Surrounding Yourself with Beauty
Interview with Gallerist Amy Jensen
Friday, December 31, 2021
You are the gallery manager for The Erin Hanson Gallery. What is it like representing only one artist?
It is actually great to be able to focus all our marketing efforts on just one artist. Erin Hanson is a prolific artist with two galleries dedicated exclusively to her work. She has hundreds of active collectors who are always on the lookout for a new Hanson painting, which keeps us all very busy! It has been really rewarding watching her grow and expand over the past 15 years.
Do you find that new collectors are intimidated by original art?
Many of our original paintings sell to first-time collectors. I have noticed that people who are really passionate about impressionists like Monet and van Gogh also fall in love with Erin’s paintings. We make it easy to start collecting original work, like taking videos of the piece if they can’t see it in person, and we offer layaways or financing options through Art Money.
How do you approach marketing for your art gallery in this age of all-things internet?
We have a large following on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We share Erin’s newest paintings every week, as well as behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with the artist. We have a great website that lets you zoom in on the original paintings, so you can see all the individual brush strokes, and there is a neat in-room view too, so potential buyers can get a sense of the size of the painting. We cater to specific needs in terms of sizes and framing, and we also offer custom, commissioned paintings.
What do you suggest for collectors and decorators who don’t have the budget for original artwork?
We offer beautiful prints of Erin’s oil paintings. Her bright colors and expressive brushwork translate well to print form. We offer flat (untextured) canvas prints for collectors on a budget. For art lovers who want to splurge a little more, we offer limited edition 3D Textured Replicas, which look (and feel) almost exactly like an original oil painting.
How would you say art enriches or improves the quality of home life?
Art gives a room depth and personality. It makes your home come alive! You will see what I mean if you take a painting off a wall, after you’ve gotten used to it, and without artwork, the room looks barren and hospital-blank. Art engages your senses, piques your emotions, and awakens fond memories. The goal is to have your home be artistic, inviting, and comfortable, all the while reflecting who you are. Art is a great way to show off your personality and tastes.
We always encourage our collectors to design their homes around the art they love, instead of picking art to match their sofa. You can let the interior design be inspired by the hues, style, and mood of the artwork, which will make the room look beautifully planned.
How important is lighting when hanging art in the home, and as a gallerist what are some tips you could offer on this?
Lighting is very important to make the artwork appear the way the artist intended it to be seen. If you think about it, most house lighting is directed at the floors (not the walls) and is used to generally illuminate the room. This means that the walls in most people’s homes are dark. When you hang a painting without a spotlight on it, the painting appears de-saturated and you also don’t get to enjoy all the texture from the brush strokes.
If you are buying original art or textured prints, I recommend investing in an electrician to come out and install some spotlights above each wall you want to hang artwork. Here at The Erin Hanson Gallery, we exclusively use Soraa Vivid LED bulbs to illuminate Erin’s paintings. These are high-CRI (Color Rendering Index) bulbs, which allow you to see the painting’s full spectrum of colors.
Do you have some gallery guidelines about hanging art?
Our mantra is, “If you love it, you will find a space for it.” Big paintings, small paintings, tall paintings, wide paintings… you can find room for any piece of art if you truly love it. Sometimes that means rearranging or getting creative on art placement (think narrow stairwells, bathroom walls, and petite paintings on bookshelves.)
One main guideline is to hang art at eye level, but it can be tricky to work around furniture in the room. Try to achieve an overall balance between the top heights of the artwork and the furniture in the room.
I often recommend that collectors use blue masking tape to mark out on the wall where a painting might go. Then you can walk around the house and view the wall from different angles, to make sure that the piece will be shown off at its best on that wall. If you need a specific size to fit inside an alcove or other architectural structure, I recommend commissioning a work.
How do you paint a wall to accent or highlight a work of art hanging upon it?
Wall color is one of the most fun stylistic concepts to consider for a home. Another keen option is wallpaper which has really burst back onto the interior design scene over the past some years. I have lately been seeing some very fun interior designers even painting the ceiling as the “statement color” or painting the entirety of the walls and ceiling in one color.
I really like how a warm painting looks against a cool-toned wall, like an autumn-colored landscape against a dark turquoise wall. This makes the warm oranges and reds really pop.
If you are painting a wall to set off a particular painting, I would recommend taking a picture of the wall with the painting and then creating mockups of how it would look with different wall colors (inspired by the colors in the painting.) We offer this service in the gallery for our collectors, but you can do it on your own using Sherwin-Williams’ ColorSnap visualizer for the web.
It is the same idea as wearing a color that really makes your eyes pop and look more brilliant. You can play with the painting with your other design and elements, and you are just going to get even more joy and “wow” from your artwork.
How should someone approach framing, in terms of interior décor?
Some of our collectors prefer to hang their paintings in the frames that the artist originally chose for the painting. I think this method works especially well if the house is decorated in neutral tones so that there is no clash between different styles of frames.
We offer Erin’s paintings in simple gold floater frames since Erin doesn’t want the edges of her paintings covered by a frame. Most of our collectors find this frame bridges many styles of interior design, from ultra-modern to traditional.
If the collector is trying to match an existing décor, we can offer gold or silver, or champagne gold frames to match the metal accents in the room. If the room has a lot of wood, we can match the color of the wood in the room with a hardwood floating frame. The idea is to set off the painting without being too distracting with an overpowering frame.
How do you help a collector find that perfect piece?
This is the most fun part of all. This is where I get to know the person and find out what they are hoping for in their artwork purchase. They might have something very specific in mind, like “a 30x40 vertical red painting for the hallway,” or they might want a painting of a certain landscape to commemorate a fond memory, like an anniversary trip to Lake Tahoe. Sometimes it is helpful to the collector if we create digital mockups of different paintings hanging on the wall.
More often, the collector is just looking for something that WOW’s them and will continue to WOW them every time they see it. They are looking for the “Ah-hah” moment, the “I will know it when I see it” moment. My job is to get a sense of their needs, and then present them with paintings until we find that “love at first sight” moment.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
For me, I get to bring joy to people’s lives day in and day out. For every painting Erin produces, at least 100,000 people end up seeing that image in one way or another. They see it on social media, they see it in the gallery, they see it on her website or in magazines. These people often reach out to let us know that her works made them want to get out and enjoy nature, inspired them to finally pick up the paintbrush and start painting again, or even made them cry with cathartic joy or release.
The other favorite part of my job is going into Erin’s studio to speak with her about some administrative detail and then coming back a few hours later to see a full-fledged masterpiece has taken shape. I will never get over how magical it is to see how her paintings come together.
Left to Right: Amy, Erin Hanson, and Jennifer Key (Interior Designer). 2016.
ERIN HANSON has been painting in oils since she was 8 years old. As a young artist, she worked at a mural studio creating 40-foot-tall paintings on canvas, while selling art commissions on the side. After getting a degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, Erin became a rock climber at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Inspired by the colorful scenery she was climbing, she decided to paint one painting every week for the rest of her life. She has stuck to that decision ever since, becoming one of the most prolific artists in history. Erin Hanson's style is known as "Open Impressionism" and is now taught in art schools worldwide. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism.
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