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Sunday, May 15, 2011

To frame or not to frame?

Something I did not include in the book, was the issue of framing? Do you spend serious $$ and get your work framed, only to have the client request the painting sans frame. (Has happened to me several times and have been left with a frame that didn't really work on anything else.) To avoid the issue I, and many other artists, started using deeper frames - 5-10cms meaning that framing was not needed. Given the cost of framing this made sense. Lets say a frame cost you R500. The gallery would double that cost and add 14% meaning an additional R1,140 added to the cost of the work. The R500 you would have to carry until the work was sold. Fine if your work sells for R15,000 a pop but not fine if your work is in the below R5,000 region. The extra cost could be the difference between a sale and a no sale.
Many clients have strong views on framing, even if its only to match the decor. Your choice may not be their ideal. So they may ask for the painting sans the framing cost. Leaving you (as mentioned) with a frame you're going to have to match with another work.
If you are not going to frame do make your edges neat - either carry the painting around the sides, keep them clean (masking tapped wrapped around the edges while you paint works well for this), or paint a complimentary colour around the edges.
Occasionally galleries want to frame work at their cost. It can make certain work really look good and if they're carrying the cost I don't complain. Problem comes though, if the work doesn't sell and whilst you own the painting, the frame is theirs. Hasn't happened to date with us, but its a possibility. There are some more conservative galleries that won't take unframed work, so you may be forced to frame simply to get on the wall. many of them have a sideline framing business and may offer a discount for the job. (Just be careful not to frame all your work for their profit, rather than your promotion.)
For overseas clients framing is usually a big no as it adds considerably to transport costs and many not allow for the cheaper option of rolling your work.
Personally, apart from watercolours, I avoid if possible, leaving the client free to decide for themselves.

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