When my husband and I moved into our first condo together in 2007, the first brand new item we bought for the place was not furniture, or a coffee maker (which might have been slightly more practical), it was instead, a print by Gustav Klimt I had seen hanging in a custom framing store window downtown, around the corner from where I was working at the time. We hung it proudly above our fireplace, and I remember feeling quite grown up to have something other than posters adorning the walls. This is to say nothing of the aging effect of the mortgage itself!) Although we left the condo years ago, the Klimt print is still with us, now hanging down the hall from the front door in our current home. In fact, it’s the first thing I see when I walk into the house.
Klimt’s work is ubiquitous – found on everything from art prints to paper napkins. Some may even say it runs the risk of being tiresome; however, I have not grown bored of my Tree of Life print, and I think part of the reason for that can be attributed to the way in which it was framed. After falling for the picture in the window, the staff at Images on Bank took such care in helping me choose a frame and mat that would complement, and not compete with the artwork itself. Seven years later, I still find myself pausing to look at it. The picture reminds me of the milestone of buying our first home together, and I’m glad that our keepsake of that milestone is an investment that will last us a lifetime.
A couple of months ago, I decided to frame some new David Milne prints I had bought from the Art Gallery of Ontario. I went back to Images on Bank and once again, I was so pleased with the result. I love to support local, independent businesses in the city, particularly when the purchase demands a little artistry and craftsmanship.
Being in the store again got me curious about the place, and the ins and outs of custom framing. After telling them about this little hobby blog I have, Lindsay from the store, was kind enough to answer some questions that hope you will find useful if you’re thinking about having something framed yourself.
How long has Images on Bank been around?
Images on Bank has been around for 25 years, since 1989 to be exact.
What services does the store provide?
Our main service is creative custom framing. We also offer lamination onto board in a variety of styles, print ordering, standard sized ready-made frames, and we have a constantly changing selection of ready-to-hang pieces on display. Finally, we are known for our wide range of unique and artistic greeting cards.
What are the advantages of having a piece custom framed?
Art print by David Milne
Choosing custom framing allows you to bring your own personal style into your home or office; with the help of our knowledgeable and friendly staff, the client is involved in determining every visual aspect, from the glass type, mat colour, layout and size, all the way to the frame itself in order to obtain the desired effect. As well as complementing your image, framing protects your artwork, special memories and accomplishments, and we have many options available for conservation framing, depending on the needs of the individual piece. Custom framing is also necessary for items that are not standard sizes or for certain artistic mediums that require special treatments such as stretching or shadowboxing.
What should a customer consider when selecting matting, glass and framing?
The most important thing is to always choose matting and framing that suits the piece itself, not necessarily the space in which it will be hanging. Custom framing isn’t something you redo very often, and most likely you will either move, repaint your walls or relocate the frame to another room before reframing the piece itself. The other main thing to consider is what sort of archival treatment the piece might need, depending on the medium. All of our matting is acid free to prevent discoloration over time, and we have a variety of types of glass, including two types with UV protection.
Art prints by David Milne
Are there any new trends in the world of framing or how people are hanging pieces that you’ve noticed lately?
Stacking multiple frames together to create a one-of-a-kind look specifically for your piece is something that has become more popular lately as it allows clients personalize their frame even more by adding an extra punch of colour or texture. We have also been doing a number of floating mats where the mat is elevated above the work to create depth and a more dynamic look. Generally there seems to be a move towards more daring colours and finishes, and a mixing of styles to obtain a unique look that suits both the artwork and the personality of the client.
Do you have any advice regarding the selection of artwork such as how large a piece should be for a particular location in the home, what lighting it gets, etc.?
This is a difficult question to answer because so much comes down to personal aesthetic taste and the desired effect each individual wants the artwork to have. What one person might find overwhelmingly large, another might find makes just the right bold statement. A few guidelines would be that generally the artwork should not extend horizontally past the edges of the piece of furniture it is hanging over, the lighting should be diffused or not directly pointed at the piece to avoid harsh glare and uneven illumination, and most importantly, the artwork should give the client a good feeling; This may sound simplistic, but art is about personal enjoyment and it should be chosen and hung accordingly.
Besides original and reproduction artwork, what are some of the less conventional things you have framed at the store?
Many of the unconventional items we have framed over the years have been done in shadowboxes. The list includes but is not limited to: a bike fork, ladies underwear, locks of hair, a pair of child’s overalls, dog collars and toys, a cassette tape, dolls, a Taekwondo belt and broken board, many different sports jerseys, cutlery, plates, part of a beehive, seashells and starfish, .. If you have the object, we’ll find a way to frame it!
Besides the terrific collection of prints available for order through the store, do you have any other favourite places to find original or reproduction artwork?
A favourite online source for both originals and reproductions is etsy.com. Another neat site is society6.com/prints. For more traditional art prints, the National Gallery of Canada has a good selection of Canadian and international fine art posters in their boutique, which can also be accessed online: shopngc.ca/boutique/en/product-en.