Custom Framing & Gallery: A New Frame Of Mind On Original Art
Jennifer White and Nicole Schultz of Fringe Custom Framing and Gallery have been all of these things and more since becoming close friends, co-workers and eventually business partners several years ago. Discovering a shared passion for art of all kinds, two of London’s finest young entrepreneurs took a leap of faith into the custom framing and art gallery world after working together in a setting that was less than ideal for these two creative minds. “We both got started in this business under corporate structures that felt creatively constricting at times,” said White, a painter and graphic designer by trade. “Framing began our friendship, both personally and professionally,” said Schultz.
“I have always been, in some way or another, in the arts industry for as long as I can remember. Art was always where I saw my professional focus.”
According to Schultz and White, the personal experience of working with an artist to frame a very meaningful, sometimes irreplaceable piece of art had been lost to small, over lit aisles of reprinted art at major retailers. So they decided to strike out on their own, but with a twist. Or, as some might say, on the fringe of the big box framing world.
With custom framing, a gallery of local artists and regular opportunities for new artists to show their work, Fringe caters to a customer’s creative side, one that is perhaps trying to improve their artistic skills and abilities – or someone who just really enjoys beautiful, original art in all its forms.
Custom framing is much like trying to find the perfect outfit for a special occasion: you may try on several different outfits before you find the perfect one. Art history tells us that the frame of a piece of art is an extension of the piece itself, a philosophy that White and Schultz take very seriously when assisting their clients in choosing and framing art. But they also understand that, for first-time customers especially, the process isn’t necessarily quick and might even be a bit overwhelming.
“It takes time for customers and framers to collaborate and find the right combination. But how rewarding when you finally get the one! It’s a bonus when customers come with excitement and quality in mind,” said White.
The ideal Fringe client is one who recognizes that real, genuine art is much more than just a colourful canvas that matches the throw pillows on the couch. Art is not simply colour on canvas in a frame, after all. It is a fraction of someone’s creative process; moments of experimentation, failure, emotion and even learning are being acknowledged when you purchase a piece of original art.
So it’s important to White and Schultz that Fringe offer their customers new, interesting, one of a kind products and designs. With big box stores all around the Fringe location – and each one boasting their own “art” section – Fringe offers its clients artwork you can connect with, something you cannot walk away from.
Not only that, but Fringe makes it a priority to monitor their environmental footprint. From the materials they carry to the design choices of their 4300 square foot space, White and Schultz are adamant that they use and sell products that boast sustainable processing. With reclaimed furniture accents and sample sales on custom frame displays, clients can feel assured that their purchases have been made in good conscience. In fact, to celebrate this year’s Earth Day, Fringe hosted an exhibition with all proceeds being donated to local and national organizations for animal care and ocean conservation.
For both women, sharing their love and appreciation for art with others is a huge part of the work they do. Schultz, a former high school art teacher turned certified painting instructor, comes from a family of artists and musicians, making the ‘art of teaching art’ come naturally. She and White are proud to offer small, focused workshops for clients, kids and friends of Fringe. If you’ve ever imagined custom framing a piece of your very own art, Fringe can help bring that imagination to life in one of their classes. But if taking a class each week seems a little intimidating, you can gather some friends together for an evening glass of wine and an art class instead.
The success of the business and unmatched qualities of the art can be attributed to the deep desire of White and Schultz to revitalize the beauty and romance that surrounds buying
Fringe embraces an eclectic mix of original artwork from regional contemporary artists with strong hopes of providing powerful, emotional connections for clients who come in looking to perhaps change their view on what ‘art’ actually is. “Maybe you’ve never bought original art before or maybe you’re just framing a poster,” said White.
“Either way, we want your visit to be an experience that leaves you inspired.” To appreciate and be inspired by original art – all it takes is a change to your frame of mind.