Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cheap DIY art for the artistically-challenged.

This is a post for those of us with great taste, a distinct lack of cash flow, a love of art and an utter lack of an ability to draw a recognizable stick figure.

A couple fundamental tenets of cheap DIY art are:

  • larger always looks more legit (this can mean the size of a single piece or the sheer volume of smaller pieces displayed together);

  • framed always looks more legit;

  • abstract always looks more legit; and

  • the more random the better.
A few years ago when I finally managed to drag my sorry butt out of the gerbil wheel of post-secondary education I was trapped in and get a real job, one of my first resolutions was to never again let an unframed poster grace the walls of my abode. Don't get me wrong, I love my posters and many of them have great artistic and sentimental value, but I just wanted to get away from the "Cult of Plastic Thumb Tacks and Imaginus" and take a step towards becoming a legitimate art-owning adult. So I bought some clip frames.

I used them to frame a rotating bunch of black-and-white images (a classic photo of plumber crack in Halifax, editorial cartoons, sketchy letters, an assortment of pics off the Internet), and created a random revolving clip frame art gallery.

Since buying my humble row house last year, I decided to step things up a bit and focus with only "properly" framed art and canvas originals. So I bought some Ikea Ribba frames. Although I've filled a couple with vintage travel posters and some screenprinted concert posters, I wanted a couple more interesting pieces. So I decided to try to do versions of art I saw in the National Gallery. Unfortunately, due to the theft of my camera by RW, I don't have any good pics handy so you'll have to tolerate my lame explanations.

Basically, with the first one I took brown package wrap and used a stencil and a black crayon to write out the last stanza from an e.e. cummings poem I've always loved called "nobody loses all the time". It's a little obscure and tends to confuse people but that just makes even better in my opinion.

For the second one, I cut down a random scenery picture I took in PEI into a roughly 1 inch x 1 inch square and inserted in into slits I made in a large sheet of white paper. So now I've got this small little image of a lobster shack surrounded by a big white background and the frame. I love it.

Since then I've been taking note of when I see images of other art I can use for new ideas. A couple recent ones I've seen that might be easy and cheap to imitate include:

I've got another idea in the works that involves the very cool ornate vintage frames I scored this last weekend at the Old Ottawa South Porch Sale (I was very well behaved this year, even walking away from a really cute bentwood chair for $3. Sigh, I hate being good).

I also really want to try doing something with spray paint and stencils on canvas.

I promise I'll post pics of my homegrown artwork soon.