I would have to start with advice on presentation of your artwork.
This covers two scenarios, at an exhibition or showing to a gallery or shop.
When I travelled round the country at various art exhibitions I hade a professional display stand made by a company local to me. It consisted of various panels slid into sides of poles and could be displayed in various ways to suit the space I had paid for. It was both light to transport and rigid when in use.
This is not about the stand so much as how I displayed my work. I would display a painting on one panel leaving plenty of space around it. (Sometimes two or more if they were small paintings). The aim was to allow the potential buyer to visualise the artwork as it might look on their wall. The rest of the paintings at the beginning of an exhibition were stacked upright behind the stand with a few on the floor in front, gradually moving up onto a panel as another sold. This also had the effect that customers would always be on my stand browsing through the ones on the floor and “Discovering” some piece of art that wasn’t on view. If you can get people to stay on your stand and browse they will attract others who wonder what they are missing.
This was highlighted to me at an exhibition in Guernsey where the lady next to me wasn’t doing very well and she couldn’t understand as her paintings were very good. They were all flower paintings and she had them all on display on her stand at once, pushed together frame edge to frame edge, she even had extension panels above the rest which needed steps to hang them. The result was just a whole wall of flowers with no where for the eye to rest, she was frightened that a customer would miss a painting, the fact was they were missed because they were lost in amongst all the others. I suggested she gave more space to the paintings and place more on the floor so that they could be “found”. That evening I helped her sort the stand out and it did look good, but when I returned next morning they were all back on the stand, she couldn’t take the risk one was missed.
The beauty of prints are that you can reach customers who don’t want to fork out for an original. When I first started exhibiting in The Channel Islands prints were expensive, you had to find a decent publisher, get test prints done, then order the prints (usually by the hundred). Now this would be expensive if you wanted prints of all your originals, and to be honest compared to Giclee prints nowadays they were very flat and dull when put alongside the original.
So my first few years on the exhibition circuit involved mainly originals with a few silk screen prints I did myself. The problem was, especially in Jersey and Guernsey when you were there for two weeks, that when you had sold all your originals there wasn’t much to put in there place. Later years when I bought a small Giclee printer I was able to take lots of prints with me as well. This greatly increased the sales I made at exhibitions. Nowadays you wouldn’t think twice about having prints made to take with you.
Which brings me to presentation, and how to increase your sales of the prints. In our gallery Lynn always tells new artists to make their prints fit standard size frames that can be bought at any DIY store (think Ikea). This can be done by leaving white borders around the image to make it fit a frame or by having a mount laid over that will do the same job. Then have them wrapped and backed in cellophane with stiff card, Lynn even makes corner straps to promote the artist’s name.
This works in two ways, you don’t need everything framed up which can be quite expensive, just frame the odd one or two and place the wrapped ones in wooden browsers where people can flick among them. Have them in different sizes and explain to the customer they can buy their own frames to fit later. Lots of our sales are like this when someone wants to buy a present for a friend but doesn’t want to choose or buy a frame. Your sales will increase at shows because not everyone (they may be visitors to the area) wants to buy a large original
Trust me this does work.
Build up a relationship with a good printer where you know your work is going to be looked after and your prints will be produced as you would wish them to be. It would be remiss of me not to mention Lynn who owns Bondgate Gallery and works alongside plenty of artists to produce stunning images from their originals.