This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City. Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Framing paintings can be a difficult -- and costly-- choice to make. After all, an artist may be a highly skilled painter -- but that does not mean that he or she is an expert at framing art. If you have ever browsed the framing selection of your average art supply store you will find that most can be very expensive. On the other hand, art frames purchased on the cheap might be good for one's budget -- but that does not mean that the frame is a 'good' choice for the painting. In addition to that, most art collectors -- based on what I've been told over the years -- will end up having the framed paintings reframed professionally... especially if the frames the paintings arrive with fail to compliment the artwork. That said, there is another aspect of art framing that appears to be trending within various circles of the art world -- that being, the concept that unique frames can become part of ones art brand.
When we discuss branding for artists it normally comes in the form of exploring how one can brand his or her name -- with special attention focused on how one signs his or her artwork-- in order to establish an association that viewers remember. Obviously that aspect of art branding is vital. However, there are other ways that artists can help to build their brand -- and one of those choices can fall on how the artist decides to frame his or her artwork. In a sense, the right choice of frame can support the overall theme of ones artistic direction and public image. In time, dedication to that choice can become a 'signature' of the artists work that goes beyond the name signature itself. It all adds up to a signature style that viewers are conditioned to associate with as the years go by.
I'll admit that normally I'm not a fan of frames in general when it comes to paintings. I often prefer the rawness, if you will, of an unframed painting. In my opinion, the sides of a stretched canvas can tell a lot about the artist behind the work -- did the artist take extra effort to make the side surfaces clean? Did the artist allow the side surfaces to become a part of the work itself? These choices invite me to learn more about the personality of the painter. However, a few movements in art have changed my opinion over the years in regard to painting frames -- and opened my eyes to the fact that said choice can be just as interesting to question and learn about if the frames involved are unique. Point blank -- I've observed how choice of framing can become part of a painters overall brand image.
I've observed this mostly within the 'realm' of Dark Art, Visionary Art and Pop Surrealism (and yes, I realize these directions in art often mesh.). For example, it is clear -- at least to me -- that the framing choices of artists ranging from Chet Zar to Mark Ryden add to the character of the work while at the same time helping to build upon their art branding image. The same can be said for the framing choices of artists such as Travis Louie and H.R. Giger. When I think of paintings by these artists, I tend to also think about the choices of framing that I know they have used steadily throughout their careers.
I'll offer an example of how strong choices of framing can become in regard to art branding. If I'm not sure that I'm looking at a painting by Travis Louie, I know for certain that I am if the painting involves the ornate frames that I associate with his work -- his routine use of specific types of frames for his paintings happens to be a perfect example of how choice of framing can build upon an art brand. In fact, that connection is so strong, in my opinion, that something would seem 'off' if the frame were removed. In a sense, Louie's aesthetic choice in regard to framing has become a 'signature' of his artwork overall.
I realize that artists who focus on other genres of painting have also used choice of framing as an addition to their art branding -- and that it has worked for them as well. That said, the artists mentioned above were the breaking point for me in regard to changing my opinion of art framing in general. It amazes me how something that often seems trivial can end up becoming a part of an artists overall style -- and thus, brand. Needless to say, these artists forced me to rethink my position on framing.
In closing, I would like to read about your experience with framing -- specifically in regard to paintings. Do you view your choice of frames as being a part of your brand? Did you change your mind about frames in general at some point as I have done? What caused you to change your opinion? If you have a specific focus -- a specific look that you go for -- when choosing a frame... tell me about it. Consider this an open thread about the art of framing and branding quality of frames.
Take care, Stay true,