Have you ever experienced art fatigue? That's when you are getting tired of looking at your art collection. You can collect something for 20 years and love each piece like it was your offspring, but one day look at it and think to yourself "I'm kind of tired of looking at that."
Hard as it may be, as each piece does represent that special time in your life ("Oh but we bought that in Barbados after Sam was born...remember?"), sometimes it's necessary to breathe some new life into your surroundings.
Here are some tips that will help you revitalize your art collection and give your walls a fresh start.
1. Start moving!
No, not you, the art! People are afraid to do this, but sometimes when you hang a piece in a different location you can see the artwork in a whole different light. You can even hire someone to come into your house who will take all of your artwork down and place it in alternate locations. This can be worth the few hundred dollars they will charge.
2. If you inherited artwork from your great aunt that you never really liked, find out what it's worth on artnet.com.
If it has value, why not auction it off?
That way you can use the proceeds of the sale to buy something you really love.
3. Reframe it!
Often we have great art in unattractive frames and we don't even know it. Often artists will frame their own work but don't have the budget for the frames they really want to use. Putting a new frame on a piece can change the artwork dramatically. Also, if a piece was framed years ago, reframing can really update it as framing choices tend to be influenced by the decade's trends.
4. Group some of the pieces that you aren't as fond of with artwork you really like.
Sounds strange, but it's true. Sometimes a piece of art looks spectacular in a grouping, but weak on its own. It's all about how you put it together that makes it work. Try this: gather some smaller artworks you might have that are collecting dust, and add one piece you've always adored. Put them on the floor and start moving them around until you have a well-balanced grouping (visually heavier on the bottom, please). If you like the grouping, then hang it up! You might decide that mixing it up is just what you needed.
5. Shelve it.
OK so it's not working for you. You just don't want to look at that piece of art anymore. Its history and sentimental value just don't matter. So get some bubble wrap, and put it away. Nothing wrong with that. When you decide it's time to revisit it (maybe six months or two years?) then it will be like bringing that old friend back into your life. Guaranteed to make you love it again. Absence makes the art grow fonder?
6. Want to really revitalize? Buy one new piece.
Honestly, there's nothing better than introducing one new stranger into the group to shake things up! It can bring new life into groupings, and make you feel like you're in a new room (because art really does transform a space -- mood and all).
7. Blank wall it.
If these tips aren't helping you then maybe it's time to use point number five but bubble wrap the lot and see how that feels. Start from ground zero and remove all of the art from your walls. Live with that for a few days and take in the zen of being a 'minimalist'. Then start introducing your artwork collection, piece by piece based only on what you want to look at. Walk around your home with each piece and try to find it a new home.
Art fatigue is a common phenomenon, and it can be treated. You will only benefit from all of the amazing things that art can do for you and your space if you love that space you're in. Everyone needs to change their world a little bit every once in a while, and reorganizing your art collection is the easiest way to do that. Good luck!