Author: Imogen Aldridge

In Black and White – How Monochrome Prints Can Transform Your Home

When it comes to decorating your home, many people believe that dark colours like black are best avoided, because they can make a room look smaller and such colours convey an inexplicable sadness or melancholy. But we disagree.

Picking the perfect black and white art to display at home makes a big impact on your décor and little-to-no impact the size of the room (both literally and in terms of perception). And these colours evoke feelings far more complex than simple ‘sadness’ – we’re talking elegance and sophistication, nostalgia, moodiness, the range is endless…

Removing the colour from art, whether it’s a photo, painting or print, allows you to really hone in on the story the piece is telling without any distractions. Without an array of colours nudging you to feel a certain way, a monochrome piece of art can mean many different things to different people. Each person has a different relationship with that artwork, based on the subjective feelings the piece evokes. Not to mention, black and white artwork will always be timeless.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled eight of our favourite, distinctly different monochrome prints, that can transform your living space and capture the imagination at the same time. Let’s get started:

Simone Ember – Dancing in the Dark

Though this piece was originally a commission for luxury fashion blogger Inthefrow (Victoria McGrath), we think Simone Ember’s Dancing in the Dark is made to put smiles on many faces. 

The faded white roses evoke feelings of love and really stand out against the jet-black background, while the cascading gold leaf adds a sense of luxury and sophistication. It also happens to be named after the song McGrath walked down the aisle to on her wedding day, making this piece a standout option for both monochrome art lovers and fans of ‘The Boss’.

David Studwell – Marilyn Monroe

It doesn’t get more iconic than this print of mid-20th Century movie star Marilyn Monroe by British artist and printmaker David Studwell. This two-tone print of a photo, shot at the height of Monroe’s fame, oozes style and would suit any home, whether decorated in monochrome or in colour.

One for fans of the golden age of movies, this print encapsulates the highs and lows of celebrity culture in a single expression and would work equally well as a standout piece or as part of a collection.

Russell Marshall – Photo Opportunity (Special Anniversary), 2020

Photo Opportunity by Russell Marshall is a perfect example of a monochrome print that doesn’t need colour to tell stories. This piece features nine mugshots of the most familiar faces of the 20th Century: Steve McQueen, Sid Vicious, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Sinatra to name a few. These photos, all taken in custody, capture these icons in a rare, ‘off guard’ moment – though we love the defiance in the face of the late, great David Bowie here.

Gareth Hayward – Mist 1

This hauntingly beautiful print by Gareth Hayward, entitled Mist 1, depicts the burned, derelict West Pier in Brighton. The blurriness of the image is reminiscent of an Autumn walk along Brighton beach, and a far cry from the many summer, colour-filled photos we see taken at this famous stretch of British coast. 

Gareth Hayward’s work is the result of his thoughts and feelings at the precise time the piece is created. In the words of the artist himself, “I have learned to accept and trust in this process.”

Faile – Savage World 2007

This comic book-style artwork is a collaboration between Brooklyn-based artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, better known as FAILE. While their paintings, murals and street art are typically a riot of colour, we love the authenticity of Savage World 2007. It looks like it’s straight out of the golden age of comics.

Dan Hillier – Signal, 2018

Bold, abstract, and instantly recognisable, Dan Hillier’s work combines manipulated elements of 19th century wood and steel engravings and his own ink drawing. Dan Hillier has held a number of shows at The Louvre, the Museum of Turin and even at Glastonbury Festival, and Signal, 2018 is typical of his distinctive take on collage work. Perfect for a hallway, bedroom or even office, we think.

Helen Cann – Coffee Map

If you’re someone who can’t get their day started without that first, heavenly sip of coffee, Coffee Map by Helen Cann is the ideal monochrome print for your kitchen. Depicting a map of the first coffee houses in Exchange Alley in London in the 17th century, this beautifully drawn map has pockets of humour around every corner. 

Zoe Moss - Time Warp

Take a step back in time with this hazy print by photo-realist oil painter Zoe Moss. We love the detail in the street lanterns and the character of the buildings looming over the road in Time Warp. But, before you let yourself get too nostalgic, look a little closer at the bags the bystanders are holding! Full of personality, this one will put a smile on visitors’ faces when they see it – and all with a very limited colour palette. 

There you have it, eight monochrome prints we believe can transform your home décor without infringing on space or breaking up your existing colour scheme. Looking for something a little different? Take a look at our pick of blue artwork ideas to suit your space. And, don’t forget, if you’ve got a particular colour in mind for the next piece of art in your home, you can browse our art by colour.

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