MICHELLE OGUNDEHIN

Delving deeper than decor to explore the power of home as a path to wellbeing #happyinside

December 20, 2020

Return on Art

I find Christmas posts tricky. We know that we should only buy things that we might purchase at any other time of the year. Except right now, many shops are full of infintely forgettable things, which combined with our desperation to get out and have something to do, might make even the hardiest of shoppers crumble in the face of choice. It’s like the sweetie shop is not only open but also on sale. Of course, I could just concentrate on small businesses selling things of real quality, but it’s still hard to curate a list that works as a catch-all for enough people to be of any real value. Cue art…

Today there are so many amazing affordable galleries online where you can browse at leisure and get something utterly unique delivered to your door. Finally, a candy store where there really can be something for everyone. It’s also why I love to collaborate with such platforms as I genuinely believe that when you find something that really sets your soul on fire, investing in such a piece and then seeing it every day is like a shot of pure joy for your heart and soul. It’s also why I think directly opposite your front door is a great position for artworks if you can — for that all-important emotional boost the minute you step over your threshold.

As Amir Akta, founder of Return on Art the latest art kid on the block, puts it, this year “has shown us that being surrounded by the few people we love and artworks we can identify with, can make all the difference. It also shows us that in times of global desperation, there are individuals who do not cease to inspire.” (Read more from Amir at the end of the post).

Happy days then as I’ve teamed up with  Return on Art to offer you a 10% discount on anything you buy if you use the code Michelle10 at check out. So, why not celebrate a New Start for the New Year by gifting yourself (or someone special) a truly original gift to say well done, we made it through the shocker that was 2020, and here’s to a lot more joy ahead! Art really can be the gift that keeps on giving, 365 days of the year. Personally, I can never quite get over the fact that real art is absolutely one of a kind, made by hand, with passion and love — to have such things in your home, is to infuse it with profoundly positive energy. And we could all do with as much of that as possible at any time of the year.

Following are just seven of the Return on Art artists that I particularly loved, names I’d personally say are making ‘Future Classics’… but which are your favourite, let me know. Don’t forget to use your code for your discount. And feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family too! Share the love, share the joy.

1 Claire Desjardins

Claire Desjardins is a Canadian artist living and working in Gore, Quebec. Working primarily in paint, her work focuses on gesture and colour, characterised by energetic, animated brush strokes and bold palettes. It’s both highly abstract and highly personal.

Besides creating art, in early 2019, Claire launched a signature collection of women’s apparel under her label, Claire Desjardins. She also collaborates with companies, such as US retailer Anthropologie, and tech giants Microsoft and Samsung, adding her colourful artwork to their mixes. She regularly exhibits, as well as teaching painting workshops.

Artwork by Claire Des Jardins, Return on Art

Artwork by Claire Des Jardins, Return on Art

2 Piper Bridwell

Piper says that her work comes from “deep inside as an expression of my sincere emotions of joy and gratitude.” She poetically describes it as “creating layers to dance on the canvas and move in a way that speaks to its viewer is the most exciting part of the process. Texture, daring colours and layers of thick sentiments juxtapose to the predictable. My art declares all the passion I consume. It is the overflow of the rich love that surrounds me.” Continuing, “choosing colours and composition takes time. Certain days it takes longer to imagine the direction of a piece than does the actual painting process.” Loved these so much, I bought this one Piper Bridwell.

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Artwork by Piper Bridwell, Return on Art

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Artwork by Piper Bridwell, Return on Art

3 James Pouliot

James Pouliot di Lombardia is a self-taught American artist with a bachelor’s degree in psychology living in Paris, France. His photography work has been featured in international fashion publications such as a Vogue and L’Officiel. His paintings explore nature and consumer culture. His still life studies have been described as “academic pop-art” as they exploit traditional methods of atelier painting with contemporary and often disposable subject matter.

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Artwork by James Pouliot, Return on Art

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Artwork by James Pouliot, Return on Art

4. Maggie hall

Maggie calls hersself a maximalist, saying, ” I like all of the things everywhere all the time. I have an affinity for the excessive garishness and sentimentality of kitsch, hand-painted letters, neon signs, leopard spots and mirror balls. More is more. A propensity for gold, Late Baroque, leather, benday dots, and vintage comic book heroines wielding weapons. I am currently falling in love with electrostatic flocking but more on that later.” One to watch methinks. I bought this fabulously irreverent trio of plates from her!

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Artwork by Maggie Hall, Return on Art

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Artwork by Maggie Hall, Return on Art

5. David Sprenger

Influenced by “orthodox surrealism and classic minimalism”, David Sprenger’s vibrant acrylic paintings are characterized by “carefully selected perspectives and high-contrast shading, striving towards sober structuring and strict visual order within an often-dreamlike setting.” As he puts it, he “employs these abandoned buildings and unfamiliar structures set in almost hostile deserts to establish a contrast to the human egocentricity that is so often celebrated in modern society.”

Born in Liechtenstein and currently residing in Bogota, Colombia, Sprenger developed his interests in metaphysical theories and modern architecture, expressing them both in the realm of painting. With its many modern towers, hidden backyards, colourful house facades and inconspicuous details, Colombia’s capital offers the artist plenty of inspiration.

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Artwork by David Sprenger, Return on Art

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Artwork by David Sprenger, Return on Art

6. Ronni Squizzato

Ronni Squizzato is a self-thought Venetian artist born in 1980. He studied architecture but soon developed an interest in graphic design. His strong passion for kinetic art and optics led him to create artworks made of geometric, regular shapes that “move and infuse irregular sensations and deceptive feelings, in an attempt to allure the eye of the watcher.” By playing with colour, shape and perspective in a completely personal way, Ronni approaches every canvas with different tools such as tape, stencils, or anything else that could help him break structural rules.

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Artwork by Ronni Squizzato, Return on Art

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Artwork by Ronni Squizzato, Return on Art

7. Golsa Golchini

“My artworks are my way of communicating with the observer about the things of everyday life that we all have in common. Things we do, objects we use, emotions we feel. These actions depicted in my artworks are very simple like the cardboard they are [sometimes] drawn on. My aim is to immerse the observer into the work and make him/her see the world and everyday actions in a different way.”

Golsa Golchini, born in Tehran, Iran, has been living and working as a visual artist and photographer in Milan since 2004. Golsa graduated in 2010 from the Fine Arts Academy of Brera with a specialization in the department of Visual Arts.

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Artwork by Golsa Golchini, Return on Art

 

 

 

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Artwork by Golsa Golchini, Return on Art

Taling to Return on Art founder, Amir Akta…

What inspired you to set up Return on Art?

I was personally frustrated because I thought it was terribly hard to buy art. On the one hand, Galleries can have a very limited offering, intransparent prices and make it very hard for a young person to get into collecting. On the other hand, there are various online galleries and platforms that offer millions of works, with zero quality guarantee, no connection to the artist and most importantly, a very bad collecting experience. I was personally craving a place where I know every artist is hand-picked by experts and that offers me a great collecting experience. Eventually my frustration led to a thorough market analysis and  ended with me founding Return on Art from my university dorm.

How did you go about deciding which artists to showcase?

We have a long list of principles and characteristics we look for in an artist. They can be very subjective like the look / feel of his work, but also very qualitative like his education, exhibitions, awards and whether he/she is in fact a full time artist. I would love to share the entire list but I am afraid our curators would kill me…

Are you from an artistic background yourself?

Strictly seen no. I have a business background but I have always had passion for everything visual and aesthetic. During my undergraduate degree in London I developed a very strong passion for art but my knowledge of art history and the market are purely self taught.

What role do you believe art can play in our lives today?

We live in a hyperconnected world, allowing us to consume goods and information at an unprecedented pace. Yet, we also live in a time where most of the products we consume on a daily basis become increasingly commoditized, lack soul and individuality. A unique artwork, crafted with love and passion tells a different story.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, yet I truly believe that there is an important lesson to be learned. Being confined to our homes has taught us to rethink our values and priorities, who and what we cherish the most.

What particular importance can it have in the home?

We believe that art is not a luxury that should be limited to only a few, but a necessary cultural good that should be available to everyone. I personally believe that art is a crucial part of every household. Not only from a decorative standpoint but also from an inspirational side — being surrounded with art will broaden your horizon, boost your imagination and can affect your happiness positively — regardless of whether it’s a contemporary masterpiece or a hand-painting by a five-year-old.

Any tips for someone new to collecting?

If you are just starting out — relax. There is no right or wrong way to start your art collection. If you are unsure what to look for, try using our ArtMatch app on the website — it will allow you to generate your individual taste profile to explore artworks that you are guaranteed to love. Before you acquire your first artwork, browse around, read blog articles and most importantly, only collect what you love. Even investment grade artworks are of little use if you do not enjoy seeing it every day. We at Return on Art will do everything to make sure you can enjoy piece of mind when collecting art, whether you’re a first timer or an established collector.

Finally, which Return on Art artist’s work have you chosen for your own home?

Very good question! I am a big fan of mixing several periods, styles and artists in one room (provided they look good together). In my home you will find many works by Golsa Golchini, mind blowing portraits by Fabio la Fauci and Matteo Venturi, hyperrealist works by Nourine Hammad and sculptures by Daniele Fortuna to name a few.

Exclusive 10% discount on every single purchase just by using the code Michelle10 at check out. Spread the word!

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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.