The Gallery Wall

This might be a wall you find in the house of a crazy person. I’d rather be crazy, than boring.

Living Room Gallery Wall
Living Room Gallery Wall

I knew this would be the wall I would be looking at the most since it’s in my living room, so I decided to make it really personal and pick some of my favourite pieces to display. The things that make me happy when I look at them. The idea of displaying pieces that are “safe” or pleasant for everyone just isn’t my prerogative. Here are some of the reasons I picked the things I did:

  1. Large tree painting – this is my first ever India Ink tree painting. I completed it while I was studying art in University. I had no idea where I was going with it, but I really enjoyed working on it and actually liked it when my professor, during his critique, told me that he found it to be creepy. This piece was the beginning of a series, that later became my signature works. I could have placed just this painting over the couch, but that would be way too much empty wall for me.

    India Ink Painting
    India Ink Painting
  2. M M & M M – This little grouping is meant to represent each individual in our household since we all have the first initial M. I was excited to find these letters because they are all unique, covered with a different part of a world map. The letters were purchased from Urban Outfitters and the “&” sign was purchased from Urban Barn.

    M M & M M
    M M & M M
  3. Mirrors – I use mirrors a lot throughout the house to reflect light, especially on the walls without windows. I liked these particular ones because the hanging feature helps to fill more space on the wall, balancing the large painting. The mirrors were purchased from Homesense.

    Rope Mirrors
    Rope Mirrors
  4. Window Frame – My second disgusting salvaged window frame (the first is about 15 feet away in the kitchen, housing my collection of vintage knickknacks). This frame has the glass intact, which allowed me the opportunity to place a photo behind it. I framed a print of a mural that I have displayed at York University. The original work is made up of hundreds of pieces of fall leaves I cut into squares and organized by colour. It’s nice to look up at the wall and be reminded of a big accomplishment in my life. The frame was purchased from the Sunday Antique Market.

    Second Window frame with print of mural
    Second Window frame with print of mural
  5. Still-Life Painting – This is my first oil painting, I painted it with pigment and oil in school. It is not an original piece, but instead a copy of a segment of a Caravaggio painting. Not my usual style or subject-matter, but I am proud I used the same materials and technique that Caravaggio did at his time.

    Oil painting
    Oil painting
  6. Mystery Men Plaster Heads – I fell in love with these guys when I spotted them at the Sunday Antique Market and got them all for a steal ($30). Traditionally these are meant to be painted, which makes them look super-cheesy, but I love that when left white, all the detail really stands out.
    Mystery men casts
    Mystery men casts

    They add a little personality to the wall, and overall look more friendly compared to their neighbour…

    Cuban mask
    Cuban mask
  7. Cuban Mask – And last but not least, a constant reminder of my husband being right that one time. The story is we purchased this mask from a market while we were in Cuba…and we may have overpaid because I fell for the “struggling artist” story. I had urged my husband to shell out the pesos and not to insult the artist by bargaining. My husband did so reluctantly, but later, on another visit to the same market, we realized that the “struggling artist” sob story was a common pitch and that in fact these pieces were more mass-produced then we were led to believe. But, I’m glad we bought it, it reminds me of my many trips to Cuba and I still love the creepy little guy!Gallery wall  In order to figure out the best arrangement for the wall, I began by first placing the objects in small groupings and piecing them together like a puzzle on the floor in front of the wall before committing to hanging them. I attempted to have each object align in at least one way with another object so that there is some feeling of organization. I wanted to display the larger pieces higher and the pieces with more detail at eye-level. Despite the variety of objects represented, I made sure there wasn’t anything too “new” looking on the wall, since I like how a vintage and rustic vibe can make a room feel more warm and cozy. I also used a lot of repetition (the mirrors, the letters and the plaster heads) so that the wall doesn’t look too chaotic. The approximate cost of covering this wall was about $300, not including the original art pieces. It seems high, but it does the job of covering a large wall space and the pieces can be broken up later to use in different spaces if I ever get sick of looking at my crazy gallery wall.
    Gallery wall
    Gallery wall

    If you are thinking about creating your own gallery wall, include your favourite pieces, not just things you feel so-so about. Try to stay within a similar colour palette, since that will help unify the pieces more. In my case I stayed with earthy tones, such as browns, creams, greens, blues, and reds. Also, include different textures for added interest, such as mirror, glass, metal, fabric, plaster, etc. Finally, include a variety of objects such as traditional paintings, sculptural pieces, prints, photographs and even mass-produced items so that your wall is truly unique and representative of you and your family.

    Check out the Salvaged Window Frame for added inspiration.

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