Kit and Ace frames local art
The cool thing about working with businesses to decorate their spaces is that it brings together people, stories, art, and business. This project with DC artist Natalie Cheung and Kit and Ace store manager Leah Reidy was a true testament to the beauty that can come when a group of creatives get together. Faced with a need for framed art for their newest store, Leah reached out to Natalie to see if she’d be interested in adding some local flavor to the new Georgetown Kit and Ace store in Washington DC. Add our frames to the mix and the result is a gorgeous solution that makes this store feel special and can scale as Kit and Ace continues to grow. Here’s Leah and Natalie with more on how this collaboration came together.
“We feature local art and other creative works in our shops because they serve as more than just retail spaces.”
For those who aren't familiar, can you tell us a little bit about Kit and Ace? Kit and Ace is a Vancouver-based retailer that designs and develops technical apparel, lifestyle products and accessories for men and women living full-contact lives. Our products are made for people who are on the go all day – from early morning meetings to late night dinners – and they need clothing that keeps up. We were inspired by the durability, ease, and comfort of athletic wear, and so we took the best principles of technical design and applied them to clothing for real life.
Why was it important to choose local art for the store? Engaging authentically in our communities is a key facet of the Kit and Ace brand. We feature local art and other creative works in our shops because they serve as more than just retail spaces—they are community hubs where we bring people together and support creatives and innovators who make up the fabric of our local culture. Art inspires conversation and stimulates the senses, contributing to a memorable customer experience in our shop and valuable exposure for the artist.
What about Natalie's work jumped out? The sharp colors and the intelligence use of nature. What jumped out to me that is unseen is the unique story and process behind the work.
What has the reaction been from customers and store visitors? Our guests typically say three things: 1) Tell me more about this piece and the artist! 2) Can I post this on Instagram? 3) I want one!
What was it like to work with us on this project? This is the way that framing process should be. Not only was it easy and seamless, there was so much thought and understanding in regards to how it should be done and what would be the optimal way to highlight Natalie’s artwork.
“I have to admit it's pretty neat to walk down M Street and see your artwork in the window.”
These pieces are absolutely stunning. What inspired them? Paintings from the series "Finding Anna" highlight the unique shapes of various plant species. They are painted in several colors of blue but one color specifically chosen is Ultramarine. The choice of ultramarine references the discovery and usage of the first blue paint pigments around 1704, a tremendously important color used throughout history and discovered by accident. My paintings reference the beginnings of both painting and photography, visually similar to the earliest cyanotypes by Anna Atkins in the mid-1800s.
Can you tell us a little bit about the process of creating them? I am always collecting leaves and flowers as I come upon them, I am fascinated by their varying shapes. Once you pick a leaf or a flower it immediately starts to wilt. Through my painting I am able to capture and keep the shapes and textures of what makes them so unique.
How did you get involved with Kit and Ace? Funny enough Leah from Kit and Ace just emailed me one day through my website.
How does it feel to have your art displayed in a retail space? I have to admit it's pretty neat to walk down M Street and see your artwork in the window.
There are a few pieces float mounted within each frame. Can you explain a little bit about why you chose this layout? I chose to show multiple paintings in one frame because the pieces create a kind of rhythm and dialogue as one unit rather than having each painting isolated in it's own box. I like the float mounting because it creates a more contemporary less formal look to the finished piece.
How does framing change your work? What value does it add? I never feel like an artwork is complete until it's at its final form of presentation in my case this usually means framing. I think the framing can make or break a piece and can really affect how the viewer thinks about the work even though they don't even realize it.
Ready to make your finishing touches?