Art of the matter
Large-scale wall art is set to be a huge 2018 interiors trend, but it needn't come with a large-scale price tag, writes Nathalie Marquez Courtney
I usually regard the Pinterest trend reports with more than a dash of scepticism. I love pinning as much as the next interiors-obsessed girl, but I also know that a huge amount of what I save is the stuff of dreams, not reality. There are the loft spaces with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, or cosy mountain cabins, or chic city pads with herringbone floors - and that's before we get into the intricate DIY projects. But how many of these actually make it off our device's screen and into real life?
The large-scale wall art trend is one of Pinterest's 100 trend predictions for 2018, and that I can get behind. Though a good gallery wall is a design staple, the popularity of adding a large-scale piece to the mix has steadily risen - Pinterest saw a whopping 637pc increase in people saving pins related to 'big wall art'. That includes everything from large-scale posters to works of art and photography prints.
I can see why. I recently moved to a new apartment with high ceilings and big, bare white walls. Terrifying. Having spent a few years in a small and cosy low-ceilinged house, I was daunted at the prospect of filling these acres of blank space. But, like a good rug, one or two large-scale pieces can be a quick way to make an impact.
"A large piece can bring a room together," says Irish artist Lola Donoghue (loladonoghue.com). Based in Galway, she works with oils and acrylic, creating ethereal compositions in soft, airy hues that look great in modern interiors. "People have become more expressive and more confident with interior design and our homes are now reflecting that," she says. "I tend to work on huge canvases and it's the largest of these that always sell the quickest, so they are definitely more popular."
Another reason for the surge in popularity of larger pieces is that they make creating a gallery wall so much easier. Curating the perfect collection of art, quirky prints and personal photos is no mean feat, and can too often result in a messy, cluttered arrangement.
One large piece can serve as an anchor for your gallery wall, making it easy to build other elements around and stop things from looking too busy. "In my own sitting room, I have two large original paintings surrounded by etchings, drawings, smaller originals, framed record sleeves - anything goes nowadays," says Lola.
Just as with textiles, introducing a huge print or photograph can transform the feel of your room and, as with paint, a little bit of colour psychology goes a long way - the right piece in the right space can help you feel energised, calm, even focused.
It's also worth dispelling the myth that large-scale pieces only work in big, airy spaces. "People often think small room, small art but this isn't always the case," says Lola. "Large-scale art can work really well in a small room without dominating."
Her tip? Measure out a piece in newspaper, cut it out and stick it on the wall with masking tape. "Leave it there for a few days to get used to the size and see if you need to go bigger or smaller."
Of course, up until now, large-scale pieces haven't been very affordable but things are quickly changing.
Ikea has been steadily expanding its artwork offering, with bigger, more interesting additions. Last week, it announced a collaboration with camera manufacturer Hasselblad.
The resulting collection, available later this year and called 'Norrhassel', features the work of seven photographers and showcases stunning images selected for their 'beauty, composition, and aesthetics' from the Hasselblad Masters Award catalogue. Their current stock already features an interesting mix of illustration and photography.
Swedish brand Desenio, which sells high-end posters, photo prints and illustrations (as well as frames and mounting accessories), has been shipping to Nordic countries since 2015 but recently added Ireland to its list.
Its best-sellers include a fun Kate Moss shot by British fashion photographer Craig McDean, and simple, striking prints of botanicals, the ocean, and black-and- white typography.
Artists like Lola often sell both beautiful large-scale original pieces as well as more affordable limited-edition prints in either paper or canvas, so it's worth keeping an eye out for those. Large-scale photo prints can also work great.
Dublin-based photographer Maggy Morrissey creates stunning abstract seascapes that more resemble paintings than photos and can be printed on large canvases, while Irish retailers April & The Bear and Home Lust are both now stocking affordable, large-scale pieces.