As a gallery owner I have noticed that many people purchase a piece of art while traveling. It makes sense! A piece of art is something you keep forever, prominently displayed in your home to remind you of your journey through life. It is a great way to remember the fabulous places you have been to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and vacations.

As an art patron, I’ve noticed that many galleries have a tendency to show work that reflects their geographic location. In coastal galleries they have an abundance of pieces depicting dolphins, boats, beach scenes and the like. When you get to the Southwest, the theme decidedly changes to bears, wolves, buffalo, and mountainous landscapes. More rural galleries tend to the farmhouse paintings, cows, windmills and countless fields of Blue Bonnets. Large metropolitan areas show modern abstracts and cityscapes. You get the point. Of course, this is just a domestic example. When you go international the trend continues.

It got me thinking that with so many people buying art while traveling and so many galleries selling geographically specific artwork that there might be a disconnect going on. A house on the beach might not be the most appropriate place to hang a painting of a buffalo. A beach scene might look out of place in a mountain retreat. I’m not sure if I have any advice here. Just an observation. I wonder if galleries (especially galleries in high volume vacation destinations) ever think about where their pieces might end up!

I remember once while shopping in Honolulu, I discovered a Hula dancer carved out of a coconut. I thought it was the most incredible and creative thing I’d ever seen. She was fabulous in her grass skirt! So, of course I had to have it! Upon returning to my metropolitan high rise in Dallas I realized that maybe Little Miss Hula wasn’t as fabulous as she seemed. The once incredible creation became garish and tacky as soon as I plopped it next to the stack of art tomes on the modern coffee table.  Maybe my lesson with the Hula dancer has made me overly conscious of whether your surroundings influence your decision-making.

I guess the point to all of this is:

By all means keep buying art on life’s journey! Just be aware that what seems appropriate in one place might not be appropriate in another place. I am the first to tell you that there are no rules when it comes to art! A piece of art is personal and should reflect the personality of the buyer. If you want to look at buffalo on the beach, go for it! The little devil designer in me would just like to point out that you should also remember where the piece will live permanently. Art can be expensive! I’d hate for you spend a load of cash on a life-long investment and regret it.

…Which makes me wonder – whatever happened to my little hula dancer?

About The Author

Max Jones

Max Jones, of Jones Walker Home, is an award-winning designer, artist, and gallery owner based in Dallas, Texas. He and husband, Tony Walker, have been named Best Designers by D Home Magazine, and Jones Walker Home was recently named the 2016 Best Furniture Store in the Dallas Voice Reader's Voice Awards.