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Potpourri - Dear Redimat

Dear REDIMAT,' features a sampling of a few of the questions (and expert answers!) we've encountered over the years. Whether you're an artist, photographer, or one of REDIMAT'S framing enthusiasts, you'll be certain to learn a little something that you didn't know before in this issue's Q and A.


Dear REDIMAT: Though I've been a photographer for years, there's one thing I've always had a question about. Where is the appropriate place to sign my work? I've seen some signed on the print and others signed on the mat-so what's the right way?

Signed, Confused about Signing

Dear Confused,

Great question-and one that we've heard before. Signing your art or photo is one of those things that is, oftentimes, a matter of pure personal taste. That being said, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

---When you have white space visible, sign on the print: Assuming that there is an area available, go ahead and sign on the bottom right portion of the print in pencil.

---No white space? Sign the mat: If the print has no white space available, then the mat is the place for your visible John Hancock. However, make sure that you also go ahead and sign on the print under the mat. This ensures that the print owner can identify you as the artist, even if she's reframed the work.

---Include your contact info on the back: No matter where you sign, make sure you include your full contact info, including your email address and your web site URL if you have one. Write it in pen, or affix a sticker that has the info pre-printed on it. Memories fade, and this way, you're assuring that the purchaser knows exactly who the artist is-and how to get in touch with you to buy another piece!


Dear REDIMAT: I'm exhibiting at my first outdoors art expo this fall-and I'm excited. I have a white 10 x 10 tent and that's it-no real idea of how I'm actually going to display my work while I'm there. Do you have any suggestions?

Signed, Dismayed about my Display

Dear Dismayed,

Congratulations on your upcoming art expo! Don't fret-there are plenty of ways to creatively showcase your wares without breaking the bank:

---It isn't just for garages anymore! Pegboard, which can be found at your local home improvement store, can serve as a cost-effective way of showing off your work. You'll want to make sure to choose the plastic version rather than the pressboard, which has a tendency to warp over time (not to mention get quite soggy should a rain shower pass by!) Pegboards come in a variety of colors and have lots of options for hanging and hooking items and artwork to them.

---If you're selling matted prints rather than framed works, consider a display bin. Some display bins can cost a bit of money; if cost is your major concern, you can also consider building your own display bin that incorporates its own storage areas.

---After you've gotten a taste of how art expos work and have decided you want to do more, you may choose to spend the money on a slightly higher end display solution-and one such solution are the metal display panels created by Graphic Display Systems. With panels starting at $75 and going up, choose this option if you're planning on attending several art expos throughout the year. Your initial investment will be higher, but you'll save yourself time and trouble.


Dear REDIMAT: When I'm displaying my work, how important is the title of the piece? I will typically try to call it what it is-like 'Tree Frog' or even 'Landscape 17' if I'm doing a series. But I've seen other artists with seemingly elaborate titles. Does one sell better than the other?

Signed, Nonplussed about Names

Dear Nonplussed,

What an interesting question-and one we bet plenty of other folks have, too. To get your answer, we took informal surveys during a variety of art shows and art fair events we have attended. And their verdict? Interesting titles matter.

"Something like 'A Summer of Discontent' tells me much more about the image-and the artists' frame of mind-than a simple title like 'Sunset' does," noted one buyer. "It affects the whole way I encounter the painting and they way I look at it."

"We've noticed that works that have emotional titles seem to sell better," one gallery owner mentioned. "The buyers react to emotionally named works more than they do those that have more 'detached' titles. Now that doesn't mean you want to go overboard on creating puns or completely elaborate, over-the-top names for your works, but you do want to give it a title that lets the prospective buyer feel something of a connection with you."

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