There’s a simple truth to Rocky Vertone’s line of work:

Everything looks better in a frame. No matter the piece—be it a poster or a Picasso—the art that enters his door at Full Circle Frameworks leaves more beautiful. This dynamic makes his day-to-day gratifying.

A master artisan in the old-world sense, Rocky is anything but stodgy—a lot of punk, no airs. A New Jersey native, he packed his graphic design degree from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and moved west to snowboard. After several years of seasonal gigs, he moved back east to help a friend open a frame shop in Philly, tapping the skills his woodworking dad taught him. After an 18-month crash course in picture frame, he returned to Wyoming, discovered DJing, started working for photographer Henry Holdsworth, and with a couple years, ventured off on his own. Working for himself was always the plan, picture framing was not, but it aligns with his tactile nature and creative personality. Though he demurs that framing follows a formula (try convincing his loyal clientele that his creative imprint isn’t the reason they keep coming back). Rocky prides himself on his handiwork: He cuts every mount, every frame himself; he nails every joint. “I have a certain standard,” he says. “It’s got to look good. It’s got to be tight. It’s got to be perfect.”

Respecting the personal connection inherent in wanting to frame something, Rocky embraces the full spectrum of custom commissions, from the immaculate frame around an Andy Warhol to the black metal best for an event poster. “I can do any work that anyone throws at me,” he says.

In almost every scenario, simplicity rules, or perhaps, should rule. “People overdo it all the time,” he says. He advises people against framing to fit a setting, thereby ensuring its continuity across interior changes. “Never frame the piece to the environment,” he says. “Frame the picture for itself.”

Rocky Vertone matte cutting

He values the ongoing relationships he’s fostered with consistent clients like Trauner Fey Designs, interior designers who have been framing with him since his start in 2002. Amid his high degree of client retention, increasingly more people find him online. They will call in advance of a trip, knowing a picture is waiting for a frame: A view of the Tetons, a painting by a local artist, an auction find. Rocky welcomes it all.

With nearly two decades of experience, Rocky has streamlined the process: Most commissions require one meeting, and two-to-three weeks to complete. Many people arrive with a vision, though some need guidance, which he gives inquisitively, trying to get at the core of why they connect with the piece. Usually, the first option he presents is the one they pick—such is his honed instinct. “I let people decide on their own,” he says. “I don’t want this process to feel too serious; it’s a picture frame shop after all!”

Rocky Vertone assembles a custom frame.
The Perfect Matte

 “This place is full of integrity…”

His 14 years in business have taught him a lot. He weathered the Recession. He’s rearranged his space at 335 N. Glenwood, experimenting with a gallery of local art for several years before relinquishing the front room to Hoff’s Bikesmith. He’s considered moving to be closer to downtown, but rents remain discouraging. He’s hosted jam-packed art events. Few frame shops are as dynamic as Full Circle. Throughout his tenure, he’s been a stalwart of the local arts community, stoking creativity. Above all, integrity pervades everything he does. With wide interests, he imagines a day when he won’t be framing. But for now, he takes pride in putting out high-quality products. “This place is full of integrity,” he says. “When people walk out with their piece, they feel good and it looks good, no matter what it is.”

Rocky and his protege.