February 21st, 2010

February 21st, 2010

I am gratified to hear from so many of our clients and visitors to our site that they bothered to read our blog. As I mentioned in our first blog, the purpose of this journal is to help you learn more about what we do here at Flax Art & Frame, as well as to provide some guidance regarding your framing choices, to help you be more informed about the possibilities before you spend your hard-earned money on custom framing. I will be updating this blog at least once a month and will post the previous 12 blogs in the menu at left in the gray column, should you wish to go back and refer to any of them. 


I spent 4 days in late January in Las Vegas at the West Coast Art & Frame show, held at the convention center attached to the Las Vegas Hilton. This was my second visit to this show (I went 2 years ago and sent my shop manager, Dana, to it last January). I am glad that I went, as it always provides me with new ideas, new tools, new frames to offer to my clients. The actual trade show portion was a bit smaller than in previous years but, given the economic downturn of the last few years, this is not surprising. 

I spent about 60% of my time, however, in classes and seminars. This is in sharp contrast to my previous trade show visits. I was looking to improve my framing and management skills, to help give me an edge that would make my store more competitive and draw more store traffic. I was not disappointed. Many of these classes are taught by experienced picture framers who have their own retail framing shops. A few are people who have sold their frame shops and become industry consultants. Either way, I was impressed with their depth of knowledge. 

One thing I noticed, though, about Las Vegas: While it is still an exciting, shiny playground, it looks a bit barren of people (except on Saturday night). Clearly, the downturn was having a big impact on this convention center. For example, my hotel was still advertsing restaurants that they had shut down over a year ago. The main casino in the hotel was sparsely attended. It looked like the Hilton and many of the older hotels and casinos had deferred a lot of their big ticket maintenance as well.  This was noted, as well, by one of my dinner companions who was staying at the MGM Grand. If the convention had only been held a couple weeks later, I could have gone to see John Stewart over at the Wynn hotel........

I will probably return to this show in a couple years, depending upon economic conditions and what sort of success the show has next year. 

CLIENT LINK: Pamela Preciado

A longtime client and friend of ours, Pamela Preciado, has launched her website and I would encourage you to take a look at it. Pamela does a tremendous number of portraits in soft pastel, charcoal and oil paint. We have framed a number of her works over the years and find them to be excellent in quality. She contacted me and a group of other business people a number of years back to form a team that would help her to create a traveling exhibition of portraits of famous American women who have had a significant impact on our culture. Ultimately, this exhibition will be permanently housed in the National Women's Museum in Washington, DC ( I believe that is the correct name of the institution).Pamela brought us in to be the framer, along with a photographer, an art shipper, an accountant, an attorney and a few other specialists. Pamela has labored long and hard to learn about grant writing so that she could apply for a grant from a wide range of corporate and private donors to get this exhibition off the ground. She seems to be closer than ever to achieving her goal, and we will keep you posted on her progress. It is a most worthy endeavor, one that really should garner support.

If you would like to visit her website, visit her at http://www.pamelapreciadofineart.com

CLIENT LINK: Jonathan Michael Johnson

Jonathan (we call him "JJ") walked in one day, a few years back, to get a quote on framing a large photo image he had taken. Oddly enough, the print was already framed, but he was very unhappy with the work done by one of our competitors, along with their attitude. Clearly, he wanted to work with a framer who understood his viewpoint and aspirations. He has been a client of ours ever since that day and continues to bring in his own clients to have his prints framed by us, knowing we will treat them well. 

What is unique about JJ's work is that he takes multiple exposures of the same image and merges them to create a depth of detail, color and clarity that is impossible to achieve with a single shot.  He specializes in urban landscapes, particularly Chicago. His images hang in a lot of corporate and private collections (including our frame shop).

He's a talented, terribly nice guy with a fine website of his own. Visit Jonathan at:  http://planckstudios.com


While at the WCAF show, we got a look at the newest "visualization" software, that allows us to show our clients what their art looks like framed, before doing any framing. The software, computers and associated hardware have all finally evolved to a point where we will be acquiring and implementing these new tools. I'll let you know when this new tool is deployed in our frame shop and we feel competent enough to start using it. We are all really excited about this, as we have discovered one real truth during all our years of framing: Way less than 1% of all people who walk into our shop have the mental agility to visualize what a frame and mat combination will look like on their art. As a consequence, it is a guessing game that clients have to play when they first come to us and allow us to frame their important "objets d'art." Until they have some experience with our framing talents, they can only take our word that all will turn out fabulously. Soon, they will be able to see with their own eyes what we are trying to show them through creative description and imaginative selling.  Stay tuned......


As always, if you have any questions about anything on our website, or would like to make a comment about anything appearing in this blog, simply go to the contact us form and email us. Thanks for visiting.