Copyright Jake WaltersRecently I received an email from someone who had wanted a particular painting of mine but wanted a smaller size. I gathered that he probably either had a smaller apartment or a small office space as he stated he was working for a small startup company.

Do you have a smaller version of the Three Moons of Jupiter? I
wouldn’t mind waking up and seeing that every morning! I’m working at
a small start-up so living the minimalist lifestyle isn’t very
conducive to purchasing fabulous art so something smaller might be
more in my range.

It got me thinking about whether or not minimalism and art could co-exist. I have always been drawn to the essence of minimalism in certain aspects of my life. Whether traveling with only one bag, reducing the amount of  things  I spent money on or just even in decorating my past apartments, I always believed less was more in some way. It made for less headaches and less worry when it came to having things broken, replaced or lugging it around whenever I moved. ( There was a time I moved four times in two years and a half years.)

But in regards to art, I think they can. Having a large painting in a room can make it the center piece of the room . It can allow you not to have to buy that couch to take up space along the wall. It can lend itself to more intimate seating where the TV isn’t the focus of the living room. It gets rid of the nic-nac pictures Mom gave you when you moved and you couldn’t bear to take down at the risk of offending her when she came to stay with you for a few days.

Or the huge bookcase. Or lamps. Or those cheap pictures you can buy at big discount stores that are made in China. You know the ones…the fake pop art imitations of wannabe Warhols or scenes from a New York cityscape of  yellow cabs. They’re so cheap you can see through the canvas! How awful!

Having blank walls frightens people and forces them sometimes to make bad choices when it comes to decorating their home. They feel they have to cover the space. That their place may look threadbare or even look as though they don’t have money.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Having a big painting can help you be minimalistic in how you approach decor. It forces you to really think about whether you really need that new piece of furniture. It makes you arrange your living room in such a manner that you or your guests either face the art or face each other. It allows you to connect as opposed to disconnecting in front of the TV.

Back before I was painting, I had gone thru the effort of buying very nice frames for these inexpensive posters of French wine and pastis makers. They weren’t originals as that would have been beyond my budget but I made the effort because I wanted something on the walls that I could look at and enjoy. It forced me t


o decorate my place with them being the centerpiece of the rooms. While my friends were buying larger and larger TV screens, I was buying more posters to frame.

In the end, I always got great comments from my friends on my taste. And they would also comment how clean and orderly a bachelor like me lived. That was my form of minimalism.

If you had the choice between buying two items only for your living room; a sofa and a TV or a sofa and a painting, I would say choose the sofa and painting. You’ll more likely have friends and guests remember your place for that huge painting (no matter how good or bad it is) than for the size of your TV.