Now I have to frame my screenprinted art show ‘Sunny Days Aviary’, and am certainly not in any way insane.
I’ve been putting it off: I tried to manufacture a deadline-to-get-my-framing-done by having a little art show at a friends fundraiser, but it was a smallish party and didn’t work as incentive. I drew 10-minute portraits there instead. People said nice things to me about my 10-minute portraits, and that stroked my artist ego, but the 10-minute portraits didn’t get the show framed.
I followed the crowd to another party and then to the Covered Bridge Restaurant which is our local Nice-Restaurant-on-the front/Dive-Bar-in-the-back. Other friends of mine were there to hear a musician play, which they did, and then they wanted to fight some millennials. It was great. I don’t get out much.
I came home buzzy so organized the art shows framing operation with great energy! Like the guy in Close Encounters building Devil’s Tower in his kitchen.
First is a gigantic pile of cheap framed art that I’ve bought since August from flea markets, 2nd hand stores, yard sales etc. Whenever I see an artwork that has a mat, frame and most importantly, glass, and it’s less then around $8, I buy it. There is an uncomfortably large pile of those in my basement, totally normal.
I carry a tape measure on my keychain to check sizes: Sizes are super important; If you are an artist and take one thing away from this blog make it art sizes. Make sure your art fits a frame, fer cryin out loud. Before you start an artwork go get a frame from a 2nd hand store to fit it in to, even if that’s not the final frame. Standard art, mat, and frame sizes turn out to be very important… and counter-intuitive enough to complicate everything, so look ‘em up.
So those artworks get divided into three piles: Mats, Frames and glass. I also have boxes of wholesale mats (and backs) and a mat cutter. Actually there is generally a forth pile: Terrible giclee prints of famous artworks, pulled out of the frames (needle-nose pliers and wire-cutters, hooray!). A giclee print, if you don’t know, is a high resolution computer print-out that you can get done at Fedex;. Colors are great & they look good, but they are super cheap and there is no human hand involved at all. It kills me because I know that they are sold for more than I sell my hand printed artworks. It’s the magic of a frame and an uncaring market, but that’s capitalism, baby. I’m above that sort of capitalism, which is why I’m so rich and famous today.
Those prints pretty often become backs of my prints. I like the idea of someone tearing my frame apart 20 yrs in the future and finding the old prints, and other stuff I put in there like cards and little notes. I’ve heard apocryphal urban legends of people finding piles of money in frames. I do not put piles of money in my frames. Wait- I do! I do! Buy my prints!
Frames get sanded and painted. I was brush-painting… rather, I had my 10 yr old and her friends brush paint them a la Huckleberry Finn. So now I’m sanding the many many dried paint drips off each one, using wood putty to fill in gaps and cracks, and then spray painting them (on advice of a professional paint guy) out in the 25 degree cold, on the snow. Still not crazy! Can’t frame during snowstorms. I tried to spraypaint in the washout booth in basement but it made the house smell terrible and the sweety chased me around with a chainsaw so I don’t do that anymore.
I’ve become quite a frame connoisseur; unfortunately my tastes run absolutely counter to the current trend of simple tasteful frames. I love big, rococo, fooffy swirly frames so much. Here’s my favorite frame ever, and it sold immediately! So I might not be wrong.
The whole operation is factory work, in my basement; there are workstations! I could train a person for each one…. sort of. What actually happens is that nothing goes smoothly. Each and every artworks frame has its own challenges and ends up being slightly unique in it’s own way, which is good? I guess? And, naturally, trips to the hardware store, can’t have a project without those.
So it’s all set up now and I’ve committed to framing one artwork per day until I’ve gotten at least three full sets of 9 artworks framed and ready to hang somewhere. In 36 days I might have a whole different thing happening, but that’s the story for now.