Buying Art Online Isn't Like Buying A Set of Tires

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Recently, I bought five new 33-inch FALKIN WILDPEAK M/T tires for my Jeep Rubicon. The tires are "built to get you there and back whether you’re on the pavement, mud, snow or rocks.... ", and they aren't inexpensive. Like almost everything, I turn my mind to. I research the hell out of things before I decide. I comparison shop. I read the reviews. If I can, I check out the real thing. I'll go to a tire shop and kick the tires and smell the rubber ... okay, that last bit is weird, so I'll stop there, but you get the idea. I don't spend money unless I'm assured of the quality of what I'm buying.

Buying fine art online is nothing like buying off-road tires unless you are buying the artwork of a well-known landscape photographer like Peter Lik. Lik has galleries in Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles and in his native Australia. If you were to purchase one of his pieces of work online, the experience will be as easy as buying laundry detergent from Amazon (except for the $7300 USD price tag). You don't need to eyeball or handle the artwork because you are safe in assuming the art you are buying will be remarkable and that it will arrive packaged as if it were the Mona Lisa, minus the guards. Buying a Lik print is relatively risk-free.

When you purchase a fine art print from me, I make it as risk-free as possible. A master printer with an MFA in fine art printmaking will print the image on museum-grade archival 368 gsm weight acid-free pH balanced cotton rag paper. The print itself will arrive wrapped in archival quality unbuffered, pH-neutral tissue paper. This special tissue paper is sulfur and lignin-free, so you can store the wrapped print for years without it being damaged by lignin. I ship each print encased in a rigid heavy crush resistant cardboard tube with plastic end caps. The closest you'll get to having your print guarded is the mail carrier who delivers the print. I'll send you a postal tracking number so you can follow it on its journey. It is about a high-quality and risk-free as I can make it.

SideBar: Lignin is an organic substance found in wood pulp. The lignin breaks down into acid and will yellow or discolour the paper or board and whatever else contacts the paper. Remember that paperback book left in the window and how you found it curled and yellowed. That was because of the lignin in the paper.

For fine art buyers and some collectors, the "customer journey" towards the ultimate purchase of a fine art piece is often a nuanced and intricate dance. Think of those crazy mating dances between birds that you might see on the Nature Channel; the awkward poses and the elaborate and energetic nest building to other complex displays meant to attract. Birds, of course, do all of this to ensure that they have picked the best and fittest mate they can. People can be like that too when buying fine art online. They want to be comfortable with their choice. It isn't an impulse purchase. It takes time to warm up to the decision.

Unlike buying a new set of tires, you can't sniff the rubber or squeeze the Charmin before handing over your credit card. The dance may span several days or more. Each day may find you revisiting a piece online. You may carry the image of the print in your mind as you walk around the house imagining where to best place it, wondering if the colours work with the room's colour palate. It's a journey of many steps before you arrive at a decision to hand over your credit card number.

I encourage you to take your time. Drink some tea or coffee. Gaze out a window. Stare at a blank space on a wall and imagine what the framed print will look like. Make the choice that works for you. Enjoy the journey!

But remember, limited editions become scarer with each purchase. No pressure.

What can I do to be of service to you? How can I help you along the journey? Can I answer questions? I can tell you about the museum-grade archival paper that we print the image on. Are you interested in the archival quality pigment inks that I use that ensure the print will last beyond our lifetime?

I'd also love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Is there something that you'd like me to write about in a future newsletter? Let me know and I'll see what I can do. Drop me a line at jim@jimdawsonphotography or via my Contact Us form.

Thank you for reading to the end. It means a lot to me. You've taken the time, time that won't come again. It's precious, so once again, thank you.