For almost all my artwork, I like to reuse things that I find at antique markets, flea markets and in thrift stores. For example, I like to work with paper, old books and photos in my paintings. They are sometimes very personal items of people which are discarded after a lifetime and tell a story.
I combine my drawings and work on paper with old antique frames. Those frames already have a kind of ‘inspiration’ for me. They are usually handmade and add a lot to the artwork that I make for them. I reuse the things I get from the frames for my collages and paintings.
I search for old antique frames on the Amsterdam Noordermarkt and in Brussels in the Marolles. Sometimes the old frames still need some care, then I restore them in my studio. I have cans with a kind of shoe polish in gold, silver and copper color, with which I can remove dents and imperfections.
Usually you choose a frame for a work when the painting is already finished. I work the other way around, I put the empty frame on the floor with a blank white sheet of paper underneath and make something fit in the frame, it’s made for each other that way.
The frame is visible while I work and so the work naturally fits the frame and gets a nice interaction. The colors, shapes and patterns of the frame inspire me when making the drawing or painting. For example, with a very pronounced elongated frame, I looked at some more graphic elements that could strengthen the frame as a counterpart in my painting. With a gold-colored frame, I often use 22 carat gold leaf in the artwork for the interaction of the gold between the frame and my art.
When I have made something suitable, I take everything to my framer who is sometimes surprised when he sees the frames I bring him. The frames sometimes turn out to be more than 100 years old. Regularly the frames are bent and crooked, then the frame maker ensures that everything comes straight into the frame with the passe-partout.
For all my framing I use museum glass, this has a UV filter and is anti-reflective, making it seem as if there is no glass there at all. Museum glass is an investment, but so much more beautiful and it makes everything sharper and brighter and for the quality and preservation of the work that is worth it!
When I have picked up the finished product from the framer, it is like unwrapping a gift. A high quality framing in a beautiful frame can really add something to a work of art. In the combination I have found of the antique frames with my work, it adds something special, because they are made for each other!