Let’s face it: styling out the Winter months, and the stress of gift giving is no walk in the park. Luckily, we’ve got Michelle Ogundehin – Interiors expert and author – to show us why art is the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Plus explore her carefully selected artwork highlights from our online Christmas Market below – full of beautiful pastels and soft tones. Ready to follow her lead? Let’s go!
To be honest I prefer experiences: a meal together, a holiday, spa days! But most of all I love to receive art. For although the choice of the latter is generally a profoundly personal pursuit, for someone to have sought out an image, piece or sculpture that they believe you will adore, is for me nothing short of an act of true love.
What have they seen in the chosen item that they think will resonate with you? What colours illuminate it — are they bright or subdued hues? What materials is it composed of — rich sticky oils or a gentle wash of watercolour? But most importantly, what story does it tell? Just as when someone tells you they’ve heard a piece of music that they think you’ll love, it is a reflection of how they see you, and who they believe you are. So yes, it can go spectacularly wrong, but even then, I’d suggest that it can still be rewardingly revealing.
For the stories embedded within art also tell us much about the artist; their obsessions and preoccupations when making. Why is one person drawn to landscapes while another explores their creativity through abstracts or collage? What are they telling us about themselves? I’d argue that this is where we make our connections. For the skill of the artist, whatever their medium, is to translate something we feel, and transmute it onto canvas or paper, or into solid form.
But interpretation is not passive. We do not look at an artwork and all instantly read the same emotional narrative. What we see is inevitably filtered by our own experiences of the world. Do we seek comfort in art, or inspiration? Is it about recognition, or reminders? Is the painting of the solitary person a token of strength in solitude, or loneliness? The winter landscape — barren or full of latent potential? Portraits — something we see in ourselves, or who we aspire to be?
What tips then would I give to someone looking to purchase a gift of art for a loved one? Tread carefully! Tread lightly. Take your time. And remember, the best gifts are always those truly chosen for the person in mind, rather than something we’d actually quite like for ourselves. Below are seven pieces I’d be very happy to receive; I wonder what tales they tell about me?”Michelle Ogundehin
We hope that Michelle’s finest give you festive gift-giving inspiration. Don’t miss our online Christmas Market – on now until 6 December 2021.