When setting up fixtures for a painting or sculpture, masking the light for the art is an essential part of the process.
Even with a powerful fixture that is aimed properly, the spread of illumination will be uncontrolled and may come off as too intense. Ideally, the fixture produces as little spill as possible, because when the beam is spread out across the entire wall, it can make the subject almost appear flat. With no contrast between the edges of the piece and the surfaces it’s hung on, the subject may blend into its surroundings rather than stand out from them. After all, the point of a painting or sculpture is to be noticed.
What is the best technique to use when masking light for art?
Only a small selection of fixtures can be customized in this way, and there isn’t a universal method available that works with every technology. In fact, most fixtures that are compatible are designed for professional use, like in a theatre or museum. However, Phantom offers several recessed framing projectors that can also be used when masking light for a piece of art.
Phantom’s optical framing projectors are designed specifically for displaying creative subjects, so they can be adjusted in several ways. They can be placed at multiple angles, set at one of several beam widths, and fitted with dimmer controls so that their output level can be fine-tuned. These are all important parts of the setup process, but it’s a mask that does the heavy lifting when shaping the illumination to fit.
There are a couple standard methods for shaping the projector’s beam. The first is a cut metal template that is custom made for the subject. Sculptures possess a lot of curves and angles that can only be designed around with a custom template, so they are a natural fit with metal templates. When displaying multiple items, a metal template is also required to eliminate spill. For any rectangular or square shaped subject, Phantom’s adjustable shutters are usually a better choice. That’s because they can be slid into place quickly and precisely frame the edges of the subject with minimal effort. When a new painting or photograph is hung up on the wall, the shutters can be quickly adjusted again to account for a different set of dimensions. This is a much more convenient and cost effect option than building a unique template for every piece.
Why should a homeowner consider masking the light for their art?
When executed correctly, a template or set of shutters will keep the illumination confined to the face of the subject. The visual effect is beautiful, and rarely seen. People are not accustomed to shaped illumination, so when they see it used on a vivid painting the first time, they can’t help but be impressed. Because there is maximum contrast between the subject and the surrounding wall, the painting will appear to be backlit and look like it’s popping out.
Visual impact is the primary reason why masking light for a piece of art makes sense, and it’s an important one. If a homeowner wants to get the most from their collection, it will need to look its best.