Alex Stedman, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us your incredible interior décor experience. We are avid followers of your Instagram and blog, what you have achieved with your home in the last three years is so impressive and so beautiful. Many congratulations!
So let’s begin, someone has a blank wall at home and is looking to fill it with artwork. From your experience, where should they start - what should people be looking out for?
I would always decide what you want from the wall first - a big print with a plain wall or a fun collage with a dark colour? Definitely spend some time doing some research first to create a visual moodboard of what you want. Personally, I love a feature wall above a sofa or a sideboard as it really draws the eye upwards.
Are there different rules for filling the main room of a house to a hidden corner or corridor?
I love filling smaller nooks and walls with art and frames, it can turn a small room into a real focus point. In the main room, it's a great chance to use a larger piece of work, of course, too. I would start by hanging the largest, most prominent piece and then build smaller pieces around it.
When is it appropriate to have a ‘salon hang’ of multiple works?
I don't think there needs to be a rule here - if you love it, hang it! Our 'salon hang' in the living room happened almost by accident, as a temporary solution to storing prints that were piling up on the floor after our original move, and now we love it! The eclectic mix of all our favourite prints, from different periods and by different artists makes it even more eye-catching.
Is it important to leave plenty of space around a picture?
It's up to the individual, I've seen some in houses with tiny gaps and others that let the art breathe a bit more - both look fab! I am not into measuring by any means and tend to just hang by eye.
Do pictures need to relate to each other in a room?
Generally, I think that if you like it, the work will reflect 'your' style, and that will be the theme that holds it all together - don't think too much about whether something will 'go' and just about how much you like it. In our house, we tend to frame each print differently where we can - some floating, some classic black frame, others with a coloured mount - I think this adds to the layering that makes our house a home.
What are your thoughts on mixing contemporary and traditional aesthetics?
I am all about this, after all, we live in an Edwardian house yet love modern art. I always think hotels like the Soho House chain or Artist Residence marry this so well.
Do you always have a certain space in mind when you buy a new artwork?
No. Buy what you love.
What was the first and last artwork that joined your collection?
We met a man on the tube carrying an amazing piece about a year ago, I asked him where he bought it and i turned out it was his own work! He was on his way to an Art Fair as a seller. We couldn't get down but we swapped details and we have just saved up to buy one of his pieces and had it framed - it's a beautiful octopus by Benjamin Parker. https://byclopsfineart.com/
What do you look for when buying artwork?
Honestly, anything that draws my attention. We are both Japanophiles, so we love anything influenced by Japan (as is Benjamin Parker's work), but I also think anything can be a work of art - we have framed old maps, postcards, prints bought at carboot sales...
In this image rich world, where should people be looking for inspiration?
I follow a lot of women artists as well as lots of galleries (big and small) via social media and try to get to exhibitions as often as possible. I always look at artists when staying at hotels for work and try to follow up and coming artists.
Many readers are just about to embark on their first art buying journey - what top tip can you leave them with?
You don't have to spend a fortune on something for it to be Art, or your favourite piece. Don't overthink it, you don't have to 'know' art, you just have to like it enough to keep it for a long time.
And finally, how can our readers keep hearing more tips like this?
I post about affordable art, interiors, fashion and travel over on www.the-frugality.com