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The Secret Banksy Collector

I would like to start with a very special thank you to our wonderful client who agreed to this interview. I appreciate your time and openness to share your perspective on art and collecting through your experiences. Banksy is a great conversation starter but the message I get from this interview is about supporting art and artists from the beginning. Getting involved. And buying the works. The arts are integral to our humanity and the only real way to keep the arts alive is for everyone to get involved. Those who create the art and those who appreciate it.

Erin Salguero, Director of ARTIS PURA


*Anonymity statement

For this interview, I wont be revealing the identity of the collector. Often, art collectors prefer to remain anonymous, for the sake of security and perhaps to keep artists and dealers from hounding them.  In this instance, however, it’s possible that the collector may know the true identity of the artist he collects, someone who has concealed his or her identity for the entirety of his or her career.

 

Now a household name, world famous street artist, filmmaker and activist Banksy sprang from the arts and music scene in Bristol, England. Closely aligned with the Bristol Underground Scene, D&B, Hip Hop, Street Art and graffiti culture, Banksy began to present freehand graffiti artwork in public in the early 90’s as an anti-establishment alternative view to the mainstream. Banksy is now best known for graffiti-art stencil styled work, which has come off the street and onto the gallery walls, commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars at auctions around the world.

I met the anonymous collector in a café in South Bank, where, over lunch and a glass of wine, we talked about the ins and outs of collecting street art, and Banksy in particular

Image by - Cassandra Lehman

Image by - Cassandra Lehman

 

First question: Have you met and do you know the true identity of the artist known as Banksy?

Yes, many years ago in the infamous Dragon Bar on Leonard St, in Shoreditch in the east end of London. He used to do a thing called Santa’s Ghetto every year. I went to a very early one there, where he was selling original works for 50 pounds.

Actually, I didn’t know it was Banksy. Although I had heard of him, I had no idea who he actually was, at that time.

I was standing in the Dragon Bar, I had had a few pints and was talking loudly to a group of street artists…I said quite loudly that I thought Banksy was a complete sell out. One guy agreed with me then walked off…The other guys then told me that this guy was actually Banksy. There was nothing conspicuous or special about him, he was just a non descript young white guy, not unlike myself, at the time.

 

When and how did you first acquire a work by Banksy?

I bought a print called ‘Grannies’ in 2006, from Pictures on Walls his website.

The image is of two sweet old ladies knitting and drinking tea…one is knitting a sweater with a logo saying ‘Punks not Dead’.. What I think Banksy is saying in this piece is that we will always have passion. I felt that this work was softer, somehow, than a lot of his other work. I felt he had shown his heart and his love for what he does. It was an easy purchase. The other day I looked at it and it made me smile. That’s enough for me.

Image source https://guyhepner.com/product/grannies-by-banksy/

Image source https://guyhepner.com/product/grannies-by-banksy/

 

How many Banksy works do you own?

Over the period of time, since I started collecting until now, I have owned between 10 - 15 Banksy's. At this point in time I own 3.

After a while, I began to buy and then sell them. When I saw one I wanted, I’d sell another so that I would able to afford the new one.

Because I collected Banksy’s I was able to buy a house.
 

So collecting Banksy works has been quite lucrative for you?

Yes, I owned a very special print version ‘the girl with balloon’. This particular edition was originally only released to the inner circle of collectors. I ended up with one of the rarest editions of his most popular images, signed by Banksy. I bought it through a close contact of Banksy’s I’d known for over 10 years…lets just call it a ‘special deal’.

I remember thinking that it was probably worth around $50k…I felt guilty every time I looked at it. At a certain point in time, I felt that I couldn’t legitimately keep it, knowing I needed an extra bedroom for my soon to be born son.  So, I knew a gallery owner in L A. and I mentioned to him that I had this special piece.…he asked me “What do you want for it?” I really wasn’t sure, so I asked him to make me an offer. He offered me 80 thousand pounds. So, I bought the house. The moment I sold it…I was blacklisted and ousted from the Banksy ‘inner circle’. I understand why, I do get it…I learned from the experience, I know, I made the choice.  Because I did, my family and I now have a garden; we have a house and room for the kids. That was the point at which that particular part of my life was over. This is now. I’m still making deals and collecting but I’m no longer part of that inner circle.  But having been there, I now know how it works, what it is. You can’t take that away. I’m not at all bitter, I’ve not been burned. Of course I have some regrets, but this sale isn’t really one. It was simply time.
 

"The Girl with the Red Balloon" , Banksy.  Preservation framed in our hand finished rounded closed corner profile.

"The Girl with the Red Balloon" , Banksy.

Preservation framed in our hand finished rounded closed corner profile.

Do you collect work by any other artists?

Yes, many, predominately street artists, from around the world. One in particular that I like is an Italian artist known as Blu

I have two. My favourite piece hangs in my little boy’s room. I have lots of works, they are connected by common theme, I guess you’d call it an inherent sadness, disappointment and a bucking of the system, a rejection of the mainstream acceptance. I really love the Banksy piece ‘I fought the law’ . In this work, Banksy took a famous image, a photograph (of the shooter of Ronald Reagan being arrested), and replaced the gun with a paintbrush. He made the act of painting into rebellion. What these artists do is look at the world head on…they document the sadness and the alternate reality. I personally consider myself a product of the 70’s and 80’s, of Thatcherism, a period aspiration for those willing to walk over others. It was a rough ride. This perspective is an unconventional view. Banksy doesn’t buy the dream. He tells the alternate truth.
 

"Rennes" by Blu

"Rennes" by Blu

What attracted you to Banksy, in the first place?
Banksy was the first art I was ever attracted to. I remember seeing it on the walls, around the streets of London and in the UK.

He did a piece that started as a white line on the ground. I followed it,  it eventually lead to a policeman, leaning down snorting the white line, like it was cocaine. I remember my reaction…ironic laughter and recognition.

At that time, I was pretty broke, but I saw his work everywhere. When I first bought a piece and then started collecting them I didn’t consider it as a financial thing. I related to him, he’s a normal bloke, you wouldn’t recognize him on the street. He has a huge support network and he is incredibly driven. He has a passion for the underdog. I see his work Dismal-Land as his midlife crisis. He’s obviously a family man now. I feel I understand him as a person, a father. I see his angst. He made a fairground out of his angst, all that stuff rang true with me.

 

How do you feel about the artists’ anonymity factor?

Its not that important. Its important to the gutter press. To a real Banksy fan, it’s a non-factor. He doesn’t have that sort of character, the showman, the performer. He keeps himself in the background, he doesn’t exploit himself. His challenge nowadays is not to get caught on camera. Nowadays he uses scaffolding and a high-vis jacket…so because he looks official, because he can afford to, no one questions him. If a property owner asks ‘what the hell are you doing to my building’ he tells them who he is. He’s just added 100,000 pounds to the building. His anonymity is part of the myth.

His fans see him as a sellout, but in reality, he’s simply a product of the myth.
 

Where did/do you find the works you collect?

I became pretty good friends with parts of Banksy’s team, the artists around him, the connected gallery owners and then the old school collectors. I’d ask him about what they were doing, where they were, what things that were going on. It developed over time. Then I met an Australian girl, moved to Australia, married her and began doing all of this remotely. I lost touch, to a certain extent.

 

Do you consider your Banksy collection primarily an investment or is this about something else, for you?

The investment thing is interesting. It certainly didn’t start that way. It was a passion. For a time the money made me feel like my passion had sold out. I’m over that now. My wife, when I first met her, saw the debt I had created on my credit card. She injected funds into my passion. That’s paid off for both of us, in the long run. SoI bought the right art AND married the right woman.
 

How do you choose a frame for a work that was intended as street art?'

The Banksy prints aren’t really street art; they are intended to be framed. I made the common mistake initially, of making the frames far too flamboyant, of using brightly coloured matts, that sort of thing. The framing detracted from the work, on the wall. I don’t do that at all, any more, I keep the framing elegant and simple, but extremely high quality. I select black or white frames with black or white matting.

Why do you choose to have your collection framed at ARTIS PURA?

Erin is the best framer in Brisbane it’s that simple and definitely the best I’ve used in all my time collecting, not the cheapest, but for quality you need to pay. I’ve used many different framers in the UK and a couple in Sydney. Sheer luck took me to ARTIS PURA. I asked her the difficult questions, as I usually do, expecting to get the same blank stare and lack of understanding. Erin really gets it. She’s legitimate. I’ve always asked for museum glass. Unlike most, Erin knows the difference. Some of the glass I’ve been sold in the past is not what I was told it was. She also has great connections to other top-notch professionals, like her conservator. A tiny crease in an artwork can decrease the value by thousands…but if a confident conservator fixes it, it only costs a few hundred to repair. The trouble is finding someone with the skill and confidence to tackle the problem. Erin has a great network around her.
 

Framing "The Girl with the Red Balloon"

Framing "The Girl with the Red Balloon"

Where are your artworks displayed?

Everywhere. In the living room, the dining room in the bedrooms…everywhere.
 

Do people recognize them as original works by Banksy? What is their reaction?

They say ‘Banksy? how cool!’ But it’s usually the name and the reputation that they react to. They often walk straight past the Banksys and react more strongly to other pieces, by other artists. I have a favourite piece, a great original oil, on display in my living room, titled ‘The Death of Knowledge’ by a Spanish street artist. It gets a huge reaction, every time, although its by an artist who isn’t really well known.

Do you intend to purchase more works?
I doubt I will ever stop collecting. It makes me happy when I find pieces I like. I am right now in the process of doing deals with some Banksy works. I thought it was over when I was blacklisted, but in fact it’s not, its just different.

I love it. When I’m looking at my art collection, on my walls, every day. It gives me a real buzz.
 

When will you know you have enough?

I will never have enough. I’m always interested in what comes next. Who comes next, after Banksy. Im always on the lookout for new works. For the next deal, for that piece that really talks to me.
 

"Ï can't believe you morons actually buy this shit" , Banksy

"Ï can't believe you morons actually buy this shit" , Banksy

Do you have a favourite Banksy story or work you’d like to share?

Yes, in 2008, Banksy put on an event in New York, a village pet store. He’s very well known for his anti animal cruelty sentiments. In this pet store, he used animatronics instead of live animals. There were fish fingers swimming around in a tank…a fur coat that was animated and sitting in a tree. Nothing was actually for sale…it was tiny little event, very random, on 7th Avenue. I loved the whole experience, it was just so, so ‘Banksy’. I only heard about it the day before, though the Banksy grapevine. Things were always very tight lipped and low to the ground. When I heard, I said to my wife “I have to go!” She asked me when it was and I said “tomorrow!” It was a 6 hour long flight to New York. I was hoping to have the opportunity to buy something. I arrived with no idea where or when this mystery event would take place. A little later I received an email, went to the address and there was nothing there, just a pet store next to a pub. I didn’t know what was going on, so the mates I had been travelling with went and sat outside the pub. We had been merrily drinking for a while when we noticed a number of highbrow, well-heeled folk turning up, and then suddenly the BBC arrived. We thought that maybe the event was going to be in the pub. The BBC did a live broadcast. I had called in sick to work in London, to go to this event and suddenly I got a call from my brother to say I was live on BBC TV in New York, at a Banksy opening.

Eventually I went into the pet store, by this stage I was fairly drunk and didn’t quite get what was going on, so afterwards, I went along with the crowd to another pub and ended up meeting Anthony Lister , an Australian born street artist…and finished the evening at a party his New York apartment. It was a truly memorable experience!

"Nola", Banksy

"Nola", Banksy

 

For more information on collecting street art, you may find this article useful: http://www.christies.com/features/Street-Art-Collecting-Guide-7074-1.aspx

To see some work by some other street artists around the world: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/gallery/global-street-art-concrete-canvas-book

 

Interviewer - Cassandra Lehman

ARTIS PURA are excited to have Cassandra as a permanent guest blogger. Her experience and knowledge helps to bring a broader more interesting flair to the ARTIS PURA blog

Her previous engagements include: Galleries Co-Ordinator for QCA, Griffith University,  Director, Woolloongabba Art Gallery and Senior Consultant - Arts & Events to the Alice Springs Town Council where she authored the Public Art Policy. Cassandra is now working in the private sector as an independent consultant for the visual arts and culture. www.art-consultant.com.au

 

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Wall of achievement - Framing certificates and awards

Some would think it is just a piece of paper so why conservation framing. Why would you spend upwards of $200 considering you can pop into any department store and pick up a "certificate frame" for under $10. You could do that but take a moment and think, what does that piece of paper really mean. Are these cheap "certificate frames" really the way to go? Is even standard basic "acid free" custom framing worthy of your achievement? These documents signify something far more valuable than many first realise. When you stop and think about what goes into earning that piece of paper you might re-evaluate how you plan to preserve and present that single sheet of paper.

I have great admiration for anyone who can make it through university studies. My journey was "on the job training". For my career it was the right path but the work I do now crosses over daily with those who challenged themselves at an academic level. I have the opportunity to help my clients show off their achievement and most importantly protect it. How do we do that? We give you the information and offer you solutions.

Maybe a little fancy for most certificates but as this is to showcase the qualification of a framer it is fitting.

Maybe a little fancy for most certificates but as this is to showcase the qualification of a framer it is fitting.

So lets start by putting an actual dollar value on that piece of paper. Taking a quick look online the average cost of a degree in Australia is $10,000 per year and the average degree is three years. So already that piece of paper is sitting at a value of $30,000. Then we calculate the hours of your time to earn that piece of paper. University is a full time job. Three years wages at a conservative $35,000 a year (entry level) and we are now at $135,000. That is a very valuable piece of paper. When you look at the cost of conservation framing of your degree in relation to the cost of earning the degree, in numbers, the justification is clear.

Then there is the meaning of the degree. Your qualification! This piece of paper tells the person viewing it that you know your stuff. It is your credibility. If you are going to display your qualifications in a business environment where clients and colleagues will see it then you need to think about the message you are sending. This piece of paper is important. If you place it in a cheap readymade frame then you are telling the viewer its not important and what it represents is not to be taken seriously. However if you present it in a quality custom made frame with great design then you are telling the viewer that these credentials are solid and to be trusted.

Dark blue mattings with a gold fillet trim. (name has deliberately been disguised for client privacy)

Dark blue mattings with a gold fillet trim. (name has deliberately been disguised for client privacy)

Just these two points alone justify quality conservation framing your degree but you earned that. You worked hard and you sacrificed. You should be proud of your achievement. Edgar Degas is quoted as saying "The frame is the reward of the artist" and so to the frame is the reward of the graduate. Show it off. Be proud. You deserve it.

So why conservation framing? Think about how long that document is going to represent your credentials. You finish your studies say from the age of 21. Lets say you are lucky and are able to retire in your 60's. This is over 40 years of a working career. A career that's foundations were built on the knowledge you gained through your studies and that piece of paper is the proof. Cheap low grade framing materials will deteriorate the very pieces they are supposed to protect. We see this often with artworks that require restoration and conservation. The reason they need this specialised treatment is often a direct result of poor framing. It is the same for certificates and awards. Think to the future and do you want your qualifications still giving the viewer a sense of trust and security in your skills or do you want them giving a tired and daggy impression.

An example of the effects of incorrect framing. See how the paper has gone brown and splotchy. There are multiple reactions happening on this piece included UV burn, Mat burn, Foxing and Staining. These issues could have been avoided through proper conservation framing.

An example of the effects of incorrect framing. See how the paper has gone brown and splotchy. There are multiple reactions happening on this piece included UV burn, Mat burn, Foxing and Staining. These issues could have been avoided through proper conservation framing.

We understand that sometimes finances just don't allow for quality conservation framing. Having seen the effects of cheap ready made frames on documents in a short period of time, I am a big believer in waiting to frame the actual degree until you can afford the best. Many times I have suggested to clients we take a colour copy of the degree and pop the copy in a more affordable frame for the interim and let us make a safe conservation folder to store the original. (The folders your degree is presented to you in is NOT conservation quality). Then when you are ready the original will be in perfect condition for framing. Some people have said, "Oh I will just get a copy of it". It can be difficult to arrange copies of your degrees from the Universities if they are damaged and it is my understanding that they will come with a COPY stamp across the front. This does not look great framed and doesn't send a message of confidence to the viewer.

At the end of the day it is up to the client to decide how much they value that simple piece of paper but as a person who clearly believes in the value of education then knowing how to correctly preserve and present that piece of paper is what we are here to help with.

Simple yet Strong.

Simple yet Strong.

 

 

 

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Get it off Death Row! Bad framing – what NOT to do!

You wouldn’t believe some of the things we see here at ARTIS PURA, Behind the scenes and behind the glass….I mean, would you appreciate someone using your favourite painting as a toilet? No, probably not, but this is inevitable if you don’t invest in backing for your stretched canvases. Without these seemingly small details and finishes then someone or rather some thing might just take advantage of the quiet, dark, private space behind your precious painting. Don't believe me, here is an example of a recently rescued painting, BEFORE we cleaned the cockroach poo away.

An example of cockroach excrement in the back recess of a stretched painting on canvas. 

An example of cockroach excrement in the back recess of a stretched painting on canvas. 

Backing for canvases are very affordable and often overlooked.  Something as simple as matte board, foam core or even paper will protect your paintings from poop, dust, insects or anything else taking up residence.

The other nightmare we see often when re framing and opening up framing packages done elsewhere is incorrect mounting techniques and materials. This is one of the most important parts of a framing package. It is what will either protect or perish an item. We see horrors such as sticky tape, masking tape, packing tape, gaffa tape, glue…double sided tape (we’ve seen it all!) That is just the mounting. Then there is the acidic materials like, MDF and everyday cardboard. It is so important to use products that are designed specifically for framing works on paper. 

The way works are mounted behind the matting matters. Mat boards and backings are there for support and to protect the artwork, keeping it away from the glass in front and protecting it from behind. Works on paper should not ever be directly adhered or stuck down permanently to these supports. Pressure mounted tape can be removed but can leave a slight ‘furriness’ to the paper or a residue. Japanese hinging is the highest standard, using pure wheat starch paste and Japanese mulberry papers and rice papers. (see last months interview with a conservator for more on these techniques) Wheat starch is a binder used in the making of paper itself and doesn’t change its PH over time. Our wheat starch paste is sourced through a paper conservator for its purity and high quality conservation standards.

Applying wheat starch to a Japanese paper hinge. 

Applying wheat starch to a Japanese paper hinge. 

In these images below you can see the damage done to works on paper by incorrectly mounted and hinged work using substandard materials and incorrect techniques. To repair this damage can be very costly and sometimes the damage is irreparable.

The other fatal error we often see is UGLY framing. Something we try desperately to avoid. Fashions and tastes do change over time, however, and what was once considered the cutting edge of design can come to look tired and dated. A new frame can give an artwork an instant makeover and a new lease on life. Here are a few before and after pictures.

 

Got something that is  looking tired, dated or just plain ugly on your wall? Bring it in for an obligation free design consultation and see if we can ‘pimp your art’ 2017 style.

 

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An Interview with a Conservator

Many have heard me talk about the time spent being mentored by Jennifer, an Asian Arts conservator,  to gain insight into the art of paper conservation. I have known Jennifer now for 4 years and in this time I have been amazed at not only her skill, but her dedication to maintaining the highest levels of professionalism and quality of her work. Knowing many of our clients visit us for our expertise in conservation framing, I thought it may be of interest to learn a little more about Jennifer and the work she does. 

Q:  Hi Jen, I know you are an arts conservator, do you specialise in any particular area?

Jennifer: Yes, I’m a conservator of works on paper and silk with particular expertise in Asian Paintings, so hanging scrolls, woodblock prints and folding screens.

Jennifer Loubser after conservation treatment with:

Five Human Relationships, Represented by Five Different Birds

China, Ming Dynasty, c. 16th Century.

Hanging Scroll

Ink and mineral colors painted on silk  

294 cmH  x   112 cm  W

Collection of Honolulu Museum of Arts

 

Q:    Why did you become an arts conservator?

I knew I wanted to be an arts conservator when I first started my Art History degree and went on an excursion to the Lascaux cave. Once I finished the tour of the cave, they told me that it was an exact reproduction, and that the real caves were being preserved from damage due to exposure to light, oxygen, and even the carbon dioxide in people’s breath. From that moment, I knew my career would be conserving artwork.

Q:    How did you come to specialise your particular area?

Jennifer:  Ten years later, I had finished my art history degree and worked in numerous capacities, in the arts, in galleries and museums. I then had the opportunity to work as a conservator for the first time. It was all simply about being in the right place at the right time, when there was a flood recovery effort at the University of Hawaii.  Ultimately I was able to make this opportunity the focus of my Masters degree. I was introduced to the conservator at the Honolulu Museum of Art, was offered volunteer work and then found it was possible to gain intern points for this. The conservator then offered me a paycheck and so I worked as a specialist in a traditional Japanese painting conservation studio. Hence my focus on Asian art.

Q:   The materials themselves are quite different, is that what caught your interest?

Jennifer: Yes, the materials are all hand made and have been refined over thousands of years. These techniques methods have been perfected over generations and centuries, and are accepted and employed in museums around the world. The pigments, even the fibers used for making paper are all hand made, the attention to detail is extraordinary.

Q:    You didn’t start with a conservators course, how long was your training and where did you train?

Jennifer:  When I was speaking with art conservators about how to go about becoming an art conservator, they all told me: 'The degree is not yet halfway to where you need to be. You really need at the very least five years of practical experience as well .' So I needed to know I could find work in such a small field, before studying for a master's degree.After my Art History degree, Masters courses in preservation and conservation, I worked for seven years as a specialist conservator in Honolulu and South Korea with plenty of study in Japan. I then decided to complete my conservation masters degree in Australia. My masters was in Conservation of Cultural Materials at the University of Melbourne. There wasn’t a degree like that available, in Honolulu.  There are only a few places around the world where you can study conservation at this level. 

Q:   So there’s one in Melbourne?

Jennifer:  Yes, it started at the ANU (Australian National University) in Canberra, so when that continued as undergraduate study in Heritage Conservation, the new program emerged as the Masters Degree, in Melbourne.

Q:   So you speak those languages?

Jennifer:  Yes, especially Korean, as I lived there, I worked there in the same field, looking after museum collections.I had the good fortune to work on 10 meter high Korean Buddhist paintings, screen panels in the Seoul National Palace Museum, and studied with a lacquer master. I then had the chance to work again with Bhutanese monks, conserving several of the Royal family's thangka paintings in Bhutan. They were all incredible opportunities.

Q:    Why and when would you recommend consulting with someone like yourself?

Jennifer:  There are all kinds of reason, perhaps because an artwork or object has local historical value or even if an item has personal, sentimental value and has suffered wear and tear over the years, or has just deteriorated through time and exposure to the elements.

Mao, Lenin, Marx  Lithograph, panel one of 3-panel poster printed on paper   Chinese Cultural Revolution Museum, Shanghai  Private collection, Brisbane

Mao, Lenin, Marx

Lithograph, panel one of 3-panel poster printed on paper 

Chinese Cultural Revolution Museum, Shanghai

Private collection, Brisbane

Q:    Should you wait until it has deteriorated?

Jennifer:  When you originally notice the first, tiny bit of damage or change, that’s when its best to have an item evaluated, to see if it needs to have its display assessed, or the location. For example, having it de-acidified, if it has some noticeable change, may extend its life for many years. Damage has many causes and can be due to heat, age, humidity, insects or even physical damage.

Q    So is it ever too late?

Jennifer:   It’s never too late, but sooner is best. If something is obviously happening, if there is any change occurring, it can be much more lengthy and difficult to try to stabilise it, if you leave it too long.

Q:    So you aim to stabilise rather than repair?

Jennifer:  It is important that stabilisation and repairs are done by professional, peer-reviewed conservators if you value your artwork. The difference between a conservator and a restorer is that we (conservators) work to extend the life of an object, rather than to ‘over restore’. We respect the artist’s original intent, and aim never to interfere with the original artwork by ensuring when we do repairs they are sympathetic and reversible. It is the conservator’s job to know what is original and historical, and to be able to recognise previous restorations.

Where to find qualified conservators, through the national professional association, AICCM.
https://aiccm.org.au/civicrm/profile/view?reset=1&id=736&gid=99

Q:    Could you give an example of 'conservation gone wrong'?

Jennifer:  Most people know the story of the Sistine chapel, and the debate over whether it was over-cleaned. Some of what occurs over time becomes part of an artwork’s history. Other factors such as the effects of pollution over time can be cleaned or mitigated through prevention.  We (conservators) are not aiming to bring a thing back to the state it was on day it came into being. It is not necessarily so, with an artwork, that it should come to look like new.

Q:   Do you see framing as a necessary investment?

Jennifer:  Absolutely, especially with artworks on paper; framing plays a vital role in protecting work, to save it from the intensity of ultraviolet rays, especially in Queensland. The damage of the sun on paper is similar to the damage done to our skin. Ultraviolet filters and glazing can really extend the life of an artwork. Framing provides a small micro climate and is the  best straightforward approaches to protect and extend the life of a work. Ask for hinges attached to works on paper with reversible conservation grade Japanese tissue and starch paste. The framing should be done using conservation grade materials; pure cotton mat board and UV filtering glazing are vital. They definitely save you damage and money in the long run and extend the life of a work.

Q:    Could you give a couple of tips to people who want to preserve and protect precious items?

Jennifer:  The most stable place to display something is always the best place, preferably on an interior wall that doesn’t receive any direct sunlight. Stable temperatures are best. Air-conditioning is not as important as circulating air.  It’s a good idea to change things up a little, rotate your displays and store and rest your precious artworks for a period of time each year.

In Japan, they have preserved works for many hundreds of years; they rotate the display according to the seasons, never exposing the most fragile items to harsh and changeable conditions.

Just like frames should be made with conservation grade materials, storage boxes and tissue paper should be acid free and archival. You don’t want the storage material to cause damage itself, because it’s not acid free. Always make sure your storage box can effectively protect the precious item from dust as well as humidity and insects and you will have the pleasure and enjoyment of your treasures for many years to come.

https://aiccm.org.au/civicrm/profile/view?reset=1&id=736&gid=99

 

http://www.asianartsconservation.com.au/

 

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Conservation Care Tip's and Hints

When you choose full conservation materials and techniques in a framing design you may believe that the conservation is 100% taken care of. This is not the case. As mentioned in our last blog post, the environment in which you hang this piece will play a vital role in the conservation of your piece over the long term. We wanted share with you some tips and hints to protect your piece well into the future.

*Hang your work on 2 hooks. By having two hooks you not only ensure the piece will not fall and the glass shatter and damage the work, you also will find it will not tip on an angle and be needing constant straightening.

*Never use 3M or other sticker style hooks.  In all the years I have been framing I can safely estimate that 90% of frames that come in with broken glass fell off the wall as they were hung from these sticker style hooks.

*Do not hang your works near direct sunlight. Although we have used 99% UV filtering glass (which is the best product on the market) there is still 1% of UV light that can get through. The UV rays, especially in QLD, are extreme and the UV glass is rated based on an overseas climate where the glass is produced. The other reason you should not hang near direct sunlight is that the heat that radiates can create humidity within the frame causing cockling of the paper and mould growth on the reverse of the glass.

*Do not hang your piece near an air-conditioning unit. Again this creates a humidity and moisture issue for the piece. This can cause mould growth.

*Do not place humidifiers and other scented air fresheners that push moisture into the air in the same room as your piece. Humidity and moisture are your pieces worst enemy.

*When cleaning the glass on your piece make sure you use our special conservation glass cleaner.  This cleaner is specifically designed for the special UV filtering glass. (You can purchase this cleaner in store. Being environmentally conscious, when your run out, bring your empty bottle in for a refill and we will take $3 off the price of a new bottle) Follow the cleaning instructions on the bottle. Do not use the cleaner to clean the moulding part of the frame. This cleaner can damage the finish of some frames. Use a feather duster or a lightly damp cloth. Never spray any liquid directly onto the frame. The liquid can drip down between the front of the glass and the rebate of the frame and then you have moisture (and worse chemicals and impurities) inside the frame. If you have a cleaner make sure they are aware of this tips sheet!!!!!

*Once a year (at least) get up close and personal with your framed pieces. Look for any signs of changes in the work, matting etc. Read more about what to look for at http://www.artispura.com.au/artis-pura-blog/2016/3/30/effectofweatheronart

If you ever notice any changes in you piece that concern you (even if you feel it might be nothing) please bring it in for us to check. ARTIS PURA guarantees all our workmanship and the products used to frame your piece also come with manufacturer guarantees. 

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Hasn't the weather been strange!

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Hasn’t the weather been strange!

Hot and dry one moment and humid and raining for days the next. It’s been hard to know what’s coming next!
“What has that got to do with framing?” you ask.

Extreme changes in weather, especially humidity levels, can have a dramatic effect on art and other framed items. Over the last month or so we have had quite a few clients come to us with concerns about changes they have noticed in their artworks, even some that have hung for 20 year with no issues. This is an ongoing issue in towns further north but we are seeing an increase in these issues here in Brisbane as the weather becomes more erratic.

Paper and canvas are highly susceptible to changes in humidity and the environment can easily win out against the highest levels of conservation framing in a normal home environment. It is generally not feasible to create a climate controlled space like they can in museums so addressing these issues quickly is key in the ongoing process of conservation.
 

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This painting was placed outside on display in 85% humidity. The humidity warped the canvas to the point of snapping the rebate of the inner frame.

 

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Humidity (moisture) build up on the inside of the frame has caused an abundance of mould growth.

 

Notice that both the matting and the print have rippled due to excessive humidity and ( in my and the paper conservator I work with belief) actual moisture into the frame.

We suggest it is always good practice to get up close and personal with your artwork (and other framed treasures) to be on top of any changes.

Signs to look for include
(FROM THE FRONT)
-Condensation on the inside of the glass
-Rippling of paper
-Movement in the matting
-Staining or brown spots on the matting or artwork
(FROM THE BACK)
-Tape lifting
-Mould
-Discolouration of any kind

Did you know that approximately 90% of the restoration work that comes to us is a direct result of poor framing techniques and materials? The above tips may also indicate that the framing is doing more harm than good. Combine that with frequent fluctuations in weather and rapid deterioration is inevitable.

ARTIS PURA are committed to helping you conserve your treasured pieces and are offering, for the months of APRIL AND MAY, a free conservation consultation of any works that are of concern to you. So get up close and personal with you art today and if you have any concerns make an appointment to pop in and see us.
 

Do you know someone who values art and conservation of treasured memories. Forward this email to them today. Our offer is open to all!

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