Surround your children with Art!

We recently sat down with our friend Emma Cale to discuss her wonderful new company, Gallery Piccolo, and the importance of surrounding children with art. Emma tells us everything below!

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Starting, most importantly with you! Tell us all about you!

I’m the mother of two young girls (Sofia 8, Erica 5), and they have very much been my primary focus for the last 8 years. We live in South West London and love our little community in this part of the big city. We are a half English and half Italian family (hence the name ‘Piccolo’ - I was brainstorming names for the gallery and this ItaIian word meaning ‘small’ seemed to fit perfectly!)

I have always loved working in the art world and after studying art in college and university I started working in a commercial art gallery specialising in selling affordable art and limited edition prints. The company was a print publishing house too so I was fortunate to learn all about the methods, types and processes of printmaking. This is probably the reason I’ve steered the business to focus on this medium of art. After leaving the gallery my career continued in the voluntary and then the higher education sector looking after events and communications

Tell us about Gallery Piccolo?

Gallery Piccolo simply aims to sell beautiful and inspiring art for children’s rooms. We have brought together a carefully curated range of prints and originals from local and national artists (some established, some emerging) which we believe are not only high quality but are also affordable and most importantly will spark and stretch young minds and imaginations.

 (L)  Visiting trade shows for inspiration. (R) Gallery Piccolo’s younger customers with his new artwork!

 (L) Visiting trade shows for inspiration. (R) Gallery Piccolo’s younger customers with his new artwork!

What inspired you to start Gallery Piccolo?

The idea for Gallery Piccolo formed slowly and steadily whilst raising my girls. My desire to work in the art world returned and at the same time I was becoming despondent at the narrow range of ‘art for children’s rooms’ that was available. It seemed clear to me that there was a gap in the market for high quality and inspiring art for kids. I had taken my daughters to art fairs and whilst we browsed, the work they were drawn to and which captured them, was from a range of different styles and subject matters. I think we both were keen to view something different from traditional ‘nursery art’ and poster style art work.

Why do you think it’s important to put real art in kids rooms?

Art can stimulate a child’s imagination and enhance their creative development. They can get as much out of a piece of art as an adult. In order to continue to be engaged with art and want to gaze at it for months or years to come, the art should have a depth and a captive quality to it, which connects the child’s senses. I recently read an article interviewing Philip Pullman, where he explained it so well:

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play.”

He argues that art and culture feeds and nourishes the soul of a child like nothing else can. The experience of culture in their lives will fill a need that perhaps they didn’t realise they had, but that once it’s been met, will hugely enhance their lives. Putting a piece of artwork in a child’s room is just one way of stimulating their creative and cultural side. 

What are your three top tips for choosing art for a child’s bedroom?

  1. Go with your instinct. I often think it’s best not to over think an art purchase. If you connect with it on an instinctual level, it will hold it’s appeal. Sometimes it’s difficult to explain or articulate why you like a particular piece of art, but you don’t necessarily have to have a reason!
  2. If they are old enough, let your child choose. You can then be sure they are getting something ‘out of it’
  3. Expose them to art by taking them to exhibitions or fairs, or if older, browsing online. The more they see, the more they know what they like, or for younger kids, are drawn to.
Emma’s little girl choosing her own art from The Affordable Art Fair

Emma’s little girl choosing her own art from The Affordable Art Fair

Who’s your current favourite artist?

Ooh, this is a hard one! By nature of running Gallery Piccolo, I love all of our artists!. At this minute I’m going to choose Jo Beattie as I just took a delivery of her work for an exhibition we are putting on next month. To see her work again ‘in the flesh’ so to speak was a delight and her delicate works on glass are so unique and have a tenderness perfect for a young child’s room.

 And for our final question! If you could just choose one piece, what’s your favourite artwork for a child’s bedroom right now?

Again another difficult question! I'm always captured by the adventures of Konrad and Rolf by artist Ulla Steinhaurer. In particular, the one where they are skiing. These two characters are always having fun together and the artist (who illustrates children’s books) has infused such personality in them. A customer has bought the whole Konrad and Rolf series for her boys room and he absolutely loves them!

(L) Ulla Steinhaurer’s ‘Adventures of Konrad and Rolf’. (R) Jo Beattie sewn mixed media work

(L) Ulla Steinhaurer’s ‘Adventures of Konrad and Rolf’. (R) Jo Beattie sewn mixed media work

Thank you so much Emma for speaking to us, we have loved hearing more about Gallery Piccolo. You can visit the website (www.gallerypic colo.co.uk) for lots of children’s art inspiration and check them out on Instagram (@gallerypiccolo) for lots of children’s art inspiration and check them out on Instagram (@gallerypiccolo)