December 20th, 2013


 Our client, Winston Conklin of McGuffin Creative Group created a timeline/collage for BMO Harris Bank that showed the Chicago Bulls, The Chicago Blackhawks and BMO Harris Bank (aka Three Great Teams, according to the framed art). We showed the shadowbox that we created for them 2 years ago in this same spot. It has, since, been moved into The Idea Wall sectionof our website.

This Fall, we were contacted again to switch out an updated timeline, since The Chicago Blackhawks won another Stanley cup this past year. Here is the end result, in the same frame from two years ago:

McGuffin-BMO Harris Shadowboxx

McGuffin shadowbox detail #1  McGuffin BMO Harris Shadowbox 3D shot






The collages were print graphics mounted on 1/2" gator board with additional cut-out, 3-d details. I believe that the two shadowboxes we switched out are on display at United Center, where the Bulls and Hawks play. The frames measure (on the inside) 49" x 36 1/2 and are, actually two frames stacked on on top of the other to give the required depth, along with a silver fillet stacked inside the lip of the top frame. Glass is anti-reflective Museum Glass.

Framing and photos by Brian D. Flax, CPF

Images shown by kind permission of our client.


In early October, two vice-presidents from Catlin Insurance (a multi-national re-insurance company) came into our shop to look for art to decorate the walls of their brand new offices in Chicago. While we are not a gallery, we do show some of Jonathan Johnson's photography. We have, up on one wall, a large HDR photograph of Chicago, looking north from Printer's Row. It is mounted on a platform, elevated with a riser, and framed in a large shadowbox-depth black frame with anti-reflective Museum Glass. These gentlemen saw this piece and how dramatic it looked and wanted to know more about it and the artist. i put them in touch with Jonathan, who came to their offices, photographed all the areas that needed to have framed art, and put together a presentation with images of his superimposed onto the photos. They were very pleased with what they saw and gave him an order for 13 large images. Our shop manager, Dana, collaborated with JJ (as we call him) and designed a deep white wood shadowbox frame (Larson-Juhl 119631) with ArtGlass Water White anti-reflective glass for all these photos, done on platform mounts in white Crescent 9500 shadowboxes. The result was clean, colorful and absolutely perfect for the environment in which they would hang. Most of the frames were, approximately, 48" x 36" in size, with minor variations larger and smaller. Also, they needed to be framed and installed in a 2 week time window. This was difficult to do, but not impossible and both Dana and JJ pulled it off. Bravo! The end result looks outstanding. JJ photographed the installation upon completion, which we present here for your enjoyment:

Catlin Insurance Photo 1

The photo on the left is called "Printers Row" and the one on the right is called "Dearborn Station."

Catlin Insurance photo #2

The photo, at left, is Millenium Park during Venetian Night, with fireworks visible along the top of the photo.

Catlin Photo #4

The photo, at right, is a shot looking south on Lake Shore Drive.l

Catlin Photo #5

The photo shown here is a view looking west down Wacker Drive, with The Jeweler's building in the foreground.

Catlin Photo #6

This photo is titled "Near East Side" and is a shot looking East towards the lake.

Catlin Photo #7

This framed photo depicts a view looking south across the Orleans Street bridge by The Merchandise Mart.

Catlin Photo #8

In, what appears to be, the break room, is a photo of the LaSalle Street Bridge, looking North from Wacker. This is one of my favorite photos of JJ's. 

Catlin Photo #9

Shown here, in this 56 x 23" photo framed is the iconic clock by (what was) Marshall Field's.

Catlin Photo #10

This meeting room hit the Trifecta: Hung on the walls are Jeweler's Row (Wabash Avenue looking south from Randolph Street), The "L" tracks at Lake & Wells, and The Randolph Street "L" in winter. all 3 are very dramatic images.

Catlin Photo #11

Lastly, this is a photo of the Chicago riverfront looking East along Wacker Drive.

This is what we call, in the framing trade, "kick-ass" framing: Clean, beautiful, well-executed and delivered on-time!

Framing designed, executed and installed by Dana L. Fisher, CPF

Photo art, installation photos and installation assistance by Jonathan Michael Johnson

Images shown by kind permission of John Fliehler, Catlin Insurance.


Some new items that we carry stand out as great gift ideas. Here they are, for your consideration:

Chicago Brushstrokes by Mort Luby

Mort Luby's Brustrokes Book 

Luby Book Sample #1  Luby Book Sample #2







Luby Book Back Cover 

Mort Luby is a publisher who retired a few years ago and who, for nearly all his adult lift, loved to paint in oil and watercolor. Specifically, he likes to paint landscapes. Being Chicago-based, he accumulated a lot of paintings of the Chicago area and, ultimately, photographed them and published a book of 100 portraits of the artist's home town. The above-captioned book is 12 x 9 and runs 104 pages. It sells for $19.95 and makes a great coffee-table book. Mort's style is impressionstic and very pleasing to look at. It reminds me a lot of Edward Hopper and makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you look at them.  Great stuff. 

Wexel Art Acrylic Frames with Wall Standoffs and Magnets

Useful for home and office, these unique frames consist a single panel of plexiglass, with 2 or 4 aluminum stand-offs. The stand-offs attach to the wall with a simple screw, while the plexi attaches to the top of the standoffs and is held in place by a bolt and a round screw-on cap or "puck." Available in three sizes, they are great for childrens art, posters, photos, anything that needs to be displayed or viewed and changed periodically. The art is placed behind the plexiglass and held in place by means of 2 "impressively strong" magnets at each corner, one in front of the plexii and one behind the art. It really works great!

                                                                 Wexel Art Display

Here are the three sizes of art that they hold:

"Framous" holds up to 8 1/2 x 11" with a footprint of 10 x 12". It uses on two standoffs, one in the middle of each side. Cost: $43.99

                                                        Framous 10 x 12 Wexel Frame

"Be Square" holds up to 12 x 12 and has a 14 x 14" footprint. It comes with 4 standoffs, one at each corner.          Cost: $62.99 

                                                     Wexel Be Square Frame

"Rectango" holds up to 12 x 19" and has a 14 x 19" footprint. It also comes with 4 standoffs. Cost:  $68.99

                                                   Wexel Rectango Frame

Stop in or call us to order at 312-431-9588.

Coming In January, 2014

Gosh, we love doing shadowboxes! We will show you three really cool ones in January. One is a collage of sheet music from Lady Antebellum, one is a collection of small, ceramic cups from Spain and one tells a great story about a couple who enterred a dance contest in St. Louis, but it turned into a debacle when her hair got caught on one of his buttons. They were able to laugh about it later on and he brought in artifacts from the event for us to frame as a gift.

My staff and I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season (whichever you celebrate) and a healthy and prosperous new year in 2014! See you next year......

Brian D. Flax, CPF, 

President, Flax Art & Frame Inc.

For Questions or Comments

 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.