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The Secret Collector

I would like to start with a very special thank you to our wonderful client who agreed to this interview. I appreciate your time and openness to share your perspective on art and collecting through your experiences. Banksy is a great conversation starter but the message I get from this interview is about supporting art and artists from the beginning. Getting involved. And buying the works. The arts are integral to our humanity and the only real way to keep the arts alive is for everyone to get involved. Those who create the art and those who appreciate it.

Erin Salguero, Director of ARTIS PURA


*Anonymity statement

For this interview, I wont be revealing the identity of the collector. Often, art collectors prefer to remain anonymous, for the sake of security and perhaps to keep artists and dealers from hounding them.  In this instance, however, it’s possible that the collector may know the true identity of the artist he collects, someone who has concealed his or her identity for the entirety of his or her career.

 

Now a household name, world famous street artist, filmmaker and activist Banksy sprang from the arts and music scene in Bristol, England. Closely aligned with the Bristol Underground Scene, D&B, Hip Hop, Street Art and graffiti culture, Banksy began to present freehand graffiti artwork in public in the early 90’s as an anti-establishment alternative view to the mainstream. Banksy is now best known for graffiti-art stencil styled work, which has come off the street and onto the gallery walls, commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions around the world.

I met the anonymous collector in a café in South Bank, where, over lunch and a glass of wine, we talked about the ins and outs of collecting street art, and Banksy in particular

Image by - Cassandra Lehman

Image by - Cassandra Lehman

 

First question: Have you met and do you know the true identity of the artist known as Banksy?

Yes, many years ago in the infamous Dragon Bar on Leonard St, in Shoreditch in the east end of London. He used to do a thing called Santa’s Ghetto every year. I went to a very early one there, where he was selling original works for 50 pounds.

Actually, I didn’t know it was Banksy. Although I had heard of him, I had no idea who he actually was, at that time.

I was standing in the Dragon Bar, I had had a few pints and was talking loudly to a group of street artists…I said quite loudly that I thought Banksy was a complete sell out. One guy agreed with me then walked off…The other guys then told me that this guy was actually Banksy. There was nothing conspicuous or special about him, he was just a non descript young white guy, not unlike myself, at the time.

 

When and how did you first acquire a work by Banksy?

I bought a print called ‘Grannies’ in 2006, from Pictures on Walls his website.

The image is of two sweet old ladies knitting and drinking tea…one is knitting a sweater with a logo saying ‘Punks not Dead’.. What I think Banksy is saying in this piece is that we will always have passion. I felt that this work was softer, somehow, than a lot of his other work. I felt he had shown his heart and his love for what he does. It was an easy purchase. The other day I looked at it and it made me smile. That’s enough for me.

Image source https://guyhepner.com/product/grannies-by-banksy/

Image source https://guyhepner.com/product/grannies-by-banksy/

 

How many Banksy works do you own?

Over the period of time, since I started collecting until now, I have owned between 10 - 15 Banksy's. At this point in time I own 3.

After a while, I began to buy and then sell them. When I saw one I wanted, I’d sell another so that I would able to afford the new one.

Because I collected Banksy’s I was able to buy a house.
 

So collecting Banksy works has been quite lucrative for you?

Yes, I owned a very special print version ‘the girl with balloon’. This particular edition was originally only released to the inner circle of collectors. I ended up with one of the rarest editions of his most popular images, signed by Banksy. I bought it through a close contact of Banksy’s I’d known for over 10 years…lets just call it a ‘special deal’.

I remember thinking that it was probably worth around $50k…I felt guilty every time I looked at it. At a certain point in time, I felt that I couldn’t legitimately keep it, knowing I needed an extra bedroom for my soon to be born son.  So, I knew a gallery owner in L A. and I mentioned to him that I had this special piece.…he asked me “What do you want for it?” I really wasn’t sure, so I asked him to make me an offer. He offered me 80 thousand pounds. So, I bought the house. The moment I sold it…I was blacklisted and ousted from the Banksy ‘inner circle’. I understand why, I do get it…I learned from the experience, I know, I made the choice.  Because I did, my family and I now have a garden; we have a house and room for the kids. That was the point at which that particular part of my life was over. This is now. I’m still making deals and collecting but I’m no longer part of that inner circle.  But having been there, I now know how it works, what it is. You can’t take that away. I’m not at all bitter, I’ve not been burned. Of course I have some regrets, but this sale isn’t really one. It was simply time.
 

"The Girl with the Red Balloon" , Banksy. Preservation framed in our hand finished rounded closed corner profile.

"The Girl with the Red Balloon" , Banksy.

Preservation framed in our hand finished rounded closed corner profile.

Do you collect work by any other artists?

Yes, many, predominately street artists, from around the world. One in particular that I like is an Italian artist known as Blu

I have two. My favourite piece hangs in my little boy’s room. I have lots of works, they are connected by common theme, I guess you’d call it an inherent sadness, disappointment and a bucking of the system, a rejection of the mainstream acceptance. I really love the Banksy piece ‘I fought the law’ . In this work, Banksy took a famous image, a photograph (of the shooter of Ronald Reagan being arrested), and replaced the gun with a paintbrush. He made the act of painting into rebellion. What these artists do is look at the world head on…they document the sadness and the alternate reality. I personally consider myself a product of the 70’s and 80’s, of Thatcherism, a period aspiration for those willing to walk over others. It was a rough ride. This perspective is an unconventional view. Banksy doesn’t buy the dream. He tells the alternate truth.
 

"Rennes" by Blu

"Rennes" by Blu

What attracted you to Banksy, in the first place?
Banksy was the first art I was ever attracted to. I remember seeing it on the walls, around the streets of London and in the UK.

He did a piece that started as a white line on the ground. I followed it,  it eventually lead to a policeman, leaning down snorting the white line, like it was cocaine. I remember my reaction…ironic laughter and recognition.

At that time, I was pretty broke, but I saw his work everywhere. When I first bought a piece and then started collecting them I didn’t consider it as a financial thing. I related to him, he’s a normal bloke, you wouldn’t recognize him on the street. He has a huge support network and he is incredibly driven. He has a passion for the underdog. I see his work Dismal-Land as his midlife crisis. He’s obviously a family man now. I feel I understand him as a person, a father. I see his angst. He made a fairground out of his angst, all that stuff rang true with me.

 

How do you feel about the artists’ anonymity factor?

Its not that important. Its important to the gutter press. To a real Banksy fan, it’s a non-factor. He doesn’t have that sort of character, the showman, the performer. He keeps himself in the background, he doesn’t exploit himself. His challenge nowadays is not to get caught on camera. Nowadays he uses scaffolding and a high-vis jacket…so because he looks official, because he can afford to, no one questions him. If a property owner asks ‘what the hell are you doing to my building’ he tells them who he is. He’s just added 100,000 pounds to the building. His anonymity is part of the myth.

His fans see him as a sellout, but in reality, he’s simply a product of the myth.
 

Where did/do you find the works you collect?

I became pretty good friends with parts of Banksy’s team, the artists around him, the connected gallery owners and then the old school collectors. I’d ask him about what they were doing, where they were, what things that were going on. It developed over time. Then I met an Australian girl, moved to Australia, married her and began doing all of this remotely. I lost touch, to a certain extent.

 

Do you consider your Banksy collection primarily an investment or is this about something else, for you?

The investment thing is interesting. It certainly didn’t start that way. It was a passion. For a time the money made me feel like my passion had sold out. I’m over that now. My wife, when I first met her, saw the debt I had created on my credit card. She injected funds into my passion. That’s paid off for both of us, in the long run. SoI bought the right art AND married the right woman.
 

How do you choose a frame for a work that was intended as street art?'

The Banksy prints aren’t really street art; they are intended to be framed. I made the common mistake initially, of making the frames far too flamboyant, of using brightly coloured matts, that sort of thing. The framing detracted from the work, on the wall. I don’t do that at all, any more, I keep the framing elegant and simple, but extremely high quality. I select black or white frames with black or white matting.

Why do you choose to have your collection framed at ARTIS PURA?

Erin is the best framer in Brisbane it’s that simple and definitely the best I’ve used in all my time collecting, not the cheapest, but for quality you need to pay. I’ve used many different framers in the UK and a couple in Sydney. Sheer luck took me to ARTIS PURA. I asked her the difficult questions, as I usually do, expecting to get the same blank stare and lack of understanding. Erin really gets it. She’s legitimate. I’ve always asked for museum glass. Unlike most, Erin knows the difference. Some of the glass I’ve been sold in the past is not what I was told it was. She also has great connections to other top-notch professionals, like her conservator. A tiny crease in an artwork can decrease the value by thousands…but if a confident conservator fixes it, it only costs a few hundred to repair. The trouble is finding someone with the skill and confidence to tackle the problem. Erin has a great network around her.
 

Framing "The Girl with the Red Balloon"

Framing "The Girl with the Red Balloon"

Where are your artworks displayed?

Everywhere. In the living room, the dining room in the bedrooms…everywhere.
 

Do people recognize them as original works by Banksy? What is their reaction?

They say ‘Banksy? how cool!’ But it’s usually the name and the reputation that they react to. They often walk straight past the Banksys and react more strongly to other pieces, by other artists. I have a favourite piece, a great original oil, on display in my living room, titled ‘The Death of Knowledge’ by a Spanish street artist. It gets a huge reaction, every time, although its by an artist who isn’t really well known.

Do you intend to purchase more works?
I doubt I will ever stop collecting. It makes me happy when I find pieces I like. I am right now in the process of doing deals with some Banksy works. I thought it was over when I was blacklisted, but in fact it’s not, its just different.

I love it. When I’m looking at my art collection, on my walls, every day. It gives me a real buzz.
 

When will you know you have enough?

I will never have enough. I’m always interested in what comes next. Who comes next, after Banksy. Im always on the lookout for new works. For the next deal, for that piece that really talks to me.
 

"Ï can't believe you morons actually buy this shit" , Banksy

"Ï can't believe you morons actually buy this shit" , Banksy

Do you have a favourite Banksy story or work you’d like to share?

Yes, in 2008, Banksy put on an event in New York, a village pet store. He’s very well known for his anti animal cruelty sentiments. In this pet store, he used animatronics instead of live animals. There were fish fingers swimming around in a tank…a fur coat that was animated and sitting in a tree. Nothing was actually for sale…it was tiny little event, very random, on 7th Avenue. I loved the whole experience, it was just so, so ‘Banksy’. I only heard about it the day before, though the Banksy grapevine. Things were always very tight lipped and low to the ground. When I heard, I said to my wife “I have to go!” She asked me when it was and I said “tomorrow!” It was a 6 hour long flight to New York. I was hoping to have the opportunity to buy something. I arrived with no idea where or when this mystery event would take place. A little later I received an email, went to the address and there was nothing there, just a pet store next to a pub. I didn’t know what was going on, so the mates I had been travelling with went and sat outside the pub. We had been merrily drinking for a while when we noticed a number of highbrow, well-heeled folk turning up, and then suddenly the BBC arrived. We thought that maybe the event was going to be in the pub. The BBC did a live broadcast. I had called in sick to work in London, to go to this event and suddenly I got a call from my brother to say I was live on BBC TV in New York, at a Banksy opening.

Eventually I went into the pet store, by this stage I was fairly drunk and didn’t quite get what was going on, so afterwards, I went along with the crowd to another pub and ended up meeting Anthony Lister , an Australian born street artist…and finished the evening at a party his New York apartment. It was a truly memorable experience!

"Nola", Banksy

"Nola", Banksy

 

For more information on collecting street art, you may find this article useful: http://www.christies.com/features/Street-Art-Collecting-Guide-7074-1.aspx

To see some work by some other street artists around the world: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/gallery/global-street-art-concrete-canvas-book

 

Interviewer - Cassandra Lehman

ARTIS PURA are excited to have Cassandra as a permanent guest blogger. Her experience and knowledge helps to bring a broader more interesting flair to the ARTIS PURA blog

Her previous engagements include: Galleries Co-Ordinator for QCA, Griffith University,  Director, Woolloongabba Art Gallery and Senior Consultant - Arts & Events to the Alice Springs Town Council where she authored the Public Art Policy. Cassandra is now working in the private sector as an independent consultant for the visual arts and culture. www.art-consultant.com.au

 

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Wall of achievement - Framing certificates and awards

Some would think it is just a piece of paper so why conservation framing. Why would you spend upwards of $200 considering you can pop into any department store and pick up a "certificate frame" for under $10. You could do that but take a moment and think, what does that piece of paper really mean. Are these cheap "certificate frames" really the way to go? Is even standard basic "acid free" custom framing worthy of your achievement? These documents signify something far more valuable than many first realise. When you stop and think about what goes into earning that piece of paper you might re-evaluate how you plan to preserve and present that single sheet of paper.

I have great admiration for anyone who can make it through university studies. My journey was "on the job training". For my career it was the right path but the work I do now crosses over daily with those who challenged themselves at an academic level. I have the opportunity to help my clients show off their achievement and most importantly protect it. How do we do that? We give you the information and offer you solutions.

Maybe a little fancy for most certificates but as this is to showcase the qualification of a framer it is fitting.

Maybe a little fancy for most certificates but as this is to showcase the qualification of a framer it is fitting.

So lets start by putting an actual dollar value on that piece of paper. Taking a quick look online the average cost of a degree in Australia is $10,000 per year and the average degree is three years. So already that piece of paper is sitting at a value of $30,000. Then we calculate the hours of your time to earn that piece of paper. University is a full time job. Three years wages at a conservative $35,000 a year (entry level) and we are now at $135,000. That is a very valuable piece of paper. When you look at the cost of conservation framing of your degree in relation to the cost of earning the degree, in numbers, the justification is clear.

Then there is the meaning of the degree. Your qualification! This piece of paper tells the person viewing it that you know your stuff. It is your credibility. If you are going to display your qualifications in a business environment where clients and colleagues will see it then you need to think about the message you are sending. This piece of paper is important. If you place it in a cheap readymade frame then you are telling the viewer its not important and what it represents is not to be taken seriously. However if you present it in a quality custom made frame with great design then you are telling the viewer that these credentials are solid and to be trusted.

Dark blue mattings with a gold fillet trim. (name has deliberately been disguised for client privacy)

Dark blue mattings with a gold fillet trim. (name has deliberately been disguised for client privacy)

Just these two points alone justify quality conservation framing your degree but you earned that. You worked hard and you sacrificed. You should be proud of your achievement. Edgar Degas is quoted as saying "The frame is the reward of the artist" and so to the frame is the reward of the graduate. Show it off. Be proud. You deserve it.

So why conservation framing? Think about how long that document is going to represent your credentials. You finish your studies say from the age of 21. Lets say you are lucky and are able to retire in your 60's. This is over 40 years of a working career. A career that's foundations were built on the knowledge you gained through your studies and that piece of paper is the proof. Cheap low grade framing materials will deteriorate the very pieces they are supposed to protect. We see this often with artworks that require restoration and conservation. The reason they need this specialised treatment is often a direct result of poor framing. It is the same for certificates and awards. Think to the future and do you want your qualifications still giving the viewer a sense of trust and security in your skills or do you want them giving a tired and daggy impression.

An example of the effects of incorrect framing. See how the paper has gone brown and splotchy. There are multiple reactions happening on this piece included UV burn, Mat burn, Foxing and Staining. These issues could have been avoided through proper conservation framing.

An example of the effects of incorrect framing. See how the paper has gone brown and splotchy. There are multiple reactions happening on this piece included UV burn, Mat burn, Foxing and Staining. These issues could have been avoided through proper conservation framing.

We understand that sometimes finances just don't allow for quality conservation framing. Having seen the effects of cheap ready made frames on documents in a short period of time, I am a big believer in waiting to frame the actual degree until you can afford the best. Many times I have suggested to clients we take a colour copy of the degree and pop the copy in a more affordable frame for the interim and let us make a safe conservation folder to store the original. (The folders your degree is presented to you in is NOT conservation quality). Then when you are ready the original will be in perfect condition for framing. Some people have said, "Oh I will just get a copy of it". It can be difficult to arrange copies of your degrees from the Universities if they are damaged and it is my understanding that they will come with a COPY stamp across the front. This does not look great framed and doesn't send a message of confidence to the viewer.

At the end of the day it is up to the client to decide how much they value that simple piece of paper but as a person who clearly believes in the value of education then knowing how to correctly preserve and present that piece of paper is what we are here to help with.

Simple yet Strong.

Simple yet Strong.

 

 

 

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Seeing Through The Pane

Glass quality and purpose, UV and museum glass, how is it made and is it worth the money?

The difference is clarity!

The difference is clarity!

 

You may remember the old way of reducing glare on pictures! Popular in the 80’s and 90’s, non reflective glass can only be described as horrible, it makes everything look out of focus and actually speeds up the process of aging, because it bounces UV light around beneath the glass. Now with amazing advancement there are glazing's on the market that do what traditional non-reflective glass failed at. We’ve had it for a while but its now becoming a standard as people come to see and know the results.

Museum glass may be more expensive, but well worth the investment when you consider the benefits.  Good quality museum glass cannot be beaten for its clarity, because it almost completely eliminates reflections, it is almost imperceptible. 

Next time you come into the studio, have a look at the samples of ordinary glass and museum glass, side by side. The difference is truly amazing! Museum glass allows for optimal transition of light, making the images appear clearer and colours brighter and more saturated. By eliminating 99% of UV rays, which will age, fade and deteriorate most materials, museum glass is the best investment towards protecting your precious artwork. 

If you are not worried about the reflection but conservation is a high concern there is a more affordable option that does not compromise on its preservation properties.

We ALWAYS recommend using this as a first choice.

And although we cant the reverse damage already done, if you notice some of your framed pieces are beginning to fade, you might consider bringing them in to have the glass replaced.

 

LINK: Click her for an article with a bit more scientific information on the different glass types and their benefits: http://www.frameusa.com/blog/what-are-the-different-types-of-picture-framing-glass/

 

 

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MIRROR MIRROR!!!!

It’s all about the frame….and the space…and the illusion. And of course, getting your lipstick on straight.

Mirror

People have been admiring their reflections in man-made mirrors since they began polishing the surface of a type of volcanic black glass called Obsidian, around 6,000 years ago. Mirrors remained primarily a luxury item until the 1800’s when a new manufacturing process, a coating on the back of a sheet of glass, made mirrors affordable and readily available to everyone.

There is much mysticism surrounding the use of mirrors, some believe that breaking one may cause 7 years bad luck. Once upon a time, people believed that when a member of the household passed away, all the mirrors in a house had to be covered.

Mirrors have famously been depicted in art through the ages, as with one of the most popular paintings in the London National gallery, the 1434 painting The Arnolfini Portrait, where the Dutch artist Jan van Eyck sneakily included a self portrait, in the mirror. Above it is the inscription: Johannes van Eyck fuit hic (Jan van Eyck was here)

If you zoom in on this image, take a peek in the mirror on the wall behind the couple…you can see him in all his glory:

A good mirror in a great frame can double your visual space and give an ordinary room the wow factor. Have a look at the hall of mirrors in Versailles, for example. Framers know mirrors, which many people don’t realize. It’s all about the frame and we really enjoy doing them.

‘One of the easiest ways to get light bouncing around and visually increase the size of your home is by adding mirrors.  One of the main factors to take into consideration is bringing the ‘softness’ and ‘individuality’ in with them.  The easiest way to work around this is by having your mirrors made by your framer.  You get to customise everything.  The exact moulding, size, shape, bevel to suit the placement within your home(and the other artworks, as an added bonus).’ Grant Hiscock, Interior Designer, Gem' Appelle Designs

We can get creative to give you something totally unique and perfect for your setting. We have a wonderful collection of antique frames that can easily be fitted with mirrors. We can also reframe and repair damaged mirror frames. Have a look at this vintage painted mirror we restored recently.

We cleaned and repaired the flaking original artwork on the mirror. We decided to keep the two original inner mouldings to preserve some of the original framework. The outer frame was replaced as the original was not strong enough to support the piece any more as we also added a piece of Museum glass to the front to protect the painting and the velvet frame from further deterioration.

We cleaned and repaired the flaking original artwork on the mirror. We decided to keep the two original inner mouldings to preserve some of the original framework. The outer frame was replaced as the original was not strong enough to support the piece any more as we also added a piece of Museum glass to the front to protect the painting and the velvet frame from further deterioration.

 

We have a broad range of traditional and contemporary frames that can be made to your specifications. The possibilities are endless….to match your furniture, interior, architecture, to reflect the light, double your space, disguise a feature in your home or accommodate your personal style…..just have a look at some of these gorgeous design concepts.

Pop in today and lets get creative!

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Mosaic Crazy! An interview with Mosaic Artist - Alyson McGrath

Mosaics have been around since at least 800BC and are to be found all over the world. Originally made with pebbles, in Roman times, they came to be made from small chips of coloured marble, a natural, easy to cut stone, which was readily available in an array of beautiful colours. Mosaics were first only used as flooring, then as murals and eventually as monumental sculpture and picturesque wall pieces, such as the gorgeous example we framed for Brisbane Mosiac Artist, Alyson McGrath, recently

(check out the link to the video we made of her work, which went viral on social media)

 https://www.facebook.com/pg/ArtisPuraCustomFraming/videos/?ref=page_internal

Alyson kindly agreed to be interviewed for out blog. Learn more about her work and what inspires her.

Peacock Mosaic by Alyson McGrath, Framed by ARTIS PURA

Peacock Mosaic by Alyson McGrath, Framed by ARTIS PURA

Hi Alyson, Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your practice as a mosaic artist.

Can you tell me something about more about Mosaic as an art form?

 "It's  a great question as some would classify it more of a craft than an art. Mosaic draws inspiration from various arts - in particular painting with the reproduction of the visual form. As you've said Mosaic art has been around for centuries and mosaic is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in the 21st century. Modern mosaic artists are exploring the textures and range of materials with many engaging in 3D design. I love the diversity of the art as it can range from the very formal, picturesque pieces to the total abstract incorporating so many different objects. "

Are there any mosaic artists who particularly influence you?

 "I wouldn't say influence but I do love the works of Martin Cheek, Solange Pfeiffer and our own Marian Shapiro. Martin Cheek uses a lot of glass fusion in his work and I love the way Solange Pfeiffer can render such amazing expressive pieces through her unique approach to cutting and placement. "

Can you tell me a little about why you were initially drawn to this medium?

"I have always been creative and artistic. The funny thing was I was drawn to this medium as a type of therapy. My sister and brother in law bought me a mosaic kit in my mid 30's and I loved smashing the tiles and creating a new art form. The combination of the physicality of the art and the seemingly limitless applications makes it a really attractive artform. It has become my 'go to Therapy' when I'm feeling stressed in other parts of life." 

How did you learn?

"I taught myself from purchasing a range of books and reading and researching the various techniques, tesserae (including glass, tile, ceramic tile, pebbles, smalti for example) and generally finding inspiration in the world around me.  I've joined several online blogs and facebook pages and I find people are really willing to share their experiences. It is an artform that continues to develop and mosaic artists are always willing to learn from each other. I can draw and love the sense of movement one can achieve in mosaics so this adds to its wonder. "

From where do you draw your inspiration?

"I am inspired by structure - I love incorporating 3 dimensional components into my work. I can also be inspired by an object which may have been tossed aside (eg. an old hat) and how I might use it as a basis for a mosaic piece. I'm also inspired by different mosaic techniques - I have not yet completed a full pebble piece and this appeals to me - both in terms of the medium and how the tessarae would be laid.  Colour is also a great inspiration - I find myself looking at nature and sometimes reflecting on how a particular element might be translated into mosaic. "

Alyson McGrath

Alyson McGrath

What do you like most about it?

"I find it really soothing - I can lose myself for hours planning a piece or drawing and creating the mosaic. I also love sharing my passion with others."

Do you have a favourite piece you have made?

"I would have to say that "My Burb" continues to be my favourite piece - it was a real challenge and I feel I captured the feel of some of the older homes in my suburb. I also enjoyed using a range of textures in the piece - the final 'touch being the installation of a street light (which does turn on and off)."  

"My Burb" by Alyson McGrath

"My Burb" by Alyson McGrath

Do you have an ‘ultimate mosaic’ dream? Something you are dying to make, someday?

"I do - I have a goal to travel to Ravenna (in Italy) and learn from one of the Master Mosaic artists there. "

Do you see framing mosaics as important? Have you always framed your work?

 "I haven't always framed my work but I do think that framing adds that finishing touch to my work . The mosaic may not be very tidy around the edges and framing it gives it that polished complete look. I'm so happy I've decided to frame my latest pieces. I'm really looking forward to framing my Geisha as Erin has already had some great ideas."  

What do you think is important to consider when framing mosaics?

 "I think it's really important that the frame complements the piece - it has to be of similar style and not detract from the piece. Ideally you want the frame to complete the work not compete with the mosaic if that makes sense.  I have found that Erin works so well with the piece that it is just seamless."

Artist and husband - Framing by ARTIS PURA

Artist and husband - Framing by ARTIS PURA

Can you tell me about the classes you run?

"I have run classes over the past few years - usually on demand when someone expresses an interest in learning. I generally hold 2 beginners workshops which introduce students to the basic technique of cutting and gives an overview of the types of substrates, tools and adhesives. I also have an informal group which meet and share ideas and thoughts while working on our mosaics in my back yard.  It's so relaxing and time just slips by." 

Do you enjoy teaching?

"I am a formally trained teacher so yes I do love sharing knowledge - especially when others are as passionate about the subject."  

How many students do you have at one time?

"I find 6 - 8 is the best size - any larger and you aren't able to devote enough time to each students." 

How many lessons do they take and how much do they cost?

"Lessons are 2 X 2 hours and cost $160 (which includes the materials you use to create your own mosaic)."

Do you have a website or a link you can share?

"My website is mosaicrazy - https://www.mosaicrazy.com/ - if people are interested in getting a group together, just contact me via my website.

You can also follow Alyson on Facebook

Many thanks for your time and for sharing your story with us.

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The History of Photography

Founder and Director of ARTIS PURA, Erin Salguero's first love was photography, a journey that led her to framing...

Along the way, she learned a lot not only about how to line up and shoot a great image, but the techniques and processes of old. In these digital days, we may have lost touch with the darkrooms, the chemicals and surfaces on which photographs were once printed and the impact photography has had on how we see and understand the world.

35mm Film and contact sheets from 1997. These images were taken and processed by Erin during study at Tafe. 

35mm Film and contact sheets from 1997. These images were taken and processed by Erin during study at Tafe. 


Painters used the first, simple form of ‘photography’ or rather the act of capturing the light cast from reality, with a device called the Camera Obscura.  This projected an image of what was in front of it onto a flat, glass surface, which painters then traced or copied.

Little did these clever artists know that soon enough, those images would be made permanent and do them out of a job. Painting itself was forced to change once the photograph became the established way of capturing reality…leading to the freeing up of artists and to the outpouring of creativity by painters such as Monet and Matisse, the surrealists, the modernists, the abstract expressionists and all the ‘ists’ that followed in trying to see beyond what the eye and the lens can capture.  

* more on the relationship between painting and photography:

 

An Example of a Daguerreotype

An Example of a Daguerreotype

Louis Daguerre created the first commercially viable process in the early 1800’s and it quickly it became the trend to have and carry a small Daguerreotype image of your loved ones. These were expensive, precious one-off items, made by exposing a chemically treated sheet of silver coated copper to light, and then chemically ‘fixing’ the image and removing the light sensitive component. Extremely delicate, these tiny portraits were usually placed behind glass and then in tiny decorative framed cases, to protect them. You can still find Daguerreotypes and the delicate images for sale in antique shops now and then. It’s important that you never try to open the case or remove the glass. If you need one conserved, whip it around to ARTIS PURA and they’ll take expert care of it for you. *

Soon after Daguerre’s invention, other processes followed, in an attempt to make photography more accessible and affordable. Images were made on glass (Ambrotypes) and small sheets of iron (Tintypes) and eventually, paper.

Private camera collection. Photography by Cassandra Lehman

Private camera collection. Photography by Cassandra Lehman

Henry Fox-Talbot is the man given the honorable title of the inventor of modern photography, with his invention of the paper negative.  The Albumen print was the first commonly produced process to make prints using a negative on paper and allowing for multiple reproductions. The name comes from the use of egg white; the albumen was the binder, which adhered the light sensitive chemicals to the paper.

Eggs weren’t the only foodstuffs used in making photographic images, the Casein is a colloid derived from milk, casein prints are soft and watercolour-like and the relatively simple process is a specialised technique still used by some artists today. All of these processes still relied on the use of light sensitised silver, just like the original Daguerreotypes.

Although the first colour photograph was made as early as 1861, colour photography wasn’t commercially available until the Kodak Company brought out Kodachrome slide film in the 1930’s. Even then, prints were not available. Prior to this, colour was usually added to photographs by hand, using thin layers of oil paint.

 (Erin spent some time learning how to hand colour photographs in this traditional way and can restore old hand coloured prints as well as create a coloured version of an old black and white.See images below of a highly damaged photo with large sections missing.)

Colour negative film became wildly popular and readily available and affordable in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, many of these images are subject to fading. If you have some precious prints, we highly recommend that you check them regularly, preserve them in frames with UV glass and have copies made, as it is inevitable that they will fade over time and eventually disappear. Oddly enough, although this is a modern process, the images themselves are not likely to last anywhere as long as the beautiful and haunting black and white images of long ago. This is because colour prints don’t have any precious silver in the emulsion. 

Of course, we now have digital photography, digital prints and a plethora of imagery on screens, billboards and even our phones. It serves to wonder what future generations will have to ponder on, when they think of us. Will there be any permanent archive? Although we do take and share images of every precious moment in our lives, its important to engage the services of a professional photographer every now and then, to invest in archival prints and good framing, to ensure your memories and legacy will remain for generations to come.


Author -  Cassandra Lehman

ARTIS PURA are excited to have Cassandra as a permanent guest blogger. Her experience and knowledge helps to bring a broader more interesting flare to the ARTIS PURA blog

Her previous engagements include: Galleries Co-Ordinator for QCA, Griffith University,  Director, Woolloongabba Art Gallery and Senior Consultant - Arts & Events to the Alice Springs Town Council where she authored the Public Art Policy. Cassandra is now working in the private sector as an independent consultant for the visual arts and culture. www.art-consultant.com.au

* ARTIS PURA can assist with conserving the piece through framing only. Although we can assist with restoration of photographic images on paper we are unable to assist on works on tin, glass etc such as Daguerreotypes and Tin types. This is a highly specialised field. If you have a piece that needs attention please pop in and we will advise if we can assist.

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Get it off Death Row! Bad framing – what NOT to do!

You wouldn’t believe some of the things we see here at ARTIS PURA, Behind the scenes and behind the glass….I mean, would you appreciate someone using your favourite painting as a toilet? No, probably not, but this is inevitable if you don’t invest in backing for your stretched canvases. Without these seemingly small details and finishes then someone or rather some thing might just take advantage of the quiet, dark, private space behind your precious painting. Don't believe me, here is an example of a recently rescued painting, BEFORE we cleaned the cockroach poo away.

An example of cockroach excrement in the back recess of a stretched painting on canvas. 

An example of cockroach excrement in the back recess of a stretched painting on canvas. 

Backing for canvases are very affordable and often overlooked.  Something as simple as matte board, foam core or even paper will protect your paintings from poop, dust, insects or anything else taking up residence.

The other nightmare we see often when re framing and opening up framing packages done elsewhere is incorrect mounting techniques and materials. This is one of the most important parts of a framing package. It is what will either protect or perish an item. We see horrors such as sticky tape, masking tape, packing tape, gaffa tape, glue…double sided tape (we’ve seen it all!) That is just the mounting. Then there is the acidic materials like, MDF and everyday cardboard. It is so important to use products that are designed specifically for framing works on paper. 

The way works are mounted behind the matting matters. Mat boards and backings are there for support and to protect the artwork, keeping it away from the glass in front and protecting it from behind. Works on paper should not ever be directly adhered or stuck down permanently to these supports. Pressure mounted tape can be removed but can leave a slight ‘furriness’ to the paper or a residue. Japanese hinging is the highest standard, using pure wheat starch paste and Japanese mulberry papers and rice papers. (see last months interview with a conservator for more on these techniques) Wheat starch is a binder used in the making of paper itself and doesn’t change its PH over time. Our wheat starch paste is sourced through a paper conservator for its purity and high quality conservation standards.

Applying wheat starch to a Japanese paper hinge. 

Applying wheat starch to a Japanese paper hinge. 

In these images below you can see the damage done to works on paper by incorrectly mounted and hinged work using substandard materials and incorrect techniques. To repair this damage can be very costly and sometimes the damage is irreparable.

The other fatal error we often see is UGLY framing. Something we try desperately to avoid. Fashions and tastes do change over time, however, and what was once considered the cutting edge of design can come to look tired and dated. A new frame can give an artwork an instant makeover and a new lease on life. Here are a few before and after pictures.

 

Got something that is  looking tired, dated or just plain ugly on your wall? Bring it in for an obligation free design consultation and see if we can ‘pimp your art’ 2017 style.

 

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Everything old is new again - An Interview with Mona Ryder

Artist Mona Ryder has been frequenting the ARTIS PURA studio of late, working extensively with the proprietor Erin Salguero to frame some very special new and old works. Ryder is a bit of a legend in Qld and is an Australian artist of renown. Her work is included in major collections and public galleries around the country. As an artist, she has worked in across numerous capacities, in public art, sculpture, installation as a painter and in works on paper. Not one to blow her own trumpet, she very kindly agreed to be interviewed for our newsletter
Artist Mona Ryder (photo: Richard Neylan Nolan)

Artist Mona Ryder (photo: Richard Neylan Nolan)

Mona, you started as a painter and then a printmaker and have so far had an incredible career, spanning several decades, and accumulated a wonderful body of work, and are represented in major collections around the country. Recently, you have started relooking at work from the past, and framing some of these older pieces. Why the new interest in having these works framed?

Its about legacy, at this stage in your career, you start to think about what you want to have preserved and protected. For example, I look at a work I did in 1984, and I still like it, I see elements in it of what I am still doing today. So I’m sifting through and selecting pieces that I think are important, to me and to my work as a whole. Framing is a statement of worth and of commitment. The works I have had framed were also works that were intended for development, for furthering and extending into new work, they deserve to be acknowledged and framing is about that, making a point of these works, that they are important within the scheme of my work as a whole.

So you didn’t see them as worthy of framing when you first made them?

One of the works was framed, but not under glass so I could see it deteriorating. Some of the other pieces were actually part of a larger body of work, titled Circus Follies of Exasperating Subtlety. Framing them at the time would not have worked in the context of the installation; they would have been too heavily featured, when they were intended as small elements of a greater whole. That body of work, as a whole, no longer exists. So in a way, framing these small pieces pays homage to the greater work, these small pieces have now come to represent that time, as a reminder, a kind of souvenir of that whole work as it once was.

Barney, 1985, mixed media, embroidery and watercolour, in antique frame, (photo courtesy of the artist)

Barney, 1985, mixed media, embroidery and watercolour, in antique frame, (photo courtesy of the artist)

You’ve chosen antique frames and domed glass for some of your pieces, why is that?

I wanted them to have an aged look about them, as if they have come from somewhere else, from some other period. Circus Follies, for example, was like an old carousel, even as a new work, it had a weathered, aged feel to it. So I chose the domed glass frames, for these pieces, the oval shape appeals to me. These pieces are unusual, embroidered and stuffed, textured. They are rounded and soft, not flat and hard…the glass echoes this, and appears softer. At the time I made these works I was also looking at a lot of medieval art, so the shape of the frame references this, too.

It Never Lasts, 1984, mixed media, embroidery & watercolour

It Never Lasts, 1984, mixed media, embroidery & watercolour

You do use unusual materials; let’s talk about the leather paintings.

Ok, these are new works. When I was on a residency at the British School of Rome in 2015, I started a series of leather paintings. Each day when I came home after strolling through the streets, I’d work on the leather paintings, they were influenced by all the wonderful things I’d seen in the streets and alleys and in the churches during the day. I was also thinking about the associations between Italy and leather, the beautiful quality of Italian leather, and how that quality is present in so much of what we know is Italy, or as Italian. To me the leather represents all that, the mastering of fine craftsmanship; the years spent passing finely honed skills from master to apprentice, over the centuries.

You have created your own very unusual frames for these leather paintings, which Erin has made workable. Can you tell me a little about these?

I’ve wanted to make mussel shell frames for a year or so, especially in thinking about how to frame the leather paintings. I didn’t particularly want glass on them, but the museum glass Erin has used is virtually invisible, they don’t look like there is any glass on them at all. They are recessed back from the glass, the depth is important to the look of them, too.

Mussel Shell Chandelier, 2016, (detail), Mussel shells, red stockings (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

Mussel Shell Chandelier, 2016, (detail), Mussel shells, red stockings (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

Anyone who knows anything about my work knows that I am very into mussel shells, I’ve even been recently developing them as a font. I’ve built a chandelier, stuffed them into shoes, filled suspended stockings with them sewn them on a cape. I’ve used them in so many ways, so it seemed inevitable that mussel shells would eventually come to be part of the frame itself.

Dance Me to the End of Night, 2016, (detail, installation view) mussel shells, found shoes, electric cable (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

Dance Me to the End of Night, 2016, (detail, installation view) mussel shells, found shoes, electric cable (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

Hanging Midden 2016, (detail, installation view) Mussel shells, red stockings,  (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

Hanging Midden 2016, (detail, installation view) Mussel shells, red stockings,  (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

So you see the frame as being part of the work itself?

Definitely. I’ve often done that in the past, made frames around paintings and extended the painting to be on the actual frame itself.

Can you tell me a little more about your thoughts on the distinction and relationship between the work and the frame?

It’s about where I come from, my origins. Shells, for example, represent home, my childhood on the beach gathering shells, and also the hundreds of tiny shellfish that made each shell home. So framing work with shells says something about that. The shells are all saved from meals shared with family and friends, there’s a series of rituals involved in cooking, serving, saving, cleaning and then making a frame with them. There’s a conversation in each meal, in each frame. Its kind of a way of making them mine while still offering them up for viewing, of including the viewer in my conversation, of inviting them to the dinner table, and keeping it personal. Even in the context of being on display in a gallery, the artwork still has a pulse, a heart, a soul…

Mussel Shell Chandelier, 2016, (detail), Mussel shells, red stockings (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

Mussel Shell Chandelier, 2016, (detail), Mussel shells, red stockings (photo: Mark Sherwood)*

So it’s still part of the living, breathing artist?

Yes, and that’s why I am so particular about how my work is framed. I think framing is far more important than people realise. The choice of matte board, the positioning of the work in the frame, the colours, the shapes and texture, they all matter. If you are doing a series, you have to be careful about that as well, so they all work together.

Listen, 2016, installation view (photo: Mark Sherwood) *              Listen, 2016 (photo courtesy of the artist)

 

Do you prefer to work with one particular framer all the time?

Yes, with a particular body of work, it is very important, to stay consistent and build a relationship. If you work with lots of different people, manufacturers and crafts people who assist in different aspects of creating works, its important to build a relationship and a level of trust. Framers are part of this team of artisans, I need to know that things will be done professionally, all the materials used will be acid free, nothing will be stuck down or trimmed and that the artwork itself wont be compromised in anyway. I find that Erin understands the way I’m working with the old frames, where as many framers just wouldn’t be as interested. And a lot of people just wouldn’t be prepared to take on the mussel shells, some framers might even laugh at me. Erin is not just respectful, she’s interested and knowledgeable. She’s clearly passionate about old frames and framing in general.

 

Some of the older work I am now getting framed, when I first completed it, I couldn’t afford to have it framed. It’s wonderful to see them all on the wall at last, instead of in boxes. Now I am confident they will outlast me!

 

Read more about the show at MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury)  in which some of these pieces were exhibited

http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3692451/roma-salt-lakes-and-a-touch-of-albury-at-mama/#slide=1

http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3692451/roma-salt-lakes-and-a-touch-of-albury-at-mama/#slide=5

* installation views from Exhibition ‘Dance me to the End of Night’


Interview by Cassandra Lehman

Her previous engagements include: Director, Woolloongabba Art Gallery and Senior Consultant - Arts & Events to the Alice Springs Town Council where she authored the Public Art Policy. Cassandra is now working in the private sector as an independent arts consultant, writer and artist mentor. 

 

 

 

 

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An Interview with a Conservator

Many have heard me talk about the time spent being mentored by Jennifer, an Asian Arts conservator,  to gain insight into the art of paper conservation. I have known Jennifer now for 4 years and in this time I have been amazed at not only her skill, but her dedication to maintaining the highest levels of professionalism and quality of her work. Knowing many of our clients visit us for our expertise in conservation framing, I thought it may be of interest to learn a little more about Jennifer and the work she does. 

Q:  Hi Jen, I know you are an arts conservator, do you specialise in any particular area?

Jennifer: Yes, I’m a conservator of works on paper and silk with particular expertise in Asian Paintings, so hanging scrolls, woodblock prints and folding screens.

Jennifer Loubser after conservation treatment with:

Five Human Relationships, Represented by Five Different Birds

China, Ming Dynasty, c. 16th Century.

Hanging Scroll

Ink and mineral colors painted on silk  

294 cmH  x   112 cm  W

Collection of Honolulu Museum of Arts

 

Q:    Why did you become an arts conservator?

I knew I wanted to be an arts conservator when I first started my Art History degree and went on an excursion to the Lascaux cave. Once I finished the tour of the cave, they told me that it was an exact reproduction, and that the real caves were being preserved from damage due to exposure to light, oxygen, and even the carbon dioxide in people’s breath. From that moment, I knew my career would be conserving artwork.

Q:    How did you come to specialise your particular area?

Jennifer:  Ten years later, I had finished my art history degree and worked in numerous capacities, in the arts, in galleries and museums. I then had the opportunity to work as a conservator for the first time. It was all simply about being in the right place at the right time, when there was a flood recovery effort at the University of Hawaii.  Ultimately I was able to make this opportunity the focus of my Masters degree. I was introduced to the conservator at the Honolulu Museum of Art, was offered volunteer work and then found it was possible to gain intern points for this. The conservator then offered me a paycheck and so I worked as a specialist in a traditional Japanese painting conservation studio. Hence my focus on Asian art.

Q:   The materials themselves are quite different, is that what caught your interest?

Jennifer: Yes, the materials are all hand made and have been refined over thousands of years. These techniques methods have been perfected over generations and centuries, and are accepted and employed in museums around the world. The pigments, even the fibers used for making paper are all hand made, the attention to detail is extraordinary.

Q:    You didn’t start with a conservators course, how long was your training and where did you train?

Jennifer:  When I was speaking with art conservators about how to go about becoming an art conservator, they all told me: 'The degree is not yet halfway to where you need to be. You really need at the very least five years of practical experience as well .' So I needed to know I could find work in such a small field, before studying for a master's degree.After my Art History degree, Masters courses in preservation and conservation, I worked for seven years as a specialist conservator in Honolulu and South Korea with plenty of study in Japan. I then decided to complete my conservation masters degree in Australia. My masters was in Conservation of Cultural Materials at the University of Melbourne. There wasn’t a degree like that available, in Honolulu.  There are only a few places around the world where you can study conservation at this level. 

Q:   So there’s one in Melbourne?

Jennifer:  Yes, it started at the ANU (Australian National University) in Canberra, so when that continued as undergraduate study in Heritage Conservation, the new program emerged as the Masters Degree, in Melbourne.

Q:   So you speak those languages?

Jennifer:  Yes, especially Korean, as I lived there, I worked there in the same field, looking after museum collections.I had the good fortune to work on 10 meter high Korean Buddhist paintings, screen panels in the Seoul National Palace Museum, and studied with a lacquer master. I then had the chance to work again with Bhutanese monks, conserving several of the Royal family's thangka paintings in Bhutan. They were all incredible opportunities.

Q:    Why and when would you recommend consulting with someone like yourself?

Jennifer:  There are all kinds of reason, perhaps because an artwork or object has local historical value or even if an item has personal, sentimental value and has suffered wear and tear over the years, or has just deteriorated through time and exposure to the elements.

Mao, Lenin, Marx Lithograph, panel one of 3-panel poster printed on paper  Chinese Cultural Revolution Museum, Shanghai Private collection, Brisbane

Mao, Lenin, Marx

Lithograph, panel one of 3-panel poster printed on paper 

Chinese Cultural Revolution Museum, Shanghai

Private collection, Brisbane

Q:    Should you wait until it has deteriorated?

Jennifer:  When you originally notice the first, tiny bit of damage or change, that’s when its best to have an item evaluated, to see if it needs to have its display assessed, or the location. For example, having it de-acidified, if it has some noticeable change, may extend its life for many years. Damage has many causes and can be due to heat, age, humidity, insects or even physical damage.

Q    So is it ever too late?

Jennifer:   It’s never too late, but sooner is best. If something is obviously happening, if there is any change occurring, it can be much more lengthy and difficult to try to stabilise it, if you leave it too long.

Q:    So you aim to stabilise rather than repair?

Jennifer:  It is important that stabilisation and repairs are done by professional, peer-reviewed conservators if you value your artwork. The difference between a conservator and a restorer is that we (conservators) work to extend the life of an object, rather than to ‘over restore’. We respect the artist’s original intent, and aim never to interfere with the original artwork by ensuring when we do repairs they are sympathetic and reversible. It is the conservator’s job to know what is original and historical, and to be able to recognise previous restorations.

Where to find qualified conservators, through the national professional association, AICCM.
https://aiccm.org.au/civicrm/profile/view?reset=1&id=736&gid=99

Q:    Could you give an example of 'conservation gone wrong'?

Jennifer:  Most people know the story of the Sistine chapel, and the debate over whether it was over-cleaned. Some of what occurs over time becomes part of an artwork’s history. Other factors such as the effects of pollution over time can be cleaned or mitigated through prevention.  We (conservators) are not aiming to bring a thing back to the state it was on day it came into being. It is not necessarily so, with an artwork, that it should come to look like new.

Q:   Do you see framing as a necessary investment?

Jennifer:  Absolutely, especially with artworks on paper; framing plays a vital role in protecting work, to save it from the intensity of ultraviolet rays, especially in Queensland. The damage of the sun on paper is similar to the damage done to our skin. Ultraviolet filters and glazing can really extend the life of an artwork. Framing provides a small micro climate and is the  best straightforward approaches to protect and extend the life of a work. Ask for hinges attached to works on paper with reversible conservation grade Japanese tissue and starch paste. The framing should be done using conservation grade materials; pure cotton mat board and UV filtering glazing are vital. They definitely save you damage and money in the long run and extend the life of a work.

Q:    Could you give a couple of tips to people who want to preserve and protect precious items?

Jennifer:  The most stable place to display something is always the best place, preferably on an interior wall that doesn’t receive any direct sunlight. Stable temperatures are best. Air-conditioning is not as important as circulating air.  It’s a good idea to change things up a little, rotate your displays and store and rest your precious artworks for a period of time each year.

In Japan, they have preserved works for many hundreds of years; they rotate the display according to the seasons, never exposing the most fragile items to harsh and changeable conditions.

Just like frames should be made with conservation grade materials, storage boxes and tissue paper should be acid free and archival. You don’t want the storage material to cause damage itself, because it’s not acid free. Always make sure your storage box can effectively protect the precious item from dust as well as humidity and insects and you will have the pleasure and enjoyment of your treasures for many years to come.

https://aiccm.org.au/civicrm/profile/view?reset=1&id=736&gid=99

 

http://www.asianartsconservation.com.au/

 

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How to frame a piece of soap

Or perhaps we should ask why would you frame a piece of soap?
We are often asked to frame all sorts of precious, bizarre, and sometimes ridiculous objects. One that springs to mind was a bar of soap, purchased from the Museum Shop at MONA in Tasmania.

Some of you may be familiar with the sculptural work by Greg Taylor, created with multiple plaster impressions of female genitalia. Souvenirs of this work in the form of similarly shaped bars of soap are available for purchase from the gift shop.

In the interest of keeping this blog post G rated, we decided instead to show you how we framed another bar of soap, in the shape of a flower.  

 

Having tried to find an interesting piece to work with for this project I was lucky to stumble across this in my travels by an artisan in northern NSW. When framing works of a 3D nature we always need to choose framing materials that will cater for the depth of the piece. We also like to use fabric mattings as the depth of colours in fabrics help the piece to pop and look more luxurious. For this piece we chose a black suede mount. 

For the frame we chose a beautiful ornate gold to work not only with the colouring of the soap, it also works with the design and helps to create that feel of decadence. Just a single black matting and frame would have felt to heavy so we added a second layer of black suede matting with a gold fillet to break the expanse of black and make the design more interesting.  This help to lead the eye into to piece. 

As this piece did not need to be framed to full museum standards the soap was mounted using a suitable adhesive. In the case of the piece from MONA the client asked for conservation so we employed a sink mount technique so that no adhesives were used at all. 

Working with a piece such as soap (and in this case a bag of the off cuts from the carving) you can imagine the amount of soap dust and other white flecks that need to be removed. A lot of the time in framing is taken up with making sure there is no dust within the frame package. This becomes even more laboursome with a black suede matting as it holds and shows dust more than any other matting surface. 

To add extra depth and interest we added a mat spacer. This then helped create differnt levels to set the soap back from the glass so that it did not become lost at the back of the frame. We also chose to use Tru Vu Musuem glass on this piece to have absolute clarity. This glass is fantastic for 3D objects and other items that have fine detail that could be lost behind the reflection of standard clear glass. 

The final piece looks amazing. To think that something as simple as a piece of soap can be presented in such a way that turns it into a masterpiece. This is what ARTIS PURA and framing can help you with. 

Did you enjoy seeing this piece........

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Our new home

Well we finally did it! After almost 5 years in the gallery we finally found the perfect new space to grow and expand. Located on the corner of Ipswich Road and St Kilda Place in Annerley the stunning heritage listed Art Deco building is the perfect space for our custom framing studio. 

ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Previously a photographic studio the space was pretty much ready to step right in. High ceilings with exposed timber and sweeping glass windows the space feels open and inviting. We have also almost tripled our space. This is great news as it will make our framing processes smoother and more efficient. There is nothing worse than clutter in a conservation studio.

Although it may not seem like it at first there are many parking options including on street parking in St Kilda place, off street parking at the rear of the building (exclusive for clients of ARTIS PURA) and if you still get stuck there is always parking in adjacent streets in and around the area. We have noticed that Monday is an awesome day to come in as the neighbouring businesses are closed. More parking for us.

With all this space we have so many new and exciting projects on the horizon. All of which are aimed at supporting and promoting the arts in Brisbane and the wider community. We also have space for stock. You can now come in and browse and purchase unique ready made frames, antiques, original art, mirrors, prints, DIY and art hanging systems . All this just in time for Christmas. 

We look forward to seeing you all in our new space. This really is a new beginning for ARTIS PURA. Those who have been in to see our new studio have been blown away. Pop in and say hi! We even have enough room for people to sit and chat about art and creative collaboration. 

 

 

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End of financial year stocktake sale!

We're excited to be holding our first stocktake sale! Head in store to take advantage of our great end of financial year offers. Offers end 30 June 2016. Available in store only, while stocks last. No rainchecks.

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A Thankyou to my Mum

As Mothers Day approaches we reflect on the magnitude of our Mothers role in our lives and how much we love and appreciate them.  Even more so as the years tick by where we too have been mothers ourselves, we really begin to grasp and understand just how much they did for us. The sacrifices they made and their unconditional love. Even if we didn't realise it at the time.

mum me and greg.jpg

Recently I had a life changing moment in the shop with an inspirational woman and her amazing daughter.  Although it stirred up a lot of pain from my past, it was on the whole an overwhelmingly positive moment. What really impacted on me was the obvious abundance of unconditional love , support and commitment this mum has for her daughter.

It made me realise how challenging it must have been for my Mum trying to get me through those teenage years. I remember that any time I was feeling sad she would take me on long drives in the country so I could follow my passion of photography. I remembered the countless nights she would sit with me for hours when I could not sleep just so I was not alone. I can only imagine the sleepless nights she had wondering if I would come home and what my future held. Would I find my place in the world? Would I finally find happiness in my heart? I have those sleepless nights now wondering about my own childrens futures.

Even still today she give so much of herself to me. Her support for my passion in framing is unwavering. She comments and shares every post on Facebook. Mum is always there to help with our boys and even now helps us in ways that are beyond measure. Without her support I am not sure that ARTIS PURA would be as much of the success that it is and the growing success we will have in the years to come.

So this Mothers Day I wanted to share with my world how much I love and appreciate my Mum.

Thank you Mum!

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Conservation Care Tip's and Hints

When you choose full conservation materials and techniques in a framing design you may believe that the conservation is 100% taken care of. This is not the case. As mentioned in our last blog post, the environment in which you hang this piece will play a vital role in the conservation of your piece over the long term. We wanted share with you some tips and hints to protect your piece well into the future.

*Hang your work on 2 hooks. By having two hooks you not only ensure the piece will not fall and the glass shatter and damage the work, you also will find it will not tip on an angle and be needing constant straightening.

*Never use 3M or other sticker style hooks.  In all the years I have been framing I can safely estimate that 90% of frames that come in with broken glass fell off the wall as they were hung from these sticker style hooks.

*Do not hang your works near direct sunlight. Although we have used 99% UV filtering glass (which is the best product on the market) there is still 1% of UV light that can get through. The UV rays, especially in QLD, are extreme and the UV glass is rated based on an overseas climate where the glass is produced. The other reason you should not hang near direct sunlight is that the heat that radiates can create humidity within the frame causing cockling of the paper and mould growth on the reverse of the glass.

*Do not hang your piece near an air-conditioning unit. Again this creates a humidity and moisture issue for the piece. This can cause mould growth.

*Do not place humidifiers and other scented air fresheners that push moisture into the air in the same room as your piece. Humidity and moisture are your pieces worst enemy.

*When cleaning the glass on your piece make sure you use our special conservation glass cleaner.  This cleaner is specifically designed for the special UV filtering glass. (You can purchase this cleaner in store. Being environmentally conscious, when your run out, bring your empty bottle in for a refill and we will take $3 off the price of a new bottle) Follow the cleaning instructions on the bottle. Do not use the cleaner to clean the moulding part of the frame. This cleaner can damage the finish of some frames. Use a feather duster or a lightly damp cloth. Never spray any liquid directly onto the frame. The liquid can drip down between the front of the glass and the rebate of the frame and then you have moisture (and worse chemicals and impurities) inside the frame. If you have a cleaner make sure they are aware of this tips sheet!!!!!

*Once a year (at least) get up close and personal with your framed pieces. Look for any signs of changes in the work, matting etc. Read more about what to look for at http://www.artispura.com.au/artis-pura-blog/2016/3/30/effectofweatheronart

If you ever notice any changes in you piece that concern you (even if you feel it might be nothing) please bring it in for us to check. ARTIS PURA guarantees all our workmanship and the products used to frame your piece also come with manufacturer guarantees. 

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Hasn't the weather been strange!

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Hasn’t the weather been strange!

Hot and dry one moment and humid and raining for days the next. It’s been hard to know what’s coming next!
“What has that got to do with framing?” you ask.

Extreme changes in weather, especially humidity levels, can have a dramatic effect on art and other framed items. Over the last month or so we have had quite a few clients come to us with concerns about changes they have noticed in their artworks, even some that have hung for 20 year with no issues. This is an ongoing issue in towns further north but we are seeing an increase in these issues here in Brisbane as the weather becomes more erratic.

Paper and canvas are highly susceptible to changes in humidity and the environment can easily win out against the highest levels of conservation framing in a normal home environment. It is generally not feasible to create a climate controlled space like they can in museums so addressing these issues quickly is key in the ongoing process of conservation.
 

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This painting was placed outside on display in 85% humidity. The humidity warped the canvas to the point of snapping the rebate of the inner frame.

 

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Humidity (moisture) build up on the inside of the frame has caused an abundance of mould growth.

 

Notice that both the matting and the print have rippled due to excessive humidity and ( in my and the paper conservator I work with belief) actual moisture into the frame.

We suggest it is always good practice to get up close and personal with your artwork (and other framed treasures) to be on top of any changes.

Signs to look for include
(FROM THE FRONT)
-Condensation on the inside of the glass
-Rippling of paper
-Movement in the matting
-Staining or brown spots on the matting or artwork
(FROM THE BACK)
-Tape lifting
-Mould
-Discolouration of any kind

Did you know that approximately 90% of the restoration work that comes to us is a direct result of poor framing techniques and materials? The above tips may also indicate that the framing is doing more harm than good. Combine that with frequent fluctuations in weather and rapid deterioration is inevitable.

ARTIS PURA are committed to helping you conserve your treasured pieces and are offering, for the months of APRIL AND MAY, a free conservation consultation of any works that are of concern to you. So get up close and personal with you art today and if you have any concerns make an appointment to pop in and see us.
 

Do you know someone who values art and conservation of treasured memories. Forward this email to them today. Our offer is open to all!

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Spreading her wings to follow dreams

I guess I always knew that one day it would happen. Im sad but also so proud of the courageous move our amazing Grace is taking. There was never a question that fine art has been Grace's passion and calling. Like frames are for me, art is the air Grace breathes. Although framing has become a major influence in her journey, fine art would always be the ultimate destiny. 

So it is with a sigh and a smile I wanted to let everyone know that Grace has decided it is time to head into the next chapter and she has resigned from her position at ARTIS PURA. She is taking a bold and brave step and devoting herself to her art. Not only is she dedicating all her time to her practice she also plans to return to full time university study in the new year. 

Grace has been with ARTIS PURA from the beginning. From giving her time as an intern through to a formal apprenticeship and as a trade qualified tradeswoman. During this time Grace has never waivered in her passion for her art and her talent was cemented in an almost sell out show at The Woolloongabba Art Gallery last year. Fittingly she leaves ARTIS PURA as she hangs  a duet show at WAG upstairs that opens Friday night. 

Landscopes is the combined works of Grace Herrmann and Clare Cowley. Together their works explore their intimate relationships with the land. 

"Landscape paintings are a window to the past that encompass more than just a physical interpretation, a painting can express the emotional feeling of a place. Through the temperature of the colours and every subtle or expressive brush stoke, painting becomes an act of re-conjuring the feeling of standing in that place. "

We would love to see you there. https://www.facebook.com/events/1488195524824228/

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Grace for her years of service to ARTIS PURA and her friendship. I am very honoured to know this amazing young lady and I know we will see great things from her in the future. 

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A Grandmother's Legacy

After calling numerous framers who were unable to work with her, Desley came to ARTIS PURA with her special framing needs.  Having been fighting ovarian cancer for years, she wanted to create beautiful pieces, framed in a unique way as a lasting memory for her grandchildren.  ARTIS PURA brainstormed with her and devoted ourselves to making each framed piece of needlework truly reflective of Desley's love for her grandkids.

HMAS Jaxon - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

HMAS Jaxon - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Desley had the idea of a porthole but was unable to get help from her previous framer.  ARTIS PURA repurposed an existing circular frame for the HMAS Jaxon.  This frame turned out to be exactly the right size.  It's like we were in tune with the universe, which wanted this project to go forward.

ARTIS PURA removed four ornaments from the original frame and hand cast the bolts and hand-finished the frame to give it that old world style.

HMAS Jaxon Detail - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

HMAS Jaxon Detail - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

The final details are hand engraved (not laser engraved) plaques, hand patinaed, and oxidized to look aged, adding the personal touch reading "HMAS Jaxon" and "Christened by Grandma 2015."

Evie May = ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Evie May = ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Evie May, received a white timber grain shadow box frame and hand-finished matts with colours chosen to match the colours in the stitching.

The shadow box is lined with orange which matches the lines in the inset matt, giving the work some extra pop.

On this piece, ARTIS PURA used Tru Vue museum quality glass so it looks like there's no glass at all.  Tru Vue makes the colours pop, is crystal clear and has UV protection to keep the piece from fading.  This is a major improvement over traditional non-reflective glass commonly used in the 1970s and 80s which used an etched finish creating a diffuse and fuzzy view.

Since Evie May is Desley's grandchild's dog, we wanted it to be personalised.  The dog collar tag is an actual dog tag, hand-engraved (not laser-engraved) with Evie May's name.

Koi - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Koi - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Each year, Desley takes one of her grandchildren on a vacation to anywhere they want.  The koi represent one of those trips.

The frame is an ARTIS PURA design, influenced by a previously purchased frame.  With a hand finished matt to match the colours of the needlework.   Instead of the usual picture hanger, we capped this piece with a traditional oriental hanger.

Rubik's Cube - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

Rubik's Cube - ARTIS PURA Custom Framing

The last of Desley's four pieces is this Rubik's Cube.

Originally Desley's idea was to have each side of the frame in a different colour.  Ordering four different sticks of moulding and cutting them to size would have been expensive.  As Erin was looking at corner samples against the work, she realised that a Rubik's Cube is all about the corners and that using her samples would allow us to both cut costs and give the frame a more cube look.  After which, they were replaced with new samples from her wholesaler.  Fighting cancer is an expensive journey, ARTIS PURA took steps to lower the cost for Desley where we could.

We at ARTIS PURA Custom Framing are dedicated to using our creativity and ingenuity to provide Desley with frames which reflect the personality of each grandchild, and the special relationship she has with them.  We're excited to hear Desley is in remission again, and even though there's no cure for ovarian cancer, every time she goes into remission it buys her more time for research to develop a cure.  To help cancer research, please consider donating to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation

ARTIS PURA wants to make sure each customer's dreams are met when we create frames for them.  In the end, that's what makes us happy, making sure our customers are happy.  If you have a unique project which needs special custom framing, come on by and let us help you.

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A "Sentimental Journey"

Often we have pieces that come to us that many would term as "ready for the bin". They appear to be beyond repair and look as though even Lifeline would reject them. Sometimes though these pieces are far more valuable than meets the eye. A lot of the time they hold deep sentimental memories and stories. Many emotions tied to a single image. This fortnight we had one such piece come through our doors. A simple watercolour of a sail boat titled "Italiano". The piece had seen better days. Framed by the artist with a single acidic matboard, very basic dated moulding, an old recycled painting board as a backing and basic glass. The mount board and the glass were covered in mould and acid burn. 

Before. 

Our client came to us wanting to give the piece a new lease on life. He wanted to present it in a way that told the viewer how important this piece was and that it should not be overlooked. Instead of me telling this story I thought I would do something a little different and let our client tell the story, his story. The story of a painting and the very special man who painted it. 


"Peter Meadows started painting in the mid 70's as a hobby as many do. He gave us the painting as a present in 1977, the year I got married. We have had it hanging around on and off ever since but took it down when it began to get mould on the matt board. I have always liked the picture and am so pleased to have had it restored and framed for a new lease of life in my office. It compliments our company logo in the space it now occupies and fits so well.
Peter was a bit of a sailor himself and kept a sailing boat on the Norfolk Broads, not far from their home in Norfolk, UK. I remember back in 1980 or thereabouts  going for a sail on The Broads with him before retiring to a fabulous pub for Sunday lunch!
His wife, my father's sister, Jean was a singer with the Ivy Benson All Girls Band from 1948 - 1951 and married Peter and left for Africa and a life on a tobacco farm! Very brave! She was my favourite aunt and I was very fond of her, and Peter too, who was always very kind to me.
Sadly, at 91 he s now very unwell and confined to a nursing home for his final days." Bruce B.

Triple mounted with 100% cotton rag matting, UV filtering glass and a gorgeous burl veneer moulding. 

In situ. My client mentioned there will be a beautiful antique burl veneer piece of furniture being placed under the signage. 

As an after thought, to preserve the frame that had been made by Peter Meadows we turned it into two small 8 x 10 inch photo frames that could then sit on our clients desk. 





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Presenting Brisbane's newest qualified Framing Artisan!

It felt so satisfying to sign off the last few units of my apprenticeship the other day. To be able to say that I am a Qualified Picture Framer feels both comfortable and thrilling.

I was lucky to have two very knowledgeable mentors to guide me. Erin Salguero has helped me thrive in what I do best which is to create; and has taught me to be confident in areas I had once avoided. Dylan Marshall has been a bottomless well of knowledge and I feel very lucky to have had him as my trainer. I have also had the opportunity to observe, learn, and collaborate with the Woolloongabba Art Gallery.

The Picture Framing Apprenticeship goes far beyond just assembling a frame. It has given me knowledge and skills for conserving and sustaining history. Framers have a responsibility to preserve culture and not to be waylaid by cheap unsustainable trends. We are in a society that thrives on mass production and sustainability is often compromised. Picture framing is one industry that will always rely on tradition in order for it to remain sustainable. Often we find ourselves doing things and using materials without understanding why or where it comes from. The role of the artisan is dying, and even artists are becoming a chain in mass production. Mass production relies on the product to be cost effective, easily available and perishable. Picture Framing traditions need to stay intact so that a century from now we still have an archive of our current society.

By teaching others about conservation and archival methods Dylan and Erin play a role in the preservation of history. It might sound like a glorified position, but when looking back on generation Y we will be known as the disposable generation, and we need to pass on the knowledge of how and why we do things so that in times to come our culture progresses and keeps its rich history intact.

I am confident and excited about my future as a Picture Framer and Artist. I look forward to the wonderful things I will have the opportunity to frame and the amazing people I will collaborate with.  

This blog post is the first by our very own trade qualified Grace Herrmann. I just want to take this opportunity to say how proud I am of Grace and how much she has achieved since first walking through our doors. I see a bright future for Grace not only in framing but also in her arts discipline. Watch this space!  (Erin) 

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Fabric wrapping for your framing

Why fabric in framing? Unlike paper mounts fabric has an intensity of colour and added texture that can bring a piece to life. For example war medals and other metallic objects pop when mounted to a fabric as opposed to a paper mount. By choosing the perfect fabric you can enhance the texture and lustre of the work being framed. 

ARTIS PURA Custom Framing are excited to announce we have extended our custom fabric wrapping design options for our clients. Working with both local and international wholesalers we have drastically extended our range and design capabilities. 

This is just a small snippet of what is available

One of the exciting editions is the flexible fabric fillets that we are sourcing from the United States. A fillet is traditionally a thin slip of timber that can be placed on the inside of the mount or inside a larger frame to give a small highlight colour. Our supplier in the states as patented a fabric version of this and I have to say they look amazing. The beauty of these flexible fabric fillets as unlike their timber counterpart, they can be made to follow curves. The other great benefit is the amazing colour and texture range, linen, cotton and silk just to name a few and every colour under the rainbow.  

This fabric wrapped mount has a small red fabric fillet. It also has an embossed design to create a subtle shadow. 

The other way in which you can add fabric to your framing is in the way of fabric wrapping liners/slips. A liner or a slip is a frame that sits inside the main decorative frame to give a border  and space between the work and the outer frame. This technique is used mostly in the framing of oil and acrylic paintings, but here at ARTIS PURA we also use this design technique on works on paper (the glass sits between the frames to keep the work clean and sealed.) Linen and silk slips were very popular up until the 90's but we have found that for the last 20 years or so they have dropped off in popularity. I have never been able to understand why as in many designs they give so much more depth and texture to the piece being framed.

Due to this it has become increasingly difficult to source these from wholesalers and therefore impossible to offer to clients. Not any more. We can custom wrap any slip profile in the fabric colour of your choice. This can be done in two ways. One where you see the corners or as a whole so that the corners are seamless. It doesn't stop with just liners though. We can fabric wrap larger feature profiles so that the outer frame can have a fabric finish too. Want that leather look on your framing? Now you can have it! 

Process shot of wrapping a liner

Come in today to see how we can add fabric to your framing to really bring your piece to life. 

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