Every home should tell a unique story – an authentic, individual story. The incorporation of personally collected art can be the first step toward presenting your personal story. Authenticity is found in art pieces with a history or items with special meaning because they were created by someone you care about; a child, friend, or someone you admire. They can be representative of places you’ve been, and the memories and experiences from that place. Personally chosen art can be intuitive, surprising, and entertaining. It is a way to relive your life (and tell your story) by surrounding yourself with what you treasure.

Top, Jude Clark; bottom left, Ellen Glasgow; bottom right, Tom Hampton. (Image provided)

Art presents itself in many forms. As the storyteller, you are the curator. Traditionally categorized art can be original paintings, or expressive photography prints. It can be a collection of pieces, or a single bold statement piece. It might be a globally inspiration fabric from past travels, or an architectural item carried through generations. Maybe it’s the vibrant presentation in a watercolor found at a local arts festival, or a delicately formed bronze sculpture that intrigued you as a young collector. (As my personal leap 30 years ago into to the world of art, my “Little Lena” bronze remains as a fondly remembered permanent fixture on my desk).   The price or value is never important – it’s the sentiment it reveals and the story it tells.

  1. Portrait of an artist. Visitors to Diane Thompson’s South Frankfort home are at once mesmerized by a large painting seen upon entering her home. The 2- panel canvas was completed by a fellow colleague, Mike Mooser, in 1977. It is an engaging pop culture style portrait created to fill a void on a large wall in one of Diane’s early apartments. Its impressive size, 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide, delivers a unique personal statement. Diane, an accomplished portrait artist, and retired graphic artist and illustrator with the former Office of Creative Services, fills her home with art completed by others and herself. It speaks to her lifelong devotion of art, both vocationally and personally.
  2. Art and the artist. Ellen Glasgow is an internationally acclaimed (and locally based) artist. A large scale oil painting completed by one of her early art instructors is a prized possession. Jacquelin Jenkins was an art instructor in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where Ellen was enrolled as a student. The relationship flourished from mentor and student to artistic colleagues through an inaugural trip to Italy, followed by Greece, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The close relationship with the artist (and her painting) has guided Ellen through many successful years as a professional artist by instilling a love of travel and a passion for painting on site, wherever on-site happened to be. Her large scale landscapes incorporate vibrant color and minimal detail, as guided by her mentor.
  3. A collector’s collection. As an experienced, avid art collector, Tom Hampton fills his home with enough original art to fill a gallery. And that is how it is enthusiastically displayed. He lives among his pieces and treasures the story behind each acquisition. Coincidently he has acquired a number of pieces by Ellen Glasgow, and uses her Capital Gallery as a favorite source for personally collected pieces by a wide variety of artists. Tom’s passion for original art is fed through world travel and local talent. As the early work by Valerie Timmons shows, the iconic steeples of downtown Frankfort uniquely define his home, and hometown.
  4. Architecture and art. The craft of architecture has guided Jude Clark in both his art collection and in his own artistic endeavors. An impressive collection of art ranging from oils and watercolor, to lithographs and pastels, provides inspiration for his own paintings. The collection tells his story – from landscapes of the western United States and Europe, to detailed abstracts, and paintings of buildings, cars, and his beloved shaggy dogs. With the eye of a practiced architect, he displays his collection in gallery format with well-placed track lighting. Modern, handcrafted furniture adds to the individuality of the home. A favorite piece is a large oil painting of downtown Kewanna, Indiana, by Diane Tesler, which captures the glowing light of a small rural town at dusk.
  5. Original stories. Interesting homes have stories to tell. Designers and collectors know that how stories are told is a key to success. Avoid putting art (in any form) in an area of strong color because it loses its focus. Highlight meaningfulness by utilizing gallery techniques for display, while keeping away from a museum-like austerity. Use white, light, or neutral walls; or, a deep contrasting color like black. Enjoy the process of finding examples of your Realize authenticity is not stagnant, but ever-evolving. It adapts to changing tastes and experiences. Your story becomes as unique as you. Be an original.