Tips for Lighting Artwork

How do you light art effectively? And how do you choose the best lighting fixture to do so? Hubbardton Forge has turned to art consultancy Indiewalls to discuss the age-old conundrum of lighting and art. As new manufacturing and technical innovations drive lighting design forward, finding that perfect light has become a more creative endeavor. The good news is that there are more lighting choices than ever. The bad news is this can make choosing the right lighting a difficult decision. To make this task easier, Indiewalls has broken down several innovative ways to approach lighting choice.

There are two key considerations when determining the best choice for lighting art – the technical and the creative.

The Technical

  • Hanging Art: Art should be hung at eye level, around 57” from the floor. This might change if you have particularly large pieces, but it is a good starting point. Make sure the art fits the area well and use the general rule of hanging between 5’ 3” and 6’. If you’re in any doubt, think of trying to fill as much wall space as possible while giving the art room to breathe.
  • Lighting Art: Once the work is placed, you’ll need to determine how best to light the piece. The height from the ground to the middle of the art should be your benchmark. Let’s call this “height x”. The light should then go “x” above that. Keep in mind you can spotlight from above or get a frame mounted light to exhibit a detailed work.

The technical aspect can be time consuming, but we suggest committing the time to hang your art properly. Don’t eyeball either the hanging or the lighting! Trust us, you’ll save yourself the menial work of continually adjusting the piece until it looks perfect.

The Creative

A safe bet is to go for the standard spotlight, but you’d be missing a great opportunity to aesthetically elevate the space and your artwork. We always encourage customers to explore more unexpected combinations that can enhance the art, rather than just illuminate it. We find these combinations particularly effective:

  • Simple & Powerful: Don’t want your light fixture and your art to compete? We’ve put together a few options where the light makes a statement, but its understated design does not compete with the art. Look into hanging wall sconces around a piece with a shallow spotlight above. Both a Gallery Sconce and a Leaf Silhouette Sconce are great choices.
  • Bold: If you really want to make a statement, choose an ornate light and as long as it semi mimics the aesthetics of the art, you’re in good shape. The Crescent Pendant could be a great lighting choice for sculptures that mimic its form.
  • Clean: A spotlight or sconce isn’t the only thing that can cleanly enhance art. You can still use an atypical light to create a subtle artistic effect so long as it has a clean aesthetic which matches the artwork. Any landscape painting would look fantastic beneath the Cityscape Pendant, for instance.
  • Funky: Of course, lights and art don’t have to go hand in hand. If you want to create a design statement, why not try and achieve a funky aesthetic with two competing pieces. The Duet Pendant with its unique aesthetic, can be paired with a visually simple piece of artwork to create a space that’s intriguing, but not overpowering.
  • Renegade: Lights can be art in their own right. So why not hang lights like the art form they are? Granted, you will need a particularly powerful light for this, but if you have it, why not flaunt it? The Celesse Pendant captures attention the way any great artwork does.

For more inspiration creating the perfect art and light combination check out our Inspiration Gallery or visit Indiewalls.com.

 

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