In the Picture
Fairfield Citizen-News Article Last Updated:06/29/2007

Just as one cannot tell a book by its cover, a customer cannot necessarily tell good framing just by the frame. Good framing is outside and inside.

"People overlook the value of good framing," said Troy amuso. He should know. He and his wife, Denise, own Troy Art & Framing, a business new to Fairfield, but not to Fairfield County.

This spring, the Fairfield couple relocated their design studios and office headquarters from Stamford, where it had been for nearly a decade, to 2,500 square feet of first floor space at 301 Commercial Drive, next door to the U.S. Post Office.

"We try to educate people," Troy Amuso said. That is why the couple has noticed that since their relocation to Fairfield, where they can have closer ties to the community in which they are raising their 4-year-old daughter Ava, they have noticed how their clients have followed them to their new location.

"We have a great client relationship," said Troy, whose introduction into the art world began 30 years ago as a teen working with noted art restorer Yan Vanderviver in Westchester County. "We have people driving up here just to keep working with us."

"It's kind of like your hairdresser," Denise said. "Once she does your hair right, you'll travel."

With good framing, Troy explained a framer begins with acid-free materials because the acid in the paper can burn the artwork. Glass is another important element. It's important to work with ultra-violet filtering glass to keep the artwork from fading. Also, it is important to make sure there is the proper spacing between the artwork and the glass.

The couple is very aware of the competitiveness within the art and framing industry. Therefore, they rely on their expertise and experience in providing the best quality and service to individual and corporate clients.

Troy Art and Framing is a multi-faceted framing and art services business available at their showroom and design studio as well as in the home and at corporate locations. The business caters to individuals as well as to art collectors, corporations, designers and decorators.

Product and services include custom framing, distinctive frame mouldings, in-home/office design and picture hanging services, custom mirrors, sales of fine art and art advisory services, corporate art and framing, art installations and art maintenance programs, art and frame restoration, art transportation, art consulting and archiving, French matting and fine art and prints.

At their new location, the couple divided the space into offices, a design studio and a showroom where clients can see an extensive inventory of framing, along with decorative mirrors and artwork.

Of special note is Troy Art & Framing's stock of historical maps, including a 19th century map of Fairfield County, maps of New England and nautical charts. In addition, the showroom and gallery spotlight emerging artists, such as its current featured artist Bob Ichter of Atlanta and Susan McCaslin of Darien. The couple change exhibits every three months and has an open call for artists to be considered for their gallery shows.

There is another emerging artist in the midst -- their daughter Ava, whose artwork is represented in a display piece that originates with Troy Art & Framing. Through an exclusive copyrighted process, clients can have their children's artwork, from 15 to 25 pieces, laid out to create one piece of art, approximately 33-by-33 inches custom matted. The child then signs the composite mat and the work is then framed to suit tastes.

This original artwork composite is called a "mini masterpiece," a gallery of the best of a child's artwork, which becomes a lasting memory on display for a lifetime. Mini Masterpieces is the brainchild of Denise and the company's graphic artist, Nicole Koester.

"Instead of 25 things framed, now you have them in one body of work instead of all over the fridge," Denise said. "It's a great way to put a bunch of pieces together." The composition is on acid-free paper. She explained how her own daughter's mini masterpiece represents a variety of pieces created when Ava was 3 years old. One was from a field trip, another from a pre-school project.

One day when Ava visited her parents' showroom and gallery, she said, '"Daddy, why do you sell everyone else's but mine?"'

In addition to the artwork and framing at their showroom, the couple emphasized a major aspect of their business is on-site consultations in homes or offices and corporations. They assist clients with selection, placement and hanging art. They will even take full responsibility in relocating art, such as to a summer house or a new home.

In addition, Troy Art & Framing conducts seminars to educate organizations, groups and individuals about various aspects of the art, including the proper and creative way to group artwork on a wall.

Troy and Denise's education and experience complement each other and their business. He brings more than 30 years experience in the art and framing industry and she comes from a merchandizing and marketing background. Troy attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and Denise attended the Fashion Institute of Technology with an original intent to become a fashion designer. Troy's experience in the art industry includes stints working in art galleries, managing an art store and gallery in Greenwich and working as director of creative development for a corporation in Los Angeles that set up a chain of framing shops. Denise's experience includes her position as director of marketing for Innovative Display and Design in Bridgeport, where she was responsible for exhibit designs at trade shows.

After working for others for more than 20 years, Troy said it was time to get out on his own. "I wanted to be an entrepreneur and apply my own ideas," he said.

Today, the couple is excited about relocating their business to Fairfield, where as a family they relocated to from Weston a few years ago.

"We got out of the woods and out of the traffic," said Troy, a reference to eliminating his commute from Weston to his former business site in Stamford. "We love Fairfield. We had felt disconnected from our [previous] town. We wanted to be more involved in our daughter's life and the community.

"It's a great town, a great family town. There are so many programs here for our daughter."

Now that the couple runs a business where they live, they are excited about the synergy between home and work that enables them to get involved in the community. They have joined the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfield Arts Council, for which they will be conducting a seminar this fall. With their daughter starting kindergarten in September, they are also excited about getting involved in school activities and community organizations.

The company Web site notes that "the secret to presenting art successfully is simple. Find the art you love; frame it appropriately; and then hang it in the perfect location."

The hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For appointments, call 367-5511.