A simple elegant solution to a gallerist’s problem could be a panacea for an entire industry. Given the option, I believe many consumers would change art in their homes around all the seasons and many of the holidays throughout the year.
Back in the day, or so last century, I sold advertising for Decor magazine. In the early 1990s, it was a booming publication in a still booming industry. The recession we experienced then was nothing like the one we are in now. The juggernaut that was the art and picture framing industries Decor serves were doing well and not seriously slowed by economic conditions. Things were good enough that an engineer and inventor, who created a low cost single picture-framing product, could profitably afford to advertise on a monthly basis.
This is a scenario is one you will not see in today’s market. The inventor had his shop in a strip mall located behind a retail gallery. The gallery owner complained about the difficulty in changing canvases when he wanted to use an existing frame for a different painting.
The inventor thought about it for a while and came up with a simple ingenious solution to the problem. That is how the Clip-It Frame Clip came to be. It is still an item available from retail and wholesale picture framing suppliers. His invention makes it easy to change canvases in picture frames with no damage to either.
I was inspired with an idea how Clip-It Frame Clips could help artists and galleries sell more art. I have often thought one of the problems in getting collectors to sell more art is they may already have as much wall space committed to art as possible within their decor scheme. Yes, there is always room for more if you want to cram it, but in the decorative art market, the average consumer is as interested in how the art works with the decor, as they are the art. When it comes to art marketing, a good dose of creativity can work wonders.
The solution then is to train collectors and consumers on regularly changing their art. The solution begs the question of how one can do this easily and affordably. Part of the problem with buying new art and changing it is the framing can be expensive. In the case of open edition prints, the framing expense always exceeds the cost of the art.
My idea is to create art in standard sizes, or use liners around the canvas to build it out to a standard size. Now, if you have art in a standard size and have it held in a frame using the Clip-It Frame Clips, changing from one picture to another is quick and easy. Making your art interchangeable with a frame makes it more versatile. I think this makes purchasing good sturdy frames that already match the decor more attractive to the consumer. This in turn should help motivate sales in picture frameshops or collaboration between artists and framers.
Seasons provide reasons to change and sell more art
This time of year offers a perfect example of how to implement this strategy. We do more during the holidays to change the look of our homes than any other time of the year. How often have you wanted to paint a Christmas scene, but didn’t because you felt there was limited opportunities to sell the work? How often have consumers looked at a snowy wintry scene and wished they could easily incorporate in their home, but didn’t because it was not going to be easy or affordable? Or more importantly, can’t envision a holiday themed picture looking good in July.
If artists, dealers, galleries, picture framers and designers were to begin to sell the concept of changing art in a home, I believe it would sell much more art. When it comes to refreshing the decor of a room, a new piece of art is a great way to do it. Rearranging the furniture to create a new vignette with a new piece of art within the home can give it a completely new feel. By comparison to repainting a room, or replacing the flooring or drapes, a new piece of art with rearranged furniture is a bargain.
If the concept were to catch on and start getting picked up in the media as a trend, it could have a powerful effect of dramatically increasing art and picture framing sales. If you read Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,(Amazon link) then you know ideas that start small can create huge impact under the right conditions.
I think this is a great idea waiting for implementation. On a macro scale, a large art print publishing or distribution company could turn it into an infomercial. It has all the necessary ingredients, although I’m sure many artists would cringe at the idea. However, those already making a steady income from decorative arts and the licensing field will see the opportunity in it. I seriously thought about pursuing this idea myself and only abandoned it for lack of resources and changing circumstances.
On a micro level, any artist or publishing company can implement the idea and run with it without requiring the support of the rest of the industry. In addition to having art in standard sizes, I think there should be some thought given to storage of pieces not currently on display. I believe using good shipping boxes along with sturdy poly bags are all that is necessary. If the idea takes off, then investing in developing other storage related products would follow.
Artists can seek to provide their own framing solutions. They can also choose to work with a local framer, or to arrange for their collectors to purchase through and online provider, especially one that has an affiliate program. This program can get started on a shoestring budget, but that does not mean it could not be used to create some very effective publicity because it is both novel and functional. Those are two key ingredients that stir the heart of journalists and media types seeking unique story line.