Dressing Your Home with Art

By Eve Wee-Ang 2022-07-09 14:50:07

I have always admired homes that are decked out tastefully with beautiful art pieces especially when there are young children sharing the same space. For me, practicality has always preceded aesthetics especially when my kids were little. Concerns like what if the kids destroy them or am I willing to clean those sculptures when Ayi is away, are thoughts that cycle through my head. I appreciate art and enjoy visiting galleries, but until today, the art pieces that take pride of place in my home are the ones made by my children. If I am being honest, I am afraid of making a long-term commitment with an expensive art piece that I might get sick of one day and I’m stuck with it. 


Acquiring art can seem like an intimidating process and may I add, highbrow too. The art of buying art gives amateurs like me the impression that it’s exclusively reserved for people with deep pockets. Adding to the mix are questions like which trusted source can we buy art from in Shanghai? How do we know we are picking the right one? What are the steps involved? I sought help from Lyn She-Wu (WeChat: Lyn-In-Shanghai), an art consultant who holds a MA in art business from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, to unknot my questions at her beautifully curated home.

As a mum of three relatively young kids (ages 12, 11 and 6) and a golden retriever, your apartment is an amalgamation of family life interspersed with art. How do you achieve this balance without jumping whenever your kids looked like they might knock something over?


LSW: My kids have always been exposed to art since they were little. We bring them to art galleries where they learn etiquette like not touching important works. Over the years they often witness me adding treasured pieces to my home collection. Since young, they are taught that these pieces mean a lot to mummy, and it can never be replicated if it gets hurt so they knew not to kick a ball around it. As for our rescue dog Duo Duo, I initially hid all my important pieces until I realized my fears were unfounded as he turned out to be such a calm and docile dog.


What are the steps involved in buying art in Shanghai? Please hold our hand and take us through it.


LSW: Consuming art is very personal. The most important is that it needs to relate to you on a deeply personal level. You will be looking at it every day. What emotions does it evoke for you? That’s how you give meaning and personal value to your art.

Next, research on the artists, their signature medium and techniques to understand their work before purchasing. Attending art trade shows like West Bund Art & Design, The Shanghai Art Fair and ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair to understand the current trends is a good start.


For prices vs range of sizes, Artprice.com is a good website. For higher-end works, you will require an appraiser to determine the authenticity and value. The Sotheby’s Mei Moses Indices (sothebys.com) is a good site to check valued works for appraisal. Buy from a reputable source. A reliable art consultant is like a personal shopper who can help acquire and curate meaningful arrangements of relevant pieces based on a client’s taste and requirements.


In your opinion, who are the artists to watch out for and what art is trending now?


LSW: As a Singaporean based in Shanghai, promoting my home country’s culture is dear to me. In China, I am proud to represent Singaporeans surrealist artist Kin, and pop contemporary artist Andre Tan. I choose artists based on my appreciation of their style, work process and ethics. We are seeing a demand for animation as well as pop and contemporary art. There is also a rising trend amongst Southeast Asian collectors of buying Chinese works. Art is a beautiful bridge between different cultures and diversities.

I just have to ask this. What do you do with art pieces that no longer bring joy to you?


LSW: I rotate my art pieces, like how my children rotate their toys, so I never need to retire any! Most of my purchases hold value to me be they sad or joyful. Clients do come to me to help resell their pieces. It’s usually due to reasons like space constraints or they no longer bring them joy.



Photos by Mavindu (Wechat: Mavinduzero)