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The framing craftsmen: Tough times

August 28, 2010 |  1:00 pm

Frame The stretch of 7th Street just west of Hoover is a no-man’s land between Koreatown, MacArthur Park and Pico-Union. In the shadow of the  copper-sheathed Bullocks Wilshire tower is a rust-colored stucco structure, distinguished by patches of graffiti cover-up paint and exposed earthquake anchor bolts. The decaying vacant lot next door is overgrown with thick weeds. An unassuming sign in front reads, “Ted Gibson, Inc. Picture Frames and Art Supplies.”

Stepping inside past the iron security gate, the front room is filled with the trappings of the fine art world. A makeshift gallery features paintings, prints, posters, drawings, tapestries, trinkets and framing samples of every variety. Mementos are scattered across the shelves and countertops and within glass-fronted cabinets. An over-stuffed drawer spills over with glossy photos of Hollywood studios from the Clark Gable era while a 1941 postcard from Madrid and a 1950s LP autographed by Danny Kaye rest nearby.  “It’s like stepping back into a time warp where nothing has changed since the ’40s,” says art collector and dealer Isaac Khanzateh, who brings his oil paintings in for custom framing.

In fact, business practices are virtually unchanged since 1946, when Ted Gibson opened his framing shop. And until his death in 2000 at age 92, Ted sat behind the counter, overseeing custom framing and customer service. Now Richard Gibson, Ted’s son and the current owner, carries on his father’s tradition of craftsmanship and service. But things will be changing for the landmark frame shop.

To read my full story, click here.

--Daina Beth Solomon

Photo: Richard Gibson prepares for the firm's move from their longtime shop. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times