In times of crisis, whether it’s an economic downturn or a disaster like the Jesusita Fire, art is sometimes a forgotten casualty.
David Lombardi, owner of the State Street framing shop Fast Frame, is doing what he can to save it. Charging only for his costs, he replaces glass and fixes the frames of art damaged during the several fires to occur in the past year, and uses his shop as an art gallery to help Santa Barbara artists sell their work. “Artwork gives comfort,” Lombardi said. “It can be a soothing experience to come home and just sit, enjoy, and get lost in it.”
Lombardi says that during times of disaster, people often break things during the hustle and bustle of evacuation. In addition to replacing the glass, he tries to fix the broken frames if possible. Susan Boisen, a Santa Barbara artist who sometimes displays her work at Fast Frame, said that after she repainted some art pieces for an underinsured client who lost everything in the fire, Lombardi framed them at cost.
The walls at Fast Frame are decorated with paintings and photography by regional artists. In order to financially and emotionally support a friend who was recently widowed, Lombardi recently filled the front of the store with her late husband’s collection of Venezuelan art. Lombardi doesn’t take a cut when the work he is displaying sells; he just gets to do the framing. “It helps me fill up my walls and bring people in,” he explained.
Despite the economy, Lombardi isn’t at all disheartened at the prospects of running an art store. He thinks that people are always looking to fill their homes with art, and people from out of town love to bring home a piece of Santa Barbara.
Besides paintings and photography, he also makes boxes to help frame cherished memories. On the wall, he has a violin encased with sheet music that he explains was framed to remember a grandfather’s love of playing the instrument. He often does wedding invitations, bouquets, and high school graduations. “I like to remind people,” Lombardi said, “that you can take anything and frame it, put it in a box, and make it art to remember someone by.”
Lombardi and Fast Frame can be found at 1333 State Street in Santa Barbara. Call 882-1058 or visit fastframesb.com
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Ryan Neal is an intern at the Independent.