Make a Picture Perfect Gallery Wall with Prints by Western Artists
Ready for an easy mini makeover? Here are our tips for creating a gallery wall.
One of the easiest mini makeovers you can tackle in your home is a gallery wall. Simply find some blank space, gather up a bit of painter’s tape, nails, and artful prints, and you can liven up your living room with a new look.
To start, you’ll want to find an array of different-sized framed prints, which can add eye-catching dimension. Here at Sunset, we like to shop small and we like to shop local, so we looked to Western artists crafting eclectic and contemporary pieces—many of which are inspired by the region’s landscapes, bringing the outdoors in.
San Francisco printmaker and poet James Lewis Tucker‘s “A Vast Expanse” (No. 1), for example, reminds us of a desert sunrise. Tucker used handmade inks for the first time to create this print that “explores the macro and micro of the universe,” as the artist writes.
You may have seen San Diego artist Maheswari Janarthanan’s work featured by the Jungalow home décor brand. Fine art prints like “Infinite” (No. 2) are also available on Etsy and feature a colorful array of botanicals, animals, and more.
Denver artist Marsha Robinson, meanwhile, creates bold and graphic designs often with stunning symmetry under the name Strange Dirt, including a limited run of Petite Fine Art Prints sold only in mom-and-pop shops (No. 5).
To start creating your gallery wall, it’s recommended to tape off a sort of “canvas,” which will give you some boundaries to assemble the collected art. This could be a square on an entire wall or, like shown above, an empty space above a dresser or credenza. We anchored our prints with the largest of the five, “Yucca Canvas Print” by Arizona artist and carver Brit Hansen (No. 3).
The fine art giclée print is just a small part of Hansen’s work, which often features desert plants like cholla, yucca and agave. Originally a block printer, Hansen started experimenting with carving techniques while on bedrest with her first child. She now immerses herself in an extensive process of adding layer after layer of paint onto wood panels—think 40 to 70 layers—before carving it to reveal a kaleidoscope of textures and colors.
“I really love creating art that is peaceful and calming,” Hansen says. “I’m always trying to balance warm and cool.”
More from this issue:
- 2021 Sunset Travel Awards: 75 Ways to Experience the West
- A Renovated A-Frame Near Lake Arrowhead Builds the Case for a Pink Front Door
- Don’t Put Away Your Tools Just Yet: Your December and January Garden Checklist
- How the First Family of Fish Sauce Does a Holiday Feast
Another Arizona artist, Scout Dunbar, plays with geometry in line drawings like “Sunset Over Picacho” (No. 4). Originally from New York, Dunbar moved first to Santa Fe then Tucson, finding inspiration across the landscapes of the Southwest. “You see geometry in nature all of the time,” Dunbar says. “It’s what nature is made of. It’s math.” The result is a meditative process of repetition using triangles, lines, and more to explore the “relationship between organic form and architectural, mechanical edge,” Dunbar adds. “It’s about striking this balance between the two.”
When assembling your gallery wall, it can be helpful to lay out your frames on the floor or a nearby table to get the arrangement just right. If you’re worried about nailing up a print only to find it’s a few too many inches to the left, never fear: Lighter frames can easily be attached to a wall using hanging strips found at many hardware stores. Brands like Command have options for a variety of weights. For extra security, flip the frame over and stick a long strip on all four back sides.
Once all your frames are attached, step back and admire your work. Voilà! A makeover masterpiece.