In the past, I've done all sorts of division, taping and remeasuring work out how exactly to hang sets of pictures. After thinking about how negative and positive space are a matter of perception, I realized the solution to this would be to use simple 8th grade algebra.
This technique will save you tons of hassle of measuring, remeasuring, chicken scratch division and putting blue tape all over the place.
* I have no idea what they are doing with the blow-up doll, but all the film stills are equally puzzling and funny.
Step 1: Sketch Your Space
Draw a simple diagram of the space. Take your time and refer back to this when you are doing the measurements. I drew mine exceedingly quickly. The doorways are the large rectangles that drift into an imaginary floor and the pictures are the tiny squares.
Step 2: Make Your Equation
Our equations is: 5y + 4x = 126.75
We have 4 picture frames and 5 negative spaces of equal length.
Step 3: Measure Your Picture Frames
The equation is: 5y + (4 * 14.5) = 126.75
Step 4: Solve for Y
5y + (4 * 14.5) = 126.75
5y + 58 = 126.75
5y = 68.75
y = 13.75
Step 5: Convert the Decimal to Fractions
It's helpful to refer to a decimal to fraction conversion table if you have decimal values you can't convert so easily in your head to fractional measurements.
Step 6: Now Hang Your Pictures
Step 7: Apply the Technique to Other Situations
Each picture is 30" wide. I had 150 inches total wall space, and I wanted to have the middle sections be twice as wide as the wall space on the outside.
Here the equation is 3x + 6y = 150
You can use the same mickey-mouse algebra to solve this problem. Next time someone says "Math is Hard", remember it's time to liberate your toys.