Artist Spotlight: Francesca Caruso and Framers' Workshop

Framers' Workshop, Brookline. Francesca Caruso, a multi-talented artist and framing expert for Framers' Workshop in Brookline, will be hosting a free framing demonstration at the gallery on Sunday, June 30, describing effective framing and hanging methods for artists. If you're showing your work at UFG it's always helpful for us to have well-framed and hang-able pieces. The demo starts at 1PM at the gallery, stop by for some useful framing tips!

In anticipation of the event, Francesca was kind enough to take some time for an interview about Framers' Workshop and her own artistic endeavors.

Framers' Workshop, Brookline.

How long have you been with Framers' Workshop and what kind of work do you do there?

I've been with the framers workshop for a little over a year. It is a collaborative working environment; everyone helps people with various framing projects in the shop, works on custom orders, cuts various materials, builds frames and takes sales.

Can you give a little bit of history on Framers' Workshop? I know it's been around for several decades now.

Framers' Workshop opened over 36 years ago, at a time when there were several DIY framing shops in the Boston area. The last of its kind, the shop remains an asset to the communities it serves. Within the past year the original owners sold the business to Justin Lampka, who has been with the shop for the past fifteen years.

What are some of the most common problems you've come upon as a framer? Are there certain questions a lot of artists ask?

Artists have a variety of material-based needs, and as a bottom line we offer only archival materials, with the exception of dry mounting. We commonly deal with art that is out of square, fragile and sensitive, and we offer different strategies to help artists with their projects as they go. Often people are looking for a frame that is barely present, but still enhances their work. We offer very specific advice to help navigate those needs.

Francesca Caruso: Aviary Pentagram, 2011.

Your own work as an artist has been very varied in materials and techniques. How did you initially get started as an artist? What attracts you to working in video, drawing, collage, and installation?

I started playing classical violin at the age of five, and although it falls under a larger arts umbrella, music was my first creative outlet and I find that it still informs my work. The composition and resonance of a piece or a space is mediated by material choices, but for me one does not necessarily preclude the other. Working with collage is more concrete, as the material is built into the composition. Space continually playing a crucial role, I recently moved from a very small studio in JP into a bigger live/work space at AS220 in Providence, where I hope to make both larger and more collaborative work.

Can you tell us about some of your current artistic projects?

I am wrapping up a series of about fifteen collages, which were really fun to make. The process of creating those compositions easily lent itself to stop motion animation, and the piece I am currently working on combines collage, drawing and animation. It's a grass void with a struggling lawn mower.

Francesca Caruso: Close Encounters, 2012.