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Specialized art lighting techniques for a display are the best way to get the most out of a exhibit, as priceless paintings or sculpture can’t be properly enjoyed or viewed with a basic, off the shelf fixture. While there are several advanced approaches available such as over the picture lights and a plethora of recessed lights, optical framing projectors are favored by many illumination experts. That’s because projectors offer a strong combination of subtlety and sophistication, creating a unique effect that most people don’t even know exists. See for yourself by visiting our image gallery where you will see the light, not the fixture.

specialized art lighting techniques

The best specialized art lighting techniques emphasize contrast, as this will make the subject stand out from its surroundings. Intense illumination is one way to do this, and framing projectors do offer a brilliant LED beam, but projectors can also maximize contrast using a masking attachment. Masks, either in the form of adjustable shutters or a custom hand cut slides, are designed to shape a beam to the artwork and minimize spill light on the wall. What’s left is the part of the beam that is aimed at the subject, so there is no spill illumination visible. This is a powerful effect that will immediately get attention, as the subject will act like a drop of brilliant, glowing color in a much darker space.


Phantom has been manufacturing optical framing projectors for years and is recognized as one of the leaders in specialized art lighting techniques. Optical framing projectors come in both recessed and surface mount models that are designed for most applications and architectural requirements. All recessed housings are IC rated for use in insulated ceilings.

The Remodeler Housing, which can be installed into existing ceilings without the need to patch and paint. It can even be installed between floors without having to patch or paint. This remodel housing designed for old work projects is a Phantom exclusive.

The Float Finish Housing is intended for a zero sight-line installation, which means it is built without a visible cover plate. The Float Finish model, then, is the least visible art lighting system on the market, and ideal for homeowners that want something inconspicuous.

The New Construction Housing is, unsurprisingly, designed for new construction and is perfect for high-end residential buildings. It is installed prior to sheetrock ceiling placement and is mounted to trusses or joists. The New Construction model is finished with a white cover plate to minimize visibility.

The Top Access Housing is designed for homes where there is no bottom access to the projector. The access panel is instead available from the attic, and only a small aperture is required to fire the projector’s beam through, similar to a Wendel installation technique.

The Surface Mount projector is designed for areas where a recessed model is not feasible or desired. Available in natural aluminum, white or black, the surface mount projector is perfect for blending into any décor.


If we can help with any specialized art lighting techniques or answer any questions about our series of LED contour projectors, give us a call toll-free at 800-863-1184 or request a quote using our online form. Or if you prefer, sign up for our monthly newsletter and we will keep you up-to-date on new product launches, resources, and more.

Phantom Lighting