I randomly googled “Wall art trends for 2023,” and was met with an endless list of search results. The trends ranged from floral and botanical posters to textured and painted works, and from digital art showcasing vivid colours like pink, yellow, and orange to abstracts in muted tones. Interestingly, there seems to be no clear consensus on whether bright or muted colours are the prevailing trend. But the list of these so-called trends doesn’t stop there. I could spend hours navigating this confusing labyrinth of choices.
I paused for a moment, thinking that this was utter nonsense. Categorising wall art selections solely based on trends seems reductive to me.
I know that trends can serve as a guiding tool to help shape our opinions on aesthetic appeal in design. I get that. However, I believe we’re already deeply entrenched in the dictates of trends when selecting interior design elements, from choosing the right stylish sofas to the latest trendy paint colours, wallpapers, kitchen designs, and dinnerware — it’s all to ensure our spaces don’t seem stuck in the past. So, how about taking a break from this pressure? Wall art, or any form of artistic expression, is the one realm where I believe we should be free to express our true selves, uninfluenced by what’s currently ‘in vogue’. In fact, I argue that art should be labelled neither as outdated nor as trendy.
This isn’t just about covering an unsightly plain wall or impressing guests. Choosing wall art is akin to identifying our favourite music and immersing ourselves in our favourite songs. We resonate deeply with songs – whether it’s the beat, the lyrics, the memories they bring up, or even feelings they anticipate. Just as we might find ourselves playing certain songs on loop, curating wall art that we love carries a similar sentiment.
Indeed, wall art, a significant feature of our homes, is ever-present; it’s displayed before us day in, day out, situated within our most intimate spaces. It’s in these spaces where we seek solace and rest; where we share treasured moments with family and friends, and where we can truly be ourselves, shielded from various societal pressures of the external world – be it an unfulfilling job, the cacophony of bustling streets, or daily interactions with individuals we might not always enjoy engaging with. Therefore, the selection of wall art should be approached with the utmost care. It’s a journey of defining and refining one’s taste, of seeking artistic expressions that resonate with one’s heart, emotions, and memories, and forging a genuine connection to each piece. Immersing ourselves in art that resonates with us is one of the best (and healthiest) ways of escapism. (Don’t get me wrong; it doesn’t have to be expensive. However, for those who can, investing in exclusive art is wholly their choice).
Years ago, there was a ‘trend’ to feature city landscapes. I, too, fell into that trap, glorifying New York City landscape and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Though I had visited these places and admired their iconic landmarks, let’s be honest: they weren’t what genuinely captivated me. I had no special memories or emotions tied to those landscapes. When the time came to move countries, they were the first ones I let go of. On the other hand, I kept other pieces that reflected more meaningful experiences. I meticulously wrapped these pieces in bubble wrap; they traveled with me everywhere, from Dubai and Casablanca to various parts in France. A digital illustration of a specific street corner in New York, for example, which I bought for just 5 dollars, meant more to me. It evokes a pleasant walk I had along 42nd Street on a rainy evening, making my way from 5th Avenue to my hotel. The illustration vividly brings back memories of rain pounding on the pavements, with streets illuminated by the soft glow of streetlights.
Another illustration (as you’ve probably gathered by now, I like illustrations) that remains dear to me depicts Mont Saint-Michel. The scene captures a group of people dressed in 19th-century attire at the base of the site, a view that remains unchanged to this day. This piece evokes memories of the 7 km walk I undertook to Mont Saint-Michel and the gradual unveiling of its majestic presence as I drew nearer.
Lately, I’ve been printing Polaroid photographs of landscapes and places I’ve captured with my phone camera. These photos act as pleasant reminders of the tranquillity and beauty I experienced while gazing upon a Brittany shore, a picturesque lake, or a green hill.
Choosing wall art is an intimate, personal experience. Regardless of its form, colour, shape, or era, the essential quality of wall art is its ability to speak to our heart. Be it digital art, illustrations, paintings, abstracts, photographs featuring places, animals, cityscapes, nature scenes, floral designs, movie posters, or anything in between, curating wall art should be viewed as an exploration of one’s taste and artistic expression. It’s about finding what resonates with us, what captivates our attention time and again, and what truly connects with our soul.
Featured Image: Marie Flanagan Interiors