This month I thought it might be helpful to share some insights on how to get your own art business off the ground. This info is general enough that folks can apply it to their own communities, but these are some of my go-to places in Toronto.
1. SCANNING! When I’m finished painting a piece I take it to Ernesto at QSQ Giclee Boutique, 845 College St W., in Toronto. This is where I get my paintings scanned and then I use that high res image to make my prints. At QSQ you can have your paintings printed on to canvas frames that look exactly like the original. You can also choose to print on his super high quality paper and put the prints into frames, either way, Ernesto is your new best friend! (Tell him I sent you). On his website, https://qsqinc.com/ , you can also price out your order whether you’re printing or scanning.
2. PRINTS! Once you have your digital image of your painting, then you can get them printed! I print mine at 18”x12”, on 100lb matte, archival paper at TPH (the printing house). If you print them at this size they fit perfectly into these frames from IKEA, https://www.ikea.com/ca/en/p/ribba-frame-black-30378430/#content (The frames you want to direct your patrons to will be any of the 16”x20”, or 41x51cm ones) There are frames that fit a 12”x12” print as well if your artwork is square, but I think there’s only 1 exact frame that fits them so it’s a little easier to find. I generally create editions of 100, but only print about 10 at a time so I don’t have to store hundreds and hundreds of prints. I’ll number them on the left out of 100, and then sign the right with my signature and the year in pencil. It’s a good idea to create a spreadsheet with all of your prints names, and the number you left off in that print edition, and update it as you go along. You don’t have to do this, but people love it when you include the story behind your art piece with the print. I print this off separately and include it with the print. I print the story on half of a 8.5”x11” paper, and then I have a short bio on myself incase my print is given as a gift, the person receiving it can learn a bit about you.
3. BAGS! We gotta protect these prints! I get my bags from Crystal Clear Bags Canada”, they’re based out of Stoney Creek, ON. I get the eco friendly ones so I don’t have to feel too bad about the waste that can be created from prints. Here’s the link to the ones that I get.
4. PRICING YOUR WORK! This can be a little tricky! I don’t have very specific advice about this but I’ll tell you that when I began selling prints 10 years ago, they were $20 a pop. Now they’re $75. You need to find what your audience sweet spot is for purchasing from you, and don’t be afraid to increase it as you develop professionally as an artist. When trying to figure out how to price an original, do your best to keep track of your time multiply that by how much you think you should make plus add in the price of your materials. If you don’t think that amount at that point is quite enough, just increase your amount per hour.
5. GET AN ACCOUNTANT! Stop telling yourself that you’re going to learn Excel on the weekends! You can make up to 30K before you need to start charging HST, which hopefully will happen super quick for you! :)
I’ll leave it there for now, but as I think of more things to add I’ll add a resource section on the website added for folks to use. I hope that this info will be helpful! :)