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Framing the Family

Imagine taking the time to re-visit the old family home. Just imagine you are there, walking through the rooms where your family has gathered and spent so many happy times (and lets be honest, some doozies too). When you look around, notice the walls. What can you see? Family portraits, paintings found on your parents honeymoon, war medals, mementos of their childhood, adorning the walls and adding to the decor. The story of each, proudly remembered and retold often.

Gallery hang old photos custom framing brisbane.jpg

As a sign of the times, we are taking more and more pictures but creating fewer family heirlooms. With the advancement of the digital camera, the ease of clicking a pic is as close as your mobile phone. No more setting the scene, making sure the light is right, taking the picture, waiting for the film to be developed, and then the exciting moment of picking the right one for the frame on the wall. Now we point and click, taking multiple pictures of the subject and then scrutinising them, applying the best filter and then straight into the Ethernet.

Now we don't want to take anything away from this, as we do exactly the same thing. However, we also believe in creating the treasures that are the first things you would grab in case of a fire. Your grandparents wedding photo, the family portrait, you get the gist. These special moments, captured forever becoming the family heirlooms of tomorrow.

So, why do we frame these pictures? Basically, it is the feeling it creates. It helps build a sense of history and family, reliving the memories and creating the ambience of your family home. So does ''generic art'' such as prints from retailers, I hear you say. Yes, they can add to the décor and fill the spaces but they don't bring you!

So how do we take the pictures from the digital to the tangible? There are many places and stores that offer a print your photos service. Which can work well for your candid pictures, they are a quick and easy fix. When looking at creating your lasting treasures (and in this instance, photos) you need to think about how you want the finished product to look and feel. When creating the heirloom of the future, the materials you use are imperative. Using cotton rag matting, 99% UV filtration glass and the correct hinging and backing along with high quality inks will ensure the piece will last your life time and hopefully then into your grandchildren's lifetime. These are important details that will NOT be taken into consideration if you simply head down to Kmart or Officeworks to print and pop it into a store bought ready made frame. In fact this option will greatly increase the speed in which your memories will fade and deteriorate.

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You may already have some treasured family heirlooms, photos or art that you want to incorporate into the space with your recently created memories. Unfortunately over time, and due to incorrect framing methods and materials used in the past, these pieces might not be ageing well. The moulding might be slightly chipped, the glass may be cracked, the work itself has yellowed with dark brown spots (known as foxing). The backing deteriorated, allowing access for silverfish to invade and feast on the piece inside. This restorative work might not need to be an overly expensive process, depending on the damage that has happened of course, but it is worth having it assessed by a framer. Even a quick clean and tidy can make the world of difference.

Some simple ways to freshen up these older pieces might be to replace the existing frame with either a new custom moulding or a restored antique? If possible restoring the original frame will keep the authenticity and heart of the piece alive. Cracked glass can simply be replaced and upgraded. Upgrading the materials to conservation quality will increase the longevity of the piece and is always worth the small investment. Unfortunately the yellowing and foxing is something for a professional conservator, but like us, most framers will have a specialist that they work closely with and it can be organised and handled at the same time.

When looking at the display of such collections, the framing does play a large part. Check out our post on hanging your collection for more ideas and tips.

Your heirlooms, your pictures, your photographs, in essence your memories, will help turn your house into your home. Simply through adding your own personality and history through your pictures on display.

 

 

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Gallery Walls - Framing and Displaying your Collection

What constitutes a collection? Is it your children's school arts pieces? Is it a growing art collection? Holiday mementos or family portraits? Why can't it be all of the above? It can! Your collection can be anything you want it to be. What speaks to you and brings you joy? How do you present this collection? That's where we can help! We have a lot of clients wanting to create their own gallery/collection wall but don't know where to start. Hopefully we can give you some hints and tips, and images of some of our clients very own gallery hangs to inspire you.

Depending on the number and sizes of the pieces, there are different ways of bringing your collection together. For a more formal look and feel we can keep these pieces more uniform by choosing some constants within the collective design. This could be achieved by using the same moulding and matting, or it could be with keeping everything, including the sizes of the frames the same (even if the images are not all the same size)

Continue the formal look with a structured lineal hang, either horizontal or vertical. This style works best with an odd number of pieces, for example three or nine, depending of the sizes and space you have for the display. In saying this a grouping of 6, 8 or 12 can also look fantastic. There is always an exception to the rule, even when going formal. Take the below design we recently framed and installed for a client. Even though they are offset they still have a clean crisp formal look. 

Gallery hang framed needleworks Brisbane.jpg

A more informal look can be created in a myriad of ways. The key is to keep it random while still giving a purpose as to why they are hung together. An easy way to achieve this is to keep the subject matter similar. For example the candid family pictures, taken while on holiday or at birthdays or other certain milestones. If you have a more varied collection that includes photos, art and mementos than you can tie the collection together by keeping colours and styles of the framing consistent (even if using a combination of colours and different profiles in the frames). In saying this I have seen so many fantastic collections where it is just an eclectic mix and match and it looks fantastic. Somehow the collection speaks about the collector and when all the pieces belong to one person there is that persons individuality and spirit that ties the collection together.

Once you have decided on the look and feel of the collection, it is time to get them framed! When speaking with your framer, it is best to bring the collection in at the same time. That way you can make sure the materials and designs you choose work on all the pieces and then collectively work together. In the end the framing has to suit the piece or it will never look right, even when its part of a collection. It's is also a great idea to bring some pictures of the space and wall in where the collection will hang. This will help not only to work with the designing but also make sure that the collection will fit nicely in the space. Make sure you know the width and height of the wall and pics will let your framer know if there are any furnishings to consider.

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Now that the pieces have returned from your framer, you can see exactly how they all work together. The more formal layouts can be relatively easy to arrange and hang. Simply due to the structure and size and the placement being a little more rigid. 

Collection of templates antique brisbane.jpg

The more informal hangs can be a little more involved. The three secrets to getting this right are plan, plan and plan! Firstly, let's look at the overall shape of the display. You can create an overall shape using the outside lines of the frames, for instance a square or rectangle or even a circle. Another option is to find the central point and radiate the works out from there, creating a more 'random' and organic feel.

If your not confident in hanging the works you can always have us or another hanging specialist do this for you. The other option is the installation of a hanging system. These can be relatively simple to install yourself or again have us do the hard work for you. The beauty of these systems is they give the freedom to change the placement of the pieces, adding and subtracting as new pieces replace older ones, without any damage to your walls.

There are so many creative ways you can bring a little bit of your story to your home and gallery collection walls are a great place to start. Chat to us today about how we can help you create that gallery wall you have always wanted.

 

 

 

 

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The Secret Banksy 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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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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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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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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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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