Notes from the Field: The Art of Homemade Art

June 18, 2012

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

In my years of experience as a stylist for magazines, I have seen many forms of art on the walls of the homes I have scouted and photographed. Many of these pieces are museum-worthy possessions, but the ones that strike me as most treasured are the ones made by the homeowners themselves. Such unique art pieces embody a spark of playfulness and an abundance of originality that make the walls they hang on light up the room with a burst of energy. Often, these made-at-home art forms are so simple that you wonder, why did I not think of this myself?

On a scouting trip to New Hampshire for New England Home, I remember a homeowner’s frustration and worry about finding just the right piece to occupy this clean, white wall for our upcoming shoot. I loved her solution: do-it-yourself black electric tape. The black tape created an eye-catching piece that allowed the room to remain a simple, modern milieu.

Photo by Jim Westphalen for New England Home. Click to see more of this house.

This use of Scrabble letters as art is another simple idea that caught my eye. Hung on the wall in a seaside setting, the letter pieces remind me, and I’m sure many others, of family Scrabble-playing days, which creates a “glad to be home†feel.

This piece, most definitely inspired by the highly recognizable work of Andy Warhol, was created through the use of a repetitive, computer-manipulated image, which was than printed onto a canvas. You can easily change the color of any image with your computer, which will allow you to create a stunning piece for any room you desire.

A favorite song or saying is a happy reminder, and can be made into an artful display with a simple letter-stencil and a blank canvas.

Art can be an object on the wall that is accompanied by a good story. Instead of throwing away this broken acoustic guitar, the homeowner chose to display it for all to see. He not only created a fabulous piece of art, but he created a visual memory of a greatly missed instrument.