Art for Aspiring Grown-Ups
I bought my first piece of "real art" when I was fifteen at a gallery in Sausalito, California. It was a little square painting of a flower, a bit abstract with vibrant colors and a feeling of wild movement that drew me in. I remember picking it up and carrying it around the tiny gallery as the friends I was with glanced around and, uninterested, headed back outside, and thinking I NEED this. I couldn't imagine putting it back and leaving without it. I think it was $25--not nothing to a fifteen year-old--but I could afford it and I loved it so I bought it.
Since then, my relationship with art--both art that I buy and art that I admire in galleries and museums--has been one built on fascination and visceral reactions. There are pieces in my home that I saw somewhere, knew I needed, and hunted for months; pieces about which I was initially uncertain and mulled over before buying, and pieces that I bought on fierce and sudden impulse--things I saw and felt an instant connection, similar to my flower painting from Sausalito.
Here are some up-and-coming artists I'm super excited about and several resources for cool, affordable art--both reproduced and original. Nothing makes a space feel more complete to me than beautiful, evocative art. So take a look, maybe you'll see something that you can't live without.
Misaki Kawai: I was first introduced to Misaki Kawai, a Japanese artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, through this absurdly cute video profile on Vice. Using very simple shapes and forms rendered in neon colors, Misaki’s work has an almost childlike quality that lends her art a whimsical, feel-good vibe. Misaki’s paintings and sculptures have been shown at galleries and in shows around the world. You can see and buy her work, zines, clothing and accessories at her website.
Teil Duncan: Teil Duncan is a painter who lives in Charleston, South Carolina. Her figure paintings and beach scenes feature bright colors and bold brush strokes. Recently, a collection of her nudes were featured as the backdrop for designer Christian Siriano's Resort 2015 look book. To view and purchase her work, visit her website.
Chad Wys: Chad Wys is an artist based in Peroria, IL who, through his "Readymade" series, explores the relationship between people and the objects we own. Wys uses found paintings and sculptures as his canvas and manipulates them by painting or collaging over the original piece. You can view Wys's work at his website or buy his prints at society6.
Aaron Frisby: Aaron Frisby is an artist based in Oklahoma who creates arresting, slightly grotesque mixed-media portraits of women. You can view work from his show last summer at Seeing Things Gallery in San Jose here.
Prints and photographs:
20 x 200: This site, which was founded on the principle that good art should be accessable to all, relaunched this year after a hiatus. 20x200 sells limited edition prints of photos, illustrations, and digital art.
Etsy: Etsy is the ultimate source for buying work by independent artists and craftsmen. Here are just a few of my favorite shops and sellers:
- Best Play Ever
- Elise Mahan Fine Art
- Debbie Carlos
- Danah Kim
- Sycamore Street Press
- Perla Anne
- Secret Holiday Co.
Society 6: Art prints are available on this site in unlimited runs, meaning they never sell out. You can also have an artist’s work printed on a pillow, tote bag, or phone case if your walls are full.
One Kings Lane: OKL is a great resource for prints of work by newly established contemporary artists whose original work is still out of reach. They also frequently feature beautiful giclee prints and unique vintage pieces.
Artfully Walls: Like Society 6, Artfully Walls sells design-y prints that lean towards being more graphic or abstract. They also have a feature where you can create a virtual gallery wall to see how an arrangement of their prints would look in your house.
Artsy: Artsy represents a huge number of both up-and-coming and well-established contemporary artists. It’s a great place to go if you’re in the market for a bigger-ticket item (if you’re working with a 20-something budget, that is) or simply to browse new work.