Instagram Handle: @bradytolbertAfter looking at some of your past projects, we noticed that you’ve perfected the gallery wall. What first steps should someone take before hanging up art (selecting pieces, placement, etc.)?
Come up with a theme and color palette. Gallery walls are an amazing way to make an impact in your own space, but you don’t want your walls to end up looking too cluttered or thrifted. So rather than just placing a bunch of random pieces together on your wall, curate a theme or color palette. For the gallery wall in my kitchen I knew I wanted something impactful, but the space was also very small so I had to keep things tonal. I decided to go with an all black and white theme which allowed me to mix different styles, mediums, and pieces together.
Once you have your art selected, you can start playing around with the layout. I typically like to use the largest piece just off center and then build out from there. You will want at least 3-5 inches between each piece to give the eye a visual break between the pieces. I find it easiest to lay the pieces out on the floor first, so you can move them around until you feel good about the way it looks. Have fun with it and enjoy the process. At the end of the day, you can always swap things around if needed.
I love to play with proportion and framing depth rather than the actual frame of the pieces. This allows me to mix and match a lot of pieces.
Stick to a few different styles of frames - If you have too many different styles, colors, and sizes, it can start looking too busy. So I like to keep things simple and let the art stand out by using white, black, and simple wood to frame my pieces.
Play with Proportion and Framing Depth - If you have a small piece, you can play with proportion by framing it in a really large oversized mat which will give it more impact and also create negative space around the art to draw focus. The same goes for an unconventional piece like a polaroid, ticket, or photo strip. I’ve framed so many “found” pieces using a float mount method which gives them a really editorial look. It projects the piece off the mat just enough to give it a drop shadow.
- Don’t be afraid to leave things unframed - I love mixing in a few pieces of unframed canvas pieces which will help the whole gallery wall look less “store bought” and more curated over time.
Do you believe a gallery wall should be refreshed and updated with new pieces, or is this something you envision being a permanent staple?
Both - The gallery wall in my kitchen hasn’t changed since I first set it up. However, the walls in my bedroom and living room are constantly evolving. I am all for changing things up and swapping pieces out when you find something new that works well with the rest of the pieces.
In your ideal ArtStar gallery wall, which 5 pieces would you include?