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The Art of Framing

Article by Christian Owen

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Presenting art, photography or memorabilia inside a frame merits a thorough process to ensure the result complements its subject. Following a season of mentorship under original owner Andrea Stark, owners Marc Young and his wife, artist Susannah Young, embody the creative culture of mindful framing in Memphis at Frame Corner.

1: Marc says his approach to art, framing and customer service connect to his being a product of the 70s, “a time before personal phones and the Internet.” From a childhood click-and-shoot camera to a fine art degree to working with mentor Andrea Stark, Marc says he and his staff, who share similar backgrounds, are creative thinkers. Artists, he says, “are great problem solvers.” 

2: Marc’s true specialty is working with fine and original art. But he is also a sports fanatic, so he has fun framing sports jerseys and collectibles. 

3: Frame Corner has tables where customers can work independently, ideal for artists and people involved in crafts like fabric work and needlepoint. Staff members build and join the frames and cut materials to custom sizes, then show the DIY customer how to assemble those pieces to save on labor expenses.

4: Today’s trend for art display is a floating approach. Floating is a process that allows the edges of the artwork to be seen by hinging art to the surface of a matting instead of placing the art in a pre-cut window. Both approaches have their place. Floating is a museum display approach, presenting the art as a whole and giving the framing a dimensional feel. 

5: Framing is a place for mindfulness and imagination. The Frame Corner boasts an assortment of fabric liners, linen and textured mats for maximalists who love adding more flare to their interior design. Marc asks clients if they prefer traditional or contemporary/modern, helping them imagine their piece in its final form.

6: “One of our jobs as framers is to educate people on materials and how they help preserve their art,” Marc explains. “You want to use an alpha cellulose or cotton rag mat board because they do not contain chemicals or acids that can seep out and stain your artwork.” Glass should have a UV filter like a conservation glass or museum glass. 

7: Marc knows Memphians are unique in the South. “We have eclectic taste. We love contemporary modern abstracts and pieces that express how we perceive ourselves, but value traditions that help us feel rooted.” For example, you could find an extremely expressive Frances Berry Moreno piece in the same house as a Jeanne Seagle graphite landscape or a Pam Hassler abstract. 

8: “Memphians,” Marc continues, “tend to like things with an edge. We want to be different and are not afraid to be different. It’s part of the soul of this city to be brave enough to be ourselves. I find that inspiring.” 

  • Kristen Williams takes her time to find the perfect fit for a piece, surrounded by an impressive collection of materials
  • James Trenthem drills a frame to perfection
  • Matthew Lunn precisely cuts a frame with care and attention
  • Owner Marc Young, avid sports fan, enjoys framing this Ja Morant jersey for a client.
  • Artist Leanna Carey selects matting and a frame for one of her pieces she is framing at Frame Corner.