These are the 3 Details Successful Artists Check Before Allowing Artwork Out of the Studio
Click the play button to see exactly what artists have done to get into my gallery
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As a full time practicing artist, quality is of utmost importance for presentation for clients and gallery exhibitions. I learnt this early on in my career when I had not long graduated and was in my experimental phase of painting. I was using cheap pre made canvases and during a summer exhibition these paintings buckled in the heat and were unsaleable . With this I realised it was time to have more respect for my work and possible clients and now use great quality stretchers, canvas and paints and continue to make regular gallery sales and work on commissions. I was introduced to your reddotblog via a Facebook share and found the introduction on quality in art, informative and left me wanting to here more of your art blog. Thank you.
I have heard you speak a number of times. I appreciate and agree with the vast majority and I’m grateful that you are out in the world sharing your knowledge. Plus, I intend to approach your gallery one day soon, so look out!
I’ve been doing this gig since the late 90’s. The galleries that represent me are top of the line and I have been with them for 7-12 years each. My Santa Fe connection prior to Ventana Fine Art was for 10 years. I was asked to join the stable of artists with Ventana 3 days after leaving the other. I’m prefacing the “quality” issue with this information so you can see where my experience has come from.
I have ALWAYS put quality first. To my financial detriment at times in order to propel myself forward. The very things you discuss such as warped stretchers, frames, all of it. I teach at the University here. I teach beginning pastels but I also teach advanced oils and pastels. I impress upon them that the things that are unspoken are often the things that draw you to an artists work. I discuss breaking rules of color and composition within the work which I feel can be done in such a way as to bring positive attention. As the semester moves along, I discuss with them the “investment” in great pigments. I demonstrate how flat student grade pigments are against heavily pigmented, professional brands for instance. I only order professional grade surfaces for them and show them the textural differences in a finished painting using both. Then there is framing. I show them how to present their work. I explain that the way they present their work to the public is telling complete strangers how they feel about their own work. It is nothing short of a direct statement that you don’t value your work when you use shoddy materials, frames and such on your work.
My experience runs the gamut.
I had a gallery in Santa Fe, on Canyon Road, that had several one man shows for me over the course of ten years. She had always graciously helped with framing if I was in a tight spot and we took it out of the sales at the show. Always right away, no problems. The last time, she said she was going to take care of it, to give her sizes. We had a mutual framer and I expected it would be our routine as usual. Instead, she wiped out Michels and Hobby Lobby for every readymade they had. Mismatched, brown and silver and oh my goodness. Long story short, the body of work was the very best, Finely executed collection I was capable of rendering. The show looked horrible and I was beyond embarrassed. Being a grateful,person, I never complained. But I certainly saw how the best work you can make can be shot right down the tubes when it is presented badly.
My gallery in Tubac AZ (I’m on the cover of the 2016 Tubac Visitors Guide), went through a phase of wanting everything in identical frames. I obliged, but black does not work on everything. I’m sure it negatively affected sales.
In both of these cases, the gallery contends that the patron is buying the art and not the frame. I completely disagree with them and they are the ones selling! They go as far as to tell me that there is no need to spend a lot on frames. I am, needless to say, perplexed.
When people see the glow of my work, they don’t know that it is because I buy the $40 tube of alizarin Crimson vs the $15 tube. They just know what they are drawn to. I feel the same about framing. The frames should isolate the painting. Compliment it and continue the intended asthetic. Not simply a molded surround that you can fasten a wire to.
I’m speechless as to this conundrum with framing quality and galleries. It’s largely subjective, but geez!
Thanks for the space to air this.
Natasha, I so agree with and appreciate your views on framing. I’m an “emerging artist” in my community, having only been exhibited in a couple of local galleries, but I agree 100% that the frame can make or break a piece. The customer IS buying the frame! It should bring out the best in our work. Thanks for expressing that so well.
Had to use another framer while mine was moving. Very disappointing and good to hear you verbalise what I instinctively felt.
See my previous comment, I corrected my website address here
Still early days for me but I definitely find framing is the hardest part. Thank you for the guide about canvases!
I’m a watercolourist and l’ve found that what you say in your video, to be absolutely spot on.
Best quality of materials and framing is essential and presentation is so important to attract buyers,
plus l think subject matter is important to attract buyers. I have found that by doing still life, landscapes and contemporary mixed media that l have an opportunity to reach more art lovers.