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Poster Tricks : The challenge is to afford a quality presentation of a print. Tarzana shop offers creative framing for 'instant gratification.'

July 16, 1993|GERI COOK

It seems like about 10 years ago that poster art came into its own and, ever since, this source for art lovers on a budget has become more and more sophisticated.

Operations such as Poster Art 'N Graphics have furthered the excellence of the product as we know it today. A visit to one of Poster Art's gallery/warehouses affirms the fact that one doesn't have to be a millionaire to enjoy the works of old masters or acclaimed contemporary artists.

The trick is to afford a quality presentation of the print, i.e., a tasteful framing job. Poster Art 'N Graphics specializes in taking a poster and making it look like fine art.

The poster selection is vast, with contemporary artists such as Elba Alvarez, Diane Romanello and Yuriko Takata very prominent on the racks. The most expensive framed poster in the shop measures 37 by 61 inches and costs $250. This is Alvarez's popular abstract landscape "Elysia," in an "image-matted" frame, which is a specialty of the house. This is a three-dimensional effect achieved by cutting the outer few inches of the poster and using it as the mat. Image-matting is a dramatic way of achieving dimension and is particularly effective in landscapes. Without the image-matting, or in a flat laminated wood frame, "Elysia" would be $150.

The big, bold florals by Takata, a San Francisco painter, are dynamic without the image-matting, but the impact is enhanced in this framing. Her watercolor "The Temple of Diana" is the first of a planned series for which proceeds will be donated to AIDS research. This print goes for $95 flat-framed from a stock selection of frames, or $175 in the image-matting. Van Gogh's "Irises" also lends itself to this dimensional technique, and is $200.

Landscapes by watercolorist Romanello are well-represented at Poster Arts 'N Graphics and are ideal for this particular framing technique. A 34-by-44-inch poster graphic is $25 to $30, $95 framed in a stock laminated wood frame, or $175 image-matted.

The posters here are pretty much the same price as at other poster art shops, but the framing runs considerably less. At Aaron Brothers, a 30-by-40-inch poster, framed in a two-inch laminated frame, with two acid-free mats, runs around $300; at Fast Frame, it is $240, and at The Great Frame-Up, it's $204. Poster Art's quote is $114.83.

According to Lynne Crandall, director of marketing and sales, angels are very in right now. A detail from Raphael's "Sistine Madonna," with two angels looking up toward the heavens, measures 40 inches by 59 inches and is in a most appropriate gold-leaf frame. Total price is $200. Crandall says another current fad is computer-generated 3-D art, and several are already framed and ready to walk out the door, as are many pieces in this showroom. "Actually," Crandall says, "about 30% of our business goes right off the walls and out the door. It's instant gratification."

Some framed prints are even marked down. I uncovered a beautifully finished contemporary pastel measuring about 36 by 48 inches in a slightly damaged frame, which brought the price down from $95 to $45. For the markdowns, look for a red dot.

Whether you are looking for a single piece for your home or multiple scenes for your office, the in-house selection of framed prints is excellent. If what you like is not available already framed, the management promises the job will be done in a week or less.

Should there not be a poster in the bins that appeals to you, about 10,000 additional ones are available by catalogue.

WHERE TO SHOP What: Poster Art 'N Graphics, 18530 Oxnard St., Tarzana. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays. Cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa. Call: (818) 344-7611. Other Location: 1835-D Newport Blvd., Suite 159, Costa Mesa. (714) 646-8603.

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