Sunday, August 16, 2009


Artwork Presentation: I'm not a framer of artwork but to reduce my expenses I must assemble my own custom cut matts and metal frames for an upcoming solo exhibition at the Centrepointe Theatre, August 28 to September 30, 2009. The latest ten photomontage images in the Arctic Crisis print series are to be framed identically to the previous 20 prints for a cohesive presentation of this project.

Plexiglas versus glass: All the prints in this series are framed using Plexiglas instead of the heavier glass. Not only is Plexiglas lighter for reducing shipping costs, it is easier for me to move these thirty framed prints, 29 x 23 inches, packaged in pairs, in and out of the house to my Matrix, and in and out of the exhibition venue. A well meaning artist cautioned that Plexiglas scratches easily, and yes I know this with the quantities I've been framing. The alternative is glass breakage, chipping and cracking.....and its heavy when moving so many artworks. Of the 12 pieces cut from 2 sheets by a local business, three were delivered to me with deep scratches and tears in the protective plastic, and now I have the added stress and waste of valuable time because these must be returned and replaced. When I returned the Plexiglas, the company advised me that when I order for use in framing art to ask for protective paper, rather than protectic plastic on the cut sheets. A tip for reducing the static that comes with using Plexiglas is to lightly brush it with a lint free cloth that you spray with Static Guard. Don't use a Bounce sheet as these are too rough and might scratch. Another tip I have is that when screwing the metal frame corners together, do the first two lightly using three sides, slide-in the assembled Plexiglas, artwork hinged to the archival matt and the foam core backing as one piece, then lightly screw the corners of the attached forth bar. After all is assembled, tighten each corner making sure all four corners are square. Then install the metal spring clips under the metal frame rails to keep the work tightly installed in the frame. To install the the spring type eyelet clips for hanging the trick is to hold them vertically in the rail, eyelet up, then deftly press the top forward causing the clip to spring inside the rail ridges of the frame. I know, I know....its time consuming and taking time away from my creating but how else can I reduce my costs. I'm open to suggestions. Volunteers?

Invitations: Well the design, printing and distribution of my exhibition invitation for the City of Ottawa Centrepointe Theatre Gallery are the responsibility of the artist. Yet, the invitation must show the City's logo and be translated in English and French. Out of necessity, I've learned the multi layered computer graphic skill set to do my own invitation and have the expensive software. The printer may enjoy his/her work, but no one will expect them to do this for nothing. My choices are to take a gamble that the invitation will generate interest and sales to cover these costs, or to not produce one. The third arguement is that an invitation gives visibility that may lead to other opportunities. All options expect the artist's willingness for delayed gratification, unlike for the printer, the art and framing suppliers, the City empoyees, etc.

Exhibition and sales: My Arctic Crisis photomontage archival inkjet prints on fine art paper will be for sale unframed, numbered, signed and dated, limited printing of 10 per image. The City will take 15% of any sales. Purchasers must track-down the artist, me, as the City will not collect the money...yet they will from me. Oh, I should mention that the front-end of this exhibition process is the City's jury process where my proposal was selected from hundred's of other submitted last year. It is an honour to show in Centrepointe as I live in this community. Unlike the City's Karsh-Masson Gallery where I exhibited in 2003/04, the City's community galleries like Centrepointe Theatre Gallery do not pay an artist fee for their use of the artist's exhibition copyright. Purchased work can only be exchanged after the exhibition. In my exhibition, it is only the limited signed, numbered and dated unframed prints that are for sale which can be delivered by the artist possibly within that period.

Grants: Well thank God for the Ontario Art Council's (OAC) Exhibition Assistance program and being recommended by one of the designated "recommender galleries" for 50% of my eligible exhibition costs, such as framing and invitations. This year in 2009 has been expensive with five solo exhibitions, a Banff creative residency and with art production costs. This is the only grant money's so far this year. At tax time, I will not have to pay tax on the first $500 of grant money.

Supplemental Income: I try to live within the means of my business of art which includes sales, grants, teaching and writing about contemporary art discourse and the business of art for visual/media artists. Each time I save by doing my own graphics or framing, in my mind I count that as money earned and which I do not have to pay taxes. I need to start recording the amounts of money I am saving. In addition, I make money by recycling media equipment and other art related items using on-line postings with, and With the rapid improvements in electronic equipment, a cornerstone of my business of art, I recycle computer and camera equipments no later than every three years while someone still might want it.
My decision to declutter household stuff through selling on-line has also contributed income for overdue household renovations, a new furnace and more energy efficent appliances. Yes, we artists do have to keep a roof over our heads, and my studio is in the finished basement. For years I rented a studio space outside my home but found it too lonely to go there. And I'm no longer using toxic materials. The studio is another topic for another time.

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