Framing Matters

I’ll often visit exhibitions of emerging artists and see some extremely creative and powerful pieces of work. These images, paintings, prints can often however be let down by substandard framing, frames with marks and dirt or mounts that don’t compliment the work. For me as an emerging artist the framing of the piece is nearly important as the piece itself. The frame and mount is an extension to the work we have spent days, weeks or months producing and for those aiming to sell their work it is very important to get this right. I’ve put together a few handy tips when getting your work framed and choosing the right mount.

  • What is the theme of the piece?

It is really important when framing a photographic print to think about what the image is conveying and to find a suitable frame to accentuate that. For instance a black and white print of say an industrial scene would not go well with an unpainted brown wooden frame. The contrast can work for an artist by highlighting the difference in colour and texture but this is difficult to achieve effectively if purposefully pursued. Take for instance the framing of these pieces below from my Sentinel series for the F-Stop exhibition at Espacio Gallery, Shoreditch. I specifically chose a dark metal frame with a rough texture to compliment the content of the images, the metal frame becomes an external manifestation of the metal pylons, the large white boarder forcing the viewer to move inwards to scrutinise the image.

And this piece Below ‘Homage to Duality’ for All Can Be Frida at the Espacio. The work incorporated texture and cloth, the linen of the shirt I wore and blanket fashioned into a skirt. I wanted to bring this texture and cloth substance to the framing so specifically requested a linen mounted boarder and earthy wooden frame to compliment the floral and herbal content.

  • What is your budget?

Quality framing doesn’t always have to cost the earth, you can purchase vintage second hand frames, order from the internet or buy from a store and if you know the right framer they will be happy to frame the artwork for you for a small fee. I specifically use Hawkins Framing on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, they are friendly and very helpful when choosing a frame, glass and mount. For my first exhibition I attempted to mount and frame the work myself, buying frames online and then fitting the work in my kitchen. This was certainly an experience I don’t wish to repeat, after framing and un-framing each piece (there were 4) 4 times and still seeing particles of dust on the black mounts I vowed never to do it myself again! Employing a framer is a little more expense but something which will definitely pay off in the long run with the presentation of your work and reduced stress. Plus if you build up a good relationship they will often offer discounts etc.

Ultimately framing does matter, you have spent valuable time and money on creating your art pieces so remember to present them well!