Recently I have become aware of how fashionable the support an artist paints on can be. I’ve always painted on linen that was “affordable and appropriate”. I’ve steered away from Russian and Chinese linens and gone for somewhere in the middle.
However, on my recent trip around NZ and stopping at every gallery there seems to be a big trend to specify which linen the artists were painting on. If the artist was using Berge or Artifix it was always stated so on the card describing the painting. If not mentioned it seemed a point of embarrassment to the gallery.
I’ve bought some Berge and Artifix but I just can’t see myself painting spec paintings on it. I’ve got a few still lifes going and a portrait as well. If I could afford it I’d never paint on anything else.
I guess I should ask has anyone here ever felt that the high end linens would make a selling point.
I’m sure you know this Rob, but linen is a finer material than standard cotton canvas and thus, it generally has a tighter weave. This allows for a slightly better painting surface. Linen fibers are also longer than cotton fibers so they stand up much better over time. Therefore, there are definite benefit over canvas to both the artist and the customer.
Point taken. But how many of your customers would know that? None of mine have ever asked about the quality of the support. Yet on my trip to NZ a big deal was made in the galleries about the chosen canvas and the quality of it.
I can buy Russian canvas for about $20 a metre and I guess that wouldn’t be the same selling point as saying “I use Berge/Fredrix/Artfix/Classens”.
There’s an old saying which I can’t remember verbatim, but its says something to the effect that an art market can only be as good as the education level of its customers.
If we, as aviation artists, want our chosen genre to accepted as “fine art”, (which for the most part, it still isn’t) then we need to do several things –
1) we need to focus more on the “art” part of what we do – that’s a given.
2) we need to offer our product on fine, archival materials that will last a long time – think centuries, not years.
3) we have to educate our customers about art and the quality of the work and material that their dollars are buying.
Yes, buying rolled linen is considerably more expensive than rolled cotton canvas. Whether you doing this as a sideline or as a full-time profession you always have to weigh the cost/return ratio and ask “is this worth it?” My feeling is that our customers deserve the best that you can give them in terms of effort and material. If the customers know that they’re getting your best they’re likely to be willing to pay more, thus offsetting the increased cost of the material.
Besides, don’t you want your work to be on something that will last a long, long time? 😎
Yup, sure I do and I think you hit the marketing part on the head. Longevity and quality.
Certainly a sales point but I never even thought about it like that, before I went to NZ.
I’ve always used what I considered to be good quality materials but I never marketed it like that.
Did the South island. Landed at Christchurch, then went clockwise in a 14 day road trip. Hired a Jucy van and stayed at Top 10 parks most of the way around. Must have stuck my head into 50 galleries. The best ones were in Queenstown.
I don’t doubt that. Queenstown is a sweet place to be. You probably hit Milford Sound, Franz Josef and Abel Tasman I presume? All breathtaking places. I still have yet to see Christchurch, though. Think I’ll wait until all the shaking settles down a bit. 😯
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