Hanging your Art

Once you have bought your new artwork  and it’s framed and ready to hang, next comes the issue of how and where to hang it. You want to make sure it’s done well. If you are renting, you may be restricted in what kind of hooks you can use, could be an idea to check your lease first. 

In general, hanging an art work is relatively easy with a few handy tips, work your way through the list, making sure you have any tools and equipment first.

Assess the environment

In this article, we recommended that you consider the environment your picture will be in before you hang it. Definitely avoid hanging your art work in direct sunlight as “UV rays cause serious deterioration – place paintings next to a window, or adjacent walls, instead of directly in front or opposite. Also a good idea to avoid hanging a piece in a place where they will be exposed to extreme heat or moisture. Heat can warp a stretcher or frame and moisture can encourage mould to grow. If you are wanting to hang som art  in a bathroom, over a heater or fireplace, or in other more extreme environments, choose art in materials that are designed to withstand heat and moisture. Look at our outdoor art works as an example. Thye are created specifically by commission.

Choose pieces that are not too small or large for the space

The reason that we recommend not hanging an art work that is too small  is twofold. The art itself appears insignificant and lost and the environment or space can also seem empty or unfinished. To appar too large is less of an issue, but if there is no space around the art between furniture and adjacent areas, it can appear like Alison in Wonderland, cramped and awkward.

Hang your art work at an average eye level

Some art can benefit from a higher viewpoint, for example at the top of stairs, or above a bed. There is, however,  a zone, around 130 - 160cm from the ground , which is a good area to aim to locate the middle of the art work (or the focal point).  This ensures your picture isn’t too high or too low so everyone can enjoy your artwork. Consider whether the picture is in reach of children, pets, or anything else that may damage it. (too close to the top of a sofa, eg.give at least 20cm clearance). If you have several artworks in one room, try to find a midline to line up or alternatively line up the top borders. (rather than have a higgledy-piggledy up and down and all over the place arrangement.

Measure twice drill once - Double check hook positions before banging or drilling

Always do a double check from a distance where your art works will be hung before drilling or banging the hole for the hook. Ask someone to hold the piece in its place (if possible) so you can see what it looks like in its surroundings. Either by eye or with a spirit level, check that the art work is horizontally level.

Hang it securely

Nails into a stud or a dynabolt in the plaster wall are the best option to ensure your picture is secure. In the case of a brick or rendered wall, a hammer drill is required, a plug and a screw. Adhesive hooks can work temporarily, especialy for very light pieces but eventually they can lose their grip resulting in your art work falling and becoming damaged. If you do need to use adhesive hooks (eg. tenancy rules), ensure the wall is prepped according to the manufacturer directions and that the paint on the wall is secure – the adhesive may stick to the paint but if the paint is loose or dusty/ greasy, the paint can peel off the wall or the adhesion can be compromised.

Another security measure is to  use two hooks on the wall , either attached to the d-rings (most artists and custom framers use these now instead of just a stapled cord as the factories do) or place the wire over both wall hooks, so it’s even more secure and the artwork won’t tilt over time. If you need a qualified “hanger” person, we have several cards of those who do this professionally.

Get creative

Grouping art works together (often referred to as a gallery wall or a collection) is great for an eclectic and creative feel, and creates a personalised  feature in your room.

Copmonly used for photos , this is now also a novel way to display a election of smaller works, choosing one common element that ties the collection together. 

You can play around with different ideas and arrangements in a few different ways first. Draw a plan or lay the actual pieces out on the floor first to find a combination you are happy with. You could also use pieces of newspaper or magazine in the same size/shape and stick them up in different arrangements to decide which you like best.





Article by Jennifer Webb, Artist in Residence and Director at Port Art Gallery

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