For the Love of French Posters - this weekend Alexandra Wolf and @wsjoffduty profiled the Chicago exhibit that showcases the bold, colorful work of artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec on view at the Driehaus Museum in Chicago. For more local viewing of French posters here in NYC head over to @swanngalleries. If you're inspired by these gorgeous posters fro the Belle Époque, come by post-purchase and we can show you our selection of art nouveau frames
We always talk about design in the context of bringing happiness in to our homes. So when our friend Janet Odgis, President & Creative Director of Odgis + Co, an award-winning, woman-owned branding firm based in New York City recently wrote "Why Design Is Essential to Human Happiness" we knew we had to share her insights. For 30 years Janet has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious corporations reinventing ways to define and express their brand.
The great Paul Rand, my teacher, once said in a critique: “The difference between a good painting and a great one is the composition.” The arrangement of positive and negative space, and the placement of the elements, makes all the difference. Most people don’t consciously realize what they perceive to be beautiful is actually a balance of great proportions, balanced in space.
For me, design encompasses the experiences of seeing, tasting, touching, hearing, smelling and feeling. If that wasn’t enough, it also filters through everything we think, remember, and repeat. To put it simply, design is no only how something looks but how it works, and what it enables.
Design affects us at all levels of consciousness; it’s what we wear, the tools we use, the food we eat, our home and work environments, our entertainment. It affects our decision-making in more ways than we consciously realize. Design influences behavior, encouraging people to develop preferences and familiarity. It creates brand loyalty. “Design is everything,” said Paul Rand.
I consider myself a highly aesthetic person, and I use my awareness of this in my work. Successful designers are, by definition, businesspeople; but first and foremost they’re creatives who operate according to a set of principles. We spend every day obsessed with design.
German industrial designer Dieter Rams is known not only for his iconic product designs for Braun, but also his ten principles of good design, which are much-cited by designers from all disciplines. (Rams had a sizable influence on a number of famous creators, including Apple’s Jonathan Ive, who crafted the look of the iPhone and iPad.) In Rams’ mind, good design:
- Is innovative
- Makes products useful
- Is aesthetic
- Makes a product understandable
- Is unobtrusive
- Is honest
- Is long-lasting
- Is thorough down to the last detail
- Is environmentally friendly
- Is as little design as possible
The above principles apply to some degree to all designers, whether or not they create physical products. A Website or logo has the same responsibilities as a chair or phone with regard to honesty, longevity, aesthetic quality, and innovation. Design isn’t just about how something looks; it’s how it works, by conveying a message and making things understandable.
If the designer succeeds at applying their principles to the project, the resulting design shouldn’t stand out in a way that seems off-putting; rather, it should feel inevitable and natural—as if it could have been accomplished in no other way. Or as Rams himself once put it: “Good design is as little design as possible.”
New to the gallery this month is mixed media artist M.F. Cardamone, who seamlessly blends 18th and 19th century botanical illustrations with pop culture images and text to create visual narratives. Cardamone first started making contemporary art in 1980; however, it was during her time at the Barnes Arboretum School Program in 2003 when she began to experiment with botanical mixed media art. Through the use of collage, M.F. Cardamone creates playful interpretations of nature as an art form.
Robyn Pocker: Please tell us your first love of flowers / botany?
M.F. Cardamone: For as long as I can remember I have always had an affinity for nature.
RP: Did you always have a 'green thumb’?
MFC: My Thumb became greener as a result of enrolling and graduating from in 2005, a 3 year horticultural program at the Barnes Arboretum School in Merion, PA
RP: What makes a plant or flower unique?
MFC: All plants like people are unique; they all have a history and a story to tell.
RP: How do you select a certain species to further develop in to artwork aspects of the plants from their medicinal to spiritual properties?
MFC: I began this body of work by researching the native plants on my property , whichis on the outskirts of Philadelphia This particular series was called “Plants of Pennsylvania. I explore many different aspects of plants from the medicinal to the ecological. It’s whatever interests me at that moment
RP: Tell us a little more about your artistic process?
MFC: A digital file is then created and printed . I then go back and add handwork such as calligraphy, stamps and gouache to embellish the work.
RP: I collect all of my plant specimens- just like a botanist would collect for future study . You were quoted as referring to your art a visual puzzle — do you have a process for identifying certain graphical elements or a theme beforehand?
MFC: I refer to the work as “Visual Puzzles” because I like the concept of the work evoking a sense of mystery and wonder because that’s the way I feel about the natural world
RP: We love the concept of contemporary botanical prints — how did you first explore the idea of using digital innovation and other mixed media elements combined with your prints?
MFC: The aim of scientific Botanical Illustrators throughout history has always been to portray plants as accurately and realistically as possible to help further our understanding of them . Digital imaging is the most state of the art process . The detail it’s able to record is really magical .
J Pocker's Production Supervisor, Jane Chambless Wright, moved to rural Ireland last July. She and her husband Brian purchased a derelict schoolhouse in County Leitrim, and over the past year have renovated the old stone building. "Our nearest village is Kiltyclogher." Jane tells us. The Heritage Center in Kiltyclogher dates back to 1820 and houses the collection of artifacts relating to Sean MacDiarmada, Architect of the Easter Rising, who gave his life for the cause of Irish Freedom.
2016 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the Easter Rising - the definitive moment which created todays Irish Republic. Jane and her husband bought the building where Sean MacDiarmada went to school - and found themselves host to quite a few visitors stopping by for a glimpse of Irish History. "We had no idea that this was anything other than an empty building when we bought it online. Because MacDiarmada initially wanted to be a teacher, he spent 14 years in the schoolhouse - which is now our home."
A few weeks ago a generous benefactor of The Heritage Center presented them with an antique print of Sean MacDiarmada in its original vernacular picture frame. The piece dates back to 1917. There is also a piece of newspaper attached to the back of the frame, from January 1917. This paper backing becomes part of the artifact, and must be preserved along with the print itself.
Jane spent several weeks attempting to locate the necessary archival framing materials in Ireland. "Optium Museum Acrylic, 100% cotton rag mat board, Coroplast acid-free substrate - NONE of these are available in this country. I contacted Robyn Pocker in New York, because J Pocker uses only the very finest quality framing materials. I told her the story, and she graciously agreed to provide the materials needed." Jane has told the Kiltyclogher Heritage Center about Robyn's very generous donation - and needless to say, they are thrilled. "The materials are being shipped overseas from New York, and will arrive in the next week or so." Jane says.
Jane has restored the original picture frame, much of which was damaged or missing. "It's a unique piece of vernacular craftsmanship which seems to have been built specifically for this print. All of the frames legs have been individually carved and pieced together with animal glue which deteriorated over the years. I was able to fit the pieces and secure them with archival glue and tiny brass screws to hold everything together again. It's nice and solid, ready for the completed frame package."
Once the project is completed, the restored print and its frame will hang in a place of pride at the Kiltyclogher Heritage Center. It may be the only remaining print of its kind in existence - it certainly deserves to be admired by everyone who visits during the centenary year. A plaque commemorating the generosity and invaluable assistance of J Pocker Framing of New York, and the kindness of Ms. Robyn Pocker in particular, will hang next to the restored portrait print.
"We are deeply indebted to the fine people of J Pocker for making the restoration possible. I can't thank them enough."
Summer months spent outdoors make for special memories deserved of preservation. Your spontaneous escape to a seaside getaway, the exploration of a new destination, celebrating your loved ones - bring these sentimental moments indoors to share with generations to come.
We're looking to both land and sea for inspiration this summer - read on to see just what it is that has sparked our creativity in the showroom.
Our recent acquisition of a calligraphy machine allows us the ability to custom print on any print or frame. Whether it's for a special arrival of a small bundle, or an incredible accomplishment met, a personalized framed memory is the perfect gift.
A treasured map, reminiscent of a favorite seaside destination, memory or occasion. Take the unique route when gifting your gracious hostess this season, by presenting your classic map in an exquisite custom frame sure to be cherished for generations to come. Explore our selection of unique maps.
Minimal in it's shape and color, bamboo adds that perfect hint of natural texture.
Visually pleasing, the fresh look of lucite allows its counterparts to take center stage, leaving a balanced composition of any space.
Vibrant works of colorful sea creatures, plants and marine mollusks add that perfect seasonal flair to any seaside getaway. Shop all sealife prints here.
We're taking a further step by way of gardening this season in terms, by bringing our study of plants indoors. Shop our botanical prints here.
Carton Hobbs was kind enough to give us the back story on this amazing custom frame, such an incredible piece of work to witness.
"Carved with her coat of arms (Saxe-Gotha) at the crest and her cypher, APW, at the bottom with angels, putti, and Welsh dragons throughout the rest of the frame. The portrait was given to the Earl of Warwick by his mother-in-law, Lady Archibald Hamilton, as evidenced by a document formerly attached to this painting which reads: "The original portrait of H.R.H Augusta Princess of Wales and H.R.H. the Lady Augusta, was a legacy from the Right Honorable Lady Archibald Hamilton to the Earl and Countess Brooke with an intention to have it placed in Warwick Castle in 1752." As Lady Hamilton was a close confidante of the Prince of Wales, it follows that the price had presented both portraits to her as a royal gift, which she then bestowed to her daughter and son-in-law." (Carlton Hobbs LLC, 2013)
Frame craved by Paul Petit for Charles Philips' portrait of Augusta Princess of Wales. Warwick Castle.
Thank you to our friends at Serendipity, for the feature in their "Women in Business" category! We are truly humbled to talk about women in the design industry, and the positive impact their relationships have on each other.
"J. Pocker Frames have been the standard-bearer on the walls of Lauren Bacall, Diana Vreeland and Sarah Tomerlin Lee, not to mention the go-to for designers. With three generations of Pockers at the helm, the brand's legacy has unfolded, elegantly, since it's inception in 1926."
The Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France exhibit was an amazing display of the classical elements of French framing. In those days, ladies were only expected to paint flowers — but this show highlights Vigée Le Brun and her extraordinary work for the court of Marie Antoinette.
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) is one of the finest 18th-century French painters and among the most important of all women artists. An autodidact with exceptional skills as a portraitist, she achieved success in France and abroad during one of the most eventful, turbulent periods in European history. Vigée Le Brun: Woman Artist in Revolutionary France is the first retrospective and only the second exhibition devoted to this artist in modern times. The 80 works on view at the Metropolitan Museum will be paintings and a few pastels from European and American public and private collections. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
“She incorporated beautiful still life elements in to these portraits, and the frames are extraordinary, reflecting these themes (such as the ornate garland of sunflowers and morning glories all around the frame" - Robyn Pocker
Leather frames are a modern favorite, a bold addition to any print or mirror. Shown below, a leather mirror that we did for Sheila Bajaj, a 6" face 5 foot by 6 1/2 foot leather frame, that now resides in a residential home on the Upper East Side.
"In framing, the hard thing is to really create a texture. With the leather, you really get a surface that you want to investigate up close. A custom mirror with leather compliments the hardware and luxurious surfaces in the interior. One of the very good things about leather, is that it can be totally contemporary or it can be wonderfully traditional - very versatile," states Robyn Pocker.
Shown below are a few examples of custom J.Pocker leather frames, please contact us directly for any inquiries, we are always happy to help.
A few photos of a Madrid Apartment tour has us longing for leather accents, via our Pinterest page.
"The art world equivalent of Ginger Rogers — in the sense of making the main attraction look good — frames have long subtly shaped the viewer’s experience while being taken for granted."
In "Letting the Frame Speak for the Artist and the Era" by the New York Times, we are reintroduced to an important element of any artwork - the frame. From antique frames to modern day styles, the art of framing comes alive once again, as a leading player in the art world.
"But now frames are experiencing a renaissance of attention and respect from both museum curators and collectors. “I don’t remember a single discussion of frames in graduate school,” said Mark Cole, curator of American paintings and sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Now frames are increasingly seen as rich areas of study and as precious historic objects that must be preserved.”
Happy to assist in any and all framing efforts, please consult our website for showroom information, as well as visiting our online gallery for custom styles.
Already looking forward to the coming summer months here in the showroom. A young woman brought in a fascinating certificate after studying on the sea and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Here is a picture of a custom nautical themed frame with a hand drawn map. Love seeing incredible projects come to life.
"My eyes are always looking for pretty table top pieces to add to my collection. Every visit to another city becomes a search for new napkins. They are easy to pack and you can buy loads and not add any weight. Now, I'm on the search for dessert forks to go with my grandmothers Queen Ann sterling. I would not say I collect drinking glasses but just opening up my cabinet, it seems that I do."
Thank you to Westchester Magazine for featuring J. Pocker in their Winter Edition with "How to Create a Salon-Style Wall." Pick up their latest issue today for a comprehensive guide on what it takes to give your room that added dose of personality.
This month at J. Pocker we're thinking about seasonal gifts and last minute updates for the home. In honor of the holidays, I wanted to share a special group of family photographs from my home — as there is no better gift than capturing your most special memories for friends and family. We are still taking orders for the holidays, so stop by the gallery to browse our vast selection of our photo frames that are hand made in Europe. We also have gift cards — so give us a call if you have a special holiday project in mind.
Gifting loved ones can be a daunting task, we've learned a lot over the years, and are thrilled to share our findings. A framed map print can bring back nostalgic feelings of a special place once visited or lived, admired locations on your bucket list, or serving as a beautiful visual aide assisting you in your geographical studies.
With almost 90 years in business, we are always thrilled to collaborate with talented interior designers to help benefit local causes and communities, and The Designer Showhouse of New Jersey (link) was no exception. 25 interior designers, landscape, and decorative artists from New York and New Jersey transformed the home and its grounds into an elegant country estate in just a few months.
We worked with Daniel Park, of Daniel Park Design, to create three custom frames for large scale oil paintings for the transformation of the master bath. Park, who is known for his "unapologetically glamorous interiors" (Franklin Report) anchored the room with the three bold pieces. "J.Pocker's frames are refined and stunning! I'm ecstatic with how they transformed my paintings to another level."
The proceeds from this year will benefit the Center for Behavioral Health and Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center, who provides expert care and educates patients and their families about mental illness. Read more on the show house here.
Oil painting on canvas, shown in a black linen frame.