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Author Topic: No Canvas Print Allowed and Forced Limited Edition Rules?  (Read 9615 times)
Johnny_Boy
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« on: February 09, 2012, 03:12:51 PM »
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I am prepping for my first art fair shows this year. While I am based in Washington, I am planning to hit some of the Oregon shows next year. Iíve noticed that a show in Portland says no photographic print on canvas allowed, and another show in Bend has a requirement saying the photographic prints must have limited edition of 250 or less.

Well, after much research and thinking, I was going to go with canvas prints that are open editions.

So, I canít apply to either of these shows which is unfortunate since there arenít that many art shows around where I live. I am assuming I should make my prints Limited Edition now, if I ever going to make that happen in the future, which puts me in a position where I should make a call on whether to skip these shows or abide by their rules for all the shows that I am doing.

Is this a large trend in general for these type of venue? Why would canvas print not allowed? And why enforce limited edition? So far my research seems to show that it is because other artists in different medium complained, so the show puts up these dumb rules.

Thoughts?
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 09:02:43 PM »
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Just like in the telecommunications biz.  Artificial Scarcity.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 03:08:39 AM »
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Did you call and ask why canvas is not allowed.
Quite bizarre, or more to the point,shallow.
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Johnny_Boy
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 01:06:05 PM »
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I've shot them an email asking, so we will see what they say. The show is called Art in the Pearl in Portland, Oregon.
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bill t.
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 05:32:29 PM »
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I think that may reflect a bias of the organizers of the show.  Just sour grapes it, and move on.

I've been in some pretty decent shows lately and they just love us canvas guys as far as I can tell.  Don't be discouraged.  And avoid doing editions, just tell people you're an honest person and you want to stay that way.  And editions aren't as limiting as most people assume, ask Thomas Kinkade about that.  For instance in most states you can perfectly legally have multiple editions of the same image.  In actual practice at art fairs, "limited edition" seems to be applied to prints-in-a-bag-in-a-bin but not to framed pieces or gallery wraps on the walls.  Just scribble "19/25" somewhere on the matte, you're good to go.

I can think of several shows in the country right now where you can gross many $10k's with the right stuff, and none of them is anti-canvas.  But don't think you'll get into one of those on your first try, somebody usually has to die for a new space to open up.

I see 5 shows in Washington listed on Zapplication.org, and I am sure there are more.  I have no idea how worthwhile they are, but other artists in your area will have a good notion of which ones are worth the trouble.  But be sure to check with those who know, a bad art festival is a miserable experience.

The Spokane Artfest looks like it might be a decent show, only 20 days left to apply.  $425 for a booth is towards the low end of what worthwhile shows charge.  There is some BS in the descriptions about purity in photography or some such, just ignore it.  I'm in several shows with the same boilerplate nonsense that hasn't changed for the last 3 decades and nobody pays any attention to it.

Anway, zapplication.org is an excellent resource.  It tends to be off the radar of amateurish show organizers and that's a very good thing.
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mediumcool
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 08:26:21 PM »
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I have never made a photographic print on ďcanvasĒ. Why not? Because doing so is tantamount to mimicking/borrowing from painting. I believe photography after all these years should be appreciated for its own strengths, not by aping another aesthetic process.

0.02.  Grin
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Johnny_Boy
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 08:58:08 PM »
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Photography is relatively new medium for fine art, and the media we use have been evolving for a while now. Started with paper, then plastic (RC on paper or polyester), and now to canvas. I don't necessarily think that photo on canvas is somehow not as pure as photo on paper. Painters started on the paper before photography got to it by a wide margin. I don't think we are somehow aping the aesthetic process of painting, because we are also printing on papers.

I bet in 30 years we will no longer print on paper at all anyways. We will give away a 60" wide gamut LCD screens free ($5 whole sale price) with the purchase of our photos. :-)  

Back to the original topic, based on my research, it looks like photos on canvas are banned in certain venues because generally they decided to ban reproduction of paintings on canvas for painters/pastel/acrylic/etc. I guess the customers were confused or conned into buying reproduction paintings on canvas, because they look almost indistinguishable to many.

I guess after that, the painters complained that if they couldn't do it, then why allow photographers! So then, it was banned for photographers as well. Also, it looks like some painters complained that some of the "impressionistic" photos printed on canvas looked too much like paintings and that it was eating into their sales by offering at cheaper cost than their originals. As always, there are always politics involved, even in art.

After that debate, it goes into a bloodbath of argument between painters and photographers whether photos printed on papers can even be considered original when there are so many of them. ...

And since many venues blocks painters from selling reproductions, or only allow it if it is "Limited Edition", the painters wanted the same restriction for the photographers....sigh...so, now we are stuck with same "Limited Edition" rule. 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 09:04:38 PM by Johnny_Boy » Logged
mediumcool
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 09:01:11 PM »
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Photography is relatively new medium for fine art Ö

150+ years? But relatively, yes, youíre right.  Grin
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louoates
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 09:35:06 PM »
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I'd certainly let the organizers know that you won't be there because of that rule. About 5 years ago I wanted to show in an Illinois art festival that was open only to those who were juried in. Okay. But they required you to mail in film transparencies of 5 images for the judging. I emailed them that I would not be participating due to the time to do all that and the high cost of transparencies. I did attend that show and talk to the art gallery owner who was in charge of the applications. I reminded him of why I didn't show there. His response, along with scratching his head, was "Yea, we didn't get many entries. Next year maybe we'll take emailed entries."
My point is that it's up to us to be heard, loud and clear, that some rules are silly and there are still lots of us who won't put up with such nonsense.

The canvas restriction is very strange. But it does make sense in the mind of those who view painters prints on canvas as a threat to their own sales. I made canvas prints for artists for art show sales for many years until the on-line printers cut much of the profit out of that segment. And I ran into many artists who refused to offer paper or canvas prints and were truly angry at seeing their competitors ringing up very profitable print sales. For a while I explained Marketing 101 to them: that of the 80,000 folks who walked that show there were thirty thousand folks who could pop for a $75 print and maybe a few hundred who could spend $800 on an original. Many eventually came around to making prints. Some evidently decided to lobby for idiotic restrictions to restrain other more savvy artists.
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bill t.
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 10:47:57 PM »
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Hey!  I make big prints on canvas because it's the only sane way to make really big prints!  No glass, just for starters!  That's exactly the reason oil painters use canvas, although many of them would actually prefer to be using board.  And the only way I could TRULY distinguish my photography as a unique art form is if I was making Daguerreotypes which is just too boring.   Smiley

Is the canvas thing a disease of the Northwest?  We sure don't have it here in the Southwest, as far as I know.

The best shows around here are organized by commercial producers with a profit motive.  They are extremely good organizers and promoters.  Attendance is great.  They have certain standards such as no imported art, no manufactured art, etc.  The most important standard is that the artist must be present in the booth for the entire show, with only the type of work they submitted for judging.  Photos-on-canvas with the artist attendant in the booth is no problem at all.

The organizers make most of their money on admission by public attendees, and they want those guys to come back next year.  The best way to do that is to provide a wide range of art that is of high quality, where at least some of it is affordable to the average attendee.  And no schlock, that's important too.  The oil painters hold down the high ground, we canvas photographers hold the middle ground.  I have very nice looking work priced within reach of the middle class, and I usually get pre-accepted invitations and prominent booth locations from the important shows around here for just that reason.  Moderately priced, quality art encourages attendance.  The more the attendees, the more the organizers make, the more everybody will sell, and the more exposure even the finest of the fine artists will get.

The majority of the public has no acceptance problems at all with photos on canvas versus oils on canvas, they just buy the image that moves them the most.  Or the art that best color coordinates with the sofa.

And interestingly, the only complaints I ever get directly are from other photographers, not from painters!  Too bad guys, you're priced too high.  You gotta stop farming out that printing and framing, and you need to start doing sofa-sized!
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mediumcool
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2012, 11:02:26 PM »
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I don't necessarily think that photo on canvas is somehow not as pure as photo on paper.

pure |pyoŏr|
adjective

not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material
without any extraneous and unnecessary elements

Aping
verb  [trans.]

imitate the behaviour or manner of (someone or something), esp. in an absurd or unthinking way: new architecture can respect the old without aping its style.

.
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bill t.
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 04:00:49 PM »
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In regards to printing on canvas, I can not find words to express the deep remorse and self-loathing I feel at the end of the day as I run the credit card batch file.
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Johnny_Boy
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 04:36:21 PM »
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Is the canvas thing a disease of the Northwest?  We sure don't have it here in the Southwest, as far as I know.

Bill, BTW in Washington, afaik, there is no limitation on photo on canvas. Just this one Portland, Oregon show.  I think I am going to skip  that for now. I might consider it when I can get face mounting process perfected and/or can outsource it for cheap.
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bill t.
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 06:37:18 PM »
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Facemount is kinda iffy for art fairs.  Very easy to scratch with all the handling that is required at a fair, and the tiniest scratch pretty much ruins the print.  With facemount there is a tendency to think the plex is still a protective shield, but it is in fact the new, permanent face of the print and almost as delicate as a bare print.

Scratches on plex look really trashy in any kind of hard lighting such as most gallery lighting.  And even careful attempts to clean plex are likely to introduce scratches.  OTOH you can perfectly fix a scratched or scraped canvas coating in a few seconds with a tiny brush and a little bottle of coating.

Another art fair related issue with either plex or glass is when you wind up across the aisle from a jeweler.  Those guys invariably have dazzling little bulbs in their cases to create luscious highlights on the jewelry.  Those same little lights will show up to very bad effect on the surfaces of your glazing, and even anti-reflective glazing will suffer.
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Justan
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2012, 12:46:43 PM »
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Bill, BTW in Washington, afaik, there is no limitation on photo on canvas. Just this one Portland, Oregon show.  I think I am going to skip  that for now. I might consider it when I can get face mounting process perfected and/or can outsource it for cheap.


There are a few shows in the area that don't permit photos on canvas.

The loss is theirs.
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Johnny_Boy
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 01:37:05 PM »
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Thanks Justan. Which shows would that be, so I can avoid them? :-)
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Justan
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2012, 02:06:34 PM »
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I donít keep records of that stuff as it shows up in the call to artists, or in the fine print, but iirc there was 1 or 2 in the islands last year & similar number on Seattle side of the sound.

Related, I spoke with a gallery owner recently who told me that she didnít like photos on canvas and didnít allow them in her gallery. I told her she was missing a great opportunity for selling as customers typically love them.

As mentioned above, zapplication is an oaky resource for the area, but very few of the local events make it to their notice. If youíre interested in the Portland area, there is a current call for the Salem Arts Festival listed in https://www.zapplication.org but it ends pretty soon.

Hereís a couple of other references that you may find useful

http://www.washingtonfairsandfestivals.com/

http://www.artguidenw.com/artevents.htm
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bill t.
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2012, 07:01:39 PM »
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In these New Mexico parts we are seeing quite a few art fairs organized by schools.  You would want to avoid most of them at any cost, but there is one high school fair in Albuquerque that gets a surprisingly upscale showing of artists and buyers.   They're mostly held just before Xmas, and come to think of it there were way too many of them last year.  

I used to do one several years ago until the organizers killed it by admitting sellers who were importing cutesy stuff from China.  That was the end of it, the fine art buying clientele and the artists bailed out and the show died the next year.  The organizers make or break art fairs, much could be written on that and that's one reason high end fairs are worth the money and worth the wait.  But if you do your research you may find a diamond in the rough at the local high school gym.  Just don't count on it.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 07:05:45 PM by bill t. » Logged
Deardorff
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2012, 12:55:29 AM »
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How many of your images have sold more than 250 prints?

Instead of complaining of no Canvas prints, move on. There are plenty of shows that allow them. This show is probably trying to avoid the crowd that buys photos to match the couch or wallpaper pattern. So many cheap photo types print on canvas as it is "instant art" they probably cut out a lot of the low end shooters with a restriction like this.

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louoates
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2012, 10:53:39 AM »
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How many of your images have sold more than 250 prints?

Instead of complaining of no Canvas prints, move on. There are plenty of shows that allow them. This show is probably trying to avoid the crowd that buys photos to match the couch or wallpaper pattern. So many cheap photo types print on canvas as it is "instant art" they probably cut out a lot of the low end shooters with a restriction like this.



By "low end shooters" are you referring to those of us making good money selling photo prints on canvas? For the galleries selling my canvasses 75% of them are for matching the couch and wallpaper. I'm proud to be serving the public need with my work and getting paid well for it.
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