Thursday, August 17, 2017

Shipping artwork internationally - how to send art to overseas exhibitions and clients

Many artists sell art across borders to other countries these days - but there's not a lot of help out there in terms of:
  • what you have to do to move art through Customs
  • what's the best way to pack and label art and ship it internationally
a new resource for artists - all about how to master customs tariffs, documentation
and services to get artwork from your studio to its final destination in another country

My very first serious exhibition 20 years ago was in the USA. I had to learn pretty fast about how to pack art so it arrives safe and sound and which service works best for getting the artwork there by the due date - and the customs documentation and tariff codes required and how to display it so that the package actually got out of Customs and arrived at the Gallery!

Everything went fine - but it was a long wait until I got the confirmation everything had arrived safely!

Since that date I've heard of numerous artists who have messed up on sending their artwork to other countries. It's hugely disappointing to the artists who have invariably made their best efforts - but just didn't get everything right because they'd never ever done it before.
  • The artwork often remains in Customs while the exhibition goes ahead without them!  
  • Or the artwork arrives damaged because allowances were not made to what can happen to artwork moving overseas. 
  • Or it just disappears......
Which is how come I've remained interested in the topic and developed a site to share the information with those for whom sending art overseas is a new and mysterious challenge!

I've now transferred that information to my art business website.

Guide to how to send art to other countries


This is my new page about How to ship art internationally on my Art Business Info. for Artists website

Information is divided into two sections.

The paperwork for Customs


  • How to produce an export invoice
  • UK Trade Tariff - export commodity codes
  • HOW TO: Complete Customs documentation in the UK
  • ​HOW TO: Complete Customs documentation in the USA
  • The ATA Carnet​

What else you need to know


  • Size, Weight and Content Restrictions and Prohibitions (International)
  • ​HOW TO: write an international address correctly​

The page is part of a major section on my website which is all about....

How to pack, post and ship art


This is what my section on How to pack, post and ship art covers:

Packing your art

  • How to pack, post and ship art (Section HOME Page) including 10 Top Tips for Packaging and Shipping Artwork
  • How to pack artwork for shipping Overview: Generic advice about packing and shipping
    • Tips from artists, photographers, galleries, curators, museums, conservators, art societies, art collectors, shippers and more
    • How to create an internal package which protect and cushions artwork
    • How to create an external package for artwork which survives transit.
    • How to pack framed works
    • How to pack fine art prints and works on paper
    • How to pack pastel paintings​​
  • Packaging Materials for shipping artwork
    • The pros and cons of different types of packaging for the external and internal packages
    • ​warnings about how packaging can damage your art
    • how to be sustainable and reuse materials when shipping​

Special Shipping Challenges for Art


CN 23 Customs Declaration form for artwork valued in excess of £270
  • How to ship art to exhibitions Exhibitions bring a particular challenge when artwork needs to be submitted minus packaging!
  • How to ship internationally Information about all the documentation required for international shipping
    • How to produce an export invoice
    • All about export commodity codes
    • How to complete customs documentation 
    • How to write an international address correctly

Postal, Parcel, Courier and Shipping Services for Art


Royal Mail Services

Feedback please


I'd love to get any feedback
  • either in terms of practices or services you have found helpful 
  • or about queries you have which are not answered by this page or this section on moving art from studio to exhibition, gallery or art collector
Thanks in anticipation....

1 comment:

Zoe Parker said...

Wow, this is so timely- only yesterday I made contact with a shipping company with regard to an exhibition I am having (hopefully!) in Addis Ababa next year. Thank you for posting this, there is a lot to consider and any information/experience will be gratefully received! I shall read and re-read this article very carefully.