I am proud to finally post this unusual project that I have been working on for a couple of weeks. The project was commissioned by a dear friend (thanks, Amy!) and challenged my creativity and expertise in it’s uniqueness.
The piece was a large antique movie poster marquee, measuring about 5 feet long by 2 1/2 feet tall. My friend had taken her wedding photos and created vintage-style movie posters with them, probably to match the color scheme of the marquee. Unfortunately, her refined interior design style; with clean white lines and bright bold colors, accented by carefully chosen rustic dark wood objects, clashed with the typical red and gold of the existing marquee. This, of course, sentenced it to several years of leaning against the wall in a lonely corner with it’s red and gold face hiding in shame.
After examining it, the outer frame was the “easiest”, being solid wood I could strip it down and re-stain it. The goldish border and delicate inner framework was a bit more tricky. Furthermore, another challenge was to create a color scheme that would not only marry her interior decor with the tone of the marquee, but also blend with the creme and red in the posters while maintaining authenticity.
The final challenge was that this project was to be a surprise for her husband (he had hinted several times over the last three years that he would like to hang it) and having no means to transport it out of NYC, I did all the work inside her apartment – actually in his home office! So every day, after dropping my daughter at school, I would head to her apartment, do as much work as I could, then carefully clean everything up and re-place it facing the wall next to his work desk! (See below for a funny incident!)
The first step was to strip the frame. Using Zip Strip paint remover, I carefully began removing the several layers of paint, hand sanding in between.
After hand sanding the entire outer frame, I chose a walnut stain (applied with a brush) to accentuate the beauty of the natural wood and sealed it with one coat of Polycrylic Clear Coat.
Then for the border, I used Behr interior paint in a deep gray with subtle brown undertones, black to cover the interior red borders and a silver glaze for the interior frames and title script. All of which, I carefully hand painted with a very small art brush.
Next, I removed the artwork and had them re-matted in black museum quality matting. I highly recommend the frame shop who completed this step – Columbus Art Gallery (Columbus Ave btwn 88th and 89th). They were professional and very reasonably priced.
Finally, to add the final touch – I printed their wedding date in a font to match the top titling and custom fit it to the small window at the bottom.
And VOILA!! A completely refreshed movie poster marquee, worthy of adorning her walls!
Here are some good BEFORE and AFTER shots:
The final step to completion was to hang it!
So, one morning I head to my friend’s apartment, unlock the door and step inside the entry hallway. As soon as I turn to close the door behind me, I can hear her husband’s voice (on the phone) from his office – about 10 feet down the hall. I stop, motionless, thinking he’s going to stick his head out from the room and say “Hello – who’s there?”, but he doesn’t. I have a bag full of tools, sandpaper and paint and don’t often drop by with my “own” set of keys… so, my brain is spinning to make up some reason to be standing there. I can hear him deep in conversation, but I can’t imagine that he hasn’t at least, heard the door open and close. I tiptoe backwards toward the kitchen and begin texting my friend – “Um… He’s here, what do I say?” As I await her response, I realize – “Wait a minute, he hasn’t heard me. He hasn’t seen me. I could just slip back out like a ghost!” My friend and I exchange several texts, but I quickly and quietly make for the door, slip out and re-lock it! As I trot down the stairs and hit the sidewalk, I strangely feel like a spy – slipping undetected in and out, right under his nose! HA! He had no idea and was shocked to see it hanging, completely transformed, in his office! It was a fun project all around and I give many thanks to my friend for giving me the opportunity!