You’ve probably heard of dopamine dressing by now: it’s about curating a specific (read: happy) emotional reaction by choosing clothes in colours and patterns that boost your overall mood and create a positive feedback loop through the dopamine released each time you see those pieces.
The same theory can be applied to your home décor (though the mere act of viewing art already does that!). Boost your mood even more by choosing artwork that sparks those happy, bubbly feelings and makes you smile each time you enter the room. Bonus points if your attention-catching art inspires conversation and compliments from visitors to your home (furthering that positive association).
If you’re looking for ways to fill your home with joy or want to gift your family and friends a little happiness this holiday season, look no further than these dopamine-inducing artworks from some of our favourite Canadian artists.
Feature image courtesy of Shanna Van Maurik
Shanna Van Maurik
Touring Shanna Van Maurik’s work is like going on a barefoot walk through a mystical forest, the scent of flowers in the air and soft and squishy moss beneath your feet as you meet new creatures and fantastical fairy-like women along the way. The Toronto-based artist offers original paintings, prints, ceramics and stickers in her online shop. Her latest series inspired by Dolly Parton is a joyful nod to one of her favourite pop culture icons, and 10% of the sales of the print are donated to Dolly’s own charity, Imagination Library.
French First Nations artist Astehtsi uses her art as an outlet to express “culture, love and connection”. The joy and love she has for her Indigenous community and the land she lives on is evident through her richly coloured graphic prints that explore themes of like nature, culture and spirituality. It’s hard not to be drawn to her meaningful artwork.
This euphoric print from Canadian artist Ness Lee is a simple expression of love and positive body image that will make you smile with quiet confidence when you look at it. It also has a fun secret; it’s a blacklight print that glows under florescent lights, created for a special artist showcase in 2016.
“in the mood for love”, $300.
If you’re in the market for some show-stopping and dopamine-spiking original artwork, look no further than the vibrant and whimsical stylings of Montreal-based Callen Schaub who is “making the world a more colourful place, one artwork at a time”. Schaub’s art is created using a variety of techniques that include spinning machines and swinging pendulums that splatter paint across his canvases.
Cleofan Original Painting, $5000.
Sandeep Johal’s art tackles themes of bleakness with their direct oppostion: colour, whimsy and hope. Her art sparks thought and resilience in the face of opposition. While she mainly works in large-scale murals, you can take home a recreation of one of them through this print with the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“What hope shall we gather, what dreams shall we sow?” Print, $65.
Montreal-based Kezna Dalz (AKA Teenadult) expresses themes of self-love and anti-racism through her bright and joyful artwork. She writes that the focus of her artwork is to “spread beauty and empathy”, which is easily evident from her raw art that tackles tough topics in an approachable and colourful way. Her shop includes printed artwork as well as home decor items like blankets and pillows featuring her art.
“Darling Dancers” Print, $28.
The bold pop art stylings of Toronto artist Maria Qamar (AKA HATECOPY) are full of humour, pops of primary colours and South Asian pride. The Pakistan-born and Mississauga-raised artist uses her satirical art to poke fun at stereotypes and the patriarchy and in her own words “confront the trauma of forced assimilation”.
“Samosas” Poster Print, $45.
Toronto-based queer basketball artist Sloan Brown AKA Drake Cereal creates art for basketball lovers, typography nerds, sneakerheads and Drake superfans (guilty). Their art is loud, distinct, and oh-so current, dripping with pop culture references. It’s sure to put a smile on anyone’s face and we bet that any of their art you bring into your home—from large woven blankets to prints in any size—will spark plenty of admiration and conversation.
Learning to Fly Print, $30-$130.
Personally, I want to live inside a Julia Mercanti drawing, swinging from the ceiling with cats or watching a 2000s comedy with some grazing deer. Her art is bright, lucid and just a bit unhinged (in a way that will have you discovering wild new details every time you glance at it). Check out her selection of pop culture-inspired prints that are full of colour and humour.
Nigerian-Canadian artist Benny Bing’s work is centred around celebrating and empowering Black femininity. His raw and colourful portrays of women are a stunning tribute to his matriarchal family structure. Hanging Bing’s prints in your home is a pure celebration of everything it is to be Black and a woman.
OHSO Print, $500.
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