Framing Art is An Art

Framing your art is the artistry of a professional framer. One of the biggest mistakes that people (artists and buyers) make is choosing framing and matting on their own for their art. Sure, it’s often cheaper to do some of this yourself, but the problem is that framing a piece of art is a skill unto itself, a skill to be respected. You have that skill or you don’t. Just because you can make a cool painting (as the artist) or pick an awesome piece of art (as the buyer)– this doesn’t mean that your eye is developed with the skills necessary to frame a piece of artwork well.

Professional framers tend to know how to show a piece of work off in its best light. An experienced framer has seen a lot of paintings and gets a grasp of what works and what doesn’t because that is their focus when they look at a piece of art. Ask a skilled framer about this. I’ll bet they’ll tell you that they can see when they look at a painting if a professional framer framed it or not. If it was a great painting–and I say “WAS” in the past tense!–  results can be tragic. Imagine all the work that went into that painting and now it has an inappropriate frame?!  Another side benefit to leaving framing to the pros: you don’t have to fiddle with it and figure it out like the puzzle that it can be (so, hey, this is going to save you a lot of time!).

Now, if you are worried about the advice of your framer, you can probably see some of what they’ve framed already. The frame shop that I go to has a monitor that shows off a slide show of pieces recently framed—so when I first walked in (from word-of-mouth) I was able to judge for myself what kind of skill level the person helping me at the shop was at. …and let me tell you, I was freakin’ impressed. Your framer may not have this type of monitor, but they probably have photos or the like. Ask about it.

Definitely, come to the frame shop with your ideas and the statement that you are trying to make with the art. Do communicate with the framer about what you would like the frame to do for the painting or for the interior that the art will go in. Now after you’ve put your ideas out there, let the framer give you feedback. Then listen to the feedback carefully. If you’ve found a talented framer, you can basically let that person do what they do best and step back to let them do the work. (What a wonderful luxury!)

Lastly, a frame needs to show off your artwork and as well as elevate it. A well-chosen frame can be the difference between a piece of art looking cheap or elegant. It is completely worth the cost, because as an artist, your art is going to be your legacy; and as a buyer, your art is your investment.   So do please leave your framing to the pros and let them do what they do best: making an art out of framing your art!

About Rachel Heu

"Creativity is an act of defiance. You're challenging the status quo. You're questioning accepted truths and principles. You're asking three universal questions that mock conventional wisdom: Why do I have to obey the rules? Why can't I be different? Why can't I do it my way?" --Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life (pg. 133)
This entry was posted in Articles, My Advice to Other Artists, My Little Soap Box and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Framing Art is An Art

  1. Amy says:

    Wow! What good advice!

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