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Shipping tips

AUGUST 2, 2009
I thought I would share what I have learned about packing and shipping over the past couple of years.  I am always very tentative about putting my paintings in boxes or crates and bidding farewell so I had resorted to hiring a friend of mine to drive my trusty van from Cleveland to Toronto, NY, CT and Boston for shows or delivering works to collectors for about 350. plus gas. It alleviated a lot of the stress of packing, damage risks and expensive shipping costs. However, with this show I was faced for the first time the challenge of packing a large amount of works to send across the country.  Fortunately, I was tipped off by a gallery owner on a method that I have used a few times that is proving to work really well.  Also, I have been using a worldwide shipper that I was introduced to through the large clayboards that are delivered to me through Ampersand.

Regarding packing,  I use  2 " foam home insulation in large 90x48" sheets available at Home Depot and Loews, Gorilla Tape and cardboard. With these you can build a sturdy well insulated shipping box and avoid the labor and expense of a wooden crate.  I like using a box cutter but a matt knife is probably safer. Score it about an inch and then brace the board on a hard surface and apply pressure and it will break off very evenly at the slice mark.  I have shipped boxes like this that are 68"x50"x10" and weighing up to 80lbs. with success.

I usually stack my paintings with a piece of 1/2 foam in between and build the box around all of them accordingly. Packing things tightly is important. First you should cover the surface of the painting with a piece of paper and not plastic because of funky chemical reactions that can occur with plastic and varnishes.  If your varnish is not fully dry you can tightly drop a
painting into a form that custom fits it (but tape the inside of that with gorilla tape so the foam fragments that flick off are not floating inside the box).  Leave plenty of air space for the painting not to be damaged. For framed works I would suggest plexi if the art is moving to multiple locations but if glass be sure to tape the glass in case it breaks.  Be sure to wrap the artwork entirely with plastic tarp and tape it for prevention of water damage.

After building a box with the foam, add cardboard and then Gorilla tape the heck out of it. Regarding multiple boxes: shippers tally up the weight for their quote not individual boxes.  I use DB Schenker and they worked with me on price and also pick up the same day you call in your order (though only at a place of business and not a residence-I use my framers).   I shipped over 200lbs of paintings, 6 boxes to CA from Cleveland in 4 days for $144.  All was received in good shape and on time.  This is the third time I have used them as my boxes got too big for Fed Ex Ground, which is also a great alternative for smaller works.  They only insure up to 500. for art but I have insurance business rider on my home owners policy for 25K.  Galleries usually pay for shipping back to the artists but it is usually up to the artist to pay for shipping a show to the gallery.  I hope this has been helpful and appreciate any other tips from you all.

I will be exhibiting more black and white artworks at this show than in the past (about 22 varying sizes) and then about 15 new paintings and a few large pieces from The Butler museum show.  If you would like more info on the show here is the press release and the show should be posted on Wednesday at www.billyshirefinearts.com.
Looking forward to next Saturday in LA and hope to see lots of pals out there!  I am taking a break after this show and plan to get back to some printmaking and time in the studio and coming back to Drawger more regularly.

More info on using the proper tape and usage: