I have to admit; some of the biggest costs in the arts print environment comes from framing. With literally hundreds of combinations of styles, materials and colors, it can be bewildering to choose the right combination.

First of all, I will say that buying a frame and matting directly from my site is an expensive proposition. Is it worth it? In a nutshell; not at all. To be transparent, I make anywhere from 3%-5% commission from sales from accessories, which includes frames and mats. I’d rather you spend the money on getting a larger print and getting a frame elsewhere; either buying one ready-made (for example, IKEA has some really nice, large format frames. Mind you, they’re from IKEA, so handle with care), or catching one of those large discount deals that the art stores run all the time. Most likely you’ll save money and have a larger piece of art to show for it.

If you do decide to buy a frame yourself, make sure and get art in sizes that match to frame sizes. Most of my work is 16×20, so a frame that size is ideal. Same with 8×10. 11×14 is very good as well. If you’re going large, get 18×24.
Of course, if you’re looking for no-fuss no-muss options, or if you’re buying artwork to mail off as a gift, then getting the piece framed and matted makes a lot of sense. They do a great job on the presentation. The art will fit exactly in the frame. The packaging and mailing is almost over-engineered, with spacers, shock-absorbers, and packing foam up the wazoo.

If however, you do want to buy a frame yourself, here are a few pointers in picking something nice

  •  For a single mat, always go with white or off-white. My artwork is very colorful, and anything besides those colors could overpower the art. A black mat might work in some cases, and would certainly be a bold choice.
  • If you’re going for a double mat try going with a white top mat, and a colorful bottom mat. Use the bottom mat’s color to compliment another item in the room you’re hanging the art in. Think about wall and trim colors, furniture upholstery, and centerpiece items.

For paper type, I would suggest Premium Semi-Matte Photo paper. I’m a matte sort of guy. I feel that glossy works for photography, but it gives it a regular poster-feel for art prints. Plus the glare is a pain. Purely matte surfaces on the other hand can tend to be flat, and wash out colors. I find that the Semi-Matte is a happy medium.

If you want to really wow, I love Somerset Velvet. It gives prints a luxurious look, super bright colors, and is great for oils and pastels type reproductions.

Oh, and if anyone decides to go for a metallic print, let me know how you like it. I haven’t ordered a print on that type of paper yet, but it looks as if it would be really cool.

Until next time…

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