Is This Abuse of Art?

I was really happy and excited when I completed my latest piece of artwork, Art Frame, and hung it on the wall. I felt that the beautiful frame around the plain white, textured paper would create intrigue and discussion. I was confident that it would quickly become the most talked-about piece of art in our house.

Art Frame1

Then, my mother had the idea of putting an orchid plant in front of it.

Art Frame2

At first, I was devastated. I was crushed. She had taken my artwork of which I was so proud and rendered it normal. My artistic work was made almost unnoticeable as art. Everything that I had hoped to achieve was practically ruined.

Ruined, or Reinvented?

This unexpected use of my clever piece of art revealed another use. It provided a frame for a 3D object which emphasized its colour and shape. It enhanced the orchid and said, “Hey, this is important!”

Art Frame3

Although I didn’t like the idea at first, I quickly warmed to it. Art Frame had found another, more practical purpose.

As somebody whose signature building technique is to let things evolve, I have trouble making a stand against this unanticipated use.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments section at the end of this article.

Art Frame is available for purchase.  Learn more on the product page.


18 thoughts on “Is This Abuse of Art?

  1. Certainly can appreciate your initial response, yet, being attracted to sculptural (3-D) forms and unexpected combinations, I like it. No need to call it art or abuse. Call it Chris n mom’s.

  2. I suppose you could have similar heart burn about how any of your pieces are being used/displayed after you sell them. When a piece is driving or shipping away, do you ever ask yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if they will put it a place of prominence, or will it just be shoved into a corner with dank lighting?”. I’m not a professional, but I would imagine that would be a big mental hurdle to overcome. But this is the nature of art, no? It can be interpreted many ways, frustrating as that might be to the artist. Your mom saw that frame and simply had a different take than you. Nothing wrong with that, just human nature.


    1. Hi Eric,

      That is certainly an interesting thought. I’ve never given much thought about how a piece is used or displayed after it’s purchased as long as the customer is happy with it. I have, however, had a hard time parting with certain pieces but I have not felt that way in a while.

      I remember once, when I was sharing a piece of work on a forum, I posted pictures of it as well as a description of it and my thoughts on the piece – how I designed it, why I built it that way, and what it meant to me. Somebody told me just to present it and not explain it – that it was the job of the viewer to interpret the piece. I guess I can attribute my urge to explain my work to my insatiable curiousity. I am always looking for insights into how others see the world. But of course, not everybody is the same as me.


  3. Chris- reinvented….seems to me that all art, furniture, sculpture, etc exists in a space and is impacted by what’s around it. You might have hung it in the living room or dining room or kitchen or next to a window or against patterned wallpaper or a white wall – each providing its on additional impact. I think the orchid complements it and it certainly adds positive impact to the orchid….Rusty

  4. Have you played with lighting? Get your flashlight out and see how it might effect the whole. Tight to the wall and the orchid is a silhouette. Ceiling mount so the light strikes the flower and pops the color. Front low lighting and throw shadows onto the paper. You can just sense some shadow play in the picture.
    Of course you could just put a mirror in it and pretend it is 1970…..

    1. Morgan,

      Good idea. I would bring up my photography strobes and play around with various angles of lighting, but, as per your other suggestion, I Photoshopped out the electrical outlet and, alas, have no source of power for them. ;)


  5. I have a G&G reproduction frame that is empty hanging in my room (waiting for the right photo…) I still like the frame, so I can relate a bit (And I like the idea behind your original). That said, I like the orchid addition; it’s still unexpected. Because it uses a 2D frame for a 3D object, not completely unlike your linear cabinet.

      1. Well I have been trying to figure out what photo would go best in there, but after this post, I may mount a clean sheet of paper and frame a 3d object until if/when the right composition wanders in front of my lens.

  6. I really like what you and your mother did here. In fact, it inspired me to start planning an entry mirror project that I’ve wanted to do for some time, but instead of an actual mirror, maybe something along the lines of what you’ve done.

I would be delighted if you left a comment!

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