When I moved into my first Brooklyn apartment when I was 24, I had a lot of walls to fill, and art was expensive. My strategy? Buying inexpensive but interesting works on paper from flea markets or thrift stores and investing in custom frames. At the time, this was cheaper than purchasing original art (and there weren't a million sites for purchasing prints the way there are now), but the results looked very finished and polished. (I did also use left over prints from photo shoots I worked on in cheapo plexi clip frames.)
Nowadays, there are so many options for inexpensive art AND inexpensive framing, especially if you're willing to do a little work yourself. (You can paint old frames, paint or trim out the mat, cut down a thrift store frame or create custom frames from inexpensive molding, change the gilt with leaf or rub 'n' buff, create frames from tape the French way, or just use a ton of frames from Ikea.) But there is still a place for custom framing and while it is an investment, I think it's generally worth it.
For Christmas, my in-laws gave us a traditional print from Japan. My brother in law has lived there for several years, teaching English, and last summer my husband and in-laws all went to visit. While there, they checked out the prints, and later, my brother in law went back to Uchida Art Co. and bought them a gift. Sneaky.
I finally got it framed and hung, and it has been making me happy all weekend.
The guys at Gallery Service frame shop are very good at what they do. I usually know what I want and have a good eye for framing, but Bruce is a genius with mat selection. I never would have thought of a charcoal grey mat, and I think it makes the picture.
It was Bruce who solved the problem of different paper colors in this pair of prints at my parent's house: gorgeous black silk mats.
Also Bruce who thought to use a double mat here, inserting a lavender tone between the ivory mat and the deeper purple tones of the painting. Genius.
Gallery Service is celebrating 30 years this month. Locals, run--don't walk--to take advantage of an unbeatable deal. 30% off your first frame and your second frame is free!