Monthly Archives: August 2012

Kris Kuksi’s sculptures will haunt and excite you

These assemblages are unlike anything we’ve seen before, online or elsewhere. To look at them you would think the artist was an ancient soul, driven mad by a tragic love affair and probably with a European upbringing in the 17th century. But 39-year old Kris Kuksi comes from a blue-collar family and grew up in an isolated corner of Kansas. He’s always had an interest in the grotesque and the macabre, which led him to create his overly involved and intricate sculptures. His artist statement says that the process “requires countless hours to assemble, collect, manipulate, cut, and re-shape thousands of individual parts, finally uniting them into an orchestral-like seamless cohesion that defines the historical rise and fall of civilization and envisions the possible future(s) of humanity.” We’re guessing that it would take almost as long to study these in person as it took to make one. They often include references to iconic gods and goddesses and other imagery of the Baroque fused with pieces from our modern world. His work has received several awards and has been featured in over 100 exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide including the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. We encourage you to check out his website because what you see here is just the tip of the iceberg.


We’ve got butterflies in our frame

While we have undoubtedly framed some insects of one kind or another over the past 11 years, we couldn’t think of a particular instance. So when one of our stores shared this recent custom job, we thought it’d be a good show-n-tell. The Newtonville staff explained what the job entailed – “Double glass butterflies, oh my! We used a canvas we were stretching at that moment as a background for the photo, because we’re classy like that. The 2 collections were originally in cheap, glued-together frames and unfortunately the butterflies/moths themselves were adhered to the yucky old glass with wood glue. After replacing the front glass with museum glass, we used 1/4″ black spacers in the back (adhesive side on the frame) and then put a glazing point or two in each corner for extra security. We used black tape over all that and trimmed it like paper around the edges. We put a sawtooth hanger on after the photos were taken so the customer can hang them. They turned out amazing!” This is a great example of marrying function and practicality with great design. Good job, guys!

Here you can see the back of the one on the left.

A Lego frame for a Lego green city

YAY – our first Lego frame job! In addition to the very cool frame design our Natick store put together for it, this award comes with a terrific story.Dotty Corbiere happens to be the aunt of our Natick store manager, as well as a math instructor at the Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts. Dotty decided to enter last year’s LEGO Smart Creativity Contest. She involved faculty and students in a musical approach to the competition by forming their own ragtime band. The school made a “green city” from Legos and put together this video showing how they use Legos in educational ways. Just look at what they did – this isn’t your typical Lego project! They utilized robotic parts with computer programmed controls and it looks like there was even a dash of civil engineering included.

Their hard work paid off and Lego awarded them the 2011 Grand Prize! The Massachusetts State Senate recognized their creative and enthusiastic effort with the citation that we were proud to frame. Congrats to Dotty and Meadowbrook School – the video is adorable!

You can’t spell Heart without Art

Big Picture Framing is excited to announce our new community outreach program, Big Heart!
Big Heart is a volunteer based program that will provide various artistic activities throughout the many of our stores’ neighborhoods. We have a wealth of artistic talent among our employees and we want to share that creativity. Through the Big Heart program, Big Picture employees will be reaching out to local schools, hospitals,
senior centers etc. to offer art project lessons at no charge. Owners Bob & Barry said, “Big Picture is so thankful for the support we get from the towns and cities that surround our stores. We’ve been wanting to give back a piece of ourselves, our heart to these wonderful communities. This program is our opportunity to do that, as well as share a piece of what we do as artists.”

We just offered our first class at Golden Days Children’s Center in Newton, Ma. It was tons of fun! We created a colorful mobile with the 3-5 year old students that now hangs proudly in the school. The children also did circle drawings that we matted so they got to see their work presented with some special flair. The volunteer from our Arlington store, Jessica found the whole experience very rewarding, particularly the response from the kids. It was clear that they were so happy to be expressing themselves with the materials and instruction that we’d provided.
Check back here for regular updates about how Big Heart is growing as we continue to share our love of hand-made art. If you are part of an organization that would like to take advantage of our volunteers, please email Jessica at or you can call her at our Arlington store, 781-648-1489.

A puzzling frame design

Yes, we frame puzzles. Quite a few, in fact. We finally put the pieces together and realized there ought to be a puzzle alongside the other framing examples we have on display in-store. This one of Van Gogh’s “Stary Night” seemed like a logical choice. But about a month after putting it up, somebody bought it. At that point, we knew we were onto something, so the search was on to find a replacement. This puzzle of both Fenway Park and the Boston skyline in the background was perfect! It took a fraction of the time that Vincent’s painting did – ugh, those repeating colors! – so the only thing left is the custom design. Any suggestions?
Check back before too long to see what it ends up looking like.

How to make a wine cork portrait

One drawing. 6,134 nails.  3,621 recycled wine corks.  That’s what Scott Gundersen needed to create this portrait entitled “Trisha.” While, the idea of collaging wine corks to make a picture isn’t entirely original, we were charmed by the execution of his making-of-it video and its setting in a beautiful barn studio. You can find out more about Gundersen on his Facebook page. But we expect that watching the video at the bottom will tell you everything you need to know.

The Mosaic Man

After you hear Jim Powers’s story, you’ll never think of street art the same way again. Powers, or the Mosaic Man as he is known, was homeless when he began doing outdoor murals in 1985. Over the decades, and despite a city-wide graffiti cleanup, he’s adorned 80 light poles in New York’s East Village – each one representing the community. It’s an amazing story that teaches the always-important lesson, art is what you make it and where you make it.

A splash of paint here, some new awnings there

You can stick a fork in our Arlington store makeover – it’s done! A couple of months back, we started some big changes at our third oldest store. Well, after a new carpet and a brand new corner sample wall with its fancy photo collage, we completed the rest of the plan. The interior has all new lighting with improved bulb color. The exterior has a new coat of paint, and shiny new awnings. Awwwww. Come on in and take a look – you probably won’t even recognize the place.

And hey, it’s all just in time for our big 50% off custom Roma frame sale, going on all through August.

a Big Picture Thank You to Christine for the photos

The benefits of the many do not outweigh the benefits of the one

Today’s post may seem obscure to someone who doesn’t care one whit about framing, but trust us – this is a lesson that will help you at least once in life. You don’t have to use the same frame design on every piece in a group of pictures. We hear you out there: “Why the heck are you telling us this?” Well, so many of our customers bring us a group of items that they intend to hang together – diplomas, family photos, movie posters, kid’s art, etc. Their natural inclination is to use the same frame, and even the same mat colors, on every piece. Not so fast, faithful customer!

Framing a group that will hang together in identical frames is rarely the best design. Chances are that each picture isn’t exactly the same, whether the sizes or colors or something else varies from piece to piece – so by framing them the same, you may make them look like a set, but that does a disservice to each individual piece.

Take these maps as an example. The customer had collected antique maps of places that he & his wife had traveled to over the years. They’re different sizes & colors – we did a variety of mat designs in order to complement the differences in each map. If we had done the same mat color on each one, it would had to have been something generic and dull, like a white or off-white, rather than a design that suited each individual mat.
Likewise, we picked an appropriate frame for each map. Bigger maps got bigger frames, smaller maps got smaller frames. Notice tho’ that each frame is a dark color, with black tones and a hint of red. This way they will complement one another, without being too matchy-matchy.

No matter what you choose to display in your home, remember not to sacrifice the beauty of a piece of art or picture for the sake of making it look like other framed pieces. One point of custom framing is that the frame design is tailored to that image, so take advantage of that virtue. We promise that the results will speak for themselves.

50% Off Roma frames all this month!

This is an amazing sale – Big Picture Framing is offering half-off custom Roma frames thru August. Roma frames are hand-finished Italian frames – each one is truly unique. They feature applications of gold and silver leafing, genuine woods, exotic veneers, patinas, superior lacquers and finishes, all done by hand. Our framers get excited whenever we can use one of these in a design ’cause the job always ends up looking beautiful. Here’re some pics to give you an idea. But the real proof is seeing them in person, so come on in this month!