“This world is but a canvas to our imagination”. – Henry David Thoreau.
Feeling a bit itchy for a new challenge? Sure, you could renovate your entire home, train for a triathlon or learn a musical instrument. Alternatively, perhaps you could try something a bit simpler and open your mind to different types of art.
Art isn’t just for the soul, it’s for the mind. While it’s tempting to stick with what you know and love, if you have a go at leaning into the discomfort you might find something beautiful.
In fact, with diverse art styles including African, Islamic, Graffiti and Fantasy, we’re certain you’ll discover something to delight in.
1. Cotton on to contemporary art
Contemporary Art is simply all art that is produced today. By ‘today’ it means ‘within our lifetime’ with the understanding that lifespans vary from person to person.
The term is often used interchangeably with Modern Art, but this is not correct. Modern Art is (and always will be) used to describe a particular period of art movement, specifically the 19th Century through to the 1960s (e.g. Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art).
In an attempt to break new ground (whether consciously or subconsciously), contemporary artists often produce fresh, innovative works, using new techniques and cutting-edge media. This is why it so often challenges our senses and intellect.
One of the wonderful things about Contemporary Art is the rich variety of art practice it covers, so when you’re choosing a piece for your home it’s highly likely you’ll find something you’ll like.
2. Get spot on with dot paintings
Australian Aboriginal Art is the oldest ongoing tradition of art in the world. While in the past it appeared on rocks, on bodies and on the ground, today it enjoys prominence on canvas.
Aboriginal art uses storytelling and symbols, with the most well-known style being the dot painting. While indigenous art is often known for its use of the colours of the earth: browns, oranges, greens and blacks and of the sea: blues, yellows, whites, the colours can also include brights, even fluorescent.
This Aboriginal art inspired dot painting, uses earthy tones and a river of blue, a great impact piece for a hallway or living area.
3. Express yourself with African art
With so many unique cultures and art styles coming out of the large continent of Africa, African Art is perhaps the most generalised art term in the world. More often than not, we think of art that comes out of traditional Sub-Saharan Africa.
African visual art is expressive, focuses on the human form and often includes abstract elements. The use of movement and colour in this style of art makes it ideal if you’re wanting to give an old room new life.
4. Get your funk on, graffiti style
Graffiti has come a long way from simply being writing or drawing scribbled on a wall. While some still consider it vandalism, this vandalism fetches premium prices on the art market with stories of hunters and collectors removing entire walls, essentially ‘stealing’ the graffiti and selling it on.
A much more legal way to enjoy graffiti is for the artist to create it on canvas and for a buyer to purchase it.
But we’re not talking tags and scribbles here. Graffiti art is a colourful form of expression, with many pieces including a social or political message and many talented artists producing complex, thought-provoking and stunning works.
Great for a teenager’s room (or the eternally funky grown up!), our Graffiti/Urban Art collection is a great place to start looking for a piece of work to suit your interior space.
5. Look to Japanese art to create beauty
For many centuries, Japan avoided contact with other countries, with art developing a strong style of its own. When we think of Japanese art we often think of calligraphy, silks, origami and woodblock prints. In more recent times, we think of manga – animation and comics.
Today, we can all enjoy the beauty of Japanese art on canvas. Girls and women love the femininity of the geisha and the cherry blossom prints. Men love the strength of the warrior and ancient war prints. So if you’re looking to dress up a women’s retreat or style a man cave, look to Japan.
6. Celebrate the ancient wonder of Chinese art
When we think of Chinese art, we often think of ancient worlds. So much of it is featured in museums that it’s really become part of our art education, whether we’ve visited China or not.
Traditional Chinese art uses a brush dipped in black or coloured ink then painted onto paper or silks, often in the form of scrolls. It’s then mounted on the wall as a hanging scroll.
Everyone can now celebrate the wonder of China with stunning canvas prints: blossoms, dragons, pagodas. Add something ancient to your bedroom or living area, with subtle use of colour and tone – and master strokes.
7. Get carried away with Islamic pattern art
Islamic art is the new black. It has everything an interior designer dreams of: symmetry, complexity, accordance and colour. Interestingly, Islamic art is not grounded to one religion, country or period. Instead, it covers the rich culture and diversity of Islamic societies. Repeating elements is one of this art style’s mainstays.
The trick to displaying Islamic art on canvas, particularly patterned art, is to complement a colour in the print with a colour in your interior, perhaps the colour of paint on a wall, the colour of a cushion or a rug on the floor.
The other trick to displaying Islamic art is to throw all the rules out the window and contrast, contrast, contrast. Either way, the result will be magnificent.
8. Decorate in colour, blend in Indian art
Indian art hails from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh countries and cultures. Indian art, at its earliest, begins at rock art and, at its latest, includes contemporary art. In between, the most well known Indian art style is that of the Early Modern and Colonial Era between the 1400s and 1800s which included a Persian influence.
Paintings were made with opaque watercolours and gold depicting kingdoms, sultans and empires of the day. Plenty of flora and fauna was also included.
British colonial rule saw a more romantisised, graceful style of oil painting come into play, but independence in 1947 saw contemporary Indian art start to shine. This contemporary piece below combines India’s love of the elephant, a passion for colour and drawings of modern Indian life to create a piece that will brighten any room in your house.
9. Get lost in the magic of fantasy art
Despite being a much loved art style, fantasy art isn’t as studied nor critiqued as often or intensely as other styles. In a way, that gives the artist and the audience the opportunity to get lost in the magic, the mystical and mythical.
Often inspired by fantasy literature, the French call Fantasy Art ‘Fantastique’ while the English call it Grotesque, Visionary or Mannerist Art. Fantasy artists have vivid imaginations and the talent to share stories and convey emotion through folkloric and magical subjects.
A work of fantasy art in your bedroom will add intrigue and romance.
10. Open your mind to sci-fi art
Appreciating sci-fi art requires opening your mind to new worlds, but you don’t have to be a science fiction fanatic to enjoy this art form (although of course it helps!). With sci-fi, each painting captures a story. It’s up to you, the viewer, to tell it.
Make up a different story each day with a piece from our Sci-Fi Art collection. Make your husband’s day by purchasing a piece for his office or delight your teenage son with a work for his bedroom.
11. Give your home soul with spiritual art
Adorning a home with spiritual art is all about creating a path that brings you closer to your God. It brings your religious practice into your everyday home life. Spiritual art can cover religions like Christianity, Buddhism or Islam as well as more new age spiritual practices.
Whatever your belief system, our Spiritual collection has something respectful to your faith.
If you enjoyed opening your mind to different styles of art, you can browse more art styles now.