Copyright April M Rimpo

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Protect Your Art During Shipping

I recently found out my painting "Department Store" was accepted into the 31st Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors.  Since I live in the Baltimore-Washington area and the exhibition is in Old Forge, NY I have to ship my art out of state for the first time.  When you ship your art you want it to arrive safe and sound at your customer’s location or at the gallery.  You have invested yourself into your art and you want others to enjoy it, so you want to make sure that can happen. So I asked some friends their experience and recommendations for shipping to exhibitions and I spoke to my insurance provider about insurance during transit.  Here is the process I plan to follow.  If you have anything to add, please comment on this blog.

Every care must be taken to ensure the art is properly packed.  Since accidents can happen during shipping you also want to have documentation to ensure you get reimbursed if it gets damaged in shipping.  You’ve paid for shipping insurance, so you need documentation to ensure you can prove you properly packaged your art.  You also don't want your packing materials misplaced at the destination so the art is properly packed at the end of the exhibition.  Here are the steps I will use when shipping framed art.
  1. Make sure your art is clean and ready to ship (properly labeled, your bio on the back of the painting with a summary of your inspiration for the buyer).
  2. Photograph the art (have the date turned on in your camera so you can prove it was immediately before shipping).       One shot of the full painting and frameb.      One close up of each corner showing a segment of the art with a 2nd close-up of each corner showing the frame corner is free of mars or dents (show a little of the painting so it can be correlated with the artwork).
  3. Prepare the foam insert so your art fits snugly.
  4.  Label all packing materials with your name so none of the packing foam gets lost by the gallery or handling agent.
  5. Photograph the outside of the box to show the condition of the shipping container on the outside.
  6. Place your art in the shipping container and photograph it with the cover open to show the painting is secure within the box (insurance won’t cover your art if they can claim the art was not securely packaged.).
  7. Place a copy of shipping address labels inside your package in case the outside gets damaged.  This will allow the carrier to still deliver the art.
  8. Take art to the shipper without taping the box if you need to insert return shipping labels in the package.  
  9. After inserting the return shipping labels, take another photograph of the inside of the open box at the shipping company as one final proof of the condition of your packaging immediately prior to shipping.
  10. Close and tape the box and photograph one last time to show the final condition of the box.
My friend, Janet Belich, posted a blog on the boxes she makes for shipping her art.  See it here

4 comments:

  1. April, I have always used an airfloat box (or equivalent - from Uline) with hard (somewhat impervious) plastic lining - lid and bottom. (I hear many wrap the art in shrinkwrap to avoid scuffing. I have not tried that, but will.) Ensuring that the painting is firmly surrounded by foam sponge material to reduce movement, I then ship FedEx overnight OR two day (max) to limit the varying temperatures AND reduce handling/storage. So far, all paintings have been sent and received (if to a show) without harm. This of course is with great thanks to the many wonderful people who carefully handle the art at these shows!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I used UPS and found I could not create a return shipper because the value was too high. I suspect their high value limit will be an issue for most artist. I called and the venue said we'd deal with the return shipping later so I continued, but will definitely try FedEx next time.

    Agora Gallery sent me shipping tips and they said that when you wrap in bubble wrap to have the smooth side against your painting to prevent damage. Bubble side out. I did not use bubble wrap with the Airfloat, but will consider that next time if the painting is loose within the foam insert.
    Thank you for your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had heard to wrap in "shrink Wrap" so tight against the frame with the goal of nothing to rub the frame finish. In addition, there is a "sticky" film to put on glass to keep from breaking. (And probably contain the pieces if it does break). Although most contests don't allow glass -- but collectors will.

    My airfloat style box once came back with a gash on the flat surface. Had the tough plastic sheet not been there, the art would surely be gone. If not part of the box, I suggest using plastic corrugated sheets on both sides to protect the art. Shipping and supplies can be costly, but valuable art deserves the care.

    Don't forget to carry your own insurance for the art. Most shippers won't cover artwork.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I reserached carriers a couple months ago I noticed fine art was not covered for one of the carriers, but unfortunately my notoriously good note taking failed that day and I'll have to research again. In the mean time, business insurance for the art will take care of that, but make sure you get the right endorsements attached to the business insurance or the artwork is not covered "in transit". Do you think they could make it more complicated?

    ReplyDelete

I look forward to hearing from you. - April

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