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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