Saturday, 9 April 2016

PACKING FOR A SOLO EXHIBITION

Over 70 paintings and one sculpture ready to go

I mount one or two solo exhibitions with my work every year and it never gets any easier. It has taken me two weeks and conservatively 150 hours to pull together my current show. I was so pleased to finish today after 4 hours of hanging, that I forgot to take photos. :( I also forgot to visit my mail box on the way home, so if you're waiting for me to share my LYA 2016 postcards, that will also have to wait.

As I blogged earlier, I ordered some new frames which were due yesterday. Well, they didn't arrive so I push pinned up my matted paintings and I'll finish the hang on Wednesday. (I have the purple push pin thumb to prove it!) I will be able to take a full set of photos for the archive then.

HENRY 6" x 6" $60 plus shipping - Contact me to purchase and I'll check the coop

One thing I can say about hanging solo exhibitions is that it pays to be organized. One of the most important things I do before an exhibition is create something I call a "Hanging Pattern". First I catalog the work I want to exhibit; name, size, price and the color of the frame if applicable. For this particular solo, I sorted my paintings into genre ... animals, florals, landscapes, abstracts, etc. This exhibition space has many odd size walls created by doors, windows, counters etc. so I measured and matched the wall size to the number of paintings in each genre. The result was 15 hanging zones and a list of paintings that would be in that zone. There is always a bit of flex because of the location of lighting and other obstacles, but this pattern is an indispensable tool.

I usually do a trial run, laying each zone out on my neutral carpet and photographing each section. This often leads to last minute juggling, which is better than doing it at the venue. These photos are very useful for speeding up the hanging process.

The last thing I do, is write the name and price cards for each painting so they are ready to pin. I use the hanging list as a reference, so the cards are roughly sorted in order.

During the hang I make notes on any changes and update the catalogue at the end. I leave a copy with the venue for their records, making sure they have several ways to contact me should the need arise. (Commissions, changes in frame, layaways etc.).

As the time period for this exhibition leads up to Mother's Day in Canada on May 8th, I made a feature wall of some of my smallest paintings; these are ACEO nicely matted and framed in my new white frames. At $50 this is a great price point for a gift. I also made a feature wall with my animal paintings and framed a sign "Ask about my pet portraits". For the main feature wall I chose my latest landscapes and a few masterpiece demos from my classes, with a sign about my signature "Paint a Masterpiece" classes. It sounds a bit overcrowded, but I chose mostly small paintings and it is a large space.

By the way, I have to mention here that one of the best purchases I've ever made was the little folding hand cart you see in the photo above. I think I paid around $20 ten years ago and I use it constantly. A real back saver.

Things you may need to hang a show

Drawing pins
Push pins
Nails
Hanging wire
Hanging loops and screwsHammer
Flat, Philips and Robertson screwdrivers
Carpenters Level
Magic Tape
Glue
Blue tack
Measuring tape
Black and white paint for touch ups
Small paint brush
Framed or mounted artist bio
Business cards and stand
Blank information cards
Blank certificates of authenticity
Name cards
Catalogue of paintings with size and price
Paintings
Sculptures
Art Cards, prints (count and add to stock list)
Possibly power cords and lights if the venue allows