November 16, 2022

How to Find Free Art

Putting art on the walls of your house makes it feel like a home, but art is expensive! Wondering how to find free, beautiful art? The secret is the Public Domain! For example, this print from Lulu & Georgia can be found here to download FOR FREE. Is your mind blown yet?

Wondering how this is possible? Let’s talk about what Public Domain is.

Q: What is Public Domain?

A: When someone creates a piece of art, it is given a copyright. In most countries, the term of protection of copyright expires on the first day of January, 70 years after the death of the latest living creator. So while the artist is alive + 70 years, the artist or their kin own the rights and can charge for usage. Once that 70 year period is up, their work passes into the “Public Domain” and it is available for free usage without having to pay the original creator.

For example, if someone wanted to use a Taylor Swift song in a commercial today they would have to ask her permission to do so and if she agreed, compensate her.  In 200 years they would be able to use it without her permission (assuming the laws stay the same and she doesn’t live forever, which she totally will).

So what does that mean for you?

That there is a TON of free art available for your use right now! There are several catalogs curated by museums that are available for you to search – The Met, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Smithsonian, Wikipedia, etc. These museums have scanned images of the original artwork and are available for you to download in extremely high quality.

My favorite place to source pieces from the Public Domain is the A Home Is Announced Print Shop. Kadie, who runs the shop, does an incredible job scouring all of the public domain archives to curate specific collections. I bet you can guess that the modern and abstract collection is my favorite. I also love this collection of landscapes that she has pulled together. She does this all for free and she is just the best. Follow her on IG here.

If you choose to use something from Public Domain you are going to have to find somewhere to print it. I like using Artifact Uprising, but if I am on a time crunch a local FedEx or Costco will foot the bill.

Above is a sneak peak of a gallery wall that I am working on. Including this type of art in your home is an amazing way to layer in texture as well as history! I hope you find a piece of art you love that makes your home feel more like you. If you can’t find one there, check out how to make your own fiber art here.

Meet Krystle

Welcome to Perkins On Parkway where we share DIY & design projects, renovation tips, lessons learned and the styling that comes after.

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