The following tips come from open exhibition activities past and present. Some have been learned the hard way!
You may think some of them are itty bitty / insignificant. Believe me some of those make the difference to getting a picture matted, framed and submitted to the right place on time!
|Read the entry conditions||Read them at least twice before you start to prepare for an exhibition. It’s very easy to miss some tiny but absolutely crucial detail.|
Pay particular attention to eligible media and dimensions.
See also my resources for artists websites
|Create a timeline||Work out deadlines (allowing for contingencies) for:|
|Insurance||Decide what you are going to do about insurance re transit (if using a carrier)|
|Transport by carrier||If you can’t take the work yourself:|
|Transport overseas and/or via a third party||Work out who is going to unpack, store packing material and repack the artwork so it’s safe and secure for transport if not sold|
|Create artwork for an exhibition||Start well in advance and don’t leave it until the last minute.|
|Create artwork for selection for a prestigious exhibition||Check out the artwork accepted into previous exhibitions. Note how selection works. |
|Review artwork prior to framing||Does it look as good as you remembered? |
Does it need any last minute tweaks? Balance off the temptation to tweak with the scope for ruining a decent piece! (A lesson learned the hard way!)
|Seal drawing||Decide whether you need to use fixative to seal drawing. This is the bit I remember just as I’m getting the brown tape wet......|
|Scan or photograph artwork prior to starting to mat and frame||Scanning or photographing artwork is a whole topic in itself. I shall confine myself to a reminder to remember to do it before you start to frame!|
|Commission a professional photographer||If the piece is large and the ambient light is not good and you don’t have proper lighting for photography then it’s worth considering getting your artwork professionally photographed. This is particularly the case if you want to use the work for reproductions.|
Finding a good professional photographer for artwork is not easy - so ask around and get recommendations.
|PRESENTATION: Mounting and Framing|
|Order frames||This is for when you want to have a brand new specific frame for a specific work.|
Do not assume a framer can meet your timescale for delivering frames.
Framers have other clients and the exhibition season is just that - seasonal. They sometimes have a queue which runs to weeks when they are exceptionally busy and/or have orders to frame solo exhibitions.
Framers also have holidays - usually when you want some framing done!
|Review your free stock of frames||Do this well in advance if you’re not proposing to commission new frames.|
Check the state of frames and whether any need marks or dents removed prior to framing
Make sure all frames are thick enough to be able to cope with mirror plate fixings
|Check your supplies for matting drawings well in advance||Do NOT leave checking until the last minute as this will be when you discover that you forgot to replenish your favourite colour of mountboard or you ran out of glass cleaner last week!|
|Always have more supplies to hand than you need||You can guarantee that you always make a mistake when cutting a mat when you have just enough to do the job!|
That’s why I came back with 10 sheets last week!
|Don’t be tempted by coloured mountboard||In general, coloured mountboard is used by people who have bought art and want to frame it to fit with their decor. A neutral mount for an exhibition is always acceptable and does not deter buyers in the same way as a coloured mount can do. Some exhibitions do not allow coloured mounts and require neutral mounts|
I use Daler Rowney Mountboard - Antique White and Pale Ivory - see colour chart
|Check the orientation of backboards with hanging tackle||It is a virtual certainty that the frame you planned to use for a specific work will have hanging tackle on the backboard for the wrong orientation, which is why.......|
|Check your stock of backboards||Get new backboards cut for existing frames. You can always reuse a frame but backboards can look tacky after you have removed labels from work which has not sold.|
|Remove pictures from frames which are to be reused / clean frame and glass||Do not underestimate how long it takes to do this!|
|Mark up cuts on reverse of mountboard||Otherwise when you do a level edge the bevel will be the wrong way round|
Guess who forgot this one last week!
|Measure twice and cut once||Always important and absolutely vital when you have limited stocks of mountboard.|
|Get a tack tool||This is a tool which fires pins into frames to hold them. It enables you to replace any pins which have fallen out. You can use stiff pins or bendy pins. |
Personally I prefer bendy pins as it makes changing pics in a frame really easy. Unless you order frames in oak!
|Seal frame||Use brown gummed paper to seal the rear of the frame. It takes practice to cut and seal so that it is neat. If you’re not careful and neat get somebody else to do it who is. It’s a bit like hospital corners when making beds - you either get it or you don’t!|
|Label work for open exhibition||Pay particular attention to what the entry conditions say about labelling work|
|Label work for a gallery show||Pay attention to what the gallery’s specific requirements are. Many galleries :|
|Stop and admire your work before submission||I’m always amazed at how good my work looks when properly matted and framed. I impress myself. |
This is when you take a photo to remind yourself next time you have doubts about whether you produce anything worth exhibiting!
|Complete submission form - including prices||Usually requires name, address and other contact details and title of piece, dimensions and price (including commission and tax).|
|Transport - how to move artwork (by yourself)||Work out how you’re going to get the number of works and the size of framed work to the submission place.|
|Transport - how to move artwork (by carrier)||Check the drop-off details|
OR Prepare the instructions for the carrier well in advance
|Transport overseas||Remember to |
|Determine mode of transport||Decide on the best way to travel and make sure you know: |
|Determine time required for date of submission||How much time you require varies according to the day of the week, the mode of transport and the time you travel. |
|Unpack work and remove packing materials||Artwork almost always has to be delivered unpacked. Which means having something to contain the packing once unpacked. Bubble wrap rolls up nicely and goes easily in a bag!|
If you are not delivering it in person you will need your carrier to do this - and store packing materials.
|Remember to bring the piece of paper with you which tells you where to go||Enough said? How many people have been forgetful and left this behind?|
|Bring submission form||You won’t be able to book the work in without one. If you forget they may have spares but it’s best not to assume they will.|
|Bring your cheque book or enough cash to pay submission fees OR receipt for fees paid.||Do NOT assume that you can pay by card. In my experience it’s almost always cheque or cash.|
Alternatively check to see if there is scope to pay the submission fee online before you submit - in which case bring your receipt!
So what are your exhibition checklist tips? Please leave a comment below.
Have you ever created an online checklist for submitting work to an exhibition or organising an exhibition ? If so, could you please share the link to your checklist.
If you think you know somebody who might find this checklist useful why not email it to them - see link below or mention it on your blog or share it using social media.
PS The “who’s made a mark this week” is postponed to next week. It’s my Residents Association AGM this week and I’ve got lots of stuff to do (which is the other reason why I've not been around)!