We recently received a call from Matthew Swarts who was very excited about being asked to exhibit at Art Basel and wanted to know how quickly we could make frames. We know how important exhibiting at Art Basel is for artists and photographers and we told him we would do the job. After completing the framing he sent us a thank you note and we asked him if we could do an interview with him to learn more about his experience at Art Basel.
Metroframe I know that you were a featured artist at Art Basel Miami Project this year. Can you tell us how more about how you were selected?
Swarts The invitation to show work at Miami Project came through Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles, plainly through the generosity and goodness of Paul Kopeikin. I am showing my work at the gallery in Los Angeles in late February of 2015 and Paul was elated when I accepted the challenge of having 24 pieces framed and delivered to Miami in less than two weeks! It was an outrageous order and I knew it when I was speaking with your representative, but your company calmly assured me that even with the more finely detailed wood profile I selected, the order could be completed.
Metroframe What was the experience of exhibiting at Art Basel for you? Art Basel is very large and has multiple venues. Did you get a chance to see all of them? Did you go to the after hour parties? What was the most memorable thing you remember about the experience. Any advice for other artists/photographers who would like to exhibit at Art Basel?
Swarts Yes, I walked each major fair with great excitement, curiosity, and fascination, but it would be impossible to see everything at Art Basel, as the multiplicity of venues and possibilities is simply overwhelming. My impression after saturation into the fairs was that the business of art is thriving with an unbelievable and contagious energy. I was elated at the attention from collectors toward my work and it was thrilling to view my work in context with so many other artists I look toward and admire. Of course, an art fair is a good way to experience multiplicity, but if there’s anything I longed for it was more time with people in conversation about the work. I had some wonderful interactions with other artists that were as important to me as anything else.
Metroframe You live on the East Coast and have a Gallery in Los Angeles. You purchased the frames from a Minneapolis company and you exhibited in Miami. This is clear example that the art world is no longer local. Can you tell us how you began your relationship with the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles?
Swarts Yes, that certainly demonstrates this truth about the production of art. With global shipping solutions, it’s very much a small world! Paul Kopeikin responded to several pieces I had published in internet journals about photography, and approached me about showing in Los Angeles.
Metroframe You are a new customer for us. We are interested in how you learned about us. I know that you were working on a very tight time frame which has to be stressful for any artist especially working with a new frame supplier. How much framing experience do you have? How difficult was it to complete the job. I know we sent the frames to Massachusetts and then you drove them down to Miami. That has to be an interesting story.
Swarts I discovered your site awhile ago and had bookmarked it and came back to it often. When I was under time crunch I called all local Boston frame suppliers, who did not return my phone calls or emails. Your representative guaranteed delivery in a time frame that seemed magical, and you completed the job with precision. I had limited framing experience, but once the images were mounted to dibond and properly measured, they fit in perfectly to each custom ordered frame. And I mean meticulously perfectly. I actually had them shipped to Miami by Clark Fine Art Services, who was similarly excellent in delivering the near impossible!
Metroframe What advice to you have for other artists if they haven’t been and/or exhibited at Art Basel before?
Swarts While it’s somehow true that there is an aspect of the art fair world that is like a meat market, it is also, without doubt, one of the finest ways to see what’s going on in galleries from a bird’s eye, global view. I loved seeing what other artists were doing, and for me this was the most valuable experience of the entire situation. I went in wanting to be cross-pollinated by other visual energies, and came out full and satisfied (and now that’s unraveling itself in my new work). So when artists complain about fairs, I do not fully understand what they are talking about, as there are so many opportunities waiting to be discovered!
Metroframe Do you remember how you discovered our site?
Swarts I’m certain that I followed a Facebook link but have no idea who posted it.
Metroframe Did you look at our framing advice video on fitting a wood frame with a spacer and strainer before you started framing the pictures?
Swarts Yes, I spent time rehearsing my role in the framing and production for many days before actually doing it, watching the videos, assembling my work space and materials.
FRAMING SPECIFICATIONS AND ADVICE
METRO GALLERY FRAME
Thin Profile: 102
Wood & Finish: maple wood frame with white opaque finish
Purchasing Options: joined wood frame with splines
Custom Frame Spacer: 1/4″ wood frame spacer
Custom Frame Strainer: 3/4″ wood frame strainer
Custom Frame Acrylic: UV acrylic cut to size
Custom Frame Backing Board: archival coroplast cut to size
Framing Advice: fitting gallery frames