Owning art is a relatively new occupation for the public. It was only until the turn of the 20th century that the middle-classes began to acquire art. Today, with printing and reproduction techniques, anyone who has a wall to hang it can own an artwork. In 1907 the Mitsukoshi art department store began selling art; this allowed the Japanese middle-class to own fine art for their homes, it became a prerequisite for being a citizen of modern-day Japan. This is one of the very first cases that art was sold commercially in a store for the public to buy. If we look at the idea of it being a ‘prerequisite for being a citizen’ we can investigate in what ways art has become a social body and within this social body how the new occupation of owning art can have incredible benefits for the owner. With examples, I will look at how productivity can increase with the introduction of artwork and how art décor can impact mood and frame of mind. Ultimately, this is a manifesto for buying art to improve your working from home environment.
When one thinks of art décor, they may get confused with art deco or think of art décor wallpaper amongst many other misconceptions. I want to focus on art as decoration. Can a work of art change the dynamics of a space and create an atmosphere of productivity and efficiency that rivals with, and surpasses, that of the office? These insights are necessary more now than ever, the covid-19 pandemic has seen vast numbers of people adopt the work-from-home model. If you have never worked from home, your home environment may not be geared up to be the efficient work engine you need. One easy way to remedy this is the purchase of art for decoration.
In recent history, an emphasis has been placed on creativity in advertising. To be creative in advertising can give a company an advantage over competitors, it is understanding the brand and the consumer and what both parties want and like. Advertising can change our point of view and it introduces the consumer to new ideas. It can also alter our moods and tastes. I liken this to a well-curated image, one that can send a message convincingly and, in many ways, subjectively to its target. Decorating our living spaces with well-curated images, this time, of our own choices, garners similar if not better effects. The effects within our homes and workspaces are less consumer-toxic but productive in nature. Changing our moods and tastes, points of views etcetera. One way that these moods and tastes can change drastically is with the introduction of colour. With reference to Pantone’s research into colour harmony, we can begin to understand what the colour of the images we decorate our homes with can do to our mindset. Using the colour wheel and certain colour schemes, colour can become a tool for productivity. If we look at some colours and their benefits we can begin to understand the importance that colour has. Blue, that of the sky or of the ocean is seen with continuity and dependability. The sky is always there, it is ever faithful. These are positive and reassuring thoughts that can help us overcome strife, grief, and difficult situations. Similarly, it provokes the idea of vast distances allowing us to see beyond whatever is in our way. Landscape paintings can cleanse our minds and our bodies. The sky or water evokes a cool temperament within us and the green of the landscape whether bluish-green or yellowish-green evoke feelings of nature, fresh and flourishing. Yellow-green is synonymous with the spring, rebirth and new and exciting things, growth. Rich green is of revival, restoration, and renewal. How these colours can change our moods and outlook is quintessential when considering art for home offices and art for the home in general.
As a consumer, there is often much to think about but when purchasing art, however, as you invest in art for more than home beautification you can start to become a connoisseur of art and of your own needs. This changes home beautification ideas into work from home productivity ideas and the investment in good quality art becomes much more than a monetary investment but an investment in yourself and your work output. So why don’t more of us have art in our homes? Art can be seen as a mere prestige guarantee; however, it is not. If we treat art with different objectives we can access more of its attributes than just a price tag on the wall, or just to show that you may be cultured enough or educated enough, to enjoy a certain work. Giving beautiful things functional purposes takes nothing away from is aesthetic dignitaries but adds gusto to its purpose in the home.
Artistic endeavours are renowned for creating inspiration from one movement to the next – not only in the form of practice; Manet spent most of his early years in the Louvre copying the old masters until he developed his own style and began to subvert the allegorical painting of yester year with, for his contemporary audience, risky pictures of modern life. Da Vinci used his scientific studies of nature to influence his art. Many artists, such as JMW Turner, drew inspiration from the cities they inhabited. Often inspiration can spur the need to destroy the old and start again, disagreeing with style and colour can push people to create their own styles and set their own boundaries. What is not discussed or studied is how these examples have transcended from the artist to the wider masses. Is it possible to tear down what we see before us and channel it into positive new goals and outcomes in other disciplines? Is it possible to agree with the work in front of us and gain an understanding which complements our productivity and rallies us to achieve more and do greater things? Art can create positive vibes and positive energy which can change the dynamics of a space so we can achieve more. Positive thinking is essential to be productive and from positive thoughts stems our best ideas. Gazing upon art, in our workspace, can give us inspiration and aspiration and these things increase productivity in the home and productivity at work.
Interior design, in particular, interior design for the home, is believed to reveal a fork in the road when coupled with art décor. However, interior design and decoration complement one another, and when used effectively certain interior design ideas and styles can benefit from the added ambience and beautification that a well-placed work of art brings. A space designated and designed for work purposes increases focus, as a studio does for an artist and a sports court for an athlete. The way the space is arranged and looks aesthetically will impact on our mood and behaviour. By complementing the arrangement of a space with art as functional decoration we can increase our creativity and workload. Similarly, the art of Feng Shui is about ordering your house to improve positive energy, I believe that having art décor increases positive energy and positive thoughts. The most powerful and important people in history all sat for portraits, had pictures during battles or astride a horse. A painting can empower you and you do not have to be in it, but the presence of the picture can give you empowerment and encouragement to excel in life.
The Mitsukoshi art department sold fine art in 1907 to the rising middle-classes of Japan and the ownership of artworks became a social criterion that all citizens had. In theory, the art purchased or, just owning art for you home, granted you access to a unique social body that existed solely within the owning or not-owning art world. Being stuck inside and having to work from home limits are our physical contact time with other human beings. Although in current circumstance this is the safest way to operate, it comes with a cost. Humans are social beings; a workplace is a place of social knowledge where the amassed achievements of each employee achieve the company goal. Owning art can welcome social knowledge and the social body into your home without having to endanger one’s self. It can open you up to another world, one which is potentially long gone. A window into the past, the future or to a totally different world where you can see things differently, connect socially and increase the quality and quantity of the work you produce.
Art can influence a person in ways that go unnoticed, under the radar. Leonardo Di Caprio stated that a picture of the world in a medieval pretext subconsciously taught him about unity and how the earth is important; the actor went on to be one of the leading voices for climate change.
If you are thinking of home office ideas, design and décor then you should look no further than an artwork – either one that evokes passion and drive from you because of the colour or subject, one that inspires you to achieve more and work harder, or one to bring tranquility to help you see your work more clearly. You can create interior design styles around a chosen work of art and use it as a base to make the room adopt a certain theme. I believe it to be a quintessential necessity to liberate our homes and spaces to maximize and exploit our productivity and work ethic while working from unusual environments. Buying artwork to decorate with can make these environments more familiar and the psychology of positivity reinforces the positivity of images to create a positive workplace designed to increase work productivity. It all starts with a positive workplace.
Article Written By: William Rotherforth
William Rotherforth is from West Yorkshire in the north of England. After studying Literature in Sheffield he made his way to London to do arts charity work before moving to Paris to study Art. He is a budding cook and film maker and spends most of his time reading or writing.
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