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MARKETING – FINE ART PUBLISHERS

‘Master Printer Cole Rogers and Senior Printer Zac Adams-Bliss editioning Willie Cole’s large-scale screenprints, 2012. Image Courtesy of Highpoint Editions”

Master Printer Cole Rogers & Senior Printer Zac Adams-Bliss editioning Willie Cole’s large-scale screenprints, 2012. Image Courtesy of Highpoint Editions.

The following was written by Jessica Kruckeberg, the Gallery Director, of Highpoint Center for Printmaking in a response to our request to give fine art students more information about how a fine art publisher works and what Highpoint Editions is looking for when they decide to do a collaboration with an artist.

Our Background

Highpoint Editions publishes fine art prints made by invited professional artists in collaboration with Highpoint Editions staff and Master Printer Cole Rogers. Our publications can be found in numerous public, corporate, and private collections around the world. We will often exhibit our publications in our gallery space and many of them have been included in exhibitions at artistic institutions.

Highpoint Editions is part of Highpoint Center for Printmaking, which was founded in 2001 in Minneapolis. Highpoint is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the art of printmaking. Its goals are to provide educational programs, community access, and collaborative publishing opportunities to engage the community and increase the appreciation and understanding of the printmaking arts.

Let’s start at the beginning, what are fine art prints?

The International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) defines an original fine art print as: a work of graphic art which has been conceived by the artist to be realized as an original work of art, rather than a copy of a work in another medium. In most cases, the artist creates an image on a matrix made out of metal, stone, wood, or other materials. The matrix is then inked, and the inky image is transferred to a piece of paper, often with a press, to create an original image. This process allows an artist to create multiple impressions of the original work.

How does a fine art print publisher decide who/what to publish?

There are many different types of fine art print publishers so we can only speak for ourselves. However, many of Highpoint Editions’ practices are relatively standard; this description should give you an idea of the way publishers function.

Highpoint Editions is an invitation-only publisher. Our artistic director Cole Rogers, myself and an advisory committee discuss possible artists that we would like to work with and would fit our artistic program. Sometimes artists will reach out to us, and they can certainly be considered, but the only way to actually make an edition with Highpoint is to be invited to do so. A participating artist does not need to have a printmaking background and can be from anywhere in the world, they just need to fit our program. We then reach out to the artist and and start a dialogue, which can include the artist visiting the workshop or our artistic director going to the artist’s studio. If both parties think producing a print would be interesting, enjoyable and advantageous, then the creative process begins! Deciding what artwork to make is a collaboration between the artist and the workshop. The artist brings their ideas and their practice and the printmakers translate those ideas into print. The process is different with every studio and every artist, but collaboration is key.

What are the advantages to creating a fine art print with a publisher?

First and foremost, making a print with a publisher means benefitting from the years of expertise that comes from working with a master printer and their staff. Even if an artist is familiar with printmaking, the publisher’s staff will usually have far more experience and will know how to troubleshoot many issues that come up. Also, having multiple people on staff makes the process faster. Once a BAT, which is an artist-approved proof, is signed, the artist does not need to be present: HP Editions staff will print the rest of the edition. Once editioning is done, the artist signs and numbers the work. Working with a publisher also means working with their resources and equipment. When an artist works with Highpoint, HP provides much of the materials and labor, and the artist has the great opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facility. Once the edition is complete, the publisher also markets the works. This can include getting press coverage, hosting an exhibition, art fairs, mailings and general sales practices. Many publishers have a sales person on staff with existing client relationships that will sell the works. An artist gains exposure and connections when they partner with a reputable fine art print publisher. They will also receive a sizeable percentage of each print sale. Sometimes, it is difficult to sell a more expensive unique work and it can be months between an artist’s paycheck with their normal artistic practice. Due to the lower price point and the connections that the fine art print publisher has, prints usually move faster and with more frequency, providing the artist with a steadier form of income. There are many advantages to working with a fine art print publisher, but most important is the relationship that is formed between the artist and the workshop. The best type of these relationships promote and benefit both parties.

How do you get your work published by a fine art print publisher?

Because every publisher is different, it is best for the artist to do some research into the publisher’s background. By looking at the type of artists and projects that have been done previously by the publisher, an artist can get a good idea of what the publisher looks for or what hole their own practice could fill in the publisher’s resume. It is also important to know what type of printmaking the publisher does. Highpoint prints in all traditional printmaking mediums, but we do not use digital printers. That is good to know if an artist is not interested in traditional methods or knows that they want to include digital printing. By understanding the publisher’s capabilities, an artist will better understand if it is a good fit for their artistic practice.

Most fine art print publishers do not consider the invited artists they make editions with as part of their ‘roster’. Although they are very supportive of the artists, publishers represent the prints that they make with an artist, not their career. Having said that, it is always good for an artist to build a relationship with a publisher that they like and keep an eye on their projects. Because so much of the publishing process is built on collaboration, having a pre-existing relationship with fine print workshop can be extremely advantageous.

If an artist does have some exposure and wants to submit their work for consideration, I suggest first seeing if the publisher accepts submissions. Submitted work should always be copies or photography if it is being sent remotely. Artists should also connect with someone at the fine art publisher before submitting. A publisher may be swamped with projects and any submission during a certain time may be overlooked. Connecting ahead of time will also provide context when the images are viewed.

Getting published by a fine art print publisher can be challenging, but by continuing their studio practice and educating themselves about printmaking and publishers, artists have a much better chance at success.

What happens after your work is published?

In present day, publishers use a number of factors to decide the edition size and price per impression. Some examples are: physical size; medium; complexity and cost of production; and artist’s market. The prints are then marketed and sold by the publisher via a number of avenues. The artist will get a number of artist proofs that they can do with what they wish. Each printer on the project will usually get an impression as well, called a printer’s proof. Most publishers will also make handling copies of an edition. These prints are not sold and are used for presentation purposes only, in order to keep the signed and numbered edition safe. For posterity, Highpoint also prints an archive proof. This proof is for the publisher to keep or to place with an institution so that the complete archive of prints made by a publisher are in one place as a full catalogue. Publishers keep most of the impressions in their print drawers. Usually it is safer and many artists do not have flat files to store the prints flat. When a work is sold, it is shipped to the buyer and a documentation sheet is sent as well. A documentation sheet, or doc sheet, is a description of the production steps taken to produce the edition that is signed by the master printer and the artist. It is similar to a certificate of authenticity, proving that the artist and the publisher both consider the work authentic and original. As the impressions sell and the publisher receives payment, the artist is paid their percentage. This will often happen on a schedule, such as monthly or quarterly.

What makes a successful published artist?

A successful published artist is very similar to a successful artist in general. A major difference is the collaboration aspect with the printers. Since the printers are usually more skilled at printmaking than the invited artist, it is important to keep an open dialogue and consider each other’s opinions. The artist is very much in charge of the art, but listening to the skilled professionals will make a far more successful project.




MARKETING – GALLERIES

 

 

The following was written by Sally Johnson, the director, and Nicole Watson, the gallery manager, of Groveland Gallery in a response to our request to give fine art students more information about how a gallery works and what the Groveland Gallery is looking for when they decide to represent an artist. 

 

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The Basics
Founded in 1973, Groveland Gallery is
a Minneapolis fine art gallery specializing in paintings, prints and drawings by contemporary Minnesota and regional artists. Work by Groveland artists is included in private, corporate and museum collections throughout the United States. Groveland Gallery represents over 30 local artists, and exhibitions change every six weeks. The gallery maintains a large inventory of artworks by each of its artists, and offers additional services including appraisals, consulting and collection management, artwork framing and installation.

 

How does a gallery work?

We can speak to how a regional, Midwestern art gallery operates. Standards and expectations will be different in larger markets such as NY or LA.

There are many different types of galleries. Gallery structures will vary depending on the market, the type of art represented and a gallery’s business model. Groveland Gallery is a for-profit commercial gallery, meaning it operates like a retail store with the exception that the gallery does not own the inventory. We have artwork on consignment from the artists we represent. When a piece of art sells, the artist and the gallery each receive a commission. Our type of gallery generally represents a limited number of artists and maintains a long-term relationship with them by exhibiting their work regularly. The gallery also cultivates a group of people who collect the work made by artists represented here.

Other types of galleries include non-profits (for example, SooVac, as well as local college and university galleries), cooperatives (maintained and run by the artists who show there, such as Form + Content Gallery) and artist collectives (such as Rosalux Gallery).

Commercial galleries like Groveland usually have a particular specialty. We represent contemporary Minnesota and regional artists with a focus on representational painting, drawing and printmaking. Circa Gallery is known for its focus on contemporary abstract art; Veronique Wantz represents a largely international group of artists; Weinstein Art Gallery is well-known for its expertise in photography. Like these Minneapolis galleries, we sell only original artwork, and the gallery supports itself through the sales of its artwork. Most galleries take a 50% commission on each sale.

What are the advantages to gallery representation?

Gallery representation frees artists to focus on making their artwork. It eliminates many of the business functions of self-representation: maintaining and showing inventory, mounting exhibitions, marketing and managing sales. Being represented at a gallery provides the artist with a location where their work can be easily accessed during every business day. The gallery also introduces the artist’s work to collectors, museum curators and critics. The gallery provides a comfortable space for art enthusiasts to see and purchase an artist’s work. A good gallery will promote the work of their artists, give them presence on the web, foster relationships with collectors and provide honest and helpful feedback about an artist’s work.

A partnership between a commercial gallery and an artist is most successful when they agree to exclusivity within a specific market. This means that the artist agrees to sell his/her work only through the gallery. If the artist sells his/her work during an art crawl, out of the studio or while in a group show at a non-profit gallery, the gallery will expect to receive its commission on the sale. The gallery’s survival depends on exclusivity, and the existence of the gallery ensures the artist will always have a place to promote and show his/her work.

How do you find an appropriate gallery for your work?  How do you approach a gallery?

Do your research. Decide on the market where you would like to show your artwork and spend time visiting the galleries, meeting gallery staff, observing how they greet visitors, display work and what type of work they specialize in selling. Introduce yourself to the gallery staff when you visit but do not ask to show them your artwork on the spot. Follow-up with an email or phone call later, and inquire as to the gallery’s protocol for reviewing artists for representation. If you can’t visit the gallery, call or email to inquire about submission requirements.

Avoid approaching a gallery for representation if your work does not fit within their area of expertise. You don’t want to waste your time and self-esteem sending a solicitation to show your sculptures at a gallery that only shows two-dimensional work.

Once you have identified a gallery where you feel your work would be at home, contact that gallery and ask if they are interested in representing new artists, and if so how would they like to receive your submission. Follow their directions.

What are we looking for?

We look for artwork that will appeal to our collector base. We prefer artists whose work compliments what we already represent without competing with or duplicating it. We also expect to work with professional artists who take themselves seriously. Every artist is a business partner, and this is our livelihood, so it is extremely important that we work together toward the success of the artist and the gallery.

Artists who want to work with us should have a consistent body of work (between 20 and 40 pieces) to show us. Your work should make a statement and make us feel confident in your ability to provide us with a steady supply of inventory. There should be a meaningful thematic and/or conceptual thread in your work that resonates with the overall aesthetic direction of the gallery. This doesn’t mean your style can’t change or evolve over time. It does mean you can’t expect your gallery to show your clay pots when you were accepted for representation based on your watercolor landscapes. If you are an art student, or a beginner artist, it might be wise to wait until you have developed a body of work that is unique to you before approaching galleries for representation.

In addition to a strong body of artwork, we also like to see a well-written artist statement, résumé and bio, as well as a current website and social media accounts. High-quality images of your artwork are a necessity – when you apply for representation at a gallery, digital images of your artwork provide the first impression. If they are out-of-focus or cropped inappropriately, it’s hard for us to consider working with you, even if we think we could sell your work.

Finally, your artwork should be made with the collector in mind. This means that your craftsmanship of your art should be solid, sound and stable over time. Sloppy framing, a missing hanging wire, a warped panel or uneven varnish is problematic – if your work doesn’t “hold up” once it has gone to someone’s home, that reflects poorly on the gallery and the artist, and will dissuade us from carrying your work.

After you become a part of a gallery, what can you expect from the gallery?

As the artist, your expectations should reflect all of the above, too. You should be looking for a gallery with regular hours, a reliable schedule of exhibitions, creative programming and a willingness to collaborate with you. The gallery’s specialty should complement and highlight your work, and your pieces should be shown with artwork of equal quality, caliber and price range. The gallery should have a current and easy-to-use website, and active social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter. The gallery should have a substantial email and mailing list, and promote your work through as many avenues as possible. You should receive regular communication from your gallery, and your relationship should be clearly articulated as to expectations regarding your exclusivity within the market, your commission on sales, how and when you are paid, how the work is insured, who pays for framing and how often you can expect an exhibition.

Ideally, a gallery will work you into their exhibition rotation. At Groveland, we usually start by including an artist in a curated group or themed show. After a period of time, usually 6 months to a year, it will be obvious if the gallery and the artist are a good fit. We measure this by gauging collector interest, sales, press response, as well as how well we work together. Are lines of communication clear? Is the artist providing work, digital images and meeting deadlines?

Once we feel comfortable with an artist, we schedule a solo show. A solo show is a very large commitment for the both artist and the gallery. It requires the artist to hold back enough work to fill the gallery. The gallery needs to count on enough sales to cover the gallery expenses for that time period. It is important to understand that the gallery has many expensive and fixed monthly costs ranging from rent and utilities, marketing mailings and opening receptions, to salaries and insurance. At Groveland, once we are confident in our ability to work with an artist and successfully place their work in collections, we can provide the artist with regularly scheduled exhibitions, generally every 2-3 years.

The gallery should guide the artist in pricing, creating publicity, marketing and developing an extensive mailing list. When appropriate, the gallery should introduce an artist’s work to museums and corporate curators as well as consultants and critics. The gallery should also provide the artist with bookkeeping, inventory and tax forms as required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Studio Business – Ginny Herzog

Studio business is a feature of Metropolitan’s blog that offers interviews with working artists. It is meant to show a diversity of views and share information about how to make a living as an artist and have a successful career in studio arts.  This interview was conducted with Ginny Herzog.

a Ginny-Herzog-In-The-Studio-©-Ginny-Herzog-1940x1461-1

ARTIST STATEMENT
Architecture has been the inspiration for my art for over thirty years. An early career as an interior designer instilled in me a fascination with the design of floor plans and elevation drawings. I manipulate my digital photos of architecture in Photoshop, frequently eliminating objects or distorting the context of the original image. Piecing portions of different architectural elements that are unrelated to each other, I construct new, intriguing, familiar, yet unfamiliar architectural forms in my paintings. My application of oils, mixed with cold wax medium sometimes suggest fresco walls, concrete or steel; linear detail with graphite and pencils provides a visual pathway throughout the painting and may imply elements of an architectural drawing. All works displayed are original on archival Claybord panels.

herzoginstallation

 

 

Can you tell us about how you got started in your career?

I have a B.A. in Studio Art from St Cloud State University. After graduating, I did not know of anyone that was making a living doing their art. I had three different jobs in the first four years that eventually pointed the way to becoming a full-time artist and choosing my subject matter. 

My first job was working in drapery fabrics in a department store, thinking that it might open some doors to doing interior design. My second job was assisting an interior designer at an office furniture company, where I learned to do presentation boards. The experience from the first two jobs and my portfolio secured a position as the in-house interior designer for a major homebuilder, where I did the interiors of all of the model homes. When we started our family I decided to remain at home to raise our kids so I returned to my art roots and began painting. I marketed my work at local art fairs. After a divorce, I decided to do my art full-time and began exhibiting at art fairs all around the country and at occasional art galleries. 

 

Did you have any important mentors along the way?

When I started to do the shows full-time, I had one mentor, another artist who was doing art fairs all around the country and was very successful. I teamed up with her and we did most of our shows together for safety as well as economics. She did drawings and I did watercolors. Many of us who have done the shows for decades, network with each other. There are many resources for artists available now, particularly through the internet and social media. 

 

What are the advantages of marketing through art fairs?

You have control of your own destiny.  The artist can decide which shows they want to apply.  There are no commissions to share.  The artist keeps all proceeds from sales of the art. Artists seldom pay commissions to shows (only a handful of shows take a commission). The artist can exhibit a large amount of work. You can exhibit more artwork than a typical gallery exhibit.  (I usually display 40-50 paintings at a time).

herzogbooth

ARTDenver METROPOLITAN floater frame: Profile: 122 Wood: Maple Finish: 01 clear lacquer w/ black interior

You can get immediate payment. Mobile transactions are easy and safe with PayPal and Square. No need to accept risky check payment.  Shows provide a large attendance. Shows do heavy promotions and advertising which brings in large attendances (tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of people) – far more than gallery exposure. There are thousands of art fairs around the country. Some are indoors but most are outdoors. Art fairs are unique in that the artist can create work and take it to market at a show and expose it to thousands of people on a weekend. You can get instant feed back on your work.  If successful, it is fuel for your creative engines to go home and create more! Rarely happens with the gallery scene that ties up work for months or years and the artist never hears the feed back of the collectors, except for a gallery opening. It provides an opportunity for the artist to discuss their work with collectors allowing them to establish a relationship.


The Shows provide the site and many amenities (reduced hotel fees, free parking for artists, programs, website presence with artist gallery, artist hospitality, volunteers for booth sitting, sometime electricity. Many of the shows also offer perks such as prize money and often winners are invited back jury free the following year.

There are hundreds of shows across the country and they are easy to apply online via Zapp or Juried Art Services.

Owning the mailing list is a huge asset for an artist. (If marketing through galleries they own the database. If you are no longer represented by the gallery for any reason you do not have access to the database.) Most of my marketing is done to my email list of interested clients that are organized according to geographical location. Announcements are sent out for my exhibitions via Constant Contact approximately eight times per year. The announcements include the names of the shows, dates, location, my booth number, images of some of the work available at the exhibition and links to the show’s website as well as my website.

What are the disadvantages of marketing through art fairs?

There is an initial investment in a vehicle for transporting the
work and display. In addition to the vehicle you will need a display system and canopy, lighting, weights, a dolly, a chair and insurance. The blind jury system can be hit or miss. Top shows are very competitive with only about 12-20% of applicants being accepted. Weather – heat, cold, humidity, rain, wind, and yes, even snow can be a factor. Even if the weather cooperates artists are sometimes at risk for having a poor booth location at a show.

Because of the increase in the number of art fairs, the market has become over saturated.  Some of the large, older shows had a fabulous reputation for great sales 10-30 years ago, when artists often made in excess of $10,000 in sales at a show. Some of the artists were doing $20k – 30k! We have lost many of our middle class buyers. Now, many of the buyers are buying expensive pieces and the rest of the crowd comes for free entertainment and only to enjoy looking at the art.

I know that you have sold your work internationally. Can you tell us more about how that happened.

An architect/collector of mine was working on the creative team for a project by Brunsfield the developer of the Brunsfield North Loop apartments in Minneapolis.  Brunsfield International is a global development, management, engineering construction and real estate investment company. A meeting was set up in my studio so they could see the process of how my work is created and to discuss how I might create work specific for their project in the lobby. Initially, six large paintings were created, but as the project was nearing completion, more of my work was added to the other public spaces as well as the models. Because they needed a large number of pieces and I was also in the middle of my busy exhibition schedule, I was creative in putting together additional inventory for them to use in the form of reproductions, or leased originals from my collection. Currently, about 34 of my paintings are hanging at BNL. At the time of installation of the final pieces in the lobby, the Managing Director of Brunsfield International in Malaysia was here in Minneapolis with members of his corporate team. They visited my studio to see my work and purchased the six original paintings for their corporate office as well as several others for their projects.

 

Brunsfield Northloop Apartment Installation
Brunsfield Northloop Apartment Installation

Can you talk about how you present your work?

Several years ago, I was looking for a new frame supplier and Metroframe was highly recommended. I went to them with one of my flat panels and asked for a profile , a neutral float frame that was minimalistic, architectural and would provide protection for my flat panels. Metroframe designed a clear maple float frame with a black interior that has been my mainstay for framing all of my flat panels.

I have 1″ spacing around the interior. All of my framed pieces are presented in this profile at my shows. In addition, their frames stand up to the rigors of being transported throughout the country to various exhibitions.

In the past, customers would ask if they could substitute a different finish. Not any more. They love these frames from Metroframe and often comment about the quality.

I believe consistency in presentation helps the customer to make a final decision about their purchase. 

What advice do you have for artists who want to try marketing their work in outdoor art fairs?

You need at least 5-6 high quality digital images of individual pieces of your work and one booth image to apply to the art fairs. The work should look consistent but show the range of sizes or items that you will be selling. The digital images will need to be in the file format and size specified by Zapp or Juried Art Services. 

Some art fairs have a portion of their show for Emerging Artists. They often provide the canopies for these artists and the booth fees are often at a reduced rate. This is a good way of “testing the waters” to see if you might have a market for your work at the art fairs.

Classes that would be very helpful for marketing your own work: Basic accounting, graphic design (for doing announcements and ads), website design, basic Photoshop.

Art Fair artists often do a lot of networking – sharing valuable information about many of the shows or tips for the road. We have several FB groups, however many are closed groups – someone needs to vouch for the artist that they are art fair exhibitors. These groups are closed to show directors or the general public. There are also artist Garage Sale pages for selling art or display materials. 

Some art fairs have the beginning round of jurying open to the artists so that they can see the work projected as the jury sees them. This is very valuable for seeing how your work compares to your competition. 

Some of the art fairs offer hosting for the artists (free place to stay in private homes).

 

What kind of accounting software do you use?

I use QuickBooks for Accounting. Fox Tax (for artists) for my tax returns. 

I use an accordion folder file to file my receipts for business expenses. Receipts are not filed until they are entered into my Quickbooks software. I use mileage for my auto expenses. I fill out a tax expense worksheet, provided by my tax accountant, Fox Tax. Fox Tax in Minneapolis only does taxes for artists so they really know our business and I highly recommend them. 

 

How do you price your work?

I price my work by size. Framed work is higher than the cradled panels because of the extra cost. I’ve never lowered my prices, however, beginning in 2008, I quit raising my prices and have held them stable. Prior to that, I raised my prices 10% per year. I have a collectors discount of 10% for repeat customers or customers who buy multiple pieces at a time. Interesting fact – my customers rarely ask for a discount.

Do you have a website? Do you manage it yourself? Do you get sales from your website?

I’ve had a website for 20 years. The platform I use is Other Peoples Pixels (website template for artists). I manage it myself and it is always current with available work including sizes and prices. Yes, I often get sales from my website. The prospective customer emails me with their inquiry and I email them an invoice via Square which they can pay online. 

What kind of hardware do you need to maintain your website?

I use a MacBook Pro, iPad Mini and iPhone as well as  a Nikon CoolPix 8400 camera. 

Most of my sales are done out in the field so I use Square software on my iPhone or iPad. A receipt for the credit card transaction is emailed to them. However, I write out a separate, additional receipt for my business to track the clients contact info and for inventory purposes. 

How do you use social media?

I have a business Facebook page. Also use Pinterest and share my Pinterest page with other artists. I automate some of my e-announcements (Constant Contact with my FB pages – both personal and business.  

I see that you were just featured in Forbes magazine. Can you tell us how that occurred?

 

As for the Forbes article, the free-lance writer approached me at my booth at Uptown. I have no idea of his criteria for selecting the artists that he has included in his articles. I think it was merely that he liked my work. I think I was in the right place at the right time. 

I’ve also been featured in Midwest home a couple of times and in blog articles. The writers have approached me and asked to interview me for their publication.

 

 




FRAMING PAINTINGS FOR EXHIBITION

Floater frames have  become a popular way to frame contemporary paintings on canvas or cradled panels because their minimal look does detract from the paintings and they create a strong border to separate the paintings from the wall.

Paintings should be recessed in the frame to provide protection when moving and installing exhibitions.

Floating frames are available in different depths and widths to accommodate small to very large paintings. Most of our painters use the same presentation style (wood  & finish) on all of their paintings. This way the frames will be consistent on all of their exhibitions and can be reused if necessary on new shows.

This slideshow will give examples of using floating frames for painting exhibitions.

PAINTING EXHIBITION SLIDESHOW

TERMINOLOGY

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FLOAT SIZE

The float size is the the gap between the sides of the canvas and the inside edge of the frame. The float space is determined by how much you may want to see the sides of the canvas.

SMALL FLOAT SPACE

Select a small float space if the staples are showing on side of canvas, the sides of the canvas is blank, or the sides of canvas sloppily painted.

 

LARGE FLOAT SPACE

Select a large float space if the canvas is out of square or the image wraps around onto sides. To determine if the canvas is out of square measure diagonally from the top left to the bottom right and diagonally from the top right to the bottom left. If it is perfectly square those two measurement will be the same. Depending how different they are you will need to increase the size of the float.




FRAMING FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHS

The installation and presentation style are critical to having a successful show. Fine art framing for galleries has a limited vocabulary and the discerning eye can quickly determine if you have taken the time to present your work properly. This slideshow will give examples of gallery frame presentations for photography exhibits.

PRESENTATION STYLES

The first decision is to select the presentation style that best suits your photograph. The choice is whether to use a glazing (acrylic or glass) presentation or to mount it on substrate and frame it without glazing.  The following gives examples and explanations which one is most suitable for your work. 

Editor’s Note: Where to sign your photo is a topic of many blog posts. The consensus I seemed to find is that fine art photography galleries prefer you to sign on the back (recto) and more commercial galleries prefer you to sign on the front. Some photographers sign on the mat. The method you prefer might determine which framing presentation style you use. If you have gallery representation this is a discussion to have before you frame your exhibit.

MATTED PRESENTATION WITH GLAZING

Artist: Mike Rebholz
Artist: Mike Rebholz
Artist: Herman Mhire
Artist: Herman Mhire

Matted presentations are used when you want to cover the edges of the photograph.  This is often done when the artwork has large borders around the image.

ONLINE CALCULATOR
We are taking the stress out of calculating fractions. Just measure your artwork and decide on the border size or outside dimension and our new custom calculator will do the rest. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 FRAMING ADVICE
 
Hinging methods
Metropolitan has framing advice and videos on different methods of hinging or securing the photograph to the matboard when using a mat.Click to see videos on using a T-Hinge,  plastic mounting cornerspaper mounting corners, or edge strips.
 
 

NON-MATTED PRESENTATION WITH GLAZING

Artist: Elise Nicol
Artist: Elise Nicol
Artist: Mathew Swarts
Artist: Mathew Swarts

When photographs are not matted it is necessary to separate the photograph from the glazing for conservation reasons. Either plastic, wood, or matboard spacers are used to provide the separation. Whether the frame comes to the image of the photograph or there is a white border left around the image is an aesthetic decision. One of the reasons a white border is left around the image is that the shadow cast by the spacer will be on the white border and not on the photographic image itself.

Sometimes the white border becomes a distraction because the photograph has little or no white in the image. In this case, we would recommend framing to the image. If using a 1/4 spacer less of a shadow is cast. If the photo is floated on a matboard then a v-hinge would be used to attach it to the backing board. See framing advice for  attaching spacers/strainers and final fitting instructions.floatedpres_half_spacer1

FRAMING WITHOUT GLAZING

Photo: Cecelia Condit
Photo: Cecelia Condit
floater-dibond6-300x175Floater frames are now being used on photographs that are mounted and framed without glazing. This presentation became popular for very large photos that made framing them with glazing too technically difficult as well as too heavy to move and install. The presentation is now used on photographs of all size when glazing isn’t used. They photographs are mounted on different substrates such as dibond or sentra. Then a wooden cradle is then mounted on the back of the mounted photograph. The cradle allows the frame to be attached to the floater frame. Floater frames for mounted photographs provide a professional presentation while also providing protection to the edges of the panels. By recessing the image it also provides protection to the surface when moving and installing your exhibit. See framing advice for fitting instructions.

 

Exhibition Tip: Matted Presentations
When mounting an exhibition many of our museum clients standardize the frame sizes and vary the mat borders in order to make the overall exhibit more visually coherent.

Metropolitan has added more options to make it easier for our customers to calculate the borders on their mats when mounting an exhibition using standardized frame sizes. When dividing fractions it is easy to make a mistake.

We have added two new options to our online mat calculator to make sure they are done correctly.

Just enter the inside dimension of the artwork and the frame size and we will calculate the borders for you. We have also given you the option of identifying the artwork.

If you cut your own mats just print this off and you have a cutting list. If you want us to cut your mats we will include the title of the artwork with your mat so it is easy to identify which mat goes with which picture.

Irving Penn Art Institute of Chicago
Irving Penn Art Institute of Chicago




FRAMING ART ON PAPER

The installation and presentation style are critical to having a successful show. Fine art framing has a limited vocabulary and the discerning eye can quickly determine if you have taken the time to present your work properly. This slideshow will give examples of professional presentations for fine art on paper.

PRESENTATION STYLES

The first decision is to select the presentation style that best suits your artwork. The choices are a mat, float, or a mat and float combination. The following gives examples and explanations which one is most suitable for your work. 

 

MATTED PRESENTATIONS

Artist: Roman Romanyshyn
Artist: Roman Romanyshyn
Artist: William Wegman
Artist: William Wegman

Matted presentations are used when you want to cover the edges of the artwork and the mat is deep enough to provide a separation from the glass or acrylic.  This is often done when the artwork has large borders around the image or has edges that are frayed or damaged.

ONLINE CALCULATOR
Take the stress out of calculating fractions. Just measure your artwork and decide on the border size or outside dimension and our new custom calculator will do the rest. 

 
 
 
 
FRAMING ADVICE
 
Hinging methods
Metropolitan has framing advice and videos on different methods of hinging or securing the artwork to the matboard when using a mat. Click to see videos on using a T-Hinge,  plastic mounting cornerspaper mounting corners, or edge strips.

 

FLOAT PRESENTATIONS

Maarja Roth
Artist: Maarja Roth
Jody Williams Flying Paper Press
Artist: Jody Williams

 

 

Float presentations are used when the artwork has a deckled or uneven edge or the entire image is critical and it is important that nothing is covered. It is also used on artwork that is dimensional or doesn’t lie flat which requires a spacer to separate it from the glazing. Spacers can be made of wood, plastic, or matboard.

Custom calculator

Take the stress out of calculating fractions. Just measure your artwork and decide on the border size or outside dimension and our new custom calculator will do the rest.

 

 

 

FRAMING ADVICE

Hinging
Hinging is done with a V-Hinge method using archival tapes or Japanese rice paper and wheat/starch paste. Metropolitan has step by step instructions and a video on how to attach a V-Hinge to the backing board.

MAT AND FLOAT PRESENTATIONS

Jean Gumpper
Artist: Jean Gumpper
Jantje Visscher
Artist: Jantje Visscher

 

 

Mat and float presentations are used when the artwork has a deckled or uneven edge or it is important that none of the image is covered and a mat is deep enough to provide the separation from the art and the glazing.

 

Custom calculator

Take the stress out of calculating fractions. Just measure your artwork and decide on the border size or outside dimension and our new custom calculator will do the rest.

 

 

 

 

FRAMING ADVICE

Hinging
Hinging is done with a V-Hinge method using archival tapes or Japanese rice paper and wheat/starch paste. Metropolitan has step by step instructions and a video on how to attach a V-Hinge to the backing board.

 

 

 

Exhibition Tip: 
When mounting an exhibition many of our museum clients standardize the frame sizes and vary the mat borders in order to make the overall exhibit more visually coherent.

Metropolitan has added more options to make it easier for our customers to calculate the borders on their mats when mounting an exhibition using standardized frame sizes. When dividing fractions it is easy to make a mistake.

We have added two new options to our online configurator to make sure they are done correctly.

Just enter the inside dimension of the artwork and the frame size and we will calculate the borders for you. We have also given you the option of identifying the artwork.

If you cut your own mats just print this off and you have a cutting list. If you want us to cut your mats we will include the title of the artwork with your mat so it is easy to identify which mat goes with which picture.

Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice at USF Tampa Museum of Art
Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice at USF Tampa Museum of Art




BUILDING A WEBSITE

For most artists a website is the number one tool for promoting their work. It acts as a catalog for collectors as well as an easy way for curators, gallerists, and art consultants to see your work. It allows you to post new work immediately. It a is a digital library that keeps you organized.  It also allows others to link to your site for additional exposure.

BEFORE YOU START

1. LOOK AT OTHER WEBSITES

Before you start to build a website visit other artist’s websites to get an idea how others are presenting their work. The most important thing to remember is to get to the point. Most viewers are on and off sites in seconds. If you want them to stay be sure and categorize the artwork so the viewer can easily find what interests them. Exhibition information, an artist statement, resume, and contact information is essential. The navigation should be on every page so the viewer can easily move from section to section. Bob Nugent is a Metropolitan customer and his website is a good example how to display and present your work.

bob nugent website

2. DECIDE ON DIY VERSUS CONSULTANTS

Most artists should consider hiring a web consultant before they build their website. They will be able to answer questions beyond the aesthetics such as: Will the website work on all browsers? Is it mobile friendly? Are the web pages coded for search engine optimization?  Start by getting referrals from artists. Having an ongoing relationship with a web consultant is important. They stay current with hardware and software changes. They will be able to help you with updates, install new plug ins, etc.

In selecting the platform to build your website make sure it has an easy and intuitive content management system.  This will allow you to make basic updates like adding or deleting photos and updating exhibition and resume data. 

The magic of the web is that it is instantaneous.  There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for your consultant who is on vacation to do basic updates. For example, when you complete a series of new work you could upload it your website and send a link to your galleries. It keeps you on their radar. Gallerists are busy people. Anything you can do to make their job easier is appreciated.

Editors note: Alan Bamberger writes an excellent blog for artists –  artbusiness.com. This is a link to a checklist he wrote of do’s and don’ts to review when building your website. Review it before you start the process and make sure that you and/or your consultant address all of the issues he outlines in the article.

CHECKLIST FOR BUILDING A WEBSITE

Whether you DIY or use a consultant you will need to gather the following information to make a professional website.

1. COLLECT AND ORGANIZE DIGITAL IMAGES OF YOUR WORK.

With your digital camera and a photo organizing software you will be able to shoot and add titles, descriptions, keywords, etc. on all of your images and put them in a library that is easily accessed.

(Layered Solitude #1537), 2014, Pigment print, 27 x 36

Mayumi Lake (Layered Solitude #1537), 2014, Pigment print, 27 x 36

 

2. UPDATE YOUR ARTIST STATEMENT

An artist statement should tell the reader who you are and what makes your work unique. It translates your images into words.

This is Mayumi Lake’s artist statement:

“For over the past fifteen years, my artwork has dealt with the interaction between the real and imaginary. Relying on both media references and autobiographical elements, I explore issues of memory, identity and desire. As a Japanese woman who has been culturally conditioned to conceal and contain rather than reveal, I am interested in uncovering my own identity by aggressively evoking emotional reactions from my viewer.”
 

3. UPDATE YOUR RESUME AND EXHIBITION INFORMATION

This should be updated as changes occur on your website/blog. It is then available 24/7 for anyone who wants to see it and it can be printed if necessary to include in a presentation.

This gives potential buyers more reasons to consider a purchase. It also gives supporters the information they need to promote your work.

It should include anything that documents your professional career i.e. education, teaching, exhibitions (museum, solo, group), art fairs, workshops, residencies, commissions, public collections, awards and honors, publications.

 


4. ESTABLISH THE PRICING ON YOUR ARTWORK


With or without a website you need to establish consistent pricing of your artwork. Assuming you have established your prices and they are consistent in all of the markets you sell  (see best practices – pricing), then you should consider publishing your pricing online.  Many potential customers may be interested in your work but are not going to contact you to ask about your prices. By publishing your prices  they know they can afford to purchase your work and can pursue contacting you. 
Making your pricing transparent is a critical part of establishing a relationship and trust with your customer base.  If you sell directly to collectors from your studio then you should charge the same price as the galleries that represent you.  Galleries will inevitably find out if you are underpricing them and you will have lost a valuable partner.

If you have multiple galleries it is also important to keep your pricing consistent. Collectors don’t want to pay more in Chicago than they do in Minneapolis. If the Minneapolis gallery can’t sell your work at the prices they get in Chicago (and the Chicago gallery is selling your work) then you should not let them represent you. 

When galleries and artists first started displaying art online it was assumed that collectors needed to see the work in person in order to purchase it. That is no longer true.  Many collectors who have already purchased your work are willing to purchase without seeing it in person. It also opens up the market to a whole new group of collectors who are intimidated by the traditional gallery system but still want to collect art. 

 

5. REVIEW YOUR HARDWARE NEEDS

In the beginning you will need a computer, camera, and possibly lighting equipment. Many of our customer’s take their own photos on smaller images and hire professional photographers on larger artwork which is more difficult to light properly. You will need to determine your skill level and interest in taking your own photos.

The advantage of Apple products is that they are seamlessly integrated. For example, Apple’s new OS X operating system has a photos app built into the machine. You can take your photos with your iphone and they are immediately available on your computer and/or ipad.

 

6. REVIEW YOUR SOFTWARE NEEDS

You will need to choose what website platform to use to build your website. as well as  a photo editing & organizing software.

Recommendation

There are many platforms that artists use that have easy drag and drop options and are easily customizable.  I would not recommend the free options because you must allow them to have distracting advertisements on your site. Premium packages ($300/year) include such features as: custom domain name, unlimited space,  access to google analytics, and the ability to do e-commerce. 

 WordPress is by far the largest platform used to build websites.  It has the largest customer base and contributors, which means that more developers are making plugins which will extend the functionality of the basic platform. The advantage is it offers the most options. The disadvantage is that it offers the most options. Some of the other platforms are more specific to artists and might be easier to use in the beginning.

Adobe Photoshop & photo editing & organizing software
A basic knowledge of photo manipulation software and how to maintain a digital library is essential if you want to be able to update your website.  This is an area that you need to address before you get started.

In the beginning this doesn’t seem so important but as your career progresses you will have 1000’s of images and having them well organized, with titles, sizes, medium, and coded with keywords will make it much easier to show collectors, curators, gallerists, and art consultants what they want to see.

Assume your are showing your work to a number of gallerists across the country. One is interested in your works on paper and another is interested in your paintings.  You can go to your digital library, easily access the images they want to see, and send them what they need.

Software options
When you use Photoshop to edit your photos you have ultimate control—right down to the individual pixels. If you are a professional photographer it is essential.  

For nonprofessionals there are other less expensive and easier to learn options. The essential difference is that they manipulate the photos globally rather than on a pixel basis. You should review Apple’s PHOTOS software and the ADOBE LIGHT ROOM software. With both you can import your images, sort, date, add keywords, enhance, adjust, crop, add filters, and retouch your images. You can then organize your images into collections, create slideshows, print photos, and create web galleries.

 
 



MARKETING – FUNDAMENTALS

Before you can start marketing your artwork you need to assemble information about your work. Artist statements, resumes, business cards, postcards, and mailing lists are all essential building blocks to building websites, visiting gallerists, and promoting exhibitions and open studio events.

ARTIST STATEMENT

An artist statement should tell the reader who you are and what makes your work unique. It is putting your images into words. This is an example written by MAYUMI LAKE  that illustrates the point. 

“For over the past fifteen years, my artwork has dealt with the interaction between the real and imaginary. Relying on both media references and autobiographical elements, I explore issues of memory, identity and desire. As a Japanese woman who has been culturally conditioned to conceal and contain rather than reveal, I am interested in uncovering my own identity by aggressively evoking emotional reactions from my viewer.”

 

 

(Layered Solitude #1537), 2014, Pigment print, 27 x 36

(Layered Solitude #1537), 2014, Pigment print, 27 x 36

 

RESUME

This should be updated as changes occur on your website/blog. It is then available 24/7 for anyone who wants to see it and it can be printed if necessary to include in a presentation.
This gives potential buyers more reasons to consider a purchase. It also gives supporters the information they need to promote your work.

It should include anything that documents your professional career -education, teaching, exhibitions (museum, solo, group), art fairs, workshops, residencies, commissions, public collections, awards and honors, publications.

BUSINESS CARDS

businesscardfront

businesscardback

Business cards are useful for people you meet that seemed interested in your work as well as serving as a small advertisement of your work. Often at artfairs or open studios potential collectors, gallerists, or art professionals will collect multiple business cards of artists that interest them to review later.  To ensure they remember your artwork be sure and include a large image & make sure you include your website, email address and phone number.

 

 

POSTCARDS
JWpostcard

Postcards are still a good method of keeping in touch with collectors. I collect Jody Williams work and look forward to receiving her postcard on her holiday open house every year. Keep good records of everyone who has visited your studio, seen you at an art fair, or has purchased your work. Ideally, they should all get a postcard and an email with the same image that is on your postcard telling them of the upcoming exhibit of your work. I would also recommend having all the new work on your website (be sure and include prices) so people can preview it before the opening. I have read on blogs that many had advance sales because their collectors wanted to make sure they could buy them before they were sold to others. It also allows collectors who aren’t able to come to the event to still purchase your work. In Minnesota we consider this blizzard insurance. 

MAILING LISTS

Collecting names, addresses, and email addresses of you customers or others interested in your work is critical to marketing your work.

This is a quote from Ginny Herzog who does national art fairs as her primary means of marketing.

“I use Constant Contact for my email announcements for my exhibitions. I have an email list totalling 2250, organized by geographical zones or cities. I send emails out to the entire list about four times per year with my exhibitions for the season. I do a couple of emails the week of a show to the city list only, as a reminder with the show’s website, dates, times and my booth number. I include a linked photo of a new piece of work on each announcement. I also pass out postcards at the shows with a photo of my work and contact info.”

 




PRICING YOUR ARTWORK

For many artists pricing is an emotional issue and they struggle to find a “fair” price. There are many aspects to consider when establishing your prices. Although you don’t have to price based on the competition or your costs, you do need to know who and what they are.  Let’s start to demystify the process.

SURVEY THE COMPETITION

Even though your work is unique you do fall into a category such as: representational vs abstract painter, botanical watercolor artist, landscape photographer, etc. The first step is to acquaint yourself with where artists that sell similar work are marketing their artwork.  Hopefully there will be some local galleries, studios, or art fairs that you can visit.  All should have a website where you can find out more about  where and how they sell their artwork.

You now can start surveying the competition. If you know or a friend knows the artist contact them and ask for advice. You can also ask local galleries what other galleries around the country specialize in the kind of art you create. When you travel always preplan a list of galleries you want to visit. There is nothing like seeing the gallery in person to help you determine if it is a good fit for you.

HOW ARE COMPARABLE ARTISTS PRICING THEIR ARTWORK?

The artists below are represented by the Groveland Gallery.  Let’s assume this gallery is a good fit for you.  Now you can determine the range of prices the gallery is charging. The artists represented below have works on paper that range from $200 – $900 depending on size. The paintings range from $700 – $3200 depending on size. This will give you an idea of what price range your artwork should be priced.

grovelandartists

GIVE COLLECTORS PRICING OPTIONS

Railroad-Bridge-at-West-Island-Avenue

Michael Banning “Railroad Bridge at West Island Avenue” | 2014 | oil on panel | $3,200.00 image: 21.75 x 36″ | frame: 23.75 x 38″

In this example a collector may love the work but can’t afford the larger painting. By offering smaller paintings collectors that like your work can still afford to purchase one. Another collector may not be able to afford any of your paintings but could afford to purchase a work on paper.

Michael Banning "Train Cars near the Mississippi River, Minneapolis" 2014 | charcoal | $700.00 image: 10.5 x 18" | frame: 16.25 x 23.15"

Michael Banning “Train Cars near the Mississippi River, Minneapolis”
2014 | charcoal | $700.00
image: 10.5 x 18″ | frame: 16.25 x 23.15″

By offering multiple options for collectors you broaden the market for your work. You are not lowering your price, you are giving them lower price options.

I can’t emphasize enough, if a buyer can’t afford to purchase your artwork it doesn’t mean that your price is too high and you should lower your price. It just means that you are in a higher part of the market than they can afford. 

 

WHEN DO I RAISE MY PRICES?

Students just starting out will be priced at the lower end of the market. As you become more established you will be able to command higher prices. The time to think about raising your prices is when you are selling consistently or have reached a milestone in your career. When collectors are purchasing your work they are interested in where you have sold your work and what other collectors have been willing to pay for it. They want to make sure that they are paying a “fair” price for your work.
Be cautious about  raising your prices when the economy and your sales are slow. At the same time I would be very reluctant to lower your price when the economy goes through one of its inevitable dips because when the economy starts to recover you will have to increase your prices from a much lower base. It will also make your current collectors feel that they over paid for the work they already purchased. Get in the habit of reviewing your pricing once a year and consider 5 – 10% increases depending on your costs, recent sales, and the state of the economy.

PRINTED PRICELISTS

I recently was invited to an open house at a building with multiple artist studios. As we toured the studios not one artist had any pricing next to the artwork on the wall or a printed pricelist. I asked two of the artists the price of a certain work and neither felt comfortable giving me a price. Many potential customers won’t ask because they are afraid that the work will be too high and don’t want to be embarrassed. After you have done your homework and looked at comparable art by artists in the same stage of their career and established a consistent pricing strategy, then you should publish a pricelist. That will take the guesswork out of the equation and both you and the potential buyer can start talking about the work they are interested in because they have already determined they can afford it. 

ONLINE PRICES

It is equally important to have prices online on your website. Many potential customers may be interested in your work but are not going to contact you to ask about your prices. By publishing your prices  they know they can afford to purchase your work and can pursue contacting you.
Making your pricing transparent is a critical part of establishing a relationship and trust with your customer base.  If you sell directly to collectors from your studio charge the same price as the gallery.  Galleries will inevitably find out if you are underpricing them and you will have lost a valuable partner.

If you have multiple galleries it is also important to keep your pricing consistent. Collectors don’t want to pay more in Chicago than they do in Minneapolis. If the Minneapolis gallery can’t sell your work at the prices they get in Chicago (and the Chicago gallery is selling your work) then you should not let them represent you. 

ESTABLISH A CONSISTENT METHOD OF PRICING

Once you establish where you fit into the marketplace having a consistent pricing method makes it much easier to price your artwork.

Many artists price by size. If you work in consistent sizes it is easy to price all of the artwork you do in a certain size the same. If you vary your sizes you can price on a cost/square inch or cost/square foot to be consistent.  
For example:
size:  24 x 36
Square feet:  6
Price/sq.foot: $500
Price: $3000

Work under a certain size should just have a set price.  Your price/square foot can easily be increased as you increase your sales and work can command higher prices. 

 

KNOW YOUR COSTS

Keeping good records are the key to knowing what your real costs are. At a very basic level you must charge more for your work than it costs you to make. Because you are making custom work each piece is different. But after a while you will be able to determine how much materials are used to make your artwork and approximately how much time it takes you to produce it. And you need to factor in your overhead (rent, utilities, etc.) and enough profit to allow you to continue to make your work.  This is especially important and more difficult when you are doing commission work.  If your costs are exceeding your selling price you either have to raise your prices or lower your costs. In some cases this might mean experimenting with using different materials. In some cases you might learn a new technique that allows you to complete the work faster. In some cases you may be able to increase your prices without losing any sales.

COST CALCULATIONS

Let’s assume that you can make 10 paintings in a month. That the material costs are $300.00 and you spent 160 hours producing them. You are charging your time at $25.00/hour. Your rent, utitlities, and other overhead expenses are: $1500.00.

material costs:   $300
labor costs: 160 hours X $25.00 = $4000
overhead: $1500
total cost: $6800
# paintings: 10
Cost:  $680.00/painting

You don’t need to base your pricing on this but you now know the minimum you need to sell to cover your costs.

It is essential that you continuously monitor your sales to make sure you are exceeding the breakeven point.  All sales above the breakeven point provide you with additional profit. If you are selling above the breakeven point it means you are beginning to get established and can consider raising your prices. This is an important pricing strategy to build your reputation and the overall value of your work to collectors. 

If you have done a comparison of comparable art in the marketplace and they are being sold at a higher price than the $680, then price your product accordingly.  For instance if the going price is $1000, you would only need to sell 7  pictures to hit the breakeven point. 

 

HOW PROLIFIC ARE YOU?

Some artists can produce a large quantity of work quickly. Some artists take months to produce one painting. If you can produce a larger quantity of high quality work you will have more flexibility in pricing. The smaller your output the higher your prices need to be in order to make a living. 




FRAMING TERMINOLOGY

In order to be able to order exhibition frames for your exhibitions it is necessary to understand the terminology of the picture framing industry. The following will get you started on basic concepts.

RABBET DEPTH

Besides aesthetic considerations it is necessary to determine the depth of your artwork package to ensure that it is deep enough to accommodate all of the components in the artwork package.

The rabbet depth is the amount of space in the frame to accommodate the artwork package. All Metropolitan frames have the rabbet depth dimension illustrated in the product section. Use the frame depth calculator to determine the exact depth of the frame you will need and then view our product page to see which frames will accommodate your artwork package.

frame-depth
Optional Components:

SPACERS

A spacer is used to separate artwork on paper or photographs from glass or acrylic when a mat isn’t being used. Spacers are  also used on artwork that is dimensional or doesn’t lie flat Spacers can be made of wood, plastic, or mat board. Metropolitan has designed a line of exhibition frames that will accommodate our custom wood spacers that can be purchased in depths ranging from 1/4″ – 2″.
See framing advice.

Frame components: 1/2" spacer/ 3/4' spacer/ UV plexi
Maarja Roth

STRAINERS

Strainers are an inner frame that is placed behind the artwork package and secured with screws. They add extra strength to the artwork package and  hold the artwork package in the frame.  They also serve as a means of attaching the hanging devices. This is critical on very thin frame profiles. See framing advice.

attaching strainer with screws
Attaching strap hanger to strainer

STANDARD ALLOWANCE

When ordering frames it is necessary to measure the item you are framing, and give us that exact measurement. We will add our standard allowance of 1/8″. This will allow 1/16″ on each side to allow your art package to fit easily within the frame and compensate for any small out of square problems.

FLOAT SIZE ON FLOATER FRAMES

Floater frame for paintings
Artist: Nathan Wilson

The float size is the the gap between the sides of the canvas and the inside edge of the frame.

Floater frames have  become a popular modern way to frame canvasses. The float space is determined by how much you may want to see the sides of the canvas.

Reasons for small float space: staples showing on side of canvas, sides of canvas left blank, sides of canvas sloppily painted

Reasons for large float space: canvas out of square or the image wraps around onto sides. To determine if the canvas is out of square measure diagonally from the top left to the bottom right and diagonally from the top right to the bottom left. If it is perfectly square those two measurement will be the same. Depending how different they are you will need to increase the size of the float.

PURCHASING OPTIONS

STANDARD JOINING
Frames are cut to your specifications, glued, and joined with our wedge system from behind so there are no visible nail holes. All frames are then touched up and sanded before they are finished to ensure the highest level of quality.

joining_cut_to_size_w_wedges-150x150
JOINED FRAME

SPLINE JOINING

Spline joints are used for additional strength and beauty. Because the spline joint offers a larger glue area, the joint becomes very strong. They are necessary on very large and or very thin frames.

Matching splines use the same wood as the frame and are less conspicuous than the contrasting splines.

Spline joints are often used with painted white, black and graphite frames to add stability to their seamless corners. With the painted finishes they will not be visible.

joining_matched_splines
joining_contrasting_splines-1

UNCUT LENGTH MOULDING
All of our frame profiles can be purchased uncut in lengths. They can be purchased unfinished or finished to order. Lengths vary from approximately 8 to 12 feet (most will be 10′). We will come as close to the footage on your order as possible. Note that UPS will not ship over 8 feet. When ordering you can specify cut 5′ and balance, 6′ and balance, 7′ and balance, etc. On larger orders we normally ship by truck and cutting the lengths is not necessary.

UNCUT LENGTHS

UNJOINED – CUT TO SIZE FRAMES
Frames are cut to your specifications with mitred corners. This option will require that you have a method for joining the frames. It is commonly used by picture framers and woodworkers who have their own joining equipment.

CUT TO SIZE

UNJOINED – CUT TO SIZE FRAMES WITH WEDGES

The wedge system makes the joining of wood frames as easy as joining metal frames. The frame comes to you unjoined, but the mitres have been routed out from behind with a special machine. You glue the corners and insert a plastic wedge and use a hammer to insert it into the prerouted slot. This system will allow you to adjust the corners until they are aligned. See framing advice. This option is often used by customers who are ordering large or oversize frames and want to save money on shipping. See framing advice.

joining-wedges-supplies-300x173(1)

WOOD TYPES

ASH
Ash is a very dense wood with a grain pattern that can complement or detract from the artwork. If the grain complements, it is a good choice because it is a less expensive option. Ash will vary in color and is not recommended on the clear and white finishes if consistency is important. It is most popular in our darker wood stains and charcoal and black finishes which will cover the inconsistencies.

material_ash

CHERRY
Cherry in its natural state has a light red color which makes the finishes have a depth of color that cannot be achieved on other woods. All woods will change color over time. Cherry gets darker giving it even a deeper concentration of color and grain. The wood is moderately heavy and hard. Cherry like walnut is more expensive than the other wood options we provide.

CHERRY

MAPLE
Maple is our most popular wood. It is valued by museums and fine art galleries for its neutral appearance. Metropolitan Picture Framing clear lacquer and stain finishes are semi-transparent, allowing the grain of the wood to show. Our painted finishes are opaque and have seamless corners.

MAPLE

POPLAR
Poplar varies from light cream to yellowish brown, with occasional streaks of gray or green. Poplar is primarily used for painted or dark finished frames because of its color inconsistencies.  Poplar typically has a straight, uniform grain, with a medium texture.  Because Poplar is an inexpensive hardwood it is a good choice when price is a consideration.  Colors tend to darken upon exposure to light.

POPLAR

WALNUT
Walnut has a rich dark brown heartwood with a tan colored sapwood. The wood is fairly soft and moderate in weight. It will lighten with age. Darker finishes are often used to cover the color differences in the heart and sapwood.

Wood: walnut

PRESENTATION STYLES

MATS
This presentation is used when you want to cover the edges of the  photograph or work on paper and the mat is deep enough to provide a separation from the glazing.  This is often done when the artwork has large borders around the image or has edges that are frayed or damaged.

MATTED

FLOAT 
Float presentations are used when the artwork has a deckled or uneven edge or the entire image is critical and it is important that nothing is covered. It is also used on artwork that is dimensional or doesn’t lie flat which requires a spacer to separate it from the glazing. Spacers can be made of wood, plastic, or matboard. Metropolitan has designed a line of exhibition frames that will accommodate our custom wood spacers that can be purchased in depths ranging from 1/4″ – 2″.

Maarja Roth

FLOAT AND MAT COMBINATION
Mat and float presentations are used when the artwork has a deckled or uneven edge or it is important that none of the image is covered and a mat is deep enough to provide the separation from the art and the glazing.

Jean Gumpper