About

Hang Tough Framing by Albert Hooi on Vimeo.

Hang Tough Framing is at the fore front of picture framing in Dublin. We offer a bespoke picture framing service, providing specialist framing to artists, galleries, corporate and individual clients.

We have refined our range of frame styles to offer our customers a simplistic but yet contemporary selection making the decision process quick and easy.

Every Hang Tough frame is custom made to order after an initial in store consultation.

THE ORIGIN AND RISE OF RUBIO’S HANG TOUGH FRAMING

by James Albert /InDublin Article

One of the benefits of living in a capital city is the never ending opportunities for people to create new friends, new experiences and new ventures. If you stroll down Camden Street you can see multiple small businesses lining the street with their own unique charms. Dublin is a cauldron of different cultures, music and art forms that influence each other to evolve and create another cycle of opportunity. A little further down the road on South Richmond Street there is one flawlessly presented business set in matt grey with a window reading; ‘Hang Tough Framing’, this is the creation of Rubio and represents an immaculate young company of precision and innovation.

Hang Tough is the bespoke framing company created by Rubio less than five years ago. He has found his niche in the city for an original, exquisite, contemporary industry. The company’s humble roots were planted in a roof top studio in the Bernard Shaw; here is where the potential of business was truly realised. The brand grew quickly and it wasn’t long before Hang Tough had to seek out new space for expansion. The new location was a derelict building that had been unoccupied for fifteen years since 1997. On a limited budget the Hang Tough team renovated the property giving the place a sleek clean-cut appearance that well reflects their product. More recently the company has expanded onto Lennox Street; renting space from printing company Photolabs. Rubio explains their working relationship; “the synergy is great because they do printing and we do mounting and the framing, we work quite closely together now and share the space.”

The name is one of many great selling points for the company and also traces its roots in Dublin; Rubio describes how he actually used to live in a house known as Hang Tough in Churchtown; “It was a bit of a party house back then, I’ll not go into too much detail but it’s where I met a lot of my friends, so I thought [for naming purposes] Hang Tough Framing works.” A lot of the public tend to agree with him and there may have been no business at all if Rubio hadn’t been so bold. Rubio was studying media at D.I.T with a real enthusiasm for photography which encouraged him to take up a part-time position framing prints in a photography studio. After separating with his employers and researching the market Rubio took the bold decision to start his own business “I suppose I could have stayed in college but I took a risk and said; ‘I really enjoy this, nothing compares to doing something you enjoy’”

With an ever growing clientele Hang Tough is becoming the go-to place for all Dublin’s contemporary framing needs. Hang Tough’s commercial clients include Jameson, Heineken and Bord Gais but the majority of their business comes from artists, photographers, private collectors and even the odd gallery. All of these clients benefit from the company’s variety and professionalism; from ornate or traditional style frames to modern mounting techniques. Anyone interested in this service would almost certainly come across Hang Tough Framing, Rubio noted; “if somebody has a contemporary screen print we’ll probably be the first people they call, which is great!”  The word has already spread but for people stumbling upon the website online or spotting the neatly placed store front on Richmond Street the impression is of faultless detail.

Rubio considers that there may be an audience that isn’t interested in custom framing as they think; “let’s just get a readymade frame and shove a poster into that.” The framing work is so much more than simply finding a frame to fit a picture, as Rubio said; the process is “a bit like problem solving”, clients come with a query and the Hang Tough team consult them to find a solution to presenting the artwork. Rubio and his team are constantly evolving to adapt to new projects and while they are still learning they are dynamic enough to frame every crazy project presented to them. They have framed full army uniforms and canvases, things that take a little more “planning and frame engineering”. It’s all part and parcel of the service they offer and they have never turned down a framing project to date.

There have been some far stranger projects, as Rubio describes “we did a skin tight ski suit before,” despite fighting the urge to wear it, “it looked like an Iron Man suit in the frame.” Even stranger still was a project for a mystery client; “We framed a leather gimp mask with zips, mounted on seedy red with a black frame which was pretty cool.” The transaction was handled online and transported by courier; “Where they put it was left to their discretion, we never got to meet the owner but that was a fun project.” With no limit on variety or distance this truly is a business of infinite potential.

Most recently the team have been enjoying working with artist James Earley, who has been using his ‘immaculate eye for art’ as curator of the Dean Hotel and overseeing the refurbishment of the Workman’s Club. “We framed most of the pieces that went in the venue working closely with James.” One piece which was tough to hang was a multi canvas piece by artist Sek2, which was alluded to earlier. The art piece, now hanging in Workman’s, comprised of twelve canvases that James described as a “tricky” project. Up to the challenge the Hang Tough team set about mounting the canvases on a heavy MDF board and covered by a Perspex lid, leaving an uninterrupted view of the canvas; “It was heavy but it was fun coming up with the solution and the result was spectacular.”

Hang Tough has come a long way in the last four years the team now consists of four members; The outstanding Gillian, operating front of house as well as the work shop, Glen Doyle, workshop manager ‘who is brilliantly organized’, Kate, quality control and ensuring everything is perfect. Then there is Rubio himself who floats between front of house and workshop. “It’s a small but very efficient team and I hope this has started a fruitful career for myself and all the people I work with.” Hang Tough may still be in its infancy but the team are growing along with the company and Rubio admits that he wouldn’t be here now without them “It’s not rocket science but it does take a lot of patience and a lot of practice. It’s definitely more of a team effort these days because it’s not just me.”

There is a close community of Irish artists that have become well acquainted with Hang Tough Framing and they have pursued ways of popularising the work of their talented friends. The first anniversary has just passed for the companies print club; “‘Tough Love’ is an extension of Hang Tough Framing. It’s a platform whereby we commission Irish artists to come up with a design for a screen print or a digital print that we then turn into a fine art print and sell a limited edition.”  All prints that make the cut are displayed in the shop representing a healthy roster of Irish artists, which will hopefully grow in anticipation of an exhibition at the end of the year.

For artists preparing for an exhibition, Hang Tough is the destination they will turn to if they want them looking pristine. They take extra care over the design and include the artists in the planning process: “We do a consultation to make sure they’re happy and we come up with a style and continuity for their frames.” There is a deep understanding for the requirements of a professional exhibition: “The picture frame should never interfere with the viewing pleasure, it should only enhance or subtly display the artwork.” If an artist or collector is ever uncertain of what they’re looking for it provides an opportunity to showcase the team’s abilities: “If people don’t know what they want they can be the most fun. It’s our job as framing consultants, to show them what we would recommend and for them it’s quite exciting to see the results.”

For those interested in the services of Hang Tough Framing you may already have a piece of art work in mind, or plan to frame a portrait as a gift. Either way the project could not be in better hands with the Hang Tough team, Rubio himself has his own prized possession;

One of my favourite pieces is by Conor Harrington it’s called the Tardis of Delight. It is a screen print released about three years ago and I’m very proud to have that on my mantelpiece I get to see it every day and it’s definitely my favourite piece that I own.

The steps taken in framing the print are the same available to anyone with a precious artwork; “I spared no expense framing it; I gave it the works, protective glass fully conservational material in case I ever wanted to sell it in the future but I don’t think that will happen!” Rubio has obviously found his niche in the diversity of business that Dublin has to offer, with a cultured team and network of inspirational artists Hang Tough Framing will do exactly that for years to come.