IKEA wants great art to be accessible to everyone, a mantra that we can get behind. This April, IKEA introduced ART EVENT 2017 – a limited-edition collection of hand-drawn prints from 12 established and up-and-coming artists around the world.


“Art belongs in the home, not just in galleries or museums, “says Henrik Most, the Creative Leader for this year’s ART EVENT. From Amit Greenberg‘s black-and-white sketches and Kevin Lyons‘s funky portraits to Yasuto Sasada‘s imaginative technology world, there is something for anyone. We caught up with Noreen Lennon of IKEA U.S. to discuss this year’s collection, its inspiration, and how art creates a better everyday life.



AZ: Tell us how IKEA had the idea about offering limited-edition prints.

NL: At IKEA, we have a very simple vision about art – and it’s that art should be affordable and accessible for the many people. Often, the cost of buying art created by established or up and coming artists is prohibitive. By working with artists to commission prints for IKEA ART EVENT on a global scale, we are able to offer great art to the many at an affordable price.


But there’s a catch – each ART EVENT series is limited-edition, which means it’s only available while supplies last – here one day, gone the next!



AZ: How do you choose the theme each year?

NL: Each year, ART EVENT focuses on a different medium. Past collections have included street art/graffiti (2015) and photography (2016). By differing mediums each year, we are able to reach a broader number of people with varied interests. It also allows us the opportunity to work with a wide array of diverse artists, who we can learn a lot from as a design company.


Photo // courtesy of Jean Jullien Shelfie and IKEA


AZ: For this year’s ART EVENT you chose “the art of hand drawing,” why was that particular medium chosen?

NL: In the digital age, hand drawing becomes an even more fascinating art form, reminding us of what it means to be human in an era dominated by speed and digital content creation. The drawings in the collection are full of tactility, almost as if the artist is leaving a form of his or her fingerprint right there on the paper.



AZ: How do you the select artists to be featured in the collection?

NL: We always seek to include a variety of both established and up-and-coming artists from all over the world, which we think makes for an exciting mix. Part of the appeal of the collection is that the techniques used by the artists are as diverse and varied as the expressions they convey.


The style of the collection is highly eclectic, with the artists using everything from graphite, pen, and ink, crayon, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, and pastel. The works range from expressing very personal stories to sharing cultural experiences to simply aiming to make the viewer smile.



AZ: Is there a common thread between the artists that are featured in the collection?

NL: The 12 artists featured in the ART EVENT 2017 collection come from all over the world and varying backgrounds and experiences, which is what helps make the collection so unique.


Photo // courtesy of Koen Taselaar Naive Suave – Imaginary Band 170


AZ: The IKEA museum was opened to the public in June 2016. Is IKEA thinking of opening an IKEA gallery in the future?

NL: At this time, IKEA has no plans to open an art gallery.


Photo // courtesy of Joanna Concejo Around a table


AZ: There are critics that say art shouldn’t be accessible, how do you respond to that?

NL: Normally, you could say that art has a limitation. That it’s for the few, with a lot of money, or something you see in museums and galleries. But, we think that art belongs in people’s homes. And with these collections, art becomes accessible for a lot of people – you don’t need to be wealthy to buy something unique.



AZ: Part of IKEA’s mission is “A better everyday life,” do you think art creates a better everyday life?

NL: Absolutely. As a design company, we believe that everyone should have the freedom to create a home they love, no matter the size of their wallet. Art is not only about décor – it is deeply personal and an important part of self-expression, which is why most people don’t settle for art that matches their sofa.



AZ: Where can we purchase these artworks?

NL: The ART EVENT 2017 collection will be available in IKEA US stores starting April 1, and in most IKEA markets globally.

But hurry – as a limited-edition collection, ART EVENT 2017 is only available while supplies last.


Photo // courtesy of Micha Payer & Martin Gabriel
Reflections on deep thoughts