Go ahead, show off my art in your bathroom
by Janice Nigro
Photos are arguably one of the things in our homes that give us the best perspective of the lives we lead, for our guests and more importantly for ourselves. Yet, despite the fact that our digital world brings us incredible numbers of fabulous images every day, few of us actually go the extra step to get any of them in print. Even our own.
I take my share of “this one is for Facebook” photos, but I am one of those people to also print my photos out…a lot of them. Photos were “cheap” art to hang on the walls in my apartment in Norway. I didn’t know how long I would actually live there, and winters are so dark. My underwater photographs were one way to bring a big amount of color into my space, and rather inexpensively (if you are not counting how much it cost to go diving).
I became a little more bold in printing photographs when I once realized I had forgotten a friend’s birthday. To make it up to her, I decided to send a photo. She has a lot, but she did not have an underwater photo. It was a big surprise-two 16×20 inch photos. Even more unexpected: she had one of them professionally framed and hung it up in her office.
Photography can be a difficult art to sell or give though. I love looking at others’ photographs, but hanging someone else’s photo on your wall is something different. I somehow feel that the person buying the photo really has to relate to the actual image. Like a souvenir. Photographs are personal-you have to have been there. It’s different than a painting because a painting is an interpretation of something, maybe something real. Or it’s completely abstract, and it can mean whatever you want. To me, photography and painting are a bit like going to a play versus a movie. A play is more literal, just as a photograph.
But my photographs are from underwater. Most everyone can relate to these photographs. Like looking at animals in photos from a safari. Everyone loves a giraffe or a zebra. So too does everyone love a seahorse.
My gift giving escalated. Someone else received a photograph for her 30th birthday. I planned to give another to a different friend for graduation, but liked it so much when I hung it on the wall to evaluate it that I just kept it. The whole lab in Norway received photographs when I left. I have left photos with friends in Germany and one in Italy. Someone even took one right from my wall when I was leaving Norway. And one friend even requested one, a big one that now hangs in her bedroom in Tasmania.
I became used to liking my photographs in print. Now I am addicted (or it’s shameless self-promotion). I began to print more than my underwater photographs. Most of the photographs I have printed as cards. These I can send anywhere or even give as simple gifts. It’s something easy to do, and it can be a very personal gift. Like photos from a trip with your family.
Part of my motivation is for selling my work at a local farmers’ market. There I have discovered that people who are not friends and family also want to hang my photographs on their walls.
The caveat is that they usually say they want to hang my photographs on their bathroom walls…
It was one of the few things customers said to me that I always felt somewhat conflicted about. Exactly what is it supposed to mean when they look at your work and declare, I need something to hang in my bathroom? Is it that unconscious connection between the water in the bathroom and the water that is the sea? Or is that Nemo is not sophisticated enough for the living room? I sometimes began to wonder whether I should just call my art, “Art for your bathroom.”
I was discussing it with my sister one day who always has some kind of story. Her bit of insight came straight from Adele the singer. At a concert my sister attended, Adele told the audience that it was a very British thing to make a special shelf for your awards, but in the bathroom. If you have an Oscar, for example, like she does, it will be the first thing you look at in the morning and perhaps the last thing you see at night.
When you think about it, you probably can spend a good bit of time in there admiring it. My perspective on this knee jerk response from many of my customers suddenly changed.
It turns out though that my customers apparently are actually on to something. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal claims that the bathroom is now THE place to put your favorite art (Show Off Your Art Collection-in the Bathroom).
So now I am no longer conflicted. So go ahead, I am more than happy to have you show off my art in your bathroom (underwater photographs for sale).
Do you ever print your photos?
©Janice Marie Nigro/janikiInk.com