The LEIF FORRE Interview:
Imagine a fantastic Art Factory that processes Real Media (things you can actually touch!), not just the copy of a photocopy of a scan of a .jpg.
Imagine real photographs, artwork, prints, commercial or otherwise-- all processed through the artistic karma of Leif Forre... aka specialist in conservation and framing-- all seamlessly delivered into your hands.
Now imagine Chicago’s historic and artsy Edgewater neighborhood, Bryn Mawr & Winthrop, specifically. Home to Wall to Wall Framing & Owner, Leif Forre.
D.A: And how long have you been doing this?
FORRE: I've been framing for 22 years and I've had my own business for 12. I've been at this location 7 years and I had a store downtown before that.
D.A: 22 years? People would drive me crazy... and it's short drive. How did you get started?
FORRE: I worked in an art supply store in Ames, Iowa, right across the street from the Iowa State University Campus and students would run in with their art projects and say they needed a mat cut or they needed some kind of display... and I just taught myself how to do it.
D.A: What do you need from your customers; what helps you do your job?
FORRE: Any information my clients can give to me, whether they've got a modern home, a traditional home or eclectic. I need a sense of their living space.
D.A: What's come through here that you didn't want to give back to your customer?
FORRE: I couldn't tell you. I see so much every day. People always ask me: What's the strangest thing you ever framed? The weirdest?
D.A: I was embarrassed to even ask...
FORRE: It’s OK. I try to keep my taste out of everything that comes to my the door. I can't judge people's artwork. What's going on their wall, they've got to live with it. I know we're going to make it look great! But if it’s going to make them happy looking at it everyday, then I’m happy. And happy to not have to look at it.
D.A. Tell me about your customers.
FORRE: A lot of designers, antique dealers, shops in Andersonville, people that live in the neighborhood, people from the suburbs, people living downtown-- they've all been coming here for years.
D.A. You do the best work and are so affordable. That’s why the trade loves you.
FORRE: Thank you.
D.A: How have the new parking meters affected your business?
FORRE: I’m glad to have good parking here, but the meters are a problem. You can't run in for ten minutes to pick up something and come back to a $50.00 ticket.
D.A: What's your average turn-around time on framing?
FORRE: Two weeks. If I'm busy, it's pushing three weeks. I have a lot of people who just drop off work and say: 'Oh, take your time.' But I need a deadline because otherwise it will sit here forever. I mean, FOREVER! So I love working on deadlines.
Wall to Wall Framing, 5554 N. Winthrop (South of Bryn Mawr.), Chicago, IL 60640
773.334.5333 - www.walltowallframing.com
EPILOGUE: I dropped off a small framing project for Leif: An old "as found" flyer from a favorite exploitation film. "See a Real Authentic Caesarian Operation Performed on the Screen!" Aren't you glad you're not watching THAT in 3-D? And now we know why Leif doesn't judge one's taste level. Anyway, when finished, I will show you the final framed art product and cost of same. And we do this all for you...
Copyright WDMS 2011