SELECTING AN ARTIST

First, start with the art, or simply select art you like. Next find out about the artist and the medium by working with a reputable gallery. Also when you're out visiting friends and relatives write down the title and name of the artist for any images you see and like. Bring the information to us and we'll try to locate the work for you and check on any other works the artist may have.

Look at a variety of artists and get to know their body of work and style. Visit galleries, studios, and festivals often to see what's new by artists you like. Once you see work you like, however, buy it! Inexperienced collectors procrastinate on purchasing work, and regret it when the piece they like is sold. Most artists and dealers will work out payment arrangements with you, and we will are more than willing to help you secure the art of your choice.

Equally as important, when you see great work by emerging artist's, buy it. They may not have the popularity of established artists, but their prices are often lower. Plus, it is better to have a great work by a lesser known artist than to have a mediocre work by a well-known artist. We can keep you up to speed on emerging artists.

Finally, to build a quality collection try to purchase either limited edition or original art. An exception is if the artist has personally signed or artistically enhanced an open edition print.

RESEARCH AND PREPARATION

What rest and relaxation are to your sanity, research and preparation are to your art collection. Rely on your art dealer, but improve your knowledge so you can be more informed.

Learn about various artists and standard printing techniques to understand what you're buying. There is a big difference between a lithograph and a serigraph, financially and technically. Become familiar with the basics of proper framing and care for art. Decide to be Art Smart and read on.


...LEARNING THE LANGUAGE OF ART

1. Original Art - A one-of-a-kind painting or sculpture created by an artist. The artist may decide to reproduce the work as a limited or open edition print or sculpture. If you purchase an original, the artist still owns the copyright and is the only one who can reproduce it, with or without your consent. However, contrary to conventional wisdom, if you are lucky enough to own an original that gets widely published, it will only increase the value of your original.

2. Limited Editions - A set number of copies made from an original work which is often, but not always, signed by the artist. Each print is numbered to show how many prints were made and the number in the edition of each particular print. [For example 5/20 indicates print 5 out of an edition of 20.]

Limited editions have documentation giving specific details about the print medium and size, edition size, etc. This document is known as a Certificate of Authenticity. Limited editions are the next best things to the original after a remarque.

3. Remarque (pronounced remark) - A limited edition print to which the artist adds a small drawing. The artist signs and numbers the image, adding the letters R/M to indicate the type of print and how many were produced. A remarque costs more than a limited edition because the artist drawing in essence makes the print a one-of-a-kind.

4. Artist Proof (A/P) - When a limited edition is produced, 10% of the edition may be designated as artist proofs and signed as such. These pieces have the letters A/P next to the edition number and cost more than a limited edition because there are fewer of them.

5. Open Editions - Open edition prints may be produced in any quantity and size, and for however long the publisher wishes to produce the print. They may be signed by the artist, but never numbered. This is the least valuable type of art, but it is a good way to start collecting. Use them to enhance the walls in your home or office.

6. Original Lithography - Instead of creating a painting with a brush on canvass, the artist draws the image in an oily substance on the printing plate. A different plate is created for each color in the image. Each plate is then etched or set by chemical process and printed to create the image. These prints costs more than offset lithographs.

7. Original Serigraph - Working from the artist original, the image is cut into a screen, not a plate. Serigraphy (silkscreening or screen printing) is a "direct" printing process. The image is not reversed from the screen to the print. A screen of silk, nylon or wire mesh is tightly stretched across a frame and a design is stenciled into the screen. Ink passes through "open" areas on the screen onto paper to create the image.

8. Offset Lithography - A photo-mechanical process using powerful lenses to provide the basic "breaking down" of the artists' blend of colors into a graduation of four inks; magenta, yellow, blue, and black. Craftsmen then make "color corrections" by hand to capture some specific shade or tone.

9. Intaglio (etchings) - "Intaglio" is Italian and means to "cut in" or "engrave". The areas which print on the paper are cut, scratched or chemically bitten into the printing plate. Ink is forced into these lines, and excess ink is removed from the uncut surface of the plate. Dampened paper is then placed upon the printing plate and both are run through a high pressure, press to print the design.

10. Giclee - (zhee-clay, French word meaning to spray) This digital process uses an iris printer to take an image which has been scanned onto a disk and transfers it onto fine art paper or canvass using an extremely high quality ink jet printer. The results are an impressively high image detail and brilliant color density and saturation.


CARE FOR YOUR ART

Certain conditions can, over time, cause serious damage, even to properly framed artworks. Take care to preserve your artwork.

Light: Avoid hanging artwork in rooms with direct and indirect sunlight, and/or fluorescent lighting. Their ultra-violet rays are harmful to paper, certain inks, and colors. Install specially treated Plexiglas under glass where lighting cannot be controlled to effectively filter out UV rays.

Pastels or chalk: Never frame this type of artwork with plastic. Plastic creates static electricity, which can cause chalk particles to gravitate from the paper to the plastic.

Heat: Do not hang art near radiators or other sources of heat, or on walls which contain flues.

Humidity: if the humidity in your area exceeds 70% for periods of the year, dehumidify or air-condition where works of art are hanging. Avoid hanging art on damp walls. Very dry conditions, may encourage brittleness, and should be avoided. Picture glass is essential to protection against dirt and pollutants, but the art should NEVER touch the glass. Moisture condenses inside of the glass and could eventually stain the prints.