Sports fans love their teams and RJ Jacquez, owner of Jacquez Art & Custom Framing, has come to understand the value society puts on signed jerseys and memorabilia. Today, his Chula Vista, California frame shop has found its niche designing and producing one-of-a-kind framed sports pieces with the WOW factor fans want to capture a precious moment.
“It all starts with the story,” said Jacquez. “I always ask why a specific item is important, how did they get it, what’s the story behind it? The answers drive our ideas.”
In the case of Travis Taijeron, his wife contacted Jacquez to create something special to commemorate the outfielder’s major league baseball debut with the New York Mets. She brought the framer the ball from his first catch and the ball from his first home run, along with photos of his at-bat stance and celebration from that first home run. She also provided a New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals lineup card and Taijeron’s number 28 game jersey.
“Getting a shot in the majors is what ball players work for their entire lives,” said Jacquez. “Our goal was to make his moment even more spectacular by creating a framed piece that would both preserve these valuable mementos and highlight the excitement of the day for years to come.”
Jacquez designed a custom framed work of art that incorporated all these elements into it, along with three plaques describing the date of each accomplishment. The result was an all-star showpiece that received rave reviews from both Taijeron and his wife.
The revolutionary Valiani cutting machine was instrumental in Jacquez’s ability to make the intricate matboard cuts needed to outline the silhouette of Taijeron’s jersey. The gold standard in computerized mat cutters since the 1970s, Valiani machines allow framers to create computer-measured, precise cuts to multiple layers of material while maximizing efficiency through an automated process.
“Detailed cuts like these simply cannot be accomplished by hand,” said Jacquez. “But the Valiani makes it easy.”
For his jersey framing projects, Jacquez calls upon his graphic design background and works in Adobe Illustrator to draft the overall matting layout. He then transfers his concept into Valiani’s native software V-Studio, which automatically signals the machine to cut the pattern right into the Crescent matboard of his choice.
“It’s essential to use acid-free matboard, such as Crescent’s conservation line, to preserve these valuable jerseys and memorabilia,” Jacquez explained, adding that each project is unique, so the color, texture and style of matboard is dictated by the items being framed. “Crescent offers the largest selection in the industry so I am confident I can always find the perfect matboard to let the artwork shine.”
The Crescent Select sports line offers color schemes that match all major sports teams in the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL. The line includes the exact team colors for many colleges, as well. Crescent Select conservation quality matboards are made of alpha-cellulose wood pulp fibers and are acid-free and lignin-free throughout the surface, white core and backing. In addition, Crescent Accents matboards are available in three sports themed textures: basketball, football and golf ball.
Because they coordinate so well with many recognizable teams, Jacquez generally uses the Crescent Select sports line as his first option when starting his design process. However, he also has the ability to choose from hundreds of additional Crescent matboard colors and finishes to ensure he achieves the exact effect he envisioned.
Taijeron is one of several professional athletes who have turned to Jacquez for his creativity and expertise. He also has framed jerseys for NFL safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, NBA guard-forward Terrence Ross, and MLB outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. And while he appreciates being on the radar for elite athletes, the majority of his business still comes from the fans. He has received orders from all 50 states, Canada and Mexico to as far away as Switzerland and Qatar. Recently, he has been inundated with requests to frame Kobe Bryant jerseys and Los Angeles Lakers memorabilia, as well.
“I’m a sports fanatic myself, so I truly appreciate the significance of these jerseys and other collectibles and what they mean to the fans,” said Jacquez.
“With each and every jersey, ball, card, or photo we frame, we are so grateful that our clients entrust us to preserve these valuable and special memories,” he concluded. “As with any piece of art, the framer’s job is to do the story justice.”