Getting the hang of art



If a company has Fine Art Installation in its name, it better be good or it’s overstating its reputation. 

Axis, based in Atlanta with clients and an office on Hilton Head, is good and its portfolio of visually striking art hanging here and there proves it. 

“It might be a two-story foyer, vaulted ceiling and a great room or if the art hangs on a stacked stone wall over a fireplace or marble tile, anything like that,” Derek Smith said. “And a lot of people hire us for convenience too. 

“Because we work with all the best interior designers, art galleries and collectors, we get to see all the best work of the placing and designing and layout,” said Smith, who founded his company in 1996 and opened his local office in 2006. “All of our guys have a keen sense of what is right. But we’re happy to work at the direction of the designer or the artist or the collector. Quite often they’re asking our opinion.” 

art2As for hanging art in the home, “There are no rules. What’s most important is what looks best.” 

Smith considers the adage to hang the center of the frame 60 inches from eye level to be “old convention.” The same applies to symmetrical vs. asymmetrical hangings in relation to the style of furnishings and the room’s layout. 

“Most of the time you hang a picture at eye level,” said Adrianne Lively, owner of Camellia Art on Hilton Head that she founded in 1985. “The average person’s line of sight is about 60 inches off the ground. But there are a lot of variables. There’s no set-in-stone, right or wrong. A lot of times it’s just how it feels in the space.” 

Everything should be hung at an average height for an average room. 

Art hung at eye level on a vaulted ceiling wall would look disproportional. 

Before each of the professionals begin their work, they each do a walk-through of the space. 

“The most important thing is to determine where you want your artwork to live,” she said. “Whether it’s above a sofa, a bed, a console and whether it’s a grouping or a single picture. Then I start putting things in place where they visually fit the space, and the composition fits the space. 

“Typically, there’s one piece that will anchor the space as the focal point,” she said. 

Wherever they decide to position the art, they both use two points of attachment to keep it secure, spaced about two-thirds the width of the art and attached to wire with hooks. 

“Everything we hang is from two points of attachment spaced 2/3 width of art and attach the wire with hooks to keep it straight,” Smith said.