Choose original artwork to make your rental space unique

March 31, 2013 by Jill Sell, The Plain Dealer

Passion by Grant Cleveland

One of the most satisfying ways to set your rental space apart is to use original art in your decor. Not only will you own one-of-a-kind pieces, but some may become wise financial investments. The number one rule, of course, is to select what you like.

Renters who favor abstract art may consider the textured acrylic paintings of Chagrin Falls resident Grant Cleveland. Cleveland is president of the Fairmount Center for the Arts’ board of trustees and DuneCraft, a manufacturer of science-based toys. Cleveland began painting 12 years ago. He set his artistic pursuit aside for a few years and has now embraced it once again.

"You want to look for something that is unique," said Cleveland. "An artist may be inspired by another artist and almost copy that person’s style. And that’s interesting. But I think if you are looking for something that will change the art world, look for something that is new."

Cleveland brings his science skills to art. He experiments with thickening agents for the paint, including glass beads, sand resin, flake resin, and black lava. They add an exciting texture to his work. The artist often depicts fire, water, plants, and other symbolic elements in his painting in respect of "nature’s brute strength, magnitude and connection to humans." His subjects reflect human emotions that include passion, rage and insecurity.

"A gallery director can help you decide what you want in terms of painting size, framing, subject matter, and style," said Cleveland. "I think a lot of people today like abstract art because it is something that really just has to come from the artist and isn’t a copy of anything."

Sometimes it’s not always easy to comprehend what an artist is trying to communicate in his or her abstract work. Although individual interpretation is good and thought provoking, Cleveland often supplies printed explanations of his larger, more complex works. He is represented by the Dick Kleinman Fine Art gallery in Woodmere Village.