& Limited Editions
As I’m out
and about in our community and visiting with collectors in our Paw
Prints Gallery, I love to hear ideas
suggestions and inquiries about what we do and how we do it.
I’d love to hear from you, too!
of February 2013, the questions or comments posted have come
from conversations or emails and will
anonymous at your request, feel free to comment directly on
this site, I look forward to hearing from you.)
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
giclée printer in BC… yup!
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!!!
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
(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.
To print or
not to print…. that IS the question….
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
John’s art but the framing is so much more expensive than the artwork…
it doesn’t seem right!
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
John’s Art free?
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
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
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.
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.
point.. jargon is annoying!
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?
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
Ann Ungaro says:
April 26, 2012 at 2:25 am
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). Would he be able to
paint a picture of me and the doggies?
April 30, 2012 at 1:44 am
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