Stephanie’s Blog

Hi!
As I’m out and about in our community and visiting with collectors in our Paw Prints Gallery, I love to hear ideas and suggestions and inquiries about what we do and how we do it.  I’d love to hear from you, too!
(as of  February 2013, the questions or comments posted have come from conversations or emails and will remain anonymous at your request,  feel free to comment directly on this site, I look forward to hearing from you.)
 Stephanie Salsnek
to glass or not to glass? that is the question, isn’t it?
Several years ago, a valued collector brought several treasured images to us to send off to our wonderful framer. In the middle of the project, our framer says she’s just bought a new machine… “let’s try something!”  And so, Maraschino Magic © was chosen as the Guinea Pig. The result… drum roll please… was a permanently protected finish on a lithographed limited edition print that now… doesn’t need glass.
Several weeks ago, there was a major announcement in the Art World, that some artist has discovered a new system he is calling re-giclée. Exciting to know that the process we’ve been sharing with our collectors for several years at least not only has a name BUT is widely accepted.  So now you know… you can enjoy the wonderful benefits of easily affordable images in either canvas or litho reproductions without the need for glass.
 
 ..between courteous and cautious… the world we’ve become!
It’s a small world, I get inquiries almost every day about John’s work and 99.9% are just lovely and sincere and delightful and just plain fun to deal with. Then there’s the scent of rat… I don’t want to instantly reach for a trap but I do like to make sure I have a chunk of cheese ready.
Recently an unassuming email and phone call and subsequent emails came along, mixed with others… intuition says ‘hmmm’… be on guard but polite just in case. In the same time frame I was dealing with three  particular ‘overseas’ requests. I tried to handle them all with the same respect and enthusiasm. Lucky! Two of them are genuine, delightful and it’s an honour to know they are new collectors. The third.. aka Rat… on the surface only the slightest difference and one smelly (stupid) error that tipped me off, glad I did my due diligence and so far, no one has been taken.  I’m hoping that the culprits will be caught in case they do ‘take’  a more vulnerable business. It would be easy for them.
Interestingly, the new collector with the most suspicious of requests and most challenged English grammar  and by all accounts should have been the Rat… was the loveliest and actually some distant relation.
So, my word of advice is… don’t judge, don’t assume the worst, but don’t let down your guard. Investigate and if you’re not sure, ask a professional.
  
 
  Latest inquiries….
” We missed out on “Grapeway”, how long are the images available?
 I wish I could predict the life of a limited edition.  As the manager of our  Gallery and all the inventory, I’d be happy if every issue would be available for at least a dozen years. That would make our selection the most diverse, give our collectors a broader choice and the opportunity to create my most creative Lego ® collections.  But not so! Some editions have become classics, slow but steady and I’m grateful for every collector and relish in the continuity of the image. Others, poof! “Apple Dumpling Gang”… here today, gone later today. “Evening Glow”… same tale. There are just some that disappear like great chocolate cake.  If there’s a formula, I haven’t found it.
John SalsnekHappy Spring ( I think ) We’re delighted to see travellers out and about enjoying our Beautiful BC! Two questions have come up in the last week and so I thought I should share.   
“We don’t want to pack our pictures around with us for the rest of our trip”
 We ship all over the world, just let me know the date you’ll be home, it’s as easy as that.   
We’ve recently purchased several watercolour prints on Vancouver Island and they were nearly triple the price of John’s works, we’re concerned about the quality.
Fair question. Good question to ask when you are collecting. The answer is quite simple for us.
a) we don’t have a middle man in the traditional financial sense. We do sell to some select gift and art shops, with the agreement that they maintain our original prices… a $59 print is $59 wherever you find it. By keeping our prices constant we balance the profit or loss over the total edition. Great for our collectors!
b) before John hung up his suit and tie his business acumen was in advertising and management, he can read a financial statement as well as I can AND considers his Art to be his business and treats it with the same respect as if he made truck tires.  To keep any business afloat you have to make your product available to your clients. It has to be marketable, affordable and with unwavering quality. Customer service is paramount and pARTnerships  are key. Do I know the best framer in the Valley… yup! Do I know the best giclee printer in BC… yup! 
and c) most importantly…. we do our homework, how do we get the best prices for the best quality… do we print more than one image at a time? do we use the blank part of the paper or canvas to do cards or invitations or miniatures that can offset the cost of the print? do we wait until a supplier has a terrific sale on canvas or favourite papers? do we pass along every savings we can find to our collectors… absolutely! 
That’s not saying your Vancouver Island prints aren’t worth what you paid, the artist’s niche in the Art world may be much higher, so you’ve invested in the name and that’s wonderful. OR… the artist doesn’t have the same business support system in place and paid a lot more all along the publication process. Either way, enjoy them!!!                                                                                      Art of John Salsnek35/195    42/225    4/295
What’s with the numbers, again?
This question is so common, it deserves a simple answer and I might have found one (only took me a decade or more). Think licence plates. The number is what makes the same hunk of tin unique. Each of John’s limited editions is indeed, limited to the number he assigns to it the minute it comes off the press…. that leads me to the second part of this collector’s question… stay tuned. Back to the number thing.  It is arbitrary, if you are Bev Doolittle and think you can sell 96,000 of the same image, that’s how many you print.  We like to keep each ©John Salsnek edition very small, preferably under 300, sell out and move to the next image.  Once you’ve published and numbered those 300 you can’t start again, you can’t have two licence plates with the same number.
Here’s how most editions are numbered. xx/XXX.  If we decide the total edition is 225, then John will hand sign and number  only 225 prints starting with 1/225  (read: one of two hundred twenty five)  and so on. If you were married in 1983 and are celebrating your anniversary, you might want to collect 83/225.
Traditionally, each limited edition also adds a second and sometimes third publication. Artist’s Proofs and Publisher’s Proofs. The Artist’s Proofs are favoured because of their select numbering, usually 10% of the original edition, and the Publisher’s Proofs are at the discretion of the Publisher. Both of these will be identified with the signature and number.
(note: there is a seemingly successful art rep in our Valley who sells John’s work and around a dozen other artists… EXCEPT… none of us have met or hired her. If you have purchased an unsigned and unnumbered Salsnek ©, bring it to me and I will replace for a genuine limited edition of your choice, our treat.)
We self publish, so if we determine a Publisher’s edition has value, we generally use it to support a favoured charity. Because my wedding ring matches John’s (perk!) I collect #1/XX Artist’s Proof of each edition. 
Art of John SalsnekTo print or not to print…. that IS the question….
Why publish prints at all and how  do you do that?
The why is easy to answer. John’s work is very detailed and to keep the Gallery filled with enough originals for his collectors to have variety and affordability and collectablility, he would have to paint 3 weeks a day.  If you look at his portfolio of Limited Editions on paper and canvas, you’ll see  first that it’s extensive, around 40 editions. ALL of those originals are sold and as a result of publication are actually more valuable, however, they are also NOT available. Second, they are much more affordable. You may wish to collect a nice original for your own home…. but if your nephew is getting married for the fourth time, you might just want to buy him a nice limited edition. Third, the variety is what makes our Gallery a lovely destination, in person or online.
As to the HOW? Call me instead. Stephanie
Price of framing!
We love John’s art but the framing is so much more expensive than the artwork… it doesn’t seem right!
 I do hear that often… however… think of it in the reverse. If you buy an original piece of art to treasure and enjoy, the framing is the icing on the cake. Some work doesn’t need icing. The frame costs whatever it costs. I know bad, good and excellent framers, and bad, good and excellent prices. A bargain is no bargain if you hate it. It’s actually a LOT more expensive. Trust me on the math… it’s my thing!
Now.. think of the very handsome frame you like… think of the cost of the original… maybe ouch… soooooo you are actually saving money by selecting a limited edition to enjoy. It’s not the framing that’s so expensive, it’s the great savings on the artwork!
Charity connections
“What advantage is there to aligning yourselves with those Charities, is it just for the publicity?”
We’re no different than any small business or household, we are asked for something for someone, every day. In a light bulb moment we realized that $5 to every good cause wasn’t doing anyone any good. We were inspired by the dedication and leadership of a friend, Judy Sentes, Executive Director of the OSNS Child Development Centre, Penticton. There were opportunities to raise more than $5 AND know exactly where our $s were going. It felt wonderful and we continue to support them.
and then there were none…. our home, John’s studio and my office were managed well by a dozen paws. They had wonderful lives but, unfortunately only 15 and 16 years long.
By way of the most clever and manipulative  strategies, conniving, plotting and scheming  by well-connected SPCAers and blatant cuteness (see below) I found myself at the South Okanagan BCSPCA happily writing a cheque for a dozen new paws in March 2005. I might not have told John ahead of time…. forgiveness is easier to get than permission AND he  only took one look and caved. Now he’s the King of Treats and I’m staff.
Dozen Paws
… were they that small?…
That began a new and heartwarming chapter in our lives and cemented our passion to be supportive in our own modest way.
To answer the question about publicity… sure… the more publicity we garner the more we can offer and perhaps we can motivate others to champion a special cause as part of their business model. Win! Win!
Paw Print
Why isn’t John’s Art free?
“Our company is looking to redecorate, would you like to hang some of John’s work in our offices?”
Thankyou for thinking of us,  I think John’s work would be a lovely asset to your offices however, we’ll have to decline the invitation.
Uh-oh… my soapbox just slid out from under my desk! 
While I’m delighted that the company would like to have John’s work  included in their redecorating, I’m not so thrilled that they assume that I will provide it ‘for free’ ostensibly because it could be ‘for sale’ to their clients.  Although the exceptions do make make the rule, the chances of anyone even considering buying art while visiting their lawyer to get a divorce, their dentist to have a root canal, the bakery to buy whole wheat…. is really not so much!
Furthermore, they can’t get furniture, plants, office equipment, paint, blinds, accent pieces, carpeting… or any of the other choices they’ve budgeted for in their remodel, why should they get free art?
Ha! There IS  a good reason! The Artist Community has trained them that Art is Free for the asking. Almost, I repeat, almost any artist will jump at the chance to have their work hanging anywhere, and the hangER is thrilled, as soon as they tire of it, they just call and new hanginINGS arrive… for free. How wonderful is that?
And then, as though the concept doesn’t make me nuts enough, those same artists wail and complain that they can’t SELL their art. Hmmmph… wonder why not? Don’t know why those same locations aren’t just hounding the artist to take money instead of NOT taking money.
John has turned his passion for art into a vocation, and proud of it! I value his collectors tremendously and they enjoy and treasure his work. It seems ludicrous to me that I would de-value their choices by offering his work…. for free!  Why should the majority of his collectors pay to collect while the business world, with probably MORE disposable income, NOT pay to collect and enjoy?
We have a terrific lease-to-own/rental policy. Tax deductible expense and win-win!
On the other hand…… I’ve always thought a red convertible would be fun, so if the Mercedes dealer is looking for free art for their offices, I might consider letting them put a free convertible in my driveway, same deal… the art will be for sale and so will the car. What are my chances with that, do you think?
 Just my opinion.
 See Spot immortalized
“I was disappointed to come to Paw Prints Gallery and find that John doesn’t paint more dogs, I think your name is misleading.”
That was a first for sure and very interesting!  I took the comment to heart and did some investigating….we’re not alone in that criticism. Sunset Gallery doesn’t sell a lot of sunsets, Tumbleweed Gallery doesn’t sell desert images, Avenue Gallery doesn’t have a single street scene, Mac’s Gallery doesn’t feature burgers, the list is endless and by the end of my sleuthing I came away thinking we had a better name than most!
We named our Gallery Paw Prints very simply because John paints nature and lots of  ‘paws’. His portfolio of paws includes wolves and foxes, cougars and lions, bears, dogs and cats, rhinos and zebras, rattlers and rabbits, penguins and parakeets, eagles and owls and most of the others,especially our local hero, QUAIL,  and ok…. hooves and claws and more. We couldn’t resist the temptation to capitalize on Paw Prints because we publish affordable and very collectable limited edition prints.
BUT… let’s talk dog pictures… personally, I think you can’t have too many, however…. no matter what dog John puts in a painting, it’s the wrong one.  It’s not Spot. If you’d love a picture of Spot, talk to him about commissioning (verb) an original commission (noun).
AND THAT LEADS TO…. another great comment.
Good point.. jargon is annoying!
I don’t know what ‘commmission’ means, it sounds like art-slang ” (the subtext and attitude suggested that I was a terrible snob)
 I try to be aware of artsy terms that put people off just the way I’m put off by other industry jargon I don’t understand. So, I investigated ‘commission’ and found that it’s anything but artsy, it’s just a plain old noun or verb, used universally it seems, in every industry. A commission is the finished product of anything you want to order. To commission is to order that same thing.
You can, and people do commission…
automobiles, flower arrangements, software, stationery, aircraft, wedding cakes, landscape design, architecture, machinery, furniture, flooring, paintings, sculpture, pottery, fabric, photography, jewellery, footwear, fashion,  windows, lighting, fridge magnets, wine bottles….. you can even commission a horticulturist to grow  square watermelons. Who knew?Art-of-John-Salsnek
Artistic Torture
Is choosing a frame as awful a job as it appears? There are too many choices and it just needs to match the picture, doesn’t it?
There are a lot of choices, that’s the great news. I’m not a huge proponent of the concept that the artist is the only one able to frame his/her work and that it’s all about the image.  If the artist or frame shop gets all twisted because you bring in your sofa cushion and want it to match… maybe find another artist and frame shop that will work WITH you.
Here’s my take on it.  First… if you choose a piece of art you like, chances are it already suits your style and taste AND there’s a good chance the rest of your world…. furniture, wall colours, accent pieces…. already suit your taste … so they should work together. No? Second… I’ve been framing John’s work for a couple of decades and there are LOTS of options for every image and each one is the “right way”. If you like it, it can’t be wrong!
     

3 Responses to Stephanie’s Blog

  1. Ann Ungaro says:

    I have a picture of a picture. Would John be willing to paint this picture for me? The picture is of 3 ruffled grouse under a pine tree (in the winter). Woild he be able to paint a picture of me and the doggies?

    • admin says:

      He’d be delighted, he’s not always enchanted with the idea of portraits, but add in the 4-footers and he’s always keen… see you soon… we’ll talk. Stephanie

  2. admin says:

    Sharon, Thank you for your inquiry! “Quail Heaven” has been very popular and is a small edition, adding to its charm.

    It is our newest Limited Edition Giclée on canvas and is available in any size that you like in a 4/5 ratio. 8″ x 10″, 16″ x 20″ 20″ x 25″ for example. If you consider your wall space, allow 10″-12″ total for framing, you can easily determine the size you would like. Please feel free to contact us at paw-prints@telus.net or 250-498-4732 for additional information.

    Sincerely, Stephanie Salsnek
    Paw Prints Studio & Gallery – The Art of John Salsnek

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