Choosing framing to complement your art says a lot about how much you value your work. At Keighley Arts Factory we see a lot of framed (and unframed) art and we have seen the good, the bad and the just plain ugly. Our pet hates are:
- plastic frames from Matalan or similar stores
- paintings cut down to fit the frame
- old photo frames or re-used frames
- badly mitred frames
- badly cut mount board
- badly fitting frames
A well made, well presented frame can make all the difference to whether your work gets accepted for exhibitions or open shows.
My personal dislikes are (and you can disagree with me in the Comments)*:
- brushed gold, silver or bronze moulding (sooo 1990s)
- thin plastic moulding (sooo 1980s)
- metallic or dark coloured mount board
- mount board chosen to pick out a colour in the painting
- mount board with differing measurements at top, sides and base
- Box canvases
Mount Board. What is wrong with ivory, cream or black? and why the fancy ruled line in a contrasting colour? Why do you want the mount board to stand out anyway? Surely it's better to let the painting sell itself and, if the customer wants to mount the art in a sludgy green or maroon, they can change it. Why cut the mount board yourself with that blunt Stanley or Xacto knife? Those jaggedy edges stand out a mile and detract from your art. A bevel edge looks so much better and if you don't possess a professional mount cutting machine - go to the frame maker.
Framing. Why did you pick that expensive heavy brushed metallic moulding to frame your art? Are you hoping that a customer might buy it to match their leather sofa or their wallpaper? What kind of philistine buys art to match their decor anyway - Isn't that what Ikea's for? The rule of K.I.S.S. should apply to choosing moulding (Keep it simple, s....) My idea of a good frame is a pale wood, dark wood or ebony frame that allows the art to speak for itself.... and it's not the most expensive moulding in the shop.
Box Canvas. OK. So you can buy them for pennies these days (they even sell them in Poundland) and they save you the hassle of framing your work and they make you feel like a "real" artist. But the box canvas is the poor man's stretched canvas in standard sizes and nasty textured surface. Then there's those annoying sides - do you leave them bare or do you wrap the painting around them? Recently I overheard a visitor criticizing one of our exhibiting artists because he had left the sides of his STRETCHED canvas messy instead of painting around the edges. Wha....??? It's a serious piece of art - who cares about the sides? It can be framed later or left as it is. I would rather see brush strokes and smudges than dabbed edges.
Frame Makers. You get what you pay for and it SHOWS. Frame making is a highly skilled profession and a properly framed piece of work should have mitred edges, bevelled mount board, pinned and taped at the back, D rings with taut hanging wire or nylon cord and clean glass. Cheap framing is exactly that - cheap. So if you are wandering around the junk shop looking for a frame to match your painting/print/photograph - go seek a trained professional.
I guess it's really about how much you value your art compared to how much effort you will go to present it well.
*The personal comments of the author do not reflect the opinions of Keighley Arts Factory.