Have Art, Will Travel
We hear it every year at JordanCon.
"Oh, my god, I'd LOVE to own a print of that art, but I don't have any space in my luggage..."
"I'm driving (or flying) a long way and it will just get destroyed on my way home ..."
"I would love to look at that art every day, but I don't know how I'd frame it..."
"I don't want to buy it unless I can frame it. And framing is just so expensive...."
"I would love to buy some art, but I'm not really sure what I should be looking for..."
"It's beautiful, but I'm just not sure where I'd put it...."
"How would I know if I am getting a good deal...."
These are the sorts of questions that many people have when buying art, especially if the idea that they too can own unique, original art is a new one to them.
This series of blog posts is designed to help you solves the problems and answer these questions so that you too can begin building your own personal collection of art. Bringing art into your life is a sure-fire way to enliven your living space and bring you joy every day.
So let's get started! Our first topic:
How to travel with Art.
When traveling by air you have the snarly predicament of dealing with luggage restrictions (and possibly customs inspections). So first thing's first: make sure you've familiarized yourself with the particular rules and restrictions that will apply to your trip so you can ensure that you can bring all your JordanCon goodies home with you. Nobody likes being surprised with extra charges or unnecessary delays. Read through all the restrictions in regards to what you can carry and plan accordingly.
Option 1: Ship it Home
One option is to ship your loot home. The pros of that strategy are that you don't have to worry about carrying your art yourself. But the cons are that you will still need to make sure your art is packed securely before entrusting it to a shipping company and you will need to find one that is open when you need to come home. While insurance may cover damages should they occur, documenting a claim can be a hassle. Another con is that, depending on the item and its value, you might need to pay duty fees if you're travelling internationally.
There is a Fed-Ex Office, UPS Store, and USPS Post Office all within two miles of the JordanCon hotel; however, they may not be open on Sunday, so think about visiting them on Friday or Saturday to obtain packaging materials and/or pre-paid labels. USPS shipping rates are usually much cheaper than the other two options, especially internationally. UPS and Fed-Ex international rates are pretty expensive; however, USPS international shipping, while cheaper, can take between 2-3 weeks to arrive for standard First Class International Mail. So there's definitely a trade-off between cost and speed.
Option 2: Pack it like a Pro
If you've had your eye on a particular print, or you know your heart is already set on snagging something cool to adorn your walls, there are indeed ways to cut down on the possibility of damaging your treasures in transit.
PVC tube as rolled print storage: It's your regular black plastic plumbing tube, found at pretty much any hardware store. The wider, the better, but narrow will do (I recommend the wider 6," but 3" will do if you're a pro-star roller). Have it cut to the longest of your suitcase's interior dimensions and you've got a handy sleeve to protect those rolled prints!
Pros: Allows for prints larger than your suitcase's dimensions to be rolled up and kept safe. Multiple prints can even be rolled together, especially if you went for a wider diameter tube. May keep other breakable items straight and protected in the hard shell of PVC. Can be purchased at different lengths -- and depending on the store, they might even cut it to your desired length for you. Re-useable: You can store it in your suitcase until next con!
Cons: Best prepared in advance at home and brought to the convention. Takes up space in your luggage -- but if it's wide enough you can fill that tube with items (balled socks, or new/clean rolled tee-shirts) on your way to and from the convention to maximize space. There is a potential risk of putting ridges in your prints if you're not an adept roller of prints. PVC can be heavy, so be aware of the costs to fly with this. You also probably want to purchase some PVC caps to keep the art from coming out during transport.
Foam core or cardboard as flat storage: Also relatively inexpensive, you can cut a piece of foam core (or cardboard) to reflect the interior dimensions of your suitcase, and then tuck your prints behind it on the bottom of your bag, and away from the rest of your things to keep them safe and unbent.
The brilliance of using cardboard flat storage is that you can recycle any large-ish piece of cardboard to suit your needs (providing your print isn't bigger than your suitcase). You have some options for snagging some free cardboard, too. Sometimes you can sweet talk a vendor into parting with something they don't need, or you can ask the hotel staff (the front desk, the bar, maybe the restaurant) if they have any cardboard they're disposing of from deliveries, etc (NOTE: JordanCon officially recommends asking before raiding recycling bins). There's also the option of asking at a restaurant off the hotel property (though this is contingent on whether you venture elsewhere for food).
Pros: Lightweight. Ideal for originals you don’t want to fold or roll. Can layer multiple prints without damage. Easy to cut to size (scissors or utility knife should do). Re-useable: store it in your suitcase until next con!
Cons: Restricts print size to suitcase dimensions. Depending on type of suitcase, you may have an extendable handle in the way of achieving complete flatness against the bottom of the suitcase. Cardboard and foam core will bend under enough force, so a large print's corners may get damaged if the suitcase is soft-sided or takes a lot of abuse enroute.
Cardboard tubes: Aradani Studios will have cardboard tubes for sale at their booth in the Dealer Hall. They are 3 inch diameter tubes that are 26 inches in length. These work well for prints up to 24”x36” (or really anything that is under 24 inches wide). They will be available for $5 and include caps for the ends.
Pros: Lightweight and reasonably secure. Easily obtained at con for a reasonable fee.
Cons: Even good quality cardboard can get bent or warped if subjected to enough abuse. You may want to carry this with you, rather than putting it in your luggage.
Carefully Laid Plans and all That
Non-prints: What if you snag something super cool that isn't a print? Wrap, wrap, wrap. Never underestimate the power of using laundry or other packed items as cushioning for art. For pottery or shaped leatherwork, stuff the interior with laundry for support and build outward, wrapping it securely. Ensure it's placed in the centre of your suitcase and that items are packed around it securely. Alternative: you can always put items you're worried about in your carry-on instead of your checked baggage (providing they're allowed according to carry-on baggage rules).
Too much of a good thing
And finally, what can you do if you didn't plan in advance at all. This is our favorite scenario, the "I didn't know there'd be such amazeballs stuff! I didn't plan to bring home prints! What do I do now?! HAAAALLLP!!!!" scenario.
First of all, don't panic! It's okay if you didn't plan in advance. Don't worry. With a bit of creativity, you can get those goodies home safe and sound. You've got this!