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art smarts: ignoring the child labor laws to get the house of your dreams

I don’t know about you, but I am not rolling in the dough these days. Or ever. And even if I was, I don’t know if I would spend my hard-earned dollars on really expensive art. Maybe I would. Who knows, as I’ve never been perusing my bank account and asking myself just where shall I spend all of my millions? I have indulged in a few special pieces, and I’ve never once regretted it, even when deciding between rice and pasta for dinner to off-set the expense. (Art buying and low-carb eating do not go hand-in-hand, FYI.)

But even if you are not in a position to purchase fine art, you still need to hang something on your walls, right?

No – not your husband. That’s illegal. And husbands are heavy and will ruin the drywall, so you’re just asking for more headaches.

Hanging artwork created by your children is an inexpensive and savvy way to a) add color to your space; b) make your tots feel loved; c) give yourself a chance to swap out pieces when and if you feel like a change and; d) still have enough money to buy vodka.

Great, right?

The key is framing. IKEA offers frames and mats in various shapes, sizes and colors. Or find an old frame at a thrift store and take it to a local framer to have your artwork re-matted and finished; which is a fraction of the cost of custom framing. Floating frames work great for odd-shaped items made out of paper or cloth.

Whenever I mention to my clients that they need to gather all of their children’s artwork together, they get nervous, thinking I am going to tell them to trash it. But when I explain that we are going to select a handful of pieces to showcase, they are relieved and happy. And then I tell them to trash the rest (after photographing it with their smartphone and creating an online album through this handy dandy app). Later, they thank me. Because let’s face it, nobody wants a basement full of more stuff. Nobody wants to be on Hoarding: Buried Alive. Really.

So the next time your are standing in the school parking lot holding yet another finger-painted farm scene, remember that Jackson Pollock’s mother was probably just as tired and overwhelmed as the rest of us. Maybe more, considering she had five boys and an alcoholic husband that was too heavy to hang on the wall. And look how that turned out.

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