A huge part of my exhibition experience was dealing with print makers. My initial intention was to sign the images before they were framed/mounted. Because of this I felt that I could use 3 different print makers. They could be located in 3 different countries, this was a chance to make the exhibition even more international. Also, I felt that out of 3 print makers, hopefully I would find a future partner – assuming that I am going to continue exhibiting. My search wasn’t easy because there are a lot of low cost economy print makers to wade through before you get to the high quality guys. What I was looking for was simply fine-art printing using quality papers, such as Hahnemühle, and quality printers such as Epson. The internet is full of sophisticated online order forms, but I was looking for something with an element of human feedback.
I found A New Zealand company called Queensbury who specialized in Wedding albums. I didn’t realize they were on the other side of the world, I just saw the $ sign and assumed they were based in the states. I decided to have 5 works printed with Queensbury, 4 of my largest images. To cut a long story short, I had arranged a deadline with a London Framer and unfortunately the images didn’t arrive in time (despite ordering a month in advance). In fact they didn’t arrive at all (to this date – 3 months after ordering). I contacted Queensbury and they didn’t hesitate to reimburse me the full cost. They are also acting to find a better delivery solution for high value prints.
The second print makers I found were in the states. I wont name them, but after I had prepared my images for their printer profiles, paid and submitted my files by ftp (some hours of work), they wrote quickly to let me know they wont touch overseas orders because of the costs. But I thought I was paying? Anyway, I can understand their position, I just wished they had some notice on their website.
The 3rd print makers came from a customer’s facebook stream. There was an offer with a Dublin Based Print Maker for 15% off Liquid Acrylic prints. I clicked through to the website and contacted the manager. I put in an order for 5 images on Diamond Polished Liquid Acrylic. From my understanding the Acrylic is polished while it is in a liquid state. This gives it a scratch resistant museum quality finish. This was supposed to give the colours in the image more punch and vibrance. Hopefully this can be seen below in the photos from the exhibition.
Well it all went wrong really as I found out that the US print makers couldn’t do the work and the New Zealand print just not arriving. Eventually and through several communications, my order with The Copper-House was growing to the point of needing a crate. The first error was that my second order was created with the Liquid Acrylic instead of the requested fine-art prints (which I intended to send to the London Framers). When I found out that all images so far were mounted in Diamond Polished Liquid Acrylic, I was more relieved than anything because it meant that I could continue and get the whole set mounted with the Diamond Polished Liquid Acrylic and it would save me having to get the prints to the printer. Unfortunately, when I placed the final order – making the full set – I was told that a new crate would have to be built. I had told them that I was thinking of adding pieces to the order and to put a hold on the crate. The communication wasn’t the best until they offered to work with the current crate. Their website said that they have made prints for galleries all over the world, so I wasn’t excepting surprises with them sending the crate to England. 2 days before it was collected by the courier, I got an email from Copper-House asking for an independent Gallery’s art valuation (for insurance purposes). Thankfully, The Brick Lane Gallery responded with an official looking letter.
So despite a few communication hiccups, the Copper-House Gallery really did a very fine job. The prints exceeded expectations and were made and delivered as specified.