The next couple of posts will have an air of getting down to business about them – and so I find almost want to apologise in advance for beating my own drum – and yet, at the end of the day, this blog is intended to be packed-full of encouragement to follow our bliss and the inspiration to turn what we love doing into a workable life-choice – and mine is to get down to the nitty-gritty of being a full-time artist and writer making a living in the ‘real world’!
More and more of those who follow my art have been asking about the possibility of purchasing prints and, in a very small way, I have been offering these for some time but in such a way that production was very small scale, on demand and fairly time consuming. It had become apparent that I needed to find a platform through which to offer this side of my business, where the production and shipping aspects were already set-up-and-running to meet internet sales in a way that best serves me and my customers.
I have to admit, broadening my approach to include prints of my work has already opened up a whole array of new options, not least the many different ways of customising art to suit your wall or budget that I am now able to offer and, if you are on the other side of the world to me then, the shipping can be far easier, slicker and more cost-effective too.
Having compared the many options out there, I have decided to go with the platform offered by Fine Art England, a subsidiary of the well-respected Fine Art America. So, complete with drum roll, I announce the launch this week of my online print shop. Through this fantastic portal, you can customise print options to include many different types of framing (or none at all) and print surfaces that range from a choice of seven high-quality papers through canvas and into metal and acrylic. You can even print to protective iPhone and Galaxy cases and, whilst I was initially a little cynical about these, I have to admit I am pleasantly surprised by the possible results!
Cards are also available and can be tweaked to include the whole image against a black or white background or zoomed in to show a detail of the artwork – all very playful and open to personal preference.
Its the canvas prints that I am particularly impressed with as these are offered as either Museum Wrap, which is the thinner variety suitable for framing – which means the finished product can be framed to look almost identical to the original – or as deeper Gallery Wrap with thick sides which can be customised in various ways and hung without a frame. The thing that most impressed me is that the canvasses are offered as either matte or gloss, which means that the high-gloss finish of an oil original can be more nearly matched if preferred.
Yes, these prints are currently produced out of a centralised operation in the US (though I’m told that the possibility of a more local set-up to the UK is being looked into…) yet the international shipping costs are so affordable that I know I have spent more on transporting prints and originals within the mainland UK in the past than they charge from across the Atlantic – in fact, all of the costs involved are so very reasonable which, as I see it, is one of the many advantages of using a large-scale operation like this to outsource my printing, going forwards.
Added to that, a 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee is offered (subject to terms and conditions on the purchase page which, unsurprisingly, state that shipping is not included) so that full production costs will be reimbursed if you are not happy with the results – which seems more than fair. With any distance purchasing, there is always an element of “is this going to look as good as I hope?” lurking at the back of the mind and yet the ability to zoom into the online image for a full-resolution preview, to really scrutinise the quality of the print you are getting, is an added bonus and as I scan all of my paintings rather than using a camera, the standard of reproduction is as good as it gets, with close attention to detail right down to the weave of the canvas!
I have to say, so far I am really impressed and – after a full-on week of adding around 80 pieces of art spanning 5 years of my career to the portal – am able to offer this Helen White Print Shop as a fully-operational launch this week, with links already added to 99% of my portfolio so that purchases can be made direct from the relevant page on my website – just go to the artwork that you are interested in and click on the “Purchase…” link on the left of the image to be taken to the portal where you can play with all the many options – in other words, you get to be a co-creator of the finished product!
I will leave you to explore.