Monthly Archives: December 2011

Big Picture Framing frames 2011

For our final post of 2011, we asked BPF owners Barry & Bob to say a few words.

2011 was a great year for Big Picture Framing. Our wonderful staff continued to design beautiful framing and provide truly fantastic and honest service to our customers. We thank them from the bottom of our heart! Also, we want to thank all our customers for entrusting us with their most precious items and supporting us throughout the past 11 years!The company opened it’s 14th store in Andover/North Andover in September to rave reviews. This store was the first to receive our new sign and logo as well as our exciting new interior look, which features a mural depicting the art and craft of custom framing. Also, we launched a fully updated website that includes an online photo processing and framing program where customers can upload their photographs and have them framed.

Barry Stahl & Bob Clayton

Wow, this is our 200th post! What better time to celebrate as we say goodbye to 2011. We’ve gotten a great response to the blog in its first full year. In our efforts to bring you topics that are both entertaining and informative, we’ve been learning a lot ourselves. We look forward to widening the scope of HWBPF in 2012 and hope that you’ll keep coming back to find out what we’ve got to share.


Goodbye, brave soul

If you follow our blog, you know about our friend and former co-worker, Kezia Fitzgerald. Her infant daughter, Saoirse, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a little-known type of cancer. For nearly all of her short life, Saoirse courageously fought the disease, withstanding treatments that would leave the rest of us wrecked and miserable. We’ve seen so many photos of Saoirse during her hospital stays that show her smiling and loving the company of her parents. To those of us looking in from the outside, it truly seemed as if everything being done was beginning to yield some positive results and she was responding well to the chemo. All the more devastating to get the phone call that on Monday morning, December 13, Saoirse lost her 8 month battle with Neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma develops from tissues that control vital body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and hormones. It’s unclear what causes Neuroblastoma, but researchers believe the genetic mutation that contributes to the cause occurs during pregnancy or soon after birth. “This robbed me of my daughter,” her father, Mike said. “It’ll never take away anything she stood for.” The couple are still trying to deal with how their lives have irrevocably changed. But in a recent post on her own blog, New Mom …. New Cancer, Kezia says that when they’re prepared to get back to the real world, they’d like to continue Saoirse’s fight against Neuroblastoma. “We will take on the world. Show everyone that Saoirse meant something, and that she will change the way the world sees childhood cancer. Maybe I’ll become a parent advocate and help other parents sort through the wash of information at the time of diagnosis. Hmmmm…..that might be a good place to start.” Kezia also told us that they will also be working to raise funds for more clinical trials that focus on quality of life and less toxic treatments along with early detection.

We encourage you to read each of Kezia’s and Mike’s blogs. They’re both well-written and the honesty that they display is riveting. It certainly changed our lives. We’re grateful to Kezia & Mike for taking the time and effort to share their amazing daughter with us, amidst the chaos and grief that life had thrown at them. The memory of little Saoirse will continue to shine in our thoughts and inspire us whenever we need to be reminded of how precious all life is.

Everything you always wanted to know about custom framing in 2011 but were afraid to ask

Art can often be exciting, but even we would have a hard time convincing the average Joe that the frame you put it in is something to write home about. However, without framing you’re gonna have a hard time bringing any art into your everyday life. So by that virtue, yes – custom framing can become very exciting. It just takes a situation wherein you’re framing something of your own that is of value to you.
So now that we’ve established the importance of custom framing for anyone who doesn’t like the sight of naked walls, the question becomes, “What the heck do I need to know about custom framing?” We tried to divulge the high points to you over the past year with incredibly witty and intelligent posts on this very blog. In case you don’t believe us, here is a handy-dandy round-up of some articles in 2011 that featured some tips and ideas about custom framing. Think of it as your adult ed “Custom Framing 101” class.

– First, it’s important to establish the value of hands-on, custom work. So we consulted with a fortune cookie for some sage wisdom.
– We also addressed the age-old debate of store-bought frames VS custom. (Hint: custom wins. Duh!)
– Often times, it’s not “how to custom frame” that is the question, but “what?” So we talked about several items that one might not think of right away. Like a rug, a page of original comic book art, and even some old vinyl records and a needlepoint.
– One item that we see more than any other, are probably diplomas and other certificates – here’s a primer on the do’s and don’ts of diploma framing.
– Once you know what you’re going to frame, that last question is “which design looks best?” There are as many answers to that as there are pieces of art in the world. So we highlighted a few techniques to get your creative juices flowing and give you an idea of what we can do. A stacked frame is a way to truly customize your image or item. If you don’t know how to approach the matting aspect of your design, we showed off some V-grooves as well as why “simple” should never mean “plain.”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what there is to see & know about custom framing. After all, this is only the end of our first full year. Stick around to see what we have to show and share with you in 2012. We’ll continue to give you the Big Picture.

2011 – Year of the Street Artist

We’re closing in on our 200th post as well as the end of 2011. So we’ll do some reflecting this week, beginning with a subject that dominated our blog this year: street art. Call ’em vandals, call ’em comedians, whatever you may think of this movement there’s no denying that it’s become ubiquitous. It’s safe to say that such a low-tech, low-cost expression of art would not have gotten so much notice without such a thing as the internet. The term “street art” is used to encompass so many types of expression, but the two determining factors certainly seem to be A) an outdoor setting, and B) well, “B” is a little harder to define. Street Art Utopia posted “106 of the most beloved Street Art Photos” of the year and we recognized many of them from our own articles and other appearances online. Seeing so many pieces of street art in one place leads us to think that “B” quality might be a certain naiveté crossed with whimsy. Add a pinch of love for pop culture. And don’t forget a healthy dose of humor. Perhaps that common denominator among street artists is that they are the crying-on-the-inside clowns of the art world.
These are our favorites of the ones we hadn’t seen before. The only downside is that we can’t frame ’em!

Holy Night? Holy electric bill!!

Most people enjoy celebrating Christmas. Then there’re the people who really, really enjoy celebrating Christmas. So much so, that they spend more on their December power bill then the GDP of Singapore. We’re talkin’ Christmas lights, people! Lots of them. Whether yer wrapping ’em around the tree, your porch, or the Roman Doric columns on your McMansion, nuthin’ says Noel like 48 miles of tiny lightbulbs, pulsing to the rhythm of “O Tannenbaum.” Thanks to Cool Pictures/Cool Stuff for all the holiday cheer. We took the liberty of adding our own favorite at the bottom. That kinda Feliz Navidad is a little more our speed since we gotta a little bit of framing to do around this time of year. Cheers!

Irina Werning’s photographs go Back to the Future

Photographs are a funny thing. Perhaps more than any other medium, they’re chock full of psychological baggage. That simple snapshot can capture a fleeting moment in your daily life as easily as saying “cheese.” Now it’s frozen in time, for all posterity. And as we look back at our old photos, they appear different to us. But in all truthfulness, it is we who have changed.
Irina Werning has tapped into this idea with her wonderful project, “Back to the Future.” While the Dear Photograph site uses a place to transport us through time, Werning’s new photographs effortlessly recreate the style & pose of people’s childhood snapshots juxtaposed next to the subjects as they look now. Some of our favorites are below. The people who submitted their old pictures should be commended as well for their honest and unselfconscious participation.

Kang Duck-Bong blurs reality

Korean artist Kang Duck-Bong makes sculptures that are going places. At least, they look like they are. He uses hundreds of pieces of PVC pipe that are cut just right and covered in a thick shellac of urethane paint. These are part of Duck-Bong’s solo show, “Disguise” currently on display at Gallery 4Walls in Seoul.

Photography, film, and video are still very young mediums in the history of art, so it’s interesting how they’ve influenced other forms of expression. Would this imagery have been as likely pre-film? Isn’t our familiarity with the moving picture part of why these abstract figures make sense to us?

There isn’t much we can’t frame

When someone visits one of our stores for the first time we often tell them, “There isn’t much we can’t frame.” It’s not bragging – it’s a challenge! Well, this is the time of year when customers’ imaginations begin to ramp up and they accept that challenge. We’ve been getting some great jobs that… well, let’s just say our problem-solving skills have been put to the test recently. Here’s just the tip of the iceberg from some our stores.
A pair of painted leaves, complete with a fillet on the inside edge of a suede mat.
A Christmas gift from a son to his father – part of a flag from the naval ship that he served on.
An actual Bobby Orr hockey shirt.
Painted feathers. Mounting these was… tricky.
Tickets from a father & son visit to a Red Sox game, complete with the foul balls they came home with.
One of our staff did a yeoman’s job mounting these. She devised an archival method, meaning they can be safely removed if the customer should ever so desire, and they’d be intact and untouched. Bravo!
We love getting these unique projects. Part of what makes our job so interesting is that every task is so different. We’re gratified by the fact that customers entrust us with possessions that are valuable to them for so many reasons. And at this time of year, that makes it feel like we’re Santa’s elves.

How to be Santa’s framing elves

If you’ve seen the latest banner hanging outside our stores, you know it says “Still Framing for the Holidays.” That banner stays up thru Christmas Eve. That’s right. Think about it – we can do custom framing up until 11:00am on Saturday 12/24. And that afternoon, we can still frame certain sizes in time for Christmas with frames we’ve got on our shelves. We’ve always prided ourselves on this because it’s one of the things that sets us apart from other framers.

Big Picture Framing can do last-minute custom framing for lots of reasons. We’re a locally owned business. We cut our own frames at a centrally located saw room. Your art stays in the store and we don’t farm out any part of the job. Our dedicated staff, both in the saw room and in each store, is committed to doing whatever it takes to get you your holiday projects and gifts in time for that important date. We never charge an extra fee for rushing a job. Bring us your special mementos, collectibles, and art – we’ll show you some fantastic designs that even Scrooge could afford. When you get it back on time, you might even think we employed Santa & his elves to get it done so fast.

Abandoned buildings made beautiful

We’re going to coin a phrase right here & now – “Art is where you find it.” Alright, so what the heck does that mean? Y’know, it’s like “Life is what you make of it.” If you’ve got some colored tape, or some guitar strings or sumpthin, just find yourself some derelict property and voilà – you’ve got art! Seriously, art can be whatever and wherever you want it to be, gallery or no gallery, frame or *shudder* no frame. Don’t believe us? Check out these truly unique works that WebUrbanist posted of abandoned sites that have been transformed by some very talented artists.Artist Jennifer Marsh, along with professional and amateur artists from 15 countries as well as over 2,500 grade-school students, covered this 50-year-old former Citgo station with more than 3,000 panels of crocheted and quilted fabrics.

The Crono Project is an effort to bring street artists from around the world to decorate abandoned structures. This piece on an enormous building in Lisbon, Portugal was done by BLU and Gemeos.

BUFFdiss is a Berlin-based street artist who sneaks into abandoned spaces and creates geometric designs and human forms using paint and tape. We like how his work activates the debris and decay around it, making the rest of the building appear to be intentionally made art as well.

“Defenestration” means “to throw out of a window” and it’s the name of this project by artist Brian Goggin. He and 100 volunteers staged an escape by chairs, clocks, tables, and other furniture that can be seen flinging itself off the roof and climbing down walls. This is how Goggin describes it – “Located at the corner of Sixth and Howard Streets in San Francisco in an abandoned four-story tenement building, the site is part of a neighborhood that historically has faced economic challenge and has often endured the stigma of skid row status. Reflecting the harsh experience of many members of the community, the furniture is also of the streets, cast-off and unappreciated.”

It’s unknown who constructed these criss-crossing blue guitar strings. Photographer Mary-Jane Lee found it when she climbed up onto these abandoned railroad tracks on a bridge that overlooks Paris. The anonymity lends itself to the work’s mysterious nature and beauty. Is it real, or is it a trick of the light? Is it a threat to a train that will never come? Can it be brushed away like a cobweb?

Go to WebUrbanist if you’d like to see more like these.