Sunday, March 2, 2008

How I frame my art

Years ago, before launching my career as an artist, I was attending an art festival as a customer and I found myself admiring a wide variety of art that I would have loved to purchase but couldn’t afford. The main reason for this was the pieces I wanted were elegantly framed, thus escalating the sales price above what my budget would allow.

I was able to leave that day with a few smaller pieces that were matted and not framed. Indeed, I owned the art but until I framed them myself they couldn’t be hung on my wall. Purchasing art this way enabled me to start my collection on a small budget. Typically artists sell matted and “bagged” prints this way in order to accommodate people who want to support and buy their art but couldn’t afford to purchase one of their framed pieces.

This way of thinking seems to be universal in the art world. It makes some sense. Framing is usually expensive. At least well-framed art is. Matted and clear-bagged prints can usually be bought for 25- 50% of the price of the same piece of art framed. Seems like a good solution for both the buyer and the artist, right? Well here are a few reasons why offering your art this way might be a great idea.

If you are purchasing art this way you have to remember that in order to hang your new masterpiece it will need to be framed. As mentioned before, framing can be expensive. Budget for it at this stage or you might end up like me with a substantial art collection with many pieces still in their matted and clear-bags, just the way I bought it from the artist. Even now, as a professional who makes his living creating and selling art, I fool myself into thinking that I’ll buy the piece un-framed and do it myself to save money. Funny thing, I think I still have some of those early purchases sitting in my studio waiting to find the time to frame it properly.

Procrastination is my middle name after all.

By now you may get the feeling I’m steering you towards either passing up on that wonderful piece of art you discovered from that artist your sure is the next Jackson Pollock or that I am suggesting that you break the bank and pop for it nicely framed at a rate that could be hundreds of dollars more than the same piece just matted.

One of the most important things I’ve discovered about selling art (if you are an artist pay close attention because this secret can add tens of thousands of dollars to your yearly sales) is that many people that attend art festivals aren’t necessarily shopping for themselves. They might be looking for a gift. This is especially true during the holidays. If someone comes into your booth and tells you they are shopping for a some one, admires your art, picks out one of your matted and clear-bagged pieces and says “I’ll take it” then hands you their credit card, you might be doing them an injustice if you don’t at least warn them that whoever receives this present with have to spend a fair amount of money to have it framed in order to hang.

I know, you’re thinking bummer, they like it, they want it and once it leaves your booth it isn’t your problem if the $25.00 8x10” print you just sold actually might turn into a Ben Franklin after it’s framed. For those of you not familiar with the term “Ben Franklin” think, hundred dollar bill, get it?

What a dilemma, but I say buy it, we artists need to eat too.

Actually there is another way. Because I didn’t want my customers to be faced with this hurdle without a solution that made both of us happy, I decided to “frame” my art in Quadro Clip Frames.

These are “real” glass frames that use simple metal clips to hold the art piece sandwiched between a masonite backing board and the glass front. The look is very contemporary and fits with many different styles. The best part about Quadro Clip Frames is the price. Cheap, but classy looking, a rare feature in the world of art. When my customer leaves my booth after buying a piece of my art I know that there is nothing else for them to do except hang it or gift wrap it. Remember what I said earlier about procrastination, we all have it to some degree. Even well intentioned buyers might not get around to framing their new purchase, so by using clip frames, my customers pay a reasonable price plus have a ready to hang, framed piece of art. A definite win-win situation if you ask me.

If you would like more information on these frames, click here.

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