For over a year now, I’ve been thinking about what art to put in my apartment. I go back and forth between wanting to display local artists versus Black/African artists, so, I’ve decided to combine the two and have both.
For one wall in my home, hair will be the focus — pictures of women in the hair salon, sitting under the dryer, men at the barbershop, a mother doing her daughter’s hair, and a collection of polaroid and hard photos of my family and our journey with our hair. I see it as a celebration for all textures of Black hair; be it curly, coily, or in spirals.
Another wall I envision is a depiction of Black and African music, with a heavy influence on jazz. The last big wall, I see as a display of the things I’ve collected from all over the world.
Art is historically known to be pricey, and for a while, I’d never even seen legit art in the homes of friends who are BIPOC — only in my white friends’ homes, from their parents or relatives who had art in storage. I was elated to discover a Black friend’s apartment, who loves art, and knows where to source pieces he can afford. He gets compliments all the time, and his place inspired me to finally nail down pieces that can go above my bed and in my office.
I understand creating art walls in a home is a big task and should not be taken lightly, so I’ve been bookmarking websites and filing away recommendations from friends before I invest in any pieces of my own. Having done the research for a year, the below are highly-vetted recommendations.
What I’ve learned
As I start to collect things, I’m realizing that bringing in artwork has really added to the energy and comfort to my home. I’ve also realized splurging can be a real treat, but it doesn’t have to be synonymous with art, even as a person of color.
Another thing I’ve learned throughout the process is that the same art doesn’t have to stay up year-round. It can be rotated from different mediums and around different areas in your house. Or, the art can be entirely taken out and switched in something new.
Therefore, the below sites have pieces for all budgets and all mediums. Some are large, some small. Some have great filters where you can input what you are looking for, down to the name of artist. Others are more of a scavenger hunt to see what is best for you. Regardless, there are some great options for all art lovers out there.
Black Owned Everything
The place to find the diamonds in the rough. The site also sports apparel, beauty, accessories, and other categories.
Most likely on any list, at Etsy, you can buy a selection of curated pieces for independent artists. For an added bonus, a number of pieces on Etsy are budget-friendly. Additionally, Etsy also offers a filter specifically for Black art and prints.
Stocked with loads of emerging Black artists, Artsy also offers tips on how to responsibly collect Black art. Talk about a win-win.
The majority of sales go to the art part of the non-profit arts organization BLKArthouse BLKMKT. Here, prints even start at $20.
Photo via ShaiYoussefStudio, Etsy