Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Crowd Funded Art

You’ve fallen in love - with a piece of art.
The painting is perfect in every way. You find yourself dreaming about it. It’s one-of-a-kind, and you’re confident you’ll never see anything like it again. 
The artwork is in a gallery, so you visit it whenever you can, hoping that no one else desires it as much as you do. You can picture it in your home. In fact, you’ve already chosen a spot for it. You know this painting would bring you joy every day, for the rest of your life.
The only problem is the price. Oh, it’s definitely worth every penny the gallery is asking. You just don’t have quite enough of those pennies right now.
But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. 
It’s the holiday season, so be bold! Tell your spouse, your siblings, your parents and your kids that you would LOVE that painting.
And if you and your friends normally exchange gifts, ask them to contribute to your painting fund instead.
Split several ways, the price per person might be much more palatable for everyone.
When giving a gift, the giver wants to know that it makes the recipient happy. So, with the singular goal of making that painting your own, let those who love you know that this piece has captured your heart, and that, if they join together to buy it for you, you’ll be filled with gratitude for their generosity.
Years from now, their normal gift of a Christmas sweater will be deep within a landfill, but that painting will still be feeding your soul.
So, do what it takes to make your dream come true.
At American Frame, we have a lovely gallery space. The exhibits change every month, so we give you the opportunity to see a lot of artwork throughout the year. Our most recent exhibit featured the art of Tim Gagnon, a Maine native whose paintings are stunning.

A particular piece caught the eye of one of our customers. Everything about it was perfect, except the price. So, she did what anyone in love would do: she found a way to make it work. She talked with her husband and mother and both of her grown kids and convinced them that the painting would bring her joy for years to come. Her family understood, and they’re gifting her with the painting this Christmas.
It’ll be a very special day for her. One of many to come.

Blog contributor Christine Steven works in the Showroom at American Frame. When she's not framing art, she enjoys traveling, shopping, and playing board games. Her favorite frame package is the L989 with a nice 6 ply mat.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

These are a few of our favorite frames.

Browse Our Staff’s Favorite Frames

We love art and the people who create it. And we're proud that many artists work at American Frame. Each has a favorite frame and a specific way they use it to complement their work. 

Name: Rebecca Johnson
Position: Cutting Room Production
Your favorite frame: #8411
Why you love it: It’s nice to look at, simple to work with, and matches my artwork easily.
How you’ve used it: Wedding invitations and family photos.

Name: Heather McAllister
Position: Cutting Room Supervisor
Your favorite frame: #AF104
Why you love it: Its shape and
clean lines go with everything. I've framed awards, family photos and wedding invitations with it. It’s like a nice pair of jeans; you can dress it down or dress it up.

Name: Jamie Carlin
Position: Customer Service
Your favorite frame: #206 natural
Why you love it: It’s subtle and made from a solid American hardwood.
How you’ve used it: For all of my own artwork. It has a great gallery look that isn’t distracting to the work, but holds itself up well.

Name: Nancy Frey
Position: Production Manager
Your favorite frame: #80033
Why you love it: It goes with so many pieces of art. The size doesn’t overpower the art, but enhances it. The design is gentle and pleasing. I love the very slight hint of purple/red accent on some of the texture.
How you’ve used it: To frame wedding pictures and invitations.
Name: Janine Renard
Position: Commercial Framing Department (Dry-Mounter)
Your favorite
frame: #51407
Why you love it: Sometimes you just need some depth to make your art pop. I also like the texture.
How you’ve used it: With nature photos.
Name: Christine Steven
Position: Showroom Attendant
Your favorite frame: #206
Why you love it: It makes
artwork look modern. I like the clean lines and neutral finish.
How you’ve used it: To update an antique map.
Name: Chris Brown
Position: Commercial Department Assistant Manager
Your favorite frame: #79613
Why you love it: It’s silvery and elegant, with just the right amount of distressed detailing. I also like its versatility.

How you’ve used it: With dark mats and black and white photographs.
Name: Ramon Keys
Position: Showroom Attendant, Social Media, Marketing Assistant
Your favorite frame: Tarnished Pewter Wood Frame #332902
Why you love it: It’s a surprisingly versatile frame. It has an industrial texture that works well with a lot of art.
How you’ve used it: On floated Degas drawings.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

3 Tips to Turn Black Friday into Creativity Friday

Picture this: It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Throngs of people are waking up before the sun to stand in endless lines for low prices on microwaves and big-screen TVs.
But not you.
No, you’ve decided to sit this Black Friday out. So while everyone is shopping ‘til they drop, you’re in your studio, sipping coffee, playing old records, and letting your creativity run wild.

Sounds much better, doesn’t it?

We thought so, too. So this year, we’re encouraging you to turn Black Friday into Creativity Friday. Spend the day with your canvases or camera and indulge yourself with a heaping helping of imagination.
Here are some ideas to make the most of your day.

Take Time for Yourself
The first thing you’ll want to do is kick everyone out of your work space. Being alone increases our creativity. It gives our minds the opportunity to wander, a process neuroscientists call “constructive internal reflection.” So, spending the day with your own thoughts can inspire you to create beautiful art.

Try Something New

Are you normally an oil painter? Give watercolors a try. Do you spend most of your time behind a lens? Pick up a paint brush. Experimenting with new mediums or artistic styles can expand your creativity, because it releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter tied to motivation and learning. According to the book Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by researchers Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, openness to exploring new ideas may be the number one factor in predicting creative achievement.


Before you touch a brush, spend some time lost in thought. Wondering how the Jolly Green Giant finds shoes that fit may not seem productive, but those nonsensical thought bubbles actually have an important purpose. Daydreaming can enhance creative thinking, planning and self-awareness. Plus, you never know when thoughts of enormous green footwear will morph into inspiration for your next painting.
Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

This Year, Give Creative, Personalized Gifts

This Year, Give Creative, Personalized Gifts

The holidays are a great excuse to get creative with gifts that will delight your friends and family. A little imagination and the right frame are all you need to turn ordinary objects into great gifts. Here are a few ideas.

A Framed Photo

As a photographer, you probably take plenty of candid snaps at your family gatherings. The right frame can elevate that photo of a rousing game of Twister or a child tearing into her presents with great anticipation, and turn it into a fond memory. Try pairing a Radius Colorcast frame and its splash of color with a black and white print. We can even print and frame your photo or artwork and send it to the recipient.

An Heirloom Decoration

Is there a holiday decoration from your childhood that means Christmas to you and your siblings? Turn it into art with one of our frames. Preserve the cardboard Santa you made in Kindergarten so your mom can display it on her wall. And your sister may have long ago forgotten about the now-frayed stocking she received as a baby, but in the right frame, it’ll take on a whole new life and add a nostalgic touch to her holiday décor each year. Pair it with an elegant Neo Florentine Nielsen 97.

Framed Holiday Music

Does Dad love Nat King Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song”? Then the framed album cover would make a great gift. Does a family member have a favorite Christmas carol? Showcase the sheet music in a beautiful frame. The wide-edged Standard Plus One will help it stand out.

Your Framed Art

Your painting, drawing or photography makes a heartfelt gift when joined with a thoughtful frame choice. Look through our wide assortment of metal and solid wood frames, or if you need help choosing a frame, stop in or contact us.

Frame Accessories

Looking for a gift for the artist in your life? Give them tools to make their DIY framing easier. Our Essentials Framing Kit is a great place to start. A Point Driver is a must-have for anyone who frames often. And our DIY Framing Fundamentals book will answer any questions they have about the process.

An American Frame Gift Card

You may not know someone’s taste enough to select a frame for them. An American Frame gift card gives her the freedom to choose the frames that fit her personality, art and décor.

For more ideas, browse our past gift idea blogs.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Four Ways to Frame a Picasso

Four Ways to Frame a Picasso

When you think of artists who defied convention, Pablo Picasso undoubtedly comes to mind. He was born on this day - October 25th - in 1881, and even though he died in 1973, his surreal works remain among the most sought-after in the art world. In 2015, his Version O from the “Les Femmes d'Alger” series sold for $179.4 million at Christie's New York.

Whether you’re displaying an actual Picasso print or drawing inspiration from him in your own work, consider a frame that complements the art, but doesn’t overwhelm it. Here are some suggestions, using a Picasso-inspired print.

A Gold Wood Frame


Picasso often displayed his own work in antique gilded frames. You can achieve a similar look with one of our gold wood frames. We suggest this gold and black wood frame if you want an elegant antique feel.

A Black Frame


Sometimes, a brilliant painting needs little fanfare. Let it stand on its own with a simple black metal frame. Metal not your style? An understated black wood frame will work just as well.

A Blue Metal Frame


Displaying a piece from Picasso’s famous blue period? Enhance the somber feel with a blue frame, like our lovely lapis blue model that takes its name from the semi-precious stone of the same hue.

A Dash of Color


Picasso was a bold artist who pushed social boundaries and popularized a variety of styles, from surrealism to cubism. We think bold art deserves a bold frame, and our colored metal frames in shocking hues like Tornado Red and Cyber Green fit the bill.

Need more framing advice? Contact us.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Stephanie Sherman


Raised among the rolling hills and sprawling fields of Kansas, Stephanie Sherman found herself wandering the world around her at an early age.

“I would run off and find places to explore. My parents could never find me,” she explains. “It’s in our nature to find new places, to see what’s beyond our borders. I guess I’m still doing that.”

Stephanie’s passion for art has only deepened with age. She’s tried her hand at acrylic paint, watercolor and pottery, but has a special fondness for photography.

“Photography is all about capturing that split-second moment. I think photographers are masters of time because we can freeze it in one frame.”

Dabbling in wedding and portrait work for years has pulled Stephanie back to her roots. Turning a passionate hobby into a full-time career, she’s crafted captivating and dramatic fine art photography. With an eye for beautiful, haunting imagery, Stephanie captures the spirit of natural settings and minimalism.
AF: Do you consider yourself a photographer or an artist?

Stephanie: I’m a fine art photographer and have been shooting for over 15 years. While I end up shooting a variety of subjects, my heart lies with photographing environments or moments in a way that make people feel something or, at the very least, allow you a sense of a mood. I want the viewers to feel like they could be there. I’m also a mother and wife and have made time with my family and my aspirations of being a successful artist my priorities.

AF: Do you use American Frame products for business or personal framing?

Stephanie: Mostly business, but some personal. I’m self-employed and selling my artwork is my source of income. My website is

AF: Where do the frames you buy from us go?

Stephanie: It varies. Most of my clients are either in New York or California. I work with a high-end home decor company that sells my artwork. So, most of my work ends up in the homes of those who frequent the site. A hotel in Rhode Island purchased 10-15 framed prints from me for use in their rooms.  I also sell to interior designers for their clients.

AF: What sorts of items do you frame?

Stephanie: I frame strictly photographs. A good mix of color and black and white photography ends up in your frames. The majority of what I sell is coastal.

AF: What is your favorite American Frame product?

Stephanie: I regularly use AF152 and AF206 for selling, but my favorite for personal use is

Studio 95192. It’s a thick matte white frame that’s perfect for my more minimalist black and white pieces. I also love the Hot Press Bright paper for printing. The texture and quality in the print for that particular paper really make my photographs the best they can be.

AF: Why do you work with American Frame?

Stephanie: It started with a recommendation from online blogs and forums. After visiting your site and many others, I saw that yours had the lowest prices and had the most to offer. I can have my work framed and get a high-quality print directly from your site, and ship it straight to my customer if needed. The customer service has always been great. You guys do well to accommodate my most panicked moments when a client needs something quickly.

One time I was heading out of town and my client needed their artwork delivered quickly. There wasn’t enough time to get it to me before my trip and still be able to send it to my customer before their deadline. I called American Frame’s customer service and told them my situation. I was able to send you all the materials and inserts that I normally place in my packages and you sent it directly to my customer in a non-branded box. That really saved me. And that was back before you offered non-branding as a service.

AF: Thank you, Stephanie, for being such a wonderful customer.

Stephanie: Thank you! You’ve done a great job. Your performance helps me stay productive and keeps me in business.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Different FRAME of Mind

You’ve likely seen graffiti on passing box cars, decrepit buildings, and highway overpasses.
But have you ever seen it framed?

Two Australians are elevating graffiti - and further legitimizing it - by presenting it as - in a way - framed art.

SKR3AM and JINKS are contemporary street artists in Melbourne who work from their home base RedlightStudio. Actually, it’s difficult to label what they make as “graffiti,” as
the term suggests illegal and undesirable expressions. That’s not the case here.

We were excited to learn that their signature work includes an element we know very well.
According to their website, the artists used “a combination of picture frames, either collected or custom made” to create “a unique trademarked process, placing each frame strategically over the mural, creating an elegant effect.”
Watch it happen in their video below.
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