If collectors are investing in your artwork and supporting your creative practice, you'll want to make sure that they're not inconvenienced once they receive it. Ask yourself these 5 questions before you ship off artwork to your collector.
Is it ready to hang? Unframed art or work on paper aside, if your canvas, panel, or other ready-to-hang art piece isn't actually ready to place on the wall as soon as it comes out of the package, you've failed your collector. Don't make it the collector's job to figure out how to wire their new artwork! If it's not ready to hang, clearly specify that in the listing.
Is it archival and/or varnished? Personally, I wouldn't feel good about selling a piece of art that wouldn't stand the test of time hanging in my collector's home. Some pigments and mediums are not as lightfast as others, and many substrates are not archival if they aren't prepared properly. Do your research to ensure you are using the recommended best practices for your mediums of choice. If the artwork isn't archival or would benefit from special framing like UV protective glass, be sure to let your collector know before they purchase the art.
Does it include a certificate of authenticity? This one is debatable amongst artists, but the truth is if your collector is interested in insuring their art or someday re-selling it, they will require proof of authenticity (more than just your signature). You can easily design your own certificate of authenticity with a simple word processing program on your home computer, or, if you want to make it a little fancier, you can use a free graphic design tool online like Canva. I subscribe to an artist's data management tool called Artwork Archive, which, amongst other great features, allows me to generate certificates of authenticity for every painting I sell.
Did you include business cards and/or art cards in the package? Your collector has purchased art from you for a reason: they love it! It stands to reason that once they get the art into their home and proudly display it, they will also want to show it off. They'll need business cards to hand out to any interested friends or family. Business cards also show your collectors that you take yourself, your art and your business seriously. Art cards are like a postcard-sized print with information printed about you and your art on the back that your collector can hang on the fridge, pop into a picture frame, or give away to a friend - like a business card, but bigger and better! Whatever you choose, you don't have to break the bank on business cards, but they are important to include in your packages. Don't forget to attach an additional business card to the back of your canvas!
Did you take care to package your painting well to ensure a safe journey to the collector? How disappointing would it be for both you and your collector if they received a damaged piece of art? There are lots of free resources available online with suggestions of great ways to package art for safe and secure shipping. Personally, it's important to me that I use as much recycled and recyclable packaging as possible when I ship out my art to collectors. That being said, I always take care that the packaging I choose will adequately protect the artwork on its journey. I am careful to wrap my paintings in plastic or glassine paper to protect them from moisture damage. I also protect the corners and canvas front with extra layers of cardboard and nestle the painting securely in a well-fitting box with crumpled-up packing paper. I have "fragile" stickers to apply to all of my boxed shipments, "do not bend" stickers for cardboard mailers, and I even print out extra large notes to attach to large shipments that read, "FRAGILE, Do Not Stack" with arrows to indicate which side of the package should face up. Knock on wood, I have not had a painting damaged in transit yet.
Am I forgetting something? Share your must-do finishing touches in the comments below!
Aaaand here's a little Bixby pic to brighten your day! Until next time,
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