I’m not blowing smoke in your eyes when I testify that I truly feel frames are an apex of design and craftsmanship and technology deep in the realm of definition as artwork. Yes, I understand eyewear is a medical device supporting a lens system at a specific distance in front of one’s eyes as a means of correcting vision. And, as you’ll note after reading Andy Karp’s column in this issue, that demarcation of a frame is being shockingly broadened to include a massive range of functions well beyond the arena of sight and deep into the universe of information, telecommunication and nearly sixth sense stimulation and dimension.

Suffice though, for me it hits with a gut reaction that astonishes my sense of artistic appreciation. Commercial art? Perhaps, but in my world, automobiles and music instruments and watches and writing instruments function with a finesse and feel and visual assault that says… ART. And eyewear is right up there in my personal mind’s eye gallery of art.

For many years now, 20/20 has consistently delivered a special series of ongoing features devoted to the Artists of the Frame, and this issue presents one of those esteemed talents, Sanford Hutton and Colors in Optics. Near monthly I relish the opportunity to deliver short “trend setting” annotations directly tuning in readers to the creativity of Sandy with any caption of a Colors in Optics frame. We’ve even highlighted creative solutions regarding sun clips with an Artist of the Sun Clip feature a few years ago, and this month that very opti-legend returns as David Evan Salk comes up with some captivating eyewear additives in “Clipper Captain.” 

Even a quick glance at this 20/20’s “What Matters” frame materials feature demonstrates the beholding power of eyewear being startlingly captivating. It has been a tradition these last few years to build our feature devoted to frame materials as a total series of still life photographs in order to capture detailing that might get lost when the demands of an actual face are enlisted. And in those instances of eyewear-and-only-eyewear photographs, the team of art director Iris Johnson and photographer Ned Matura collaborate with a display of magnificent photo images worthy of exhibition. This year they did it with a careful matchup of hand-painted end paper backgrounds and an intense product review session matching the specific frames to complementary settings. I’m consistently in awe of the creativity of both Iris and Ned when it comes to delivering the perfect eyewear visual missive.

And that is honestly the way I also feel about my relationship to eyewear. My very livelihood depends on eyewear, and I’m forever grateful that my profession is devoted to the incredible universe of versing spectacles.

James J. Spina