Here are six top tips from Cie-Elle Digital Imaging for caring for your fine art prints, most of which also apply to looking after original artwork too.
- Avoid direct sunlight
Ever noticed that museums have no windows? There is a good reason for this.
Hanging your art in good light is a must, just be sure to avoid direct sunlight. Unless you want it to fade that is.
If a little sunlight is unavoidable, look into a decent framer who can provide UV-protected glass.
- Be mindful of temperature and climate
High levels of moisture, humidity or dampness can be damaging to artwork and art prints.
Also, exposing artwork to extreme heat is a big no-no, even if it’s just temporary variations.
For example, hanging an artwork over or close to a fireplace. Heat can cause the artwork to warp and will also lead to discolouration over time.
What if you happen to live in the tropics or somewhere with unavoidable humidity? Try leaving a container of DampRid out which will help reduce the moisture in the air.
- Keeping it clean
Yes, you can dust it – lightly. Either a microfibre cloth or suitable feather duster will do the trick. It might go without saying, but don’t use any kind of chemical on the artwork or print.
If you have a painting which has been sealed with a varnish, you can actually use a damp cloth to dust and remove any markings without damaging the artwork.
Make sure you take your prints out of the tube as soon as they arrive, and flatten.
Like an elephant, paper has a really good memory, so the longer it stays rolled, the harder it is to flatten.
Investing in a good quality frame will not only enhance the artwork, it also serves to protect the delicate surface from damaging elements like sunlight, temperature and moisture.
Ensure the fixtures are appropriate for the size and weight of the artwork. Also, it’s worth considering how to hang it on the wall.
Double-sided adhesive hooks may seem like an easy option, but they all lose their grip eventually and you could be left with a potentially smashed frame.
A quality framer will be able to advise on all of the above and more.
One final hanging tip – don’t go too high. It’s a common mistake and can make the art appear smaller and less appealing. Any gallery owner or interior designer will tell you, stick to eye-level where possible.
- Storing art
Whether you need to transport the artwork or simply store it for a period of time – what’s the best way to package it up?
Firstly, you’ll need some acid-free tissue paper to wrap it. Follow this up with bubble wrap and then if possible, use cardboard frame corners to protect the edges. Finally, place in a solid box for extra protection.
If it’s an unframed artwork or print on fine art paper, you can use a plastic sleeve with acid-free cardboard. That way the paper won’t bend if stored for a long time.
When finding a secure place to store the artwork, make sure you keep it off floors or walls that contain moisture.