Ever since I started to attend conventions and exhibit original artwork in a public settings, I have always viewed framing as an integral part of promoting and advertising the quality of my work. In the context of exhibition, the frame is a physical extension of the artwork and for that reason I have always placed the greatest care and consideration in how I mat and frame my works. A cheap frame signals to a collector and client a lack of care and quality, both in the art and in the artist. Much in the same way a bargain off the shelf black portfolio belittles the art work within, spending money on a quality presentation means your viewers will immediately assess your work at a much higher thresh hold, regardless of what lies within.
It is easy to say, 'spend what ever it takes' as it is your career on the line. But when you are a freelance artist, watching budgets and considering multiple venues of self promotion, landing a high quality presentation at an affordable price is what being a wise business person is all about.
For years I have used various framers, from my local shop, Make a Frame, on Atlantic Avenue which provides me with exceptional service at a great price and hundreds of medium quality 'chop' frames to choose from, and a few high end custom cornered. The trip is all the more enjoyable since I have gotten to know the owners and workers there , Thorin, Matt and Tom, and they go out of their way to help me solve my problems. I turn to them again and again for a quick job and affordable solution.
But there are times when I want to 'spend what ever it takes', and it is then I hit the subway to Long Island City and step into Gala Frames. The way you find this place is walk down the dead end street, look over your shoulder for the Men in Black, take the elevator to the blast door on the 4th floor, and the step inside to...paradise. And I mean paradise. This place is one of those hidden gems of New York City. I first heard about Gala Frames from a friend, Dan Adel, who was exhibiting at Arcadia Gallery. I loved Dan's frames and had been looking for a way to 'step' up my display quality and to select a few special frames from pieces I wanted for our home. I was very impressed the first time I visited the shop. The owner, Nilda, has been in business for decades, she knows her stuff in and out and I now trust her with my finest works. When you get a Gala Frame, you get museum quality. Period.
But what is even more inpressive is that
these frames are affordable! No, they are not your $200-400 frame, which will land you a very nice one at most any standard shop, but for $700-3,000 you can have a frame meant for a Rembrandt that you would pay $6000-$15,000+ for in any other custom shop. Admittedly I do not go around popping all my works into these kinds of frames and prices, especially when they need to travel back and forth from conventions. But when I want a piece to sing, know that it will hang in my home for decades, or is such a beautiful image that I feel the frame will add exceptional value, then I turn to Nilda.
Contemplating how to choose from all those frame styles on the walls will fry your artistic circuits. They are so beautiful, well crafted and just gorgeous. They make you want to paint, just so you can buy a frame to hang on your wall. The desire to own one of these frames must be the same drive that others get when they start collecting original art. You want to treasure it. Nilda's frames are based upon many styles found on masterpieces in museums: from Dutch black massives, to Napoleonic golds, Art nouveau curves, and contemporary geometrics. The photographs of her place here only scratch the surface of what Nilda offers, and each frame is custom built for your art. Find a style you like, but not the right color? Nilda can change that. Right style but not wide enough? Nilda can expand it. Got a budget? Nilda can work it out. With so many options, you will walk away content every time.
If you ever have need of exceptional quality, the quick subway ride one stop into Queens is worth the trip. I guarantee it. And as a special bonus Nilda and Adam (her assistant) are some of the nicest people to work with!
42-24 Orchard Street, Suite 4A • Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 718/706-0007 • Fax: 718/706-0731
Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and enjoyable Thanksgiving!