SHOW YOUR WORK! A beginners guide to gallery shows, told by another beginner- PART DEUX Printing and Mounting
Let me preface by telling you all that I am writing these posts with my first show barely under my belt. So, basically, this is a "What I learned the hard way" type of how to guide. There might be better ways, I could be wrong about some things, but mostly, follow your instincts about things.
So, you've got yourself into a gallery show! Congratulations!!! Get ready to be financially raped by printers, mounters, framers and shipping companies.
Depending on what you've been accepted to show, and how many pieces the gallery has chosen from you, you may or may not be in for some serious costs.
For example, my recent experience:
The gallery was specific about the size of prints they would accept. The print itself had to be exactly 30x30 inches, with a 1/2 inch white border all around. They had to be mounted on white backing that was not mat board and ONLY french cleats were acceptable hanging hardware. The paper used had to be gallery quality archival satin or matte finish and if it didn't fit these rigorous standards, they reserved the right to not hang your art.
Okay. No problem. Let's do this thing.
FINDING A PRINTER:
Wal-Mart, Target, and Meijer do not offer the kind of quality paper that galleries will accept. Get that out of your head right now. Neither does Snapfish or Shutterfly.
If you want to do this online, you need to search for print labs that are capable of producing archival quality giclee prints. (museum quality also works in a search)
A comparison of online printing prices for a 30x30 unmounted print-
The gallery also offered a print package- at $100.00 per print with an additional hanging and mounting option of $30.00.
Now, That is really expensive. And you don't get to see the print before you pay. I used a local printer in our town and I was able to sit down with him and he was able to advise me on paper choices, whether or not my file size was big enough to blow up to the size I needed and he had a "guy" that he used to handle the mounting- At no risk to me if damage occurred.
His prices were great- $49.00 a piece on fine art giclee satin paper and the mounting was an additional $42.00 each. He didn't have the brand of paper I was hoping for, but offered to keep it on hand for me if I wanted to buy the roll for myself and just use him for his printer and ink. Also, before he printed he pointed out a few mistakes I had made and gave me a chance to fix them, then he triple checked with me the sizes and quantities.
The important thing to note here is that I was not responsible for damage if it occurred while in his or his mounter's care. Everywhere else I checked did not offer that, you would be responsible to replace the print if damage occurred through shipping or mounting.
Finding a local printer wasn't as easy as a quick directory search. I kept getting directed to Wal-Mart and CVS and another instant photo lab, but nobody who dealt with Gallery quality prints. (Though be careful, because they all claimed to be best quality!!) Finally, I called the camera shop and asked him and he referred me to the guy I found. You could also call the art gallery and ask them for recommendations. They oughtta know!!
If your gallery has given you the opportunity to have on hand smaller prints for sale, consider these things:
Offering a smaller size of the large print will give a buying option to all price points. Maybe someone isn't ready to drop two grand on a gigantic piece of art, but they may be willing to drop $150-$400 on smaller prints.
The trick is to make these smaller prints as desirable as you can, and you can boost their perceived value in the eyes of the art buyer by using a few tricks.
Limit your edition size. Limited editions give an image that "Get it before it's gone forever" kind of urgency. This is a binding agreement you make that says you will only print so many of this image, in this size, on this kind of paper and once these are all sold, they won't be available anymore. The more exclusive the edition, the more value it will have to buyers, who covet the "one of a kind-ness" of an art piece. The larger the print size, the smaller the edition size should be.
Mine goes something like this:
8x8, editions of 30- $150.00
10x10, editions of 25- $300.00
12x12, editions of 15-$600.00
20x20, editions of 5-$900.00
30x30, editions of 3-$1200.00
Add a "Certificate of Authenticity" to each print. Here is a helpful link regarding these:
It's an added layer of assurance that the print the buyer is getting is indeed one of a kind.
You should also, sign, date and number the print on the back with either a pencil or an archival ink slick writer pen. (WAIT FOR THE INK TO DRY BEFORE YOU PACKAGE!!!)
Sign the print on the front. It will increase the value of the print to have it signed by the artist. Use the same kind of archival ink that you used to write on the back, and your signature and year created should go in the lower right hand corner, and the title should go in the lower left hand corner. Smallish.
Your smaller prints should have at least a half inch border all around to make framing easier for the buyer. Now, make the image size 8x8, but the total paper size will end up being 9x9 because of your half inch border all around. (The first 3 editions of "Bipolar" and "Innocence" in sizes 8x8 and 10x10 don't have this because I forgot to instruct the printer to do that.
My Fellow Fine Artists
Tammy Zurak of Z Photog Studio | Memphis, TN, USA | Fine Art/Illustrative Photography Gallery:
Pam Korman of District Photography | Philadelphia, PA, USA | Fine Art Photography:
www.bonniealrifai.com Fine art photography
Handy Andy Pandy