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Matworks: Focus on Mats
Marcel Duchamp radically changed societal definitions of art in 1917 with his piece Fountain. This controversial artist and his infamous icons offer an essential lesson: presentation is often the key element in transforming a simple photograph, sketch, or drawing into “art.” When used appropriately and creatively, mats elevate the perceived value of your work and guide prospective buyers to appreciate your pieces in ways that may not be apparent to the average consumer.
Not convinced that a mat can make a difference? Consider these examples:
Choosing a Mat: The Color
Whatever color you choose; mats can be used as a tool to further your artistic vision and the mood of each piece. They can be classic or contemporary, simple or complex, funky or traditional—it’s all up to you!
Staging the Scene
Mats are a means to synthesize visual elements and emphasize those elements you want to stand out. A dark purple inner mat can really set off the beautiful shadows in a picture of the Rockies or pull to the forefront the subtle colorations in an iris. Or, for those architectural images, a metallic finish mat board may add the perfect touch of texture that the presentation needs. And if you're double matting, you’ll probably want to use this accent as the inner mat – or “reveal” -- and surround it with a subtle muted or neutral outside border.
Since matting can be an art unto itself, consider the impact of various mat stocks – work to hone your own tried-and-true matting techniques:
Custom cuts: Redimat provides ready-made matting solutions, but also offers blanks to those who want to customize mat and presentation. Blanks provide a means to get consistent sizing, clean edges and additional project control for even the most unique photograph or artwork. Blanks are very cost-efficient and since they’re virtually waste-free, most photographers and artists realize additional savings, too.
Standard sizing: In a nutshell, standardization means the matted print or artwork is ready to display or frame. Even if the image is an unusual or atypical size -- square, circular or oval -- the correct matting technique can still enhance the effect while increasing the art’s ability to sell. Ready to frame equals ready to sell and hang – meaning your buyer can display with ease at home or in the office.
A Single … no, make that a double: Cost isn’t the only issue when considering single versus double matting. The most crucial issue is the artwork itself. Determine which method of matting will enhance the work’s emotive and aesthetic value. A soft, neutral single mat may intensify the beautiful simplicity of a simple line sketch. Or perhaps you'll want to draw attention to the complexities in each stroke -- boldly discovered through layers of striking mats in contrasting colors.
As a rule, a dark contrasting inner mat revealed should be about
3/16 of an inch; however lighter neutral colors often have a wider
reveal. And it's worth remembering that while extra mats mean extra
cost, there is also extra value, both real and perceived.
About Mats and Preservation
Proper matting is very important to photograph prints and artwork
on paper, since paper is exceptionally vulnerable to heat, humidity,
moisture, dirt, dust and even the minute amounts of oil secreted
by our fingertips! While standard mats protect and preserve, do note
that work of higher value calls for rag mat of conservation quality.
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