Finding the Right Piece
How Do I Select the Right Size Art?

Art should take up ⅔-¾ of available wall space (that doesn’t include furniture, moldings, large air vents, etc.) If you’re hanging above a focal point like a sofa or credenza, follow the same rules. If your sofa is 75” wide, your piece should be roughly between 50 and 56 inches. *Make sure to include frame dimensions in your calculations. 

How High Should I Hang a Piece?

Art is typically hung at eye level. For most of us, the middle of the piece should be 56” to 60” from the floor. If your ceilings are higher than 8’, you can go a little above 60” if necessary. If you’re hanging a piece above furniture, allow 4”-12” above the furniture. And if you’re hanging multiple pieces together, in general, we recommend 2”-3” between pieces (with some exceptions for the size / configuration of your space). 

Can I Hang Art Without Damaging the Walls?

Yes. We recommend 3M Command Hooks. The command adhesive doesn’t leave residue when removed. Make sure to use a hook that can handle the weight of your piece or use two hooks if necessary. Some larger Command Hooks may create a space between the piece and the frame, causing the frame to hang at an angle. If you apply Elmer's Tac 'N Tick to the back bottom of the frame, you'll even things out. If you need help, contact an art consultant.

Why Do Many Art Fairs Feel Unaffordable?

Exhibitors at fairs often pay hefty fees to show their art. Additionally, many exhibitors are galleries (vs. individual artists) who need to bake in gallery fees, which can run 50%+. 

What Costs Should I Account for When Buying Art?

In addition to the cost of the piece, make sure to account for:

  • Framing: Frame costs vary widely based on size and materials. Most custom framing begins at a couple hundred dollars.
  • Shipping: From the artist/gallery and from the framer, if applicable.
  • Hanging Hardware: Hooks, wires, etc.
  • Fees: If purchasing through an auction, there are typically hefty buyer fees. Separately, many artists or galleries require that you wire or transfer money for your piece, which often includes fees.
  • Canvas Stretching: Some artists send you a rolled canvas. Make sure your framer can stretch the canvas and add stretcher bars and to account for the cost.

At Wallace, all costs listed above are included (except frames aren't included on unframed pieces).

I'm in a Relationship And We Can't Agree on a Piece

The emotional connection evoked by art can be very personal. Finding a piece that matches a space and is loved by everyone in a home can lead to bookmarked Instagram posts, lots of open browser tabs, and ultimately, empty walls. While not a foolproof strategy, in our years collecting we've found these guidelines helpful:

Colors: Find colors that complement your space and that you both like. Does one of you hate the color orange? If so, probably avoid a photo of the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, with its bright orange gateways. But, a small pop of orange in an abstract piece may be ok and easy enough to live with.

Vibe: Beyond color, agreeing on a vibe you both like is critical. Do you want a neutral piece or something colorful? Do you want something more feminine, masculine, or gender neutral in feel? Do you want something that evokes calm or gets the blood flowing?

Pairs: If you can't agree on a piece, consider complementary pieces side by side--so you both get a say. Or, a gallery wall makes compromise even easier since you can both choose multiple pieces.

Why is Custom Framing so Expensive?

One primary driver is the sheer number of options offered by most frame shops. Many offer thousands of frames, mattings, moldings, and glazings. Offering so many options makes buying in bulk harder and is overkill for most of us. At Wallace, we’ve identified the most popular framing options and purchase them wholesale, keeping prices down. 

What’s a Float Mount and Why Would I Want It?

A traditional mat sits on top of a piece creating a border around it. With a float mount, a small spacer allows the piece to “float” on top of a mount board that fills the entire frame. Sometimes the piece is “sandwiched” or pressed against the glass. Other times the piece is elevated with a little space between the artwork and glass. A floater mount is a great way to expose an entire piece. We find it particularly useful for showing off deckled edges. 

What are Deckled Edges?

When a paper’s edge is frayed or feathered, it’s often referred to as deckled, in comparison to a straight cut edge. Deckled edges are a great way to add character and elegance to a piece.

What's the Difference Between Custom Framing and Buying a Ready Made Frame?

One of the major differences is material quality. How does quality affect aesthetics? Custom frames are typically heftier, lack noticeable cracks at the seams, and generally appear more elegant. Custom framing is also often necessary for atypical paper sizes, as well as for certain framing techniques that show off your piece (e.g. float framing). Not to mention-an off the shelf frame generally won't work for canvas. Bottom line--a high quality frame can go a long way in making a piece much more elegant and substantial. An artist once gave our founder Matt one of her test prints on lower quality paper. He invested several hundred dollars on a hefty oak frame, and today it's the piece that gets the most compliments in his home.

What's a Floater Frame?

Many modern canvases are framed in a floater frame. In a floater frame, there's a small gap between the frame and the piece. This creates the illusion the piece is floating and adds depth to the work. Floater frames also allow the entire piece to be displayed without cutting off any edges.

Think of a floater frame like an open box with no lid.

Can I Frame a Canvas?

In short, yes. There's a number of ways to approach canvas framing. One common approach is what's called a floater frame--a frame where there's a small gap between the frame and the piece. There's no glass or acrylic in front of the piece (Side note on acrylic: High quality acrylic frames are often clearer and more impact resistant than glass. Although acrylic is often more expensive than glass, across the industry it is often preferred.)

Can a Print Be Unique?

In short, yes. Print techniques play a big role in the uniqueness of a piece. For example, with etchings, artists apply paint to a metal plate. The artist can create etchings with different colors, and many only release a very small number. Other artists use prints as one of multiple mediums in a single piece. For example, for his War of Art series, Ari Hauben applies spray paint and dripped crayon wax to photographs of toy soldiers. Each piece is 100% unique. Frankie Penwill uses various mediums like watercolors and digital illustration, so even originals are printed. 

What’s the Difference between a Poster, Regular Print, and Fine Art Print?

Several differences. Many posters and lower quality prints are printed on thin paper with lower quality inks. Fine art prints are typically printed on high quality paper with inks that can mimic originals. In many cases fine art prints are also signed and released in very small, numbered batches, so they’re more unique. Fine art prints also may have unique elements added by the artist after the fact, such as gold foil or custom texture or brushstrokes.

What's Goache?

Goache is a water-based paint consisting of natural pigment, water, and a binding agent (usually gum arabic). The easiest way to picture gouache is that it combines the qualities of acrylic and watercolor paints. When gouache dries, it is matte and flat (often opaque), unlike watercolors which are transparent. For comparison, acrylic has more texture and is shinier.

What's Giclee?

Not all prints are created equal. Giclee prints are created with high resolution printers using high quality ink and are known for their precision. They’re a great alternative to originals because they look so lifelike and also are known for their longevity. 

What Are Different Types of Commissions?

Commissions are original pieces made from scratch for you, but different artists take different approaches. Octavia Tomyn, for example, creates unique line portraits based on photos and background info on the subjects and their stories. Janki Meha, on the other hand, has a repertoire of pieces she paints from scratch based on specifications you set. Regardless of the approach, commissions are time consuming, so most artists only produce small quantities of commissioned pieces. 

What Does GSM Stand For?

GSM refers to the “grams per square meter” and is often used to measure paper weight. A Kleenex tissue is ~10-35 GSM, whereas a poster is ~210-300 GSM. Quality, thick paper is one indication of a higher quality fine art print.