Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Print Options Through Fine Art America

I've been selling fine art prints through Fine Art America for several years now, and I've been very happy with the results.  My customers have been happy as well, as evidenced by the many collectors who have come back to order more prints to add to their collection.

Fine Art America is a P.O.D., or Print-On-Demand service, which allows artists to make a large selection of high-quality prints available to buyers with basically no up-front costs to the artist.  This is a big deal, considering that the traditional method of making a print available involved ordering a large print run (generally no fewer than 100), which not only has to be paid for up-front (which can cost thousands of dollars -and this is for a single image), but also have to be properly stored, sold, properly packaged and shipped to customers.

P.O.D. services take care of all of that.  The artist simply creates a high-quality digital file of their artwork and uploads it to the P.O.D. website, and they take care of fulfilling the order - printing each customized print to order, handling the sale and packing and shipping to the customer.

This has revolutionized the art world and made it possible for many more artists to make much more of their work available to many more people at very affordable prices.

When I first started researching P.O.D. services several years ago, I found most of them to be of inferior quality when it came to wall art.  Sites like CafePress, Zazzle and RedBubble offer a wider range of products to stick your imagery on - everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs to throw pillows - but when it came to wall art, the printing and paper options were not up to the standards I wanted for my work.

Then I found Fine Art America, which specializes in - well, fine art.  When I ordered some sample prints, I was very impressed.  The image and paper quality were far superior - comparable to what you'd expect from an art gallery, and they had fine art finishing options which resulted in beautiful museum-quality art that even the most discerning art collector would proudly display in their home.

And compared to what you'd pay in a typical art gallery, the prices can’t be beat.  F.A.A.'s business structure eliminates many of the operating costs of a brick-n-mortar gallery, and it passes those savings on to both the artists and the collectors.  Everyone wins!

F.A.A. uses giclee (pronounced "zhee-KLAY") technology to create their prints. This is a form of inkjet printing that uses archival inks on acid-free papers designed to last a lifetime without fading or discoloration.  F.A.A. also offers prints on other materials such as canvas, acrylic and aluminum, each of which add their own texture and feel to the print, and come ready-to-hang, no framing required.  These options are great for folks on a budget, since framing can add quite a bit to the final cost.

These are also perfect for gifts.  I've heard many tales of folks getting unframed paper prints as gifts, and being thrilled with the artwork but frustrated with having to find the time and funds to take it to a frame shop to get it framed before it can be displayed and enjoyed.  Because matting and framing preferences can be influenced by many factors - personal style, home décor motifs, room color schemes, etc., I find that offering a ready-to-hang piece of artwork that doesn't require a frame to be a perfect solution.

But if you do want your print matted and framed, F.A.A. offers that as well.  Using their ordering interface, you can try various combinations of print size, mat width and color and frame molding options to find exactly the right presentation to enhance the artwork and suit your decor.
I’m working on a walk-through tutorial on how to order these options, but in the meantime, here are some short videos from F.A.A. that give a basic overview of their different print options.

In addition to F.A.A.’s great quality and print options, they have several features that make them rise above the competition.
One of these is that they will not allow artists to upload inferior digital images.  If the art file does not meet their image quality standards, the artist is instructed to improve the image resolution, or it will limit the size of the prints that are made available. This means that you won’t find blurry or pixilated images that result from enlarging a low-quality digital image on F.A.A. They are serious about offering professional, gallery-level prints. 

Another feature is the Full-Resolution Preview, which allows the buyer to zoom in on a section of the artwork to see the details of the image at 100%.  By keeping the main preview image low-resolution and breaking it into smaller pieces, they prevent “art pirates” from downloading the high-quality art files and using them for their own nefarious purposes.  Art piracy of this kind is a huge problem for artists selling online, so I appreciate F.A.A.’s commitment to protecting their artist’s images. 

They also offer a fantastic100% money back guarantee on all of their products, and their website and service is generally considered the best P.O.D. option for fine artists available today.

I recommend Fine Art America for both artists looking for a way to sell directly to buyers, and to buyers seeking quality fine art for their homes.

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