A Blip In The Blog
“We hope to inform and keep you up-to-date on the latest in the art and custom-framing world and make you laugh occasionally in the process.”
That’s what I wrote at the end of our first blog on November 1, 2011. I realize now I left out something very important in that line.
You Only Cry Once
Here’s a great quote from English social reformer John Ruskin (1819-1900):
“There is hardly anything in this world that a man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and people who consider price alone are this man’s lawful prey.
It is stupid to pay too much, but it is still worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose some money; that is all. But when you pay too little, you often lose everything, for the object purchased cannot perform the task it was intended for.”
Now, I like a good bargain just as much as the next person, but I also like to think that I’m a smart enough consumer to know when to spend money and when I can go for the less expensive options.
And here’s why this matters in terms of framing.
Spring Is Here....Almost
Hi. Lenny here -giving Arlene some well-deserved, good behavior time off from being our official blogger.
Spring is here. I know, not officially as of this writing, but I declare that spring is here. ‘Cause I’m tired of the cold, tired of getting colds and tired of being cooped up in the house. So there!
And now that spring is here, that means outdoor tennis,
cycling without having to dress like I’m going skiing and it
means fresh new art at The Art Shop.
Arlene's Rules of Matting
How to Pick Out a Mat
In the 23 years Lenny and I have owned The Art Shop, I’m guessing I have selected over 1800 mats and frames for clients and for myself. (which is probably quite low.) With that kind of experience, I’m thinking you might call me fairly knowledgeable about the subject.
Over the years, I’ve developed Arlene’s Rules of Mat Selection:
Special Valentines Event
Any plans for Valentine’s Day? Hope your celebration is better than this woman’s - she & her husband go to the card store every Valentine’s Day, pick out cards, read them to each other and then put them back on the shelf. (Yes, cards are pricey, but come on!) And I hope your spouse is more romantic than this woman’s - her husband (now her ex-husband) gave her a gift certificate for a car wash for Valentine’s Day. (What a Romeo! No, it wasn’t Lenny.)
While Lenny and I own a spacious 5500
square foot gallery, MY office is anything but. My cubicle is slightly
less than 5ft x 5 ft. (I measured it.) Add in a desk, a
chair, a computer, a purse, a lunch bag, a coat, files, papers and two dogs who
sit at my feet and it makes for a very crowded workspace. (Before we remodeled
the offices, my desk was next to the men’s room, which was most unpleasant, but
In keeping with last week’s blog about New Year’s resolutions, I vowed to clean up my desk and files and get organized. Step one of that process was cleaning out the space in the shelf above my desk. In doing so, I uncovered some interesting old treasures:
New Year's Resolutions
I tend to make New Year’s resolutions every December 31 and by January 14, I’ve forgotten all about them. Something tells me I’m not the only one guilty of this.
I saw a very interesting alternative to making resolutions,
so I’m hopeful this year will be different.
It was in an article in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY entitled: "Five Things You Can
Do Instead of New Year’s Resolutions." The ideas ranged from writing a letter
to your future self to focusing your resolution on someone else – a non-profit
you can help throughout the year.
Here’s a link to the article
The Real Thing
In this holiday season, if you are considering buying art as
a gift or for yourself, buy "the real thing."
Of course, I’m not saying you must buy an original. Limited-editions and
legitimate reproductions make wonderful gifts. What I’m saying and the point of
this blog: Don’t buy a knock-off of
someone else’s blood, sweat and tears.
Holiday Open House
We’re just cleaning up from our Garmash/Danish show and now we’re getting ready for our Fifth Annual Holiday Open House (Thursday, December 6 from 7-9pm). Yikes! It’s a quick turnaround!
What Will Loves
By divine intervention in May of 2010, William Christopher Hawkins dropped off a resume just as we were in need of an additional framer. We took one look at samples of his work – including gorgeous shadowboxes, original artwork and intricately cut mats - and hired him on the spot.
Know What You Have and Know What It Needs
Did you hear about the woman from Concord who, while shopping for a blanket at a local Goodwill store, found two large canvases selling for $9.99 each? She thought the pieces were ugly and dated, but bought them to paint over since she was an artist herself and canvas that size is expensive. Her friends noticed a sticker on the back of one of them from UNCG’s Weatherspoon Gallery and suggested she do a little research before painting over them.
An internet search told her the artist, Bolotowsky, was one of the premier abstract artists of the 20th century. She contacted Weatherspoon who confirmed the painting was loaned to the museum by Burlington Industries, Inc. and displayed at a show in 1979. She then sent photos and the Weatherspoon documentation to Sotheby’s in New York who agreed to sell the painting for her. It sold recently for $27,500 at auction. The woman has been out of work for quite some time and has health and financial issues, so it’s easy to feel happy for her good fortune.
Going Green With Lighting
It can be annoying when a light bulb goes out in your home and you have to replace it - especially when it is out of reach and you need a ladder to change it. Imagine owning an art gallery with nearly 200 light bulbs each going out at a different time and each requiring a ladder to reach. It’s a never-ending task to which Andy or Chris will testify since they are the ones who have to change all those bulbs.
The Emotions of Framing
When I got into the business of framing, it didn’t occur to me that selecting a frame would often be an emotional experience. It stands to reason emotions come into play when you consider that people generally frame photos and objects that are of great importance to them. (Of course, there was the client who shadowboxed a rock only to inform us later it was one she’d found it in her backyard. We make no judgment – on the contrary, we encourage all of you to look in your backyards for unusual geologic formations and bring them to us to frame.)
Most often, the framing is for happy occasions – a wedding or new baby photo, tickets to a favorite concert, a hole-in-one scorecard, etc. Clients love to talk about what they are framing and we love to hear the stories. We’ve heard some unbelievable tales of wild vacations (wish I could tell you, but we keep secrets), celebrity encounters, interesting family histories and many others.
Gold Medal Art
Judging by the ratings, Lenny and I aren’t the only ones glued to coverage of the Olympics. We’ve been eating dinner in front of the TV and going to sleep at night with it on. (Please comment and tell me we aren’t the only ones doing this.)
What does this have to do with art? I just learned from Janelle’s Facebook post that the Arts used to be part of the Olympics. It was the dream of International Olympic Committee founder Pierre de Coubertin to "marry the aesthetic with the athletic." He felt that "an internationally-focused revival of the ancient Olympics would provide an intellectual and moral compass to citizens of a rapidly industrializing world."
What Chris Loves
Webster’s defines "challenge" as "a stimulating task or problem." And that is what our Production Director Chris Taylor loves. Whenever we have a framing question or tough framing problem to solve, the answer is usually, "Let’s ask Chris."
At the recent wedding of a friend, the bride & groom read letters to each other during the ceremony. It reminded me that over 35 years ago, I had written a letter to Lenny the night before we got married (in 1975). Since he had no memory of it (of course), I was determined to find it. I was sure it had to be in an old trunk we kept locked in the attic. First chore was to find the key to unlock the trunk. Found it. Since the temperature is about 130 degrees in the attic this summer, the second chore was to drag the trunk down the stairs so we could wade through all the memories in cool comfort.
(Yes, that's Lenny and me on our way to our honeymoon. Two things in this picture Lenny doesn't have anymore- the leisure suit and the hair)!
A Little Bragging On Our Staff
I am going to brag…just wanted to warn you.
Janelle created a great video about Andy’s recent guest shot on Rock 92 Radio’s morning show. He was terrific in the interview - funny and knowledgeable and entertaining. Listening to him you’d never know he was actually nervous about his appearance. He sounds like he does it every day. Listen and tell us what you think.
What Andy Loves
This Sunday will be Andy’s 15 year anniversary at The Art Shop! When Gallery Director Andy McAfee joined The Art Shop on July 1, 1997, his goal was to help make The Art Shop an award-winning internationally known art and framing gallery. The Art Shop was voted Top Gallery of the Year for five straight years by DÉCOR MAGAZINE, so I’d say he achieved his goal.
What does Andy love to do at The Art Shop?
Talk, Teach and Evaluate Art
Portraits - If I Knew Then What I Know Now
If I knew then what I know now…
You can say that about a great many things, but today, I’m referring to PORTRAITS. When you are young or have young children, you don’t often think about freezing a moment in time. Trust me – in what seems like a split second, your babies turn into adults who live far away and you and your spouse reach the stage in life where you no longer like looking at current photos of yourself. (It’s too depressing.)
What Lenny Loves
The Art Shop’s Inc. owner and president, Lenny Dolin, is an avid cyclist, tennis player and art lover, but unlike a lot of people who are either left brain or right brain, Lenny is also adept at debits and credits and anything to do with accounting. What makes many people’s eyes glaze over comes easily to Lenny. "I just know enough to be dangerous," he says. Modesty aside, thank heavens he’s good at it because a businesses can’t survive without someone in control of its finances. He pays all the bills and the salaries of our incredible staff and keeps The Art Shop on a steady financial keel.
Lenny has had three careers in his life:
What Janelle Loves
Janelle DiLizio, Gallery Manager, grew up in Cape May, a small Victorian town at the southern most tip of New Jersey. She studied art at Moore College of Art & Design and business at Peirce College in Philadelphia.
Continuing our theme of featuring our staff members and what they love to do at The Art Shop, here’s what Janelle had to say:
Preserving Personal Treasures – What Jaqui Loves (Part I)
Jaqui Reilly moved to Greensboro from New Jersey in 1995 and joined The Art Shop the following year. In New Jersey, she did framing for Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda among other notable celebs. She came to The Art Shop first as a client and was so knowledgeable we wouldn’t let her leave. She has amazing taste that has resulted in a very loyal following. Her favorite thing? Preserving personal treasures, which she describes in her own words:
I was lucky to be the daughter of a "saver." My mother, a product of the Depression, was loathe to toss anything out, especially anything sentimental. The fact that she lived the whole of her married life and beyond, some fifty-six years, in the same house, contributed to her tendency to accumulate various collections.
A Photo We Were Honored To Frame
When you’re a framer, you often have the great fortune to see some amazing and wonderful things clients bring in.
Recently, an elderly gentleman brought in an old school photo. In the photo, he is a young boy among 30 or so other children and their teacher standing in the schoolyard. We get lots of old photos and we love to see them. What is unique about this photo is that it was taken in Germany in the 1930’s.
What I Love - Part I
I thought it might be fun to introduce each member of The Art Shop staff by letting them tell you what they love to do (as related to The Art Shop). Since I’m the one writing most of the blogs, I guess I’ll start with me.
I am Arlene Dolin, Vice-President. My husband, Lenny, and I have owned The Art Shop since 1989, which is difficult to believe since I don’t feel that old! I’m pictured on The Art Shop sofa after a staff meeting with Molly & Emma – our two rescued babies. Rescuing dogs is another thing I’m passionate about, but this is a blog about The Art Shop, so I digress.
All In The Family - Upcoming Show with Vidan
Lenny & I pride ourselves on being a family business. We are the 2nd generation of Dolins to own & operate The Art Shop having purchased it from Lenny’s father, Stan, in 1989. Stan had owned & operated the store since 1964. That’s why it’s especially exciting for us to carry a 2nd generation artist – Vidan, nephew of the late internationally renowned figurative artist, Pino.
What Does Hand Embellishing Mean?
Galleries around the world, The Art Shop included, are seeing an increased demand for embellished limited-edition canvases. What is embellishing and why is it so popular?
The Care And Feeding Of Your Artwork
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you buy a new car and never wash or wax it?
- Would you carpet your home and never vacuum or clean it?
- Would you send your child out in the sun without the proper UV protection?
If you answered NO to any of the above, then consider how you’ve been treating your art:
How NOT To Hang A Picture
The three most common mistakes people make when hanging a picture are:
Do's and Don'ts On How to Approach a Gallery
One of the questions we get asked very often is, "How do you select the art you hang in your gallery?" Other artists who would like us to hang theirs most often ask this.
If It Isn't Moving, We Can Frame It
One of our favorite sayings is "If it isn’t moving, we can frame it." (We were tested once while framing huge spider. IT MOVED! The framer had extensive therapy and is doing fine now. Thank you.) When you work with clients on framing projects, you often have a window into their lives and it can be a rather intimate experience. Obviously, I don’t mean intimate in THAT sense, although we have on occasions framed nude photos of people.
Call The Man, Aunt Bea
A New Year’s Resolution – Buy Local and "Call the Man!"
There’s an expression Lenny and I use nearly every time something needs to be repaired in our house – "Call the man, Aunt Bea! Call the man!" If you’re an ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW fan, you’ll recognize this right away.
The Best Gifts
The best gifts - the ones most appreciated and remembered years later- are those that have special meaning to the recipient. Custom framing gives you the opportunity to give someone a unique and meaningful gift. With the holidays approaching, I thought it might be helpful to share some examples of wonderful framed gifts:
Welcome To The ART SHOPTALK
Hello and welcome to The Art SHOPTALK! In case you don’t know us, we are a 5500-square foot state-of-the-art fine art and framing gallery. While we are physically located in Greensboro, North Carolina, we have shipped art and framing to as far away places as Australia, Spain and Russia. Thanks to the Internet, our customer base is Planet Earth. (We haven’t ruled out other planets in the future – we feel they are untapped markets.)
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