Art Curator, Art Expert, Artists, Emilya Colliver

'The Australian Art Curator Blog' - Hang Art/Frame Art

Sometimes art patrons can fall into the trap of thinking you buy the art and all the rest falls into place. Yes, finding something you love can feel like the hard part, but I find it's often also tricky to decide how you’re going to display it!

To a newbie this could seem like a daunting quest; the oh-so-pretty etching you were so excited to discover could end up gathering dust under the stairs through nervousness. But like anything, you don't know till you try.! Put the artwork in a few places and see how it flows with the rest of your space.

Having said that, there are a few general tips. Try to remember the following suggestions while you get an overall feel of what works for you and your new work of art:

To frame or not to frame?
As any skinny-dipper would tell you, sometimes au-naturel is simply better. By hiding the edges with a clunky frame you might be hindering the dramatic impact of the work. If you’re not sure, I would suggest trying without first.

Remember though, the addition of a frame can be more than just decorative. Framing can help to protect the work from damage and environmental factors like moisture, dust, mould and fading. Mediums such as prints, watercolour and works on paper, are particularly susceptible to fading and damage without proper protection. Even handling certain paper can cause damage.   

Jennifer Lia - 'Icebergs Pool'

Jennifer Lia - 'Icebergs Pool'

Shellie Cleaver - 'Still Life With Teabag'

Shellie Cleaver - 'Still Life With Teabag'

Glass and reflections
For works that use pigments such as watercolour, it might be essential to have glass, as to not could risk fading damage by sunlight to the work. Another potential problem is dust and dirt that can quickly dim the shine of your work.

There are some types of work that are easy to clean (e.g. batik cloth works are very easy to clean) but check out the options before you decide to go without the glass.

If you decide to go for glass, the question then emerges of plexiglass or glass. Pros of glass? Solid, can be formatted to be largely UV, glare resistant and more environmentally friendly than plexiglass.

And plexiglass? Can also be formatted to be resistant, is lighter and more resilient than glass. However, it can be less environmentally friendly and can scratch easier than glass. Your choice depends on your preferences!

This decision also depends on the size of your work. For smaller works, framers will generally use glass (it is also cheaper than plexiglass), however for larger works, plexi is a safer option. Using glass in large sheets for framing can be a risk if they break - to both the artwork and to the owner.

There is also the question of how best to clean glass and plexi surfaces so your work is able to shine as bright as possible! For glass, generally paper towel and a glass cleaner will do the trick. For plexi, a microfiber cloth is generally recommended to avoid scratching the surface. If in doubt, it’s always best to speak with your framer or gallery you purchased the work from.

Placement and hanging
Firstly, as mentioned above, could light in the placement damage the work? Secondly, what is the heat and humidity like in the area? Therefore, the bathroom might not be the good way to go without a bit of thought.

Finding the perfect spot for a work of art can be confusing. If you already have a collection of works on your wall, it may prompt you to re-consider the placements and re-hang some of your works to suit the new piece. If you have just bought your first piece of work, considering its placement and method of hanging can be daunting. If you have bought your work from a gallery, they will normally advise on the best hanging / display for the individual work.

But if you have purchased your work online, you may be left wondering the best way to hang or display your new addition. There are many methods of hanging and displaying art. One of the most common mistakes people make is not hanging artworks correctly.

A lot of people assume they can use adhesive plastic hooks to hang works on their wall. Depending on the size and weight of your artwork, these may not be suitable. Adhesive hooks are often safe for small, lightweight works, however for larger, heavier works these can be unsafe for the artwork and can risk damage. You can choose to get a professional artwork hanger to install your work or you can try it yourself at home.

Hardware stores are usually the best place to start if you want to do a DIY hang. Most hardware stores will have a range of hooks and art gallery tracking systems you can purchase and install yourself at home. These systems make it easy to interchange works as you see fit, without the hassle of having to cover holes in the wall from using nails or adhesives.

You may wish to display small sculptural pieces in protective plexi boxes. You can have these custom made or can purchase them online. There are online marketplaces (such as eBay or Etsy) that sell acetate boxes designed for hobby models. These can work very well as display boxes and are often a lot less expensive than having boxes custom made.

Aquaman - 'Bouncing Bazookas'

Aquaman - 'Bouncing Bazookas'

Sara Roberts - 'Out Back'

Sara Roberts - 'Out Back'

But I’m still confused
Still short of ideas? Don't be shy; you can contact us and we can advise you the best way according to which artist you bought the work from.