Curating art in your home is one of the most important and personal parts of decorating your space. It's all about finding pieces that speak to your personality, your tastes, and your experiences. When someone walks into your home, they should be able to get a good picture of who you are based on the art around your space. So when we peeked inside Emma Holland's apartment in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, we had a feeling she was someone we would like to hang out with.
As the programming and curation manager at the female co-working space The Wing, Holland spends lots of her time surrounded by beautiful art and decor (take a peek to see for yourself). Yet she also knows how important it is to create an aesthetic in her own space that feels truly unique to her self and needs.
"I’m a pretty visual person, but at home for me the most important thing is for a space to feel comfortable and comforting and lived in," Holland shares. "Art and color — these visually communicative pieces make a home feel like it really belongs to you and like you’re transmuting things straight from your psyche into this visible extension of yourself."
Read ahead to get a deeper look into Holland's creative process of curating art in her cool pad.
How do you search for new art for your space?
EH: In complete transparency, I’m not remotely knowledgeable about art! I have strong visceral feelings of what appeals to me, but I’m definitely not deep in the industry at all. Right now, I’m drawn to a lot of bright colors and have been slowly adding a lot more of that into my space.
The Society6 pieces I chose were all really colorful and I felt like they complemented some of my more subdued decor. A lot of the quote-end-quote art in my home are actually other objects or things that are important to me for more sentimental reasons.
The largest piece in my bedroom is a big framed poster from Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s only show together at the Robert Miller Gallery in 1978 that my dad saved for me and gave me on my birthday last year. I have a framed topographic map of where my family’s farmhouse in Pennsylvania was, or these old subway PSA posters called “The Subway Sun” that we collect on eBay. You can also find cool, weird little pieces at flea markets. For me, it’s all a big hodgepodge and not exclusively aesthetically driven.
Do you have any favorite artists that you follow or have multiple pieces from?
EH: I work for The Wing and we have an incredible art collection at all the spaces, curated by Lolita Cros who is so talented. My favorite pieces in the New York spaces are these small, collage pieces by Rachel Libeskind. The series was taken from The Jewel Box Revue, the first U.S. racially inclusive revue of female impersonators created in 1939. I’ve been saving up for one — you can buy all the art at The Wing off the wall!
I also co-founded a zine with two friends after the 2016 election called Repro Rights Zine. We produced artist editions of the first issue by seven different artists with the proceeds benefiting the Center for Reproductive Rights (still available for sale on Picture Room's website!). They were all incredible, but I especially loved the ones by Meriem Bennani and Ser Serpas, who have become favorites.
Before buying art, do you always consider where you can style it in your home first?
EH: Definitely not, which would explain why I have so many things standing up on dressers and floors. I also have some commitment issues with wall placement, which is probably a metaphor for something but I’m not sure what.
But I think things look best when they don’t feel super planned and it feels like the whole wall just sort of fell together, but is also still a continuous work in progress. I guess I do think about sizes in relation to the individual pieces but also what's around it. When I was searching through the works on Society6, I thought about what would look good as a larger, more central item versus what would blend in more and fill a gap.
Do you have any tips for buying art on a budget?
EH: Broaden your definition of art. Again, so many of the things I love or have saved visually are just found items or things that I was like, huh that could be cool. A New Yorker satire article I kept coming back to, a piece of beautiful wrapping paper, and a postcard my friend got made of a piece of her mom’s art from before she was born. Get creative!
Also, support your friends’ work. And find places to buy from that have a range of budget options. Society6 is great for this reason; Picture Room also has a lot of varied options at different price points.