So, What Do You Have On Your Walls?

I get asked this all the time: “What does the framer have as art on his walls?”

I think my first few years in business was the story of the cobbler’s kids with no shoes, or the plumber with leaky pipes. I have a minor in art history, and I appreciate technique. With that being said, I thought I would take this year’s blog, and once a month show you a piece from my collection. I’ll explain its place in history, share with you how I acquired it, why I framed it the way I did, and tell you how it works in my home. I’m not telling you where I live …

There are two things I always tell everyone who is starting an art collection:

  • Do not collect art as an investment. Unless you have money to burn, art is subjective, and the market volatile. You can purchase the latest in art, but do so because you love it. After almost 30 years as a framer, I have seen all the fads and trends. Those people in the 80s who collected dusk stamps as an investment? Well, their wives wish to remodel, and collectors are very limited and specific. The Internet helps a little with finding the niche market, but it’s still difficult.

  • Frame your piece to match the genre. I just recently talked about this in an earlier blog. If you make the framing an extension of the artwork (as you should!), it will stand the test of time, and it will work anywhere. After all, you are collecting your favorite images. No one runs out of a museum and yells, “OMG! The framing doesn’t match the carpet!” Complement the work, everything will work together. Really. It works.

What I enjoy most about my collection is the stories behind the artwork, and the relationships I formed from the purchase chatting with shopkeepers, meeting the artists and traveling only add to the love one attaches to the image. I have artwork from galleries, street fairs and even antique stores. Some I paid hundreds for, others a couple of bucks. But my art is a reflection of my life’s travels, as should your collection be a reflection of yourself.

I thought I would start with this piece. No particular reason, but I think it’s funny everyone is amazed I own it; you can own one, too!

This is the first piece of art (other than the poster of Duran Duran that hung in my dorm room) that began my collection:

The Lustful: Purgatory
Salvador Dali (b. 1904 d. 1989) “The Lustful: Purgatory” from the 100 illustrations of Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

In 1957, Italy commissioned Salvador Dali to paint 100 watercolors of the Divine Comedy, the greatest literary work written in Italian, in celebration of Dante’s 700th anniversary of birth in 1965. Italy’s people got a little upset to find that the artist was a Spaniard, and stopped the deal. Dali continued with the project, illustrating the poems travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Two wood engravers spent five years hand-carving over 3,000 wood blocks to create the story. The actual paintings are now traveling the world to museums, but print editions can still be obtained over 50 years later.

And my print came from the first gallery I ever framed for: Suttons Bay Galleries. The gallery is located in northern Michigan, and is perhaps the best-kept secret and jewel. Piper and Harry Goldson, who own the gallery, took a special interest in 23-year-old Todd the framer, and presented this as a gift. Many of my finer pieces come from this gallery. It’s like walking into a museum; a lovely shop, specializing in old prints. They have Curtis flowers, and Gould hummingbirds. If you seem intrigued, they may open a special drawer and share rare photographs from Ansel Adams, or engravings from Parinesi. The travel to this store is worth the trip, and I worry the uniqueness of this store could fade away with modern times. It’s a wonderful gallery experience in true form. This art holds so true to the representation of the feeling for art.

For my Dali print, I chose a frame that represented the 1960s era, with a contemporary feel to express surrealism – the genre that Dali was one to help usher in. I kept the mat neutral, and all of my artwork has Tru-Vue museum glass as glazing. I have an unusual circumstance; I actually have rooms that are sort of “themed,” and I have a very formal guest room that houses this piece, along with two steel engravings from the 1600s, illuminated manuscripts, and an Antiphon. (I’ll tell ya about it later!) The artwork relates with the period furniture in the room, and a Tiffany lamp on the bedside. The room also hold some bigger pieces of Roseville pottery.

We’ll see you next month! Oh! And check out the new Dali Museum!