The Artist Roadmap

Should I Frame My Art?

This is a question I get asked by visual artists such as painters, illustrators and printers, who may be considering whether to invest in professional framing for their artwork.

There are a few factors to consider here, such as budget, shipping fees and overall presentation, so I thought I'd share my opinion on each of these.

As a painter myself, I work primarily on stretched canvases, which I sell unframed as they can hang as they are. They also have the option to be framed if the customer chooses. I also work on paper, which I place in a mat with a foam back and cellophane cover. I have framed a few key paintings in the past, but for the majority of my business, it makes sense to sell my paintings unframed, which also makes them easier to ship and send.

I always advice artists to present their work as well as they can, and also make it as easy as possible for people to buy their work and hang it in their homes. If your work is on paper or card, wood or some other material, then it may make sense to show your work framed. It can also give people an idea of what it looks like framed, and you could always give them the option to buy unframed.

Another factor to consider is whether you are selling your work through a gallery or shop who take a commission, as this will be a percentage of the selling price, so you need to make sure your framing costs are built into this, as it can easily leave you with little profit.

Most painters when starting out don't tend to have a huge framing budget (good framing is expensive) so cost is a factor to consider. I felt my work was still developing in the first few years, so I didn't want to invest too much in pieces that may not have sold. It also would have increased my shipping costs considerably.

Another option is to use commercial standard-sized frames, and there are some good ones out there. I have used standard frames for my small prints, and these can work well if you have a lot of similar-sized pieces. You may also be able to buy them wholesale and it could be a good option for your work. 

I recommend using the best art materials you can afford, so it really comes down to where you are in your artist journey. Do what feels right for you and test and measure. Invest in three professional frames and sell your work. If your work sells, then invest in more. If not, then be wary of spending more before your work is selling consistently.

I hope that has given you some insights, and if you do decide to frame and become exclusive to a particular framer, you are supporting another local business which is a good thing, and they may offer you a discount if you use them regularly.

Good luck and feel free to continue the conversation in the Facebook group!



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