How To Mix Art: 6 Designer Tricks You Need To Know
Whether you're looking to create a gallery wall, or simply to cover up that hole you punched after watching the last episode of Bachelor in Paradise, getting good at mixing art needs to be tops on your todo list. And trust me: all it takes is a little bit of practice. What goes with what? Can you mix photography with drawings? Is buffalo art an official genre? I want to answer all these questions and more by giving you the MOST IMPORTANT designer tricks you need for figuring out how the hell to mix art on your own walls. Well, at least six of them.
*I tapped Minted.com for all the beautiful pieces of artwork in this post.
1. MIX ART BY STYLE
Both of these images are abstract, but when you mix by style, the two pieces don't necessarily need to be in the same genre at all. Both of these pieces incorporate bold, chunky brushstrokes and complementary color palettes. This technique is slightly hard to describe, but you'll know you have pieces in the same style when they just kinda "feel" like they go together.
There are all sorts of different styles that you can mix-n-match: graphic, dreamy, modern, victorian, moody, masculine, vampire goth. Ok, kinda kidding about the vampire goth, but if that's your thang: no judgment, dudes.
Here's a great example of mixing art by style:
These are likely different artists, tackling different subject matters, using mostly different colors, but there is a style cohesion there that brings them all together. As a sidenote: PLEASE hang art in your kitchen! This is such an overlooked spot, and adding some art there will really add a uniqueness and warmth to the room that you will love more than puppies, kittens, and/or raw cookie dough.
2. MIX ART BY GENRE
Grouping pieces by genre is often an easy way to go, especially if you're an art mixing virgin. You can try putting photographs next to photographs, charcoal drawings next to charcoal drawings, or watercolor paintings next to watercolor paintings.
You definitely don't have to stay in the same color families or styles, but doing so might make you feel a bit more comfortable as you get your art mixing ninja training wheels.
Here's a lovely mix of sepia toned, black and white landscapes that do a great job of setting the mood in this eclectic, bohemian space. Add some granola oatmeal power bars and a Lauryn Hill soundtrack and you'll be ready to rock.
3. MIX ART BY PATTERN
A super duper easy way to mix art is to choose pieces based on patterns. These patterns can be hand drawn/created (like those above) or even created digitally. For some fab, budget art options, you can even frame different fabrics next to one another.
Patterns also work well together in larger groupings or on gallery walls.
It's hard to screw this one up, ppl. Look at the above combo: Different colors? Check. Different patterns? Check. And yet those mofos still look totally gorge next to one another.
Here's a killer mix of Ikat fabric prints in the blue family, all rockin out next to one another looking all Joni Mitchell blue.
4. MIX ART BY SUBJECT
For the record, I *do* think that Buffalo art is it's own official genre now, so there. Subject matter is another no-fail, go to, art mixin' option to keep in your toolbox. You can really get super duper creative with this one too: if your little girl loves frogs, you could do a frog gallery wall in her bedroom and go crazy with frog photography, frog paintings, frog drawings, kermit the frog, frog's legs...you catch my drift.
Or maybe your husband/wife/common law partner/reality TV show cast mate really can't get enough of anything New York City. You could mix a whole bunch of different pieces that showcase the pulse of the city that never sleeps.
And you can even get strech-y here. Like Longhorn Cattle and Buffalo are not really the same subject, but they are both animals, and they both have horns and they both look cool as shit. I have a collection of vintage needlepoints of all different animals---they are all diff colors, eras, and sizes, but they are all needlepoints and they are all some type of animal.
Here's a quirky little art mix of all different portraits. Some are realist, some are weird, and one is downright spooky and disturbing. But they all portraits and, so this totally works and looks cohesive.
5. MIX ART BY COLOR
Color is another almost impossible to screw up strategy when mixing art. You can choose your pieces based on the same color families (as above where I was stickign to variations of blues and black) or the same exact color. Using the same color (i.e. all black) can really create a dramatic, va va voom statement making wall.
This is a great strategy to employ if you are committed to combining a wide variety of pieces, and you don't want to stick to the same genre, style or subject matter. Sometimes it's fun to choose colors that contrast with other colors going on in a particular room, and sometimes it's crazy cool to use the same color all throughout. All hot pink room, with hot pink art the wall? Don't mind if I do.
Here is snappy little mix of artwork with dark blue, black, white and green tones.
Another great little trick is that you can use frames to pick up existing colors in your art mix color family. For example, that little piece of art leaning up against the wall on top of the credenza of the two vases is blue/black. But its white matte/frame totally picks up on the white that is in the other two hanging pieces of art. Styles and genres of all the pieces there are totally different, but it still all looks like one happy family. An extended, step family in which one of the kids was adopted from China and the older two had two different fathers ...but still, one happy family nonetheless.
6. MIX ART BY COLOR
Ok, so this one totally *seems* like a foolproof way to mix art, and it can be. But depending on the artist, this one could actually be trickier than combining art based on any of the methods of above. It's definitely a good "first responder" way to try to mix art as a first pass. If you really, truly love a particular artist and found a great print that you'd like to buy, take a look at their other pieces and see if any of those grab you too. Just keep in mind that artists can sometimes be all over the place and may often try lots of different mediums, methods, styles and approaches. That doesn't mean their stuff can't be mixed and re-mixed...it just means you have to be a little more discerning about it.
The above two prints from the same artist are both photographs and use mostly similar colors. But more than that, they both have a major California vibe for me, and so I thought they looked pretty kickass paired next to one another.
These paintings by artist Steven Sebring line the walls of Delphine Krakoff's screening room in Manhattan. Can we just take a moment and bask in the fabulousness of a name like "Delphine Krakoff!?" I mean, if Delphine Krakoff is your name, duh you obviously HAVE to have an amazing New York City townhouse, stocked with all sorts of mind blowing art. And trust: you know how to mix it alllll on your own.
Which brings me to last and most important tip: ALL OF THE ABOVE RULES ARE TOTALLY MADE TO BE BROKEN. While I want you guys to use these as guides, I also want to make it clear that you can also just totally step outside the box, mix things up however you want, and then set the box on fire. The more you mix, the better you get at mixing, so mix your little arty faces off.
If you dig any of the gorgeous pieces of art above, you should totally go buy them on minted.com right now. And best of all each print comes in all sorts of sizes (as large as 60x44, yo!) and you can get them framed too! They have different frames to choose from, archival paper, and they all come matted---trust me, this is some no joke internet magic right there. You may know minted.com for all of their stationery deliciousness: wedding invites, photo cards, personalized notecards and everything in between. My recently discovered fave (aside from the art!) is their KIDS THANK YOU NOTES. If you have a kid and you want to teach them how to not be a jerk, then their own thank you notes are the way to go.
*minted.com sponsored this post, however all ideas, text and opinions are my own.