From Art

National Photography Month

National Photo Month – May 2014

Join us in celebrating National Photo Month, the PMA’s initiative to spark creativity in photography

With the winter season (hopefully) behind us, it’s time to look forward to sunshine and clear skies. While we’re all outside dusting off our cameras and shooting anything shiny or colorful, it’s a good season for some friendly competition and encouragement! What better way to start it out with a whole month dedicated to Photography?

This coming May starts National Photo Month. Created and promoted be the PMA, this “holiday” month supports photographers and creators of imagery everywhere by promoting education, contests, resources and community involvement in regards to photography. Whether you’re a student, hobbyist or professional, everyone can benefit from Photography month.

So what kinds of things should you shoot during National Photo Month? Besides the obvious answer of “anything you want”, it’s an even better idea to use the month to take experimental photos and push the borders more than usual. Use sources of inspiration like Pinterest and Tumblr blogs to find information on different tips to try, or perhaps subject matter you’ve not yet explored!

national photo month
Pinterest provides a great source for photography inspiration.

 

Are you a practicing photographer? Leave a comment below about your experiences with National Photo Month! If you plan on getting involved this year, what are you doing to prepare?

 

photo frames
National Photo Month, presented by the PMA

 

custom picture frames

To Frame, or Not to Frame?

Framing can become a burden for both client and artist alike. Here are some ways you can save money AND your artist/client relationships.

Framing can be a frustrating task for those trying to make a living on their art. Sometimes, even the responsibilities of framing are unclear. Do you leave framing up to the client, or take care of it yourself? From the other perspective, should you frame a piece of art you bought, or place that task on someone else? Cost is definitely the largest deterrent for artists — the cost of just one framing job can be an unthinkable amount of money to spend up front. This is particularly true if your client is indecisive about framing, constantly asking for different frames for the piece. When time and money are factors, these questions can become a nightmare!

From an artist standpoint, instead of spending all the money on a custom job, you may want to consider covering the framing yourself. That’s where online retailers like Frame USA can help. With thousands of mouldings, frame series and mat combinations to choose from, you can find the look you’re going for without sacrificing any of the cost.

1. Discuss framing choices with your client.

art framing

Before making any big decisions on your artwork, you should talk about the frame with your buyer. Sometimes they won’t have an opinion, and many times they share an opinion too late. You can prevent about half of the miscommunication by discussing it openly beforehand. Are they looking for something more modern, or something more elegant? How will those decisions relate to your artwork? These are just a few questions that should impact your art framing decisions.

2. Take note of the surroundings in which your art will hang.

art picture framing

Environment is half the battle of hanging artwork. For instance, your work is hanging with older pieces, you should think about fitting the same tone. If your work is to be displayed with other modern artwork, you may want to look for a more simple frame.

In the same regard, it’s not always necessary to have a frame! Sometimes a bare canvas is more situationally appropriate, or a matting job can convey the piece perfectly. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your options.

3. Factor in cost of framing with the total price of the art

Framing your art is a financial responsibility between artist AND client. Think about what your art is worth, then figure a fair price to charge extra based on the framing. A custom job will obviously raise the price significantly, so learning how to size and order your own frames will save you a great deal of hassle in the long run. Some artists even take it upon themselves to make their own frames. The point is, finding out how to make or source your own frames will save you time and money in the long run. If your pieces typically run for several thousand a piece, then perhaps custom framing is exactly what you need!

custom picture frames
The cost of framing can be high. Do you invest in a custom frame, or take matters into your own hands?

 

Inspiration and Photo credit by: ProfessionalArtistMag.com

restaurant decor

Restaurant and Hotel Decor – process5 Design turns Dinner into Art

Restaurant uses Picture Frames to Enhance Dining Experience

If you’re in the restaurant or hospitality industry, you know that presentation is everything. Well, ALMOST everything. Some customers may be okay with bland environments if the food and pricing is stellar, or if it’s in a convenient neighborhood. Unfortunately, most judgements are made by customers when they first enter the restaurant, and unless they’ve heard good reviews or were recommened from friends, they won’t stick around very long unless you make a good first impression.

So how do you make a good first impression? As we mentioned before, presentation is an easy way to grab the most attention. Both interior and exterior design will help draw customers — the exterior will bring them in, while the interior keeps them content and engaged.

restaurant decor
Exterior view. That’s one big restaurant!

The exterior of the restaurant is very grounded in modern design principles, as you can see. Perspective, as well as linear structure, play a large part in what make the building so cohesive. As you’ll see below as well, the larger portion of the building has many horizontal lines that lend itself to the linear-focused design. Structurally, it’s a work of art!

Some obvious sources of inspiration for this building would include the Bauhaus movement, a school of design thought that focuses on simplicity and geometry. This isn’t going to be the look for every restaurant, but it certainly reflects the nature of the restaurant, where the food is meant to be perceived as art.

Restaurant Decor
Beautiful lighting along the front shows off the horizontal line work.

The interior of the building is also designed beautifully. Note the still-simple, open architecture, adequate lighting, and in particular, the picture frames. While everything else is very simple in the building, the framed art in particular becomes a focal point for diners. With little distraction from their food, they will be better able to focus on just that – the care and detail of the food (rather than become overwhelmed with busy atmosphere.)

Restaurant Decor
Interior

Another wise decision by both designers and restaurateurs was the inclusion of framed mirrors. While the art is spectacular, the mirrors give the appearance of extra space while being non-intrusive. In some cases, the mirrors are placed in such a way to grant the viewer better ways to view their food. You can see great examples of this below:

picture frames for restaurants
Mirrors placed at a higher point give illusions of extra space, and also give diners more visual space.
restaurant decor
Closeup of the framed mirrors. Set directly at the table, they showcase the food and interior as art. It also gives the illusion of extra space.

What are some examples of either modern or classic restaurants that you’ve found? Leave a comment below and share!

Story/image source: DesignBoom
D
esigner: process5

 

 

 

custom picture frames

The Art of Framing

Artistic framing is precise framing, guiding the customer with their ideas to make the total composition fit their exact needs.

In many cases, the design of a picture frame (as well as the mat pairings, v-grooves, bevels etc.) make as much of an artistic statement as the artwork itself. Framers use design principles such as color theory, geometric correctness, depth perception and texture to decide what will compliment your artwork to the best of their ability. This is, of course, all done with the artwork and your own personal preferences in mind, and a good framer will walk you through the entire process.

It’s also an impressive feat when a framer will not only custom frame your piece to perfection, but engrave and/or carve your specific designs into the wood. While we don’t specialize in custom framing to that degree, we do offer personalization services, laser engraving and a fully-staffed custom framing department that can answer any questions you have about making your artwork even better with a frame job that completes the composition.

Unlike other custom framers (both online and in our retail store located in Cincinnati, Ohio), our  photography and art-creating customers see much higher sales and return by framing with us. How, you ask? Lower price points for all of our items and labor! In one example, we had a customer call in from a local big-name hobby shop that wanted to charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $900 for a relatively small frame job (and that was with 50% off!) For the same service (and better quality, in his opinion!) we worked with him to frame his total order for only $479.

custom picture frames

You can follow our instagram account to see just what kinds of artwork and memorabilia we’ve been framing, from guitars signed by the “Goo Goo Dolls” to movie posters, sports jerseys to ornate wedding photography. Fill out our custom quote form today to see how we can make your art preservation dream a reality (while also saving you money!

 

standard photo sizes

Weekly Picture Frame Sale – March 17-24

This week, we’re expanding on our blog post we made here talking about the typical photo sizes. A standard photo size will fit inside one of these frames without any trouble, whether you’re looking for an office frame for your desk or a poster frame for a large print display.

Now until Monday, March 24, you can save on both Frame USA’s Deluxe Poster Frame series and FrameCloseout’s 5×7 premium wood frames. Just use the coupon code in the advertisement upon checkout!

To find out more about standard photo and frame sizes, see our previous blog post here.

standard photo sizes
Two popular sizes, the 5×7 and poster sizes (shown: 24×36.)
shadow box frames

Shadow Box Frames as Fine Art – Exploring Dioramas

Shadow Box Frames and Fine Art Assemblage

Recently, we’ve seen a great shift between the realms of 2D and 3D art. Not quite paintings and not quite sculptures, these art pieces are more of an assemblage of 3D objects meant to be viewed on a 2D-plane. You may have even made these in school at some point.

Today, we are talking about dioramas.

Not your average middle school project

While popular for school projects, this Alice in Wonderland piece is proof that dioramas are every bit as capable of being fine art.

 

Before you get skeptical, these are anything but your average diorama. Shadow box frames are typically used to hang sports jerseys and personal memorabilia, and custom framers are great at arranging these objects to fit whatever the customer may need. Using shadow boxes for fine art, however, requires much more creativity and artistic know-how. You will need to experiment and try different methods of mixed media and sculpture to get the effect you’re looking for.

shadow box frames

Don’t be afraid to experiment, though! Experimentation is how you become more advanced in your art, and trying a slew of different things is necessary to become more creative and technically skilled. Find our shadow box frames here to get started!

For a great inspiration board from pinterest, click here.

To see how Audra Krunkle from Oddities: San Francisco does her work, click here.

“Light of Hope” – Fine Art meets Community Involvement

An artist from Visionaries + Voices is creating some big excitement here at Frame USA and Posterservice. Posterservice is continuously licensing work from great artists internationally to use for posters, and we are excited to announce that we have officially licensed artwork from an artist from V+V for poster production! “Light of Hope” from Candi Branham is now available as a 24×36 poster in our store, and on the Posterservice website.

fine art

Candi has worked as an artist from the V+V studios for about 3 and a half years. She was initially inspired by her mother’s creative ability as a t-shirt designer. She says the best part of being an artist is sharing her work with others.

Candi’s colorful painting embodies her infectiously positive attitude, and the angels you see in ‘Light of Hope’ are her signature design. These angels carry a very important meaning; they stand as colorful memorials to loved ones she has lost. In particular, they are meant to reflect the vitality of her late nephew, whose passing has had a significant impact on her life. She believes that creating each angel helps her to keep his energy alive and to share it with the community.

‘Light of Hope’ was created for V+V’s biggest fundraiser of the year — Double Vision. Artists working throughout Cincinnati and artists working from V+V come together to form new partnerships and collectives. The results of these collaborations is then showcased and sold at a live art auction. Double Vision is in its fifth year of celebrating creativity and supporting the nonprofit programs at V+V.

vv2
Candi collaborated with Jill Romansky, and when asked what her experience was like, Candi said “Fun! I really liked working with Jill”. Jill painted the sky and the white light of the background, and together they painted all of the angels. When ‘Light of Hope’ was auctioned at the end of the event, Frame USA had the winning bid. The original painting now hangs in the upstairs offices.

When Candi created ‘Light of Hope’ with Jill, it was her first time participating in Double Vision. She plans to return to the show in 2014, and is excited for what this year has in store.
Lastly, we just had to ask how Candi felt about being at the center of all the buzz surrounding her image being produced as a poster. She just had one word to describe her feelings on being published with Posterservice: “Proud!”

Check out her poster here!

 

Future Blooms2

Las Vegas to Follow Cincinnati Artists Lead with Beautification Project

Future Blooms2 City leaders in Minneapolis, Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago are contacting a local Cincinnati beautification project to learn how they can start similar programs.

In Las Vegas, the City Council has announced a program to relieve blight from the doorsteps of local houses and buildings. The pilot program was created to paint murals on the doors and windows of abandoned building within the community.

Through this program, the city is being proactive to eliminate the eyesore of boarded-up homes by turning plywood into an arts palette,” said Councilman Bob Coffin, who spearheaded the effort. “These initiatives will help beautiful homes and properties, ultimately improving the neighborhoods.

Ten abandoned homes have been chosen for the Las Vegas pilot project. Artist Markus Tracy was commissioned to design five different scenes that will be painted onto the plywood used to board up the homes for security.

The Las Vegas Arts Commission supplied $16,550 for the effort.

The Las Vegas program was at least partially inspired by local artists group Future Blooms, which is part of Keep Cincinnati Beautiful.  From the website:

Future Blooms

In the fall of 2009, the Future Blooms program was developed to address crime in urban areas where there was a heavy concentration of vacancy. Research indicated that abandoned buildings and vacant lots provided the most potential for positive change. The Broken Window Theory also provided a platform to address this issue of vacancy. By painting doors, windows, awnings, and flower boxes on the barricades of abandoned buildings, Future Blooms was able to restore a sense of identity to the neighborhood and encourage economic development.

Four years later, we have improved over 600 abandoned buildings by enhancing the plywood barricades with painted representations of doors, windows, awnings, and flower boxes. Our team of artists and architects has mastered the process so that it only costs $4.50 a square foot! This process not only changes the perception of safety and cleanliness in the area, but it also makes the properties more inviting to investors. 22% of our buildings are now completely renovated or under development.

The initiative in Cincinnati includes vacant buildings, vacant lots, murals and eco-art installations. See more information about Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and Future Blooms, please check out their website at http://keepcincinnatibeautiful.org/ .

personalized picture frames

Laser Engraving – What to Look for in an Engraver

Laser engraved products are absolutely storming the market, anywhere from engraved jewlery to engraved hunting rifles. A big draw to this is personalization; being able to modify a product so that it reflects something with meaning to the consumer. It goes without saying, then, that laser engraving is something that must be done with the utmost care and skill to give the customer exactly what they want.

In a recent post by DECOR magazine, Lisa Crabtree of Spring, Texas uses her laser engraving machine to corner the engraving market in the small town. She discusses all of the big project undertakings that come with engraving products. You can read more about it here!

The big secret to engraving lies in the craftsmanship, technology and the technical skill of the engraver. One must know how to troubleshoot errors, utilize expert layout skills and have a broad understanding of the engraved material. It can be a very costly process if your engraver is not careful.

Similarly, it’s important to know the limitations of laser engraving. There are many surfaces that can be harmful if engraved, or even ruined. Knowing an expert is half the battle!

You can get started with our laser engraving app located here!

More on engraving: DECOR Magazine

Entryway Pictures

From Cheap Wood Frames to Masterpiece!

Posters from your childhood might have looked good simply tacked up on the wall, but those beautiful posters you bought from a museum or your favorite vacation spot needs more than a tack on the wall. It is rather simple to make a poster look classy and stylish, simply by adding the right frame. Poster frames can be found inexpensively and with the right process can make any poster look like a beautiful print in your home or office.

Obtain your Materials

Before you start, you will want to gather all of the necessary materials. Aside from your posters and the wood frames, you will need a mat board, backing board and measuring tape. Before you purchase your wooden picture frames and mats, however, you should know the perfect size for your poster. After you measure the size of your poster to be framed, add 6 to 10 inches to it and purchase the mat in that size. You can then purchase the frame according to the mat size that you purchased. This will give your poster the classy, expensive look that you desire.

Attach Mat Board to Backing Board

The first step is to attach your poster to your backing board. The backing board should be the same size as your poster. These measurements should be accurate. If the backing board is larger, now is the time to trim it to size. When you purchase your backing board, ensure that you are using acid and lignin free products to ensure the longevity of your poster. Any products that are acidic will cause your poster to wear down over time. Securely attach the poster to the backing board, ensuring that there it is not any room for slipping. Once it is secure, you can attach the mat board to the backing board, also ensuring that it is secure.

The Right Wooden Picture Frames

The higher the quality of the frames that you purchase, the more sophisticated your poster will look on the wall. You can find affordable wood picture frames that are made from quality materials and meant to stand the test of time. Take your time searching for the perfect frame, as there are hundreds of colors and stylesavailable. Take into consideration the décor in the room that it will be located in as well as the style of the poster. A simple, modern poster should not be placed in a frame that is very ornate, just as a traditional or classic poster might look better in a frame with a little more flair. Pay close attention to the glass on the frame, and its proximity to the poster underneath. The more space between the poster and the glass, the classier your finished product will look and the safer your poster will be in the long run.

Placing the Poster in the Frame

The final step in securing your posters is to place them in the poster frames. Simply unhinge the frame, and place the poster that is attached to the backing board and mat into the frame. Check all aspects of the frame to ensure that the poster has a snug fit and that the glass is appropriately distanced to ensure its beauty. It is a good idea to clean the glass before hinging the frame back up to get the best view of your newly framed poster.

Hanging the Poster

Once your poster is framed, you are not done! You need to find the perfect place to hang it to ensure its sophistication. You should avoid hiding it behind doors or lining many of them up next to each other as you might have done in your teenage years. Just as in an art gallery, posters look sophisticated when they are given their own space to appreciate them. If you are going for a more dramatic look, however, you can hang several of them together, in a tasteful grouping to ensure their beauty. If you want to make the look rather dramatic, you can add light directly over your posters or direct the light in the room to make it a spotlight on the area, to give the eyes something appealing to rest on.

It is easy to frame posters and make them look like a classic pieces of art. At Frame USA, you can find cheap wood frames that are affordable, yet make your posters look as if they came from the local art gallery. Take the time to follow the steps to appropriately mount a poster and you could have beautiful works of art to place in your home or office for very little cost.