‘Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.’ – Famed English art critic G. K. Chesterton. In a literal sense, framing art can either celebrate and respect the artwork, or degrade and detract from it. The artwork may well have chosen you, but what about the frame?

With an appreciation of the symbiotic relationship we all too often take for granted, Otomys Contemporary sat down with Melbourne frame-maker; Luke Ingram from Arten Framing so that he could shed some light on his profession.




Otomys Contemporary: What considerations do you propose to any art buyer before they have anything framed?

  • Invest in the longevity of the art by investing in the quality of the frame. Frames that are solid timber are not necessarily more expensive than pre-fabricated imported frames but they last longer. There is an obvious attention to the finer detail and use of quality materials.
  • Buying a custom cut frame ensures the work is tailored to suit the space. There are no limits on the profiles from a frame-maker, the profile can be milled to suit your design aesthetic.
    Hand finished frames allow buyers to select the exact colour to suit the artwork. For example a white frame can be closely matched to the white border of a work on paper.
  • There are so many glass and frame options to choose from to make the artwork outstanding. At Arten we build frames in any size, shape or colour so the experience really can be a creative collaboration between the framer and the buyer.

Otomys Contemporary: Does there need to be a relationship between the interior design and the frame?

  • The style of the frame, like the art itself, is a personal but important choice, so think about what you want to enhance in the art and in the space. If the moulding or frame colour is too heavy for the work then the power of the art may be lost. If the architectural lines in the space are an art form in themselves then a pared back frame may be best.

Otomys Contemporary: Is it orthodox to mix and match frames of different styles and colours together in one room?

  • Absolutely. If it’s a reflection of the personalities in the home or in sync with the design aesthetic of the space then both can work together to create interest and composition.

Otomys Contemporary: How important is art to the interior design of a space?

  • I love art, it’s a personal interest and passion of mine and so for me it is of great value.

Otomys Contemporary: Are all mediums framed in the same way?

  • There are subtle and dramatic differences in the framing of different mediums. We offer traditional gilded surfaces right through to exciting customised profiles and adventurous colours. If we are aiming to enhance the integrity of the work we can opt for a more classic frame option or a more contemporary style such as an acrylic box with a timber casing. There are many ways to frame various mediums and it’s worth investing time to discuss these with your framer. Personally, I love working with a range of local and imported timbers and using non-toxic water based or low VOC products where possible. With this in mind an incredible quality and variety is available for all mediums.

Otomys Contemporary: Lastly, how would you describe a ‘day in the life’ of an art framer?

  • Fortunately I have always been interested in the visual arts and crafts of making things, so for me frame-making is what drives me. Daily activities vary from spending time consulting with artists or clients, with the team in the workshop working out specialised frame joinery and finishes, managing the print studio upstairs and generally keeping a grip on a busy schedule. In the evenings I like nothing more than to sit quietly upstairs developing and refining new framing techniques.

Otomys Contemporary: So there you have it, framing really is an art unto itself.


A big thanks to Luke Ingram from Arten; located at 567-569 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, VIC. Otomys Contemporary Gallery values their relationship with Arten to such a degree that we share a space with the Arten team, offering clients the option to tailor the frame to suit the art and the interior space.