Back-to-school season is upon us, though it's likely to be happening from home for most people. From the ultimate pencil case to work from home slippers, our Homecoming: Preparing for a Back-to-School at Home hub is a virtual class in new-age school essentials.

While fun in theory, the reality of virtual video call backgrounds is very different. I mean, have you tried these things? Limbs and half of faces have a habit of fading away into the Caribbean sunset.

If you're the elevated type, then a virtual Zoom background probably won't cut it. To subtly flex on fellow students now that your presence is intangible, you need something real. And to that effect, we've gathered a list of artworks by artists you may not have heard of, as well as collectibles by the likes of Murakami, KAWS, and Daniel Arsham, which will all make for a far better backdrop.

And what's more — they'll also serve as a handy topic of conversation should you need one. Awkward silences are still a thing in the virtual world, after all.

Scroll on for art pieces and collectibles that are way better than virtual video call backgrounds.

Peanuts by Charles M. Schutz Skate Decks

Apollo Box Set

Apollo Box Set


Peanuts by Charles M. Schutz

Buy at The Skateroom

Believe it or not, Charles M. Schulz gave NASA permission to use Snoopy on the agency’s spaceflight safety materials during the Apollo missions of the '60s. Pay homage to that wild bit of history by pinning these skate decks to your wall.

Burnin' (Set of three), by Dennis Morris

3-Print Set - Burnin' I + II + III

3-Print Set - Burnin' I + II + III


Dennis Morris

Buy at 1xRun

British photographer Dennis Morris' iconic portraits of the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley capture a very special time and place in music history. Here, you can invest in a set of prints of the latter, which come signed by Morris.

KAWS "Together" Figure



Medicom Toy x KAWS

Buy at stockx

This KAWS figurine is a touching or tragic (depending on how you see things) reminder of the days before social distancing.

Anatomical Machinist, by Matthew Marquis

Anatomical Machinist


Matthew Marquis


Finding it hard to express the frustration of struggling to get your point across in stutter-heavy virtual meetings? Put it in a painting. An oil one by Matthew Marquis, to be exact.

Still Life 001, by Nina Lances

Still Life 001


Nina Lance


From tension to tranquility. Nina Lances' "Still Life" is a minimalist piece to get lost in. Just remember you're on a video call.

Daniel Arsham Moon Flag

Moon Flag

Moon Flag


Daniel Arsham

Buy at stockx

Proclaim your living room a free colony with this flag from king of decay, Daniel Arsham.

Virgil Abloh x IKEA Wall Clock




Virgil Abloh x IKEA

Buy at stockx

Off-White™ head collaborating with Swedish flat-pack furniture giant? If that's not a marker of 21st-century culture, I don't know what is. Show that your finger is on that pulse by hanging this piece from the Markerad collection behind your head.

Party for One, by Alan Fears

Party for One


Alan Fears


Talk about art imitating life, hey? "Party for One" by Alan Fears puts acrylic to canvas to create a scene that, from the confines of my desk, doesn't look too bad at all.

Abstract Deco FOUR - Limited Edition of 6, by Czar Catstick

Abstract Deco FOUR - Limited Edition of 6


Czar Catstick


Another abstract work by British artist Czar Catstick. Perfect for distracting your virtual meeting participants while you blag your way through that unprepared report.

Takashi Murakami Flower Plush

Flower 30cm Plush Rainbow

Flower 30cm Plush Rainbow


Takashi Murakami

Buy at stockx

Takashi Murakami serves up some signature cuteness here in the form of a plush flower, complete with a beaming smile. Impossible to not feel at least slightly happier when looking it in the eye. And every little helps right now.

BAPE x Keith Haring Cushion

Cushion Green

Cushion Green


BAPE x Keith Haring

Buy at stockx

So, those early working from home good intentions quickly subsided and you're now working from the bed you call your office? Make up for the laziness by investing in hype-worthy cushions to fill that video call space.

Our designated Selects section features products that we love and want to share with you. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.

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