of a flea market hunter and liked to find things that were more unique, or just resonated with her quirkiness, if you will. She appreciated the search that went into finding hidden treasures much more than I did. At the same time, I contributed some random print choices, like my "collection" of superheroes getting punched. I never felt like investing in things for a place we didn't own, so I never spent on art until we got to our first house. That's when I bought our Mitch Paster print. 

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That's probably the piece of art you and Emily receive the most questions about. It's also the first piece you'd see when you walked into your kitchen. How did you find it?

I used Uprise Art, a site that curates artists across different mediums and makes finding art at various price points and styles accessible. I was looking for a large-scale print or painting for the wall in our kitchen between the den and hallway, and wanted something that added some color since our house was so neutral. The magenta, yellow, and blue hues gave a really nice balance to the otherwise stark room without looking garish. People often think it's a painting (it's actually a digital print!), and it offers a softness and warmth to any room. This is a piece that nearly everyone who visits our house has commented on because it's so soothing to look at. 

In short, it spoke to me. That's the thing about art—you have to have something that speaks to you personally because it's all subjective. You can't make a wrong or right choice with art. We've all had those moments when you see a piece of art you connect with in a museum or gallery—that's what I'm looking for in our home. 

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You obviously brought the Paster print to your new house, but I know you got rid of a lot of pieces since I was the beneficiary of a few... Can you tell me what you passed on and why?

Most of the pieces we gave away were photographs. We got rid of almost everything from our gallery wall, and kept some of the larger prints, like the Grey Malin photo from our entryway, and paintings Emily had purchased. I think photography is a beautiful medium; there's something palpable about its ability to capture a real moment, like the abandoned slide in a field [which Leslie took] or a carnival ride [which is now in Kelly's apartment]. But, we purchased a lot of these photographs because it was the "safe" option at the time. Emily will tell you herself that because she never took art history, she can feel intimidated by branching out into other mediums. But I like that it will force us to go out and see more galleries together and become exposed to more styles. 

We'll be adding the photos we did keep to the upstairs, the more private areas of the house, but purchasing more paintings, mixed medium pieces, and sculptures for the downstairs. I just want something with depth and a tactile feel, so I'm leaving photography as a secondary or tertiary option.

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Can you remember why you purchased those photographs in the first place?

At a certain point, we were filling a wall just to fill it. Take our gallery wall, for example. While there were some pieces Emily loved, a lot of the space was taken up by pieces she sourced from photography sites or flea markets that were "good enough," but ultimately, didn't age well. The final wall was curated, but arguably compiled too quickly, so that we could photograph the house. 

This time around, I would rather have blank walls or even a mirror as a space-filler rather than a temporary print or photograph. As kids, we all had posters on our wall. In our first apartment, we had temporary, framed prints. Now, I look at art as a lifetime investment. 

What's your approach to purchasing art now?

I'm always going to be on the lookout, but I don't plan on making any major art purchases until the majority of the design of our house is done—which may mean having blank walls for the time being. 

The way I see it, the house and furniture are the "cake," and the art is really the frosting. As you probably know, we're currently working with Katie Hodges to design our house and source furniture. And while I'm sure we'll be asking her for resources, art is very personal so it's something Emily and I will be working on without professional input, for the most part. I see the art we add as something we won't complete anytime soon—and that's a good thing. Whenever we travel now, I want to schedule time at a local gallery or museum because you never know what you're going to find. 

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Emily Art 3