Start kidding around about art

There is this truck that I keep seeing around town — a little van-type thing. It sells corporate art. I believe the side of the truck says, Really Boring and Homogenous Prints for Your Office! 

Not really. But you get my point? We see this stuff all day long at work, but there’s certainly no need for our homes to look homogenous. Personally, I hang all kinds of random-ness on the wall and call it art, but that’s not for everybody. Whenever I have a friend who says to me they can’t afford art for their home, I always have two immediate answers: kid art and kid pictures. 

  1. Take the best of your kid art and frame it consistently in frames all the same color. These don’t have to be expensive. Simple black wood frames from Target or Ikea work well. 
  2. Get some blank canvases; not high quality but in whatever sizes you need. Buy some sample paint in the colors of your room or your favorite colors. Set up your kids with the canvases and let them go to town. No restrictions. The color is the point. Canvases can be hung unframed. 
  3. Start getting pictures taken of your kids in a specific style — or take them yourself — over regular time intervals. For example, put your daughter in a white T-shirt and take a picture of her outside by the Japanese maple. Do it every year. Change the lighting or the time of the year. Frame the pictures consistently. 
  4. Consider alternative hanging options: curtain wire with those little clothes pin-type clips is cool and inexpensive. 


Now hang these works of art well. If the pictures are framed, group them in a pattern. Use Martha Stewart’s tip: cut blank sheets of paper to size to represent each picture or photo, and play with the pattern until you have it right. Hang them and enjoy. Canvases that have been Jackson Pollack’d by your kids can go wherever you need them to go. 

Take a look at this kid canvas: 


And this framed kid art:


I know you have such masterpieces like this and more sitting around your house. Use them! And skip the homogenous stuff. That’s for the office. (Or, not.)

Portlander Nancy Ranchel is a self-described accountant, design fan, serial re-modeler, compulsive re-user, and blog writer.