I learned a big ass lesson today, and this lesson is so true and so simple. Uniform presentation. With all of my experience as a professional artist, you think I would know better, but I’m a slow learner. Over the years I have tried a variety of frame styles: Omegas, Glaser frames, king of frames, framer frames, deep dish contemporary frames, no frames for paintings on deep wooden boxes, black, gold, silver, yada yada. What I found today after a two day gallery run, going to 3 galleries for the drop off and pick up, is that when you have mixed frame styles and presentation styles you lose consistency and consistency=credibility. 12×16’s and 30×30’s and 36×48’s all in the same painting style but in different frame styles is confusion. I’ve always known this but somehow it didn’t apply to me. The trick is finding an affordable frame style and sticking to it. I think I may be on to a source but I’m going to wait to tell you once I’ve ordered a few. Scott Christensen said, in a workshop long ago, to only put your painting in the best of frames. He used a custom frame builder called AU at the time. REALLY nice and REALLY expensive. That makes sense if your paintings are selling for $10,000 to $30,000 each. But I’m not there yet. And I won’t be if I don’t start presenting a unified front. I know this from my days as a graphic designer, consistent presentation makes for good brand awareness. So I’m starting over with my whole presentation (again) and I’m tossing out a bunch of frames that are incompatible with the new look (again).
The frame shown here is a sample… it’s about a third the price of the frame that I had on it. It’s decent looking. I’m going to order one or two and see how they look. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now, I do need to say this one thing and that is, there’s always an exception to every rule. If I’m putting a great painting in for a high-end show, like a museum thing or the Laguna Plein Air event that is held in a museum, then higher quality is the rule. And if I’m going for a high end gallery in New York, then quality is important but the price point for the work should be higher. But for every day regional gallery stuff go with good and consistent. I’m thinking. Which leads to the topic of pricing consistency throughout various markets… and whether or not painting prices can fluctuate, but that is more blog fodder.
Nancy Marshall of Walls Gallery, if you are reading this, I know you and David have an opinion here and I would love to hear it. I’m callin you out sister.