Monday, October 29, 2007

You pissed me off Terry Miura!

A few months ago, Terry Miura, an artist that I really respect ( you can link to his site from this blog), wrote on his web site that it's challenging for him to frame his art for galleries and sales. He must pick the appropriate frame and at a price point that won't break his pocket book. If any of his pieces don't sell immediately, hopefully they will in the near future and defray the framing cost. He's a fantastic studio and plein air oil painter and believes (no ifs, ands, or buts) that he MUST frame his work. Well... I commented back that if an artist is as good as he is, he doesn't need to do this! His work speaks for itself, and the buyers have the option to choose frames of their liking. "No, no!", Mr. Miura shot back. He was taught, and he believes that one must put one's best foot forward. Well, a few weeks ago, a very good gallery in town accepted some of my acrylic plein air paintings to display and sell (hopefully and keep my fingers crossed!). The owner insisted that I frame them! Miura's words came back to haunt me! But first, let me say this: I have had numerous medium to large paintings on stetched canvas sell at another gallery with ZIPPO framing! I asked this latest gallery owner, "Do I have to frame them?". Not one iota of hesitation... "Sure, it's the cost of doing business". Now what was I to say?.. "NO!" Of course not. I want to be in his damn gallery! He has a reputation for selling art. This afternoon, I picked up my framed pieces. Most all of them are 8"x16" on stretched canvas. They are all floated in a simple gallery-style frame. Hot damn, they look good! It has now dawned on me that if you do not let the framing cost get out of hand, the enhanced presentation increases your odds of selling (even if the buyer plans to later reframe). And, that extra mile you go, ultimately enhances both your sales and your reputation as an artist. As far as very large canvases are concerned, many buyers hang them on their walls as is, and indeed, if the sides are finished off nicely, there is nothing wrong with that (especially with more modern style paintings such as I paint). Come to think of it, one does not always have to frame small pieces either! But... I think most of the time, it's awfully hard to beat that framed look. You can't go cheap, but neither do you have to break the bank. And, you need to get just the right type of frame. OK, OK, Miura!.. ya dun got a point! can be a pain to frame but the frame can add to your fame. Now that's poetry to any artist...even a plein air wannabe.


terry said...

Hahaha! Like I said before, would you eat at a restaurant that served their food directly on the table, without plates? The food might be good, but...

ok never mind. i WOULD go to such a restaurant if the food was good. But your typical clientele won't!

nice floater by the way. where did you get it?

Danny Griego said...

Hi David
Thanks for checking out my blog. Your work has a nice freshness to it and I really do like your subjects, especially the bridges. No kidding about the frames. It does make a big difference as you know for presentation. I look forward to seeing more of your paintings now that I bookmarked your blog. Keep up the beautiful work!

Thomas said...

I agree with your initial reaction: no-- frames aren't necessary.

But I also agree with your second (and Terry's) that they give most work a more polished look which can make them more appealing to collectors.

I usually end up spending around four or five hundred dollars on frames for a show when I'm hanging a good sized selection of work (10 paintings or so).

The trick, like you mentioned, is not to spend more than you can afford. (There is sometimes an uncomfortable waiting period before the first painting sells where you question the amount of money you spent on frames.)

Another thing that I've seen artists do is work only with standard sizes. Meaning they only paint on 8x10 panels, for example, so that if they frame one painting and it doesn't sell, they can reuse the frame on another painting. Another thing that standard sizes does is it brings down your framing costs because you may get lucky with some ready-made frames which are considerably cheaper than custom frames.

Another framing tip:
I usually paint on panel instead of canvas and my framer asked me to stop cradling the panels so that they could accept smaller frames. This was a huge cost-savings for me. The drawback is that the panels require frames (whereas the cradled panels could be hung without). (This can also be accomplished if you prefer canvas to panel by just using mounted canvas.)

How much did that floated frame cost you? (If you don't mind my asking...)

David Lobenberg said...

I think the general rule might be that all boards or canvasses that are not stretched or cradled absolutely need to be framed. One has some leeway otherwise. The frame you see here was about $50. My framer buys a lot of this particular molding for other artists and passes the savings on to them.

artejesusestevez said...

Hi David , one thing I do , I put a price for the painting and another price for the frame. The price for the frame I usually put it at cost, well 5 or 10 dollars more . so if any body doesn't like the frame they don't have to pay for it, if they like the frame then is cheaper for them to pay for it since they are not going to find it cheaper.
Framing means that you care for your work, so you presented nicely. but since you are not a framer. you put the price of the frame separately . i hope you like this Idea. cheers.Jesus