Spotlight: Anna Hackathorn Vintage Art
Consider Anna Hackathorn a veteran when it comes to interior design. The Palos Verdes native and mother of two, launched her interior designer career in New York where she worked for Calvin Klein, followed by Robin Kramer Inc. for the design of flagship retail stores for clients such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Barneys New York. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she worked for lauded celebrity designer Michael S. Smith before starting her own design firm. These days, though, Hackathorn has set her sights on vintage art with a new business (something that came about after a successful string of Tastemaker Tagsales on One Kings Lane) specializing in everything from landscapes, to watercolors, still lifes, charcoals, and modern abstract paintings. “I sold a combination of things that I had in my own inventory from years of being an interior designer, and when they launched their ‘Vintage & Market Finds’ in 2012, I was one of the early vendors included in that section of the site,” says the Tulane University graduate who also studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and the American University in Paris. “After a few weeks I realized that the vintage paintings were far outselling all the other types of furniture and accessories I was selling there, so I just decided to focus on them.”
For her vintage art collection she curates for clients, Hackathorn regularly attends estate sales, and sifts through Southern California flea markets including Pasadena City College and the Rose Bowl. “I love the thrill of the hunt while shopping at Sunday flea markets, and I don’t discriminate when I am shopping. If something really catches my eye, I know that one of my clients will appreciate it too,” she says. “There is something incredibly satisfying about finding a few valuable gem paintings amidst a sea of literally 90 percent junk, although obviously the things that I consider to be junk are the gems to others.” Hackathorn adds that good art doesn’t necessarily mean a hefty price tag. “I don’t think it’s important for art to be expensive to be ‘good,’ and to work in a space,” she says. “I have pieces for a wide range of prices on my site and it’s amazing how many sophisticated things you can find for very little money if you take the time to look. I’ve worked with friends on a budget and we have taken pages from an artistic coffee table book and put them in inexpensive frames from Aaron brothers and hung them in a big grid on an entire wall. It absolutely makes the room.”
And, Hackathorn admits selecting art can be a daunting task. “I think a lot of people are completely paralyzed when it comes to furnishing their houses in general, and art is a big stumbling block,” she says. “People often end up with blank walls or old random posters they’ve had since college days. There are so many amazing old paintings out there to be discovered, and I’m enjoying being instrumental in bringing them to life again on fresh walls.”
Hackathorn’s Top 3 Tips:
Buy what you think is beautiful and don’t worry about if it’s “right,” or if you are following the “rules” of decorating, or if anyone else thinks it’s cool.
Don’t be put off by something that is unframed or terribly framed. Try to imagine it in a great frame (whether very simple or very ornate), because that’s such an easy fix. I suggest buying different types of things and mixing it up a bit. For example: one wall could have a large abstract oil painting, and another wall in the same room could have a series of black-and-white photos hung together, while another room in your house has a group of watercolor seascapes. A huge part of living with art is hanging it well. Don’t be afraid of large pieces, or groups of things hung together on the same wall.
Don’t hang art too high. Typically frames shouldn’t be hung too much higher than eye-level. I have hundreds of inspirational photos of all different types of art placement from other designers on Pinterest (my obsession), so you can move pieces around and not have to commit to nail holes.
By Jennie Nunn
Pictured: Anna Hackathorn
Photo by Wendy Ramos