Customer (mid 20’s) : That artwork is expensive don’t you think?

Me : The work is professionally framed with a double matt behind glass and would have cost the artist between $150-$180

Customer: Wow the artist doesn’t get that much out of the sale if they are paying that much….why don’t they just pick up a frame from Ikea or Kmart they are really cheap….

Me: To understand the cost, you needed to understand the value of professional framing and why some art is framed. ( Putting on my teacher hat I proceeded to enlighten him )

…..Basically if an artwork is done on paper then it should be framed to provide a structure to protect it. All framing should also be chosen to enhance the artworks appearance without becoming the focal point. Framing can make or break an artwork.

Works protected by glass are usually created in watercolour, chalk pastel, oil pastel, pencil or charcoal. These mediums are not able to be touched without damaging the work and the paper does not cope well with changes in weather conditions. It is extremely important that the back of the frame is properly sealed from the elements.

All materials used should also be100 percent acid-free. Pieces framed many years ago, you might see that the matboard and the actual artwork has discoloured. This discolouration (acid burn), is caused by using non-acid-free matting, backing boards and acidic masking or scotch tape. Many artworks have been devalued because of incorrect framing.

The inside window of the matboard should be cut on a 45 degree angle and is laid over the artwork preventing the glass from touching the surface. It also contributes to the presentation of the artwork. There are also different types of glass available that serve different purposes.

Mediums like chalk pastel require speciality framing because over time dust from the pastel can fall from the surface of the artwork. Special spacers are added between the artwork and the matt so even if a small amount of dust is dislodged it will fall behind the matboard not collect behind the glass.

Thats just a few reasons why artists pay professional framers to frame their work, it is an art in itself…..

I was really happy that the customer asked the question, not sure whether he expected that amount of information but there was no exam after it…and he did thank me for the time I spent talking to him.