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pink velvet cocktail chair in front of abstract art

The importance of art in creating a happy home

pink velvet cocktail chair in front of abstract art

This week, we’re handing over the reins to the lovely Elinor, who is co-founder of the online gallery DegreeArt.com. We’re thrilled to have just launched our first ever art collection with DegreeArt.com, where you can find limited edition framed art prints for your home, all exclusive to sofa.com! Having been submerged in the art world for over 20 years, Elinor’s passion for art is infectious. Read on to discover the psychology behind our love for art, as well as five ways art can make your home your happy place. Over to you, Elinor…

The growth in art collection over the past year

blue sofa and footstool against green wall, by open doors

Urban Landscape Series #18 by Lana Matsuyama sits beautifully behind our Reuben sofa

Very few would disagree that buying new things is one of life’s true pleasures. It certainly is one of mine. Over the last 12 months, I have been developing my home art collection, buying everything from paintings, to limited edition prints, to hand finished and artist designed accessories. I have found new places to display works that I never knew existed before- from our new dining plate set, handpainted by a recent graduate, through to the cushions designed by one of my favorite artists. My artwork truly makes my home the happy place it is for my family and me.

I have been an art dealer for almost 20 years, and whilst my recent increase in collecting could be called a ‘hazard’ of the job (although I insist to my husband that it is a ‘perk’), my gallery, DegreeArt, has noted a collecting trend more widely. We are helping more clients than ever before discover new art, artists and the joy of art ownership.

quote by artist lee herring

Lee Herring is a contemporary painter, specialising in colourful, textured and abstract landscapes. We’re in love with his print ‘Peach Skies’!

We wondered if this could be explained by the fact that we have all spent so much time at home, looking at gaps on our walls and shelves. Or that online shopping has made it easier than ever to browse art and design. Or could it be the popularity of art and design collaborations making art accessible from brands and designers we already love? We think all of this could have contributed, but we have come to realize that there is one further factor fuelling this growing interest in art collecting.

The driving force behind not only my passion (possibly addiction) for buying art, but also so many others, is that it provides not only instant, but an enduring sense of happiness and gratification.
It is a purchase that directly benefits not only me, but equally the artist who carefully created the work and also those I am able to share and enjoy my new art with. I can admire it myself before showing it off to family, friends and those who have spotted it in my carefully curated video call background! Art is so much more than just wall decoration, it can truly bring long lasting happiness.

When I was originally designing my home, I wanted each room to feel as though you were walking through a favorite story book. For me, each piece in my collection is like a chapter of a book that allows me to travel to places that mean something special to me. My house wouldn’t be a ‘home’ without art.

quote by artist Lana Matsuyama

Lana Matsuyama is a Japanese-American contemporary artist, designer and creative director, specialising in abstract mixed media paintings and drawings. Her Urban Landscape Series (see #1, #2 and #16) is the perfect way to add interest to a room

Why art brings us happiness

white linen sofa with neutral textured artwork

Two pieces from Lana Matsuyama’s Balance Series (#4 and #5) sit beautifully in a neutral setting, beside our Isaac sofa

Behavioural Psychologist Antoinette Raymond PHD was inspired to understand more about Art and Happiness after she began to add to her art own collection and involved her daughter, husband and wider family in her journey. She describes happiness as ‘subjective well-being’– a sense of joy and contentment and explains that art has been found to have many psychological benefits that achieve this.
Antoinette has identified that art can provide happiness in three key ways: Seeing Art, Creating Art, and Owning Art.

  1. Seeing Art Makes Us Happy

    “Seeing art increases dopamine and activity in the brain that results in feelings of pleasure that are comparable to romantic love. At other times, looking at art helps relax people, providing them with a sense of escapism. In a nutshell, art makes you feel all kinds of good things! And what could be better than that!” says Antoinette.

  2. Creating Art Brings Happiness

    Making art brings the joy and pleasure of invention and exploration. According to Antoinette, creating art also induces relaxation and other health enhancing benefits. It helps lower stress levels, improve well-being, lowers depression, and is proven to help those with chronic illnesses cope.

  3. Art Ownership

    People often talk about art as an ‘investment’ and this is certainly a thing but we can expand the concept far beyond the purely financial hopes that in a decade our new artwork will allow us to stop saving for our pensions! When you purchase art you are investing in not only your interior, but directly supporting the artist, the gallery or shop who represents them and of course your sense of emotional well-being which is boosted every time you or another admires your new piece.

quote by artist Johannes Nielsen

Johannes Nielsen is a graduate in Fine Arts from the Lunds Art School, and has migrated from physically sculpting with clay and wood, towards using digital methods of creation. ‘Same Day, Different Body’ is an incredibly striking piece of art, a perfect conversation starter

Taking Antoinette’s advice, while writing this blog, I encouraged my children to work on a painting each. ‘What do you think?’ my 8 year old son asked me once he had finished his masterpiece. ‘I love it, I replied. ‘You are so talented’. As quick as a flash he came back with; ‘So, do you want to buy it?’

As I handed over a £5 note, we both, undoubtedly, felt happy!

Art should be something we can all experience and benefit from. There are no hard and fast rules for this as art should be part of everyone’s lives whether you are simply seeing, creating or owning it! Enjoy your art experiences and I hope it can bring you as much happiness as it does me.

Five Ways that Art Can Bring You Happiness

yellow, blue and grey interiors, with grey sofa and yellow artwork

Upon Reflection by Michael Hunter looks stunning in a relatively neutral interior and is the perfect piece to tie a room’s colour scheme together – beautifully demonstrated here through accents of yellow in rugs, vases and scatter cushions on our Bowie sofa

  1. If you love it, that’s all that matters!

    Remember that art is truly subjective – if you love it and it makes you happy, that is all the justification you need. Also remember, when you do decide to purchase, that buying from a trusted brand or gallery ensures you can rest easy that the quality and provenance is vouched for and that they will go on supporting artists.

  2. Ask for help if you want to know more

    Never feel afraid to ask. Art consultants and interior advisors can share not only suggestions on what goes with what and where to display pieces, but can give you insights into the artist and artwork that will open up your enjoyment of the work further.

  3. Get creative!

    Give it a go – most of us stop making art after the age of 13 and lose our confidence, or never seem to have time to get back to it. Join a workshop, there are now so many free online workshops and tutorials run by professional artists that if you are feeling shy, you can experiment at home, or look for a local course.

  4. Switch it up

    It may sound obvious, but how you frame, mount or display your artwork can change how you see it. A smaller artwork or photograph can instantly be made twice the size simply by getting it reframed with a mount (the card border inside a frame) and a new contemporary frame. Not brave enough or bothered to paint a whole ‘feature wall’ you could try painting a square or rectangle directly on the wall (a sample pot from a DIY store should be enough) and hanging your artwork over a colour block to make it truly pop. Finally, look at your shelves and surfaces, place a small sculpture ceramic vase or piece of glass you have collected on top of a pile of books to elevate it and create a focal point.

  5. Share your happiness

    Finally, tell your family and friends what you love about your artwork and what you have discovered about the artist. Why you connected with it. Use it as your screensaver, videocall backdrop and on your social media. Not only will this make you and those who see it happy, but by helping to promote the artist, you are increasing their value, as the more people who see it and admire it, the higher the value of your artwork will go! Remember, once you own 5 or more pieces, you are officially a ‘collector’!

quote by artist Kelly Jenkins

Kelly Jenkins is a contemporary painter and textile artist, who uses stitched data visualisation to reflect the complex world in which we live. ‘You Blow My Mind’ is a vibrant and colourful piece of art, bound to bring colour and intrigue to your home

Over the last 18 years, as co-founder of DegreeArt.com, Elinor Olisa and her business partner Isobel Beauchamp have learnt how the art world works, from its grass roots through to career artists by looking to the future and ensuring that the offline and online work in unison, nurturing handpicked creatives and a community of collectors.
Contributor: Antoinette Raymond PHD is an Organisational Psychologist& Behavioural Scientist. She is an expert in the psychology of innovation, disruption and organisational change to help people succeed and thrive in this new fangled world we find ourselves living in.

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