Edit ModuleShow Tags

The heart wants

The art of art collecting lies in getting out of your own way

Assorted pieces from a collection curated by the inner heart child

Ashley Heider Daly

Someone recently asked me how to choose art for his home. I suggest selecting art that moves you, but if you have no feelings—as my friend claims—I guess start with what matches your furniture. Green sofa? Get a landscape with some green-leafed trees to tie the walls to your floors. And if you’re really feeling nothing after looking extensively at a variety of art, seek professional help before you murder someone. Then, consider these tips. 

Choosing art really is about being in tune with your heart

Can you hear your heart’s tiny child whispers? My heart child once told me to buy a print in the window of a local art gallery. I walked past that print every Tuesday for four months, and finally heart child asked, “What if we walked by this gallery and the print was gone, and we never saw it again?” My heart child is kind of a jerk and says things that make me anxious. Yours might be cooler and just say, “Hey, you like this. Make it yours.”

Decent reasons to bring home a piece of art

If you are a super-feeler like me, you might be easily overcome with emotions when looking at art. Joy, surprise, curiosity, pleasure, urgency, calm and a bit of adventure are all sensations I’ve let nudge me into purchasing a piece. We feelers have it easy. Our conversations with art are boisterous and flirty. Be discerning; only take home the pieces you most enjoy interacting with.

For those who aren’t yet acquainted with their heart child

Your conversations with art are more coy. Art’s purpose is to stimulate the viewer in some way; it’s supposed to make you look twice. Use that second look to take the next steps. See if any elements (colors, shapes, subject matter) of the piece appear elsewhere in your life. You wear tons of blue, and the abstract painting you think you like is predominantly blue? This is good evidence of preference and a safe place to start. Go forth in this way, and your art discernment will progress. You’ll birth a heart child to discuss art with in no time. 

Art I have bought and where

  • A pastel of a horse that I urgently parked and ran to buy at a garage sale
  • Charlie Eckhardt’s abstract paintings
  • A 1930s leather-framed landscape from the Tulsa Flea Market
  • Photography by one of my best friends; I blatantly ask for his digital files to print. Favorite: a photo of the Oklahoma panhandle landscape, hanging over my sofa
  • Small Marilyn Monroe print from a Luling, Texas antique mall
  • My mom’s current paintings and college-era screen prints
  • A vintage oil portrait and a hot pink Tulsa landscape, both gifts from friends
    Want more from Ashley? Read how she and her husband—Voice contributor Ryan Daly—are tackling their fitness goals (and getting more attractive, as if that's possible).