Those of us in the male persuasion tend to have a blind spot when it comes to picking out artwork for our residence. We can usually decorate our homes simply enough, but adding in things of beauty is a mysterious notion that often leads to a lot of negative space. Many of us have resorted to hanging multiple televisions around, or animal heads, simply to have something to look at instead of a blank wall. The reason for this is not that we don’t want our houses, apartments, condos, and castles to look good. We’re just at a loss as to how that might be accomplished.
There is help, and there is hope for any guy who wants to add art to his living space. Look over these 17 examples of manly artwork to improve your abode and let inspiration be your guide.
Cave paintings have an inherent masculinity in their simple themes. Hunting, family, and the hearth are often represented, along with demons and spiritual matters that add depth. An aged canvas with some stick figures goes surprisingly well with any decor and is vague enough to allow viewers to make their own story.
Ultra-modern men who prefer uncomfortable couches to lounging chairs for reading will love the geometric simplicity that comes from artwork designed with cubist exactness in mind. From sculptures to paintings to murals, cubism offers a sense of precision, adding a feeling of organization to a home.
A small bust can be used as a doorstop, a bookend, or a container if you get one that is hollow. These simple adornments don’t require much thought, and allow you to decorate your house with the heads of people you admire. This time without the police getting involved.
Faux Bas Relief
Bas-Relief is another archaic art that works well in a man’s home. Typically used to depict scenes of battles, the look of depth that a fake bas-relief painting can bring to a room changes it entirely. It’s also unique, since it never feels flat and can be incorporated with other decorations seamlessly.
Jackson Pollock might have been a genius, or might have been little more than a drug-addled fingerpainter. The world can debate that until the end of days, but from a functional perspective, he gave us splatter art. Easy to put into any home, doesn’t require much thought, and the busy, nonsensical look helps make the rest of your home feel cleaner by comparison.
You don’t need to overthink art. Actually, if you’re contemplating art too much you’re probably looking wrong. Simply find a classic painting you enjoy and get a framed print of it, or a reproduction, depending on how deep your pockets are. Van Gogh, Monet, and Renoir are the easiest master to hang anyplace.
Forget about the art made by man, celebrate the art of nature. You can choose paintings or photographs; even sculptures or Bonsai trees fill this niche. Something made lovingly of wood or a snapshot staring into the boughs of the redwood forest is never an artistic blunder.
In the world of shutterbugs, older is almost always better. Antique photos of historical figures, captures of scenes from the roaring 20’s or the nickname-free 30’s all can transport viewers to another time and place. They stimulate the imagination, giving your home a whimsical feel. Just avoid anything too racy.
Blueprints and wireframe designs, as well as sculpted miniatures of buildings tend to get overlooked since they serve a purpose. Showing a massive diagram of the workings of a basic cuckoo clock or a layout of The Pentagon are intricate and bring a practical sense to a household. Just be careful not to have bomb-building instructions or anything similarly unsettling in plain sight.
Globes, maps, and photos from around this blue ball of ours offer an opportunity for reflection on perspective. Looking at a representation of how flat-Earthers saw (and some still see) the world can change our own vision. Like with photographs, older is better as it moves people’s minds through time as well as space.
Celebrate the Body
We’re not advocating pornography here, so try to be tasteful with this choice. Anything, be it sculpture, drawing, sketch, snapshot, or statue that captures the power, the vulnerability, the flexibility, or even the ultimate decay of the human form is grounding and can go anywhere. Please, try to keep the skulls to a minimum; unless you’re supervillain.
Bottles are beautiful if you find the right ones. Prisms that dangle in the window casting light and rainbows around the room are also excellent for creating atmosphere in your home. Adorn your windows with every color and kind of tinted glass and let them work with the sun to create a welcoming, cozy sense to your house.
Black & White
It’s extremely difficult to make mistakes when you go with black and white pictures. A smear with a few swirls or a photo with the color bled out of it gives it gravitas. Though black and white can be a little stark if you don’t mix them up with something else, they’re a good starting point. Even the most artistically disinclined guy can get it right.
When going for a dynamic look to your home, try finding a piece of kinetic artwork. There’s a reason that executives have little moving toys on their desks. Art that is constantly changing slightly is relaxing to behold and a pleasure to watch. A small kinetic sculpture is good for this. You can also go with motion-blurred photography, since it doesn’t really have to look like anything other than movement.
As with using nature’s inherent beauty to work for you, getting pictures that show the accomplishments of humankind allows architecture to do the heavy lifting. The pyramids, the colosseum, ruins from around the world, and most anything that ends in the word “Tower” is a guaranteed conversation starter. They also make you seem worldly, even if you’re an agoraphobic shut-in.
Surrealist art and the weird world of the abstract is always an unusual addition to any man’s place in the world. It can make you seem to have hidden depths, twist the perception of the viewer, and it’s completely interpretive, meaning you can talk out of the side of your neck about it and never be wrong.
Form & Function
Art that is also practical is a huge get for any guy’s home. Driftwood carvings that function as cabinets or tables fall into this category, as do artistic mirror frames. You can even put some shelves up that have a strange look to them, turning a bookcase into a sculpture where you can display other pieces. Wheels within wheels.