I like to live by the theory that our wall hangings should aptly mimic our life trajectory. If you’re anything like me, your arrival at the now ubiquitously trendy “gallery wall” arose organically through a progression relative to your general life path.
Assuming you lived under the care of fairly liberal-minded parents whose new-age child rearing philosophies permitted “creative expression” to (occasionally) interfere with the color dynamic of a home, your immediate surroundings likely developed accordingly along with your age and interests. To look back through my own first attempts at decor is to follow an impressively comprehensive story of my young life.
After the first childhood scribblings tacked askew on a pastel colored wall I began curating a more narrowly focused collection, prioritizing subject matter over medium to result in a vast display of work with one common theme, namely anything featuring ponies. Outgrowing that trend, I moved right along to representations of budding childhood friendships, challenging formalist method with my proclivity towards blurry polaroids more often than not taken on my trampoline. As I entered my so-called “tween” years, I gravitated, as many females this age are wont to do, towards a more realist aesthetic, favoring photographic renderings of artistic subjects in the vein of, say, Aaron Carter. After that came the requisite bevy of SPRING BREAK snapshots, painstakingly cultivated to achieve an accurate representation of the very coolenss of my high school friends (just in case our iridescent Michael Stars tees and velour Juicy pants didn’t clue you in).
Eventually, and perhaps somewhat reluctantly, realizing the frivolity of those, I moved on to a tastefully curated mix of fun-loving yet (relatively) mature group shots interspersed with a few choice concert posters from bands especially selected to reflect my supremely hip yet undeniably individual taste (with perhaps a SPRING BREAK photo or two remaining in an ironic way). The latter mix got me through four years of college, with the help of a couple dozen rolls of double-stick tape, and a not insignificant percentage of Shutterfly’s business. And then what? Once I left college and moved into a real (read: small, likely roach laden and exorbitantly overpriced) apartment, it seemed that my wall hangings should adequately reflect this maturation (so, at the very least, have frames on them and be hung with something more dependable than double stick Victoria’s Secret brand body tape). One thing I learned quickly is that putting a frame on just about anything will make it look worthy of prominent wall placement. Given my limited budget and proclivity towards hoarding this was a valuable realization. Given the price point at Surprise Surprise and my ever-dependable cache of spray paint, it was also easily acted upon.
Things framed on my wall right now include but are not limited to: coasters from various bars (some more beer-saturated than others), pages cut out of auction catalogs, oversized postcards, magazine covers, baseball tickets, travel souvenirs, calendar images and paintings purchased for 75 cents at a central New York flea market. As for serving as a reflection of my life, I’d say that about sums it up.