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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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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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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!

logo banner.jpg

 

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.
 

humidity damage.jpg

 

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.

 

mould .jpg

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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Boxing Buddha - Framing pieces of history

One of the challenges as a picture framer is being able to frame something you have never framed before. No matter how many years you have been working at the craft there is always something that will be brought in by a client that can have you scratching your head. Sometimes it can be pretty straight forward when the client is not concerned about conservation (and they have made the educated choice to proceed in this way) but when the item is a historical artifact that must be framed with full museum conservation techniques the game is changed. Recently a client came in, after seeing online the work we had done on the timber drone propeller, with an amazing antique artifact timber sculpture of Buddha. He requested it be boxed in a white frame with white matting as he was wanting to achieve a museum look. I explained to the client that white was not the best design for this piece as it would be too bright and take away from the piece. Modern white boxing would also not feel correct on an antique timber sculpture that has hundreds of years of patina. Instead we chose an off white beige mount (100 % cotton rag) and a stunning yet simple timber veneer box moulding by Bellini Fine Moulding. As the piece was very large and deep we also needed to create a box to extend the rebate of the moulding. This needed to be painting to match as close as possible to the main moulding. This was not the tricky part though. 

The complicated part was how to mount this large heavy timber sculpture without causing any changes to its current state. (eg. Screws into back of the timber). Luckily the piece already had a few rusty nail hooks in it that we were able to use as anchors and then using heavy weight fishing line, we strategically "tied" the sculpture to the rag backing. 

Once mounted the work was set back in the box behind Tru Vu Museum glass which not only has 99% UV filtration it also appears as if there is no glazing at all. We were very happy with the result as was our client. Mostly we are confident knowing that the piece can now be displayed pride of place and from a conservation standpoint we have done all we can to protect this piece of history. 

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