The creative team of framers and decorators at Foursided stocks stacks of creative greeting cards and paraphernalia. The self-described "frame nerds" do more than cultivate a collection of stationery by planting paper seeds in nearby printing presses; they also place prints and objects into frames and furnish homes with original pieces by a handful of favored artists. Staffers also buy and sell vintage flash cards, puzzle pieces, and letter tiles harvested from a variety of objects.
Owner Todd Mack has worked in framing for 20 years, and he draws on his vast experience when custom mounting a broad spectrum of pieces. Vintage and recycled frames, archival framing, and shadow boxes are a few of the options available. Mack's interest in shadow boxes makes perfect sense to visitors who take a look at his own art, which assembles found photos and objects in forms that aren't always 2-D.
On HGTV's Urban Oasis, interior designer Vern Yip ornamented a luxury apartment with prints gathered from Foursided's expansive collection. In that collection, colorful shelves of letter blocks, maps, corks, baby-doll heads, and harmonicas turn personal, nostalgic objects into stylish new decorations. Candles, jewelry, and books round out the gift selections.
Lake View Art Supply's staff of enthusiastic artists channels knowledge accumulated over 20 years in business and a passion for creation to direct patrons toward the ideal aesthetic tools. The shop was founded when the owners began discussing the inconvenience of going downtown to obtain art supplies and the dangers of carrying red paint past bovine crossing guards. Goods from brands including Louvre and Liquitex parade along gleefully crowded shelves, and a variety of easels, watercolors, and sketching supplies brings up the rear. Shop services have expanded over the years to include custom framing, information about local art classes, and guidance as to which Three Stooges film is making the Mona Lisa smile. Proud parents of paintings unveil works alongside pieces from other local artists inside the Lake View Art Supply gallery.
At Art de Triumph, local artist Nancie King Mertz showcases her original paintings and pastels and outfits clients' masterpieces in custom frames. Much like the courtroom artist at Rod Blagojevich's trial, Mertz often draws inspiration from iconic Chicagoan figures, rendering portraits including The Bean (also known as Cloud Gate) and the Wrigley Building. The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau named Mertz the Artist of the Year from 2005 through 2007, acknowledging her expertise with watercolor, oil, and pastel. In addition to ready-wear wall art, Art de Triumph deals in custom frames, helping clients select and customize matting and framing for photos, posters, and other important memorabilia such as the CTA card used to travel to the studio.
For more than 20 years, the professional photographers at Charlie's Angels Photography have worked to capture images that not only preserve memories but also incorporate artistic touches. Their digital galleries boast shots from larger occasions such as weddings and runway shows to private events such as boudoir and portrait sessions. Their staff also includes professional makeup artists, who can prep subjects for shoots or gussy up complexions before weddings or high-school-graduation re-enactments.
Framing Mode & Gallery bolsters art collections and local artists alike inside its custom framing shop and art gallery. Framing artisans with more than 20 years of industry experience craft custom picture borders fitted to each piece's dimensions, using metal and wood frames, ultraviolet protective glass, and built-in rocket boosters to befuddle would-be art thieves. A collection of framed original works—including posters, limited-edition signed prints, and paintings—stands ready to cover blank household walls. The shop invites painters, metalworkers, and mashed-potato sculptors to display their works inside its gallery space, which hosts events to promote the inspired pieces of local artists.