To own and enjoy art, it is not necessary to perform the following tasks. However, for collectors who are concerned about the preservation of their prized 3D artwork, the following includes recommendations on basic care and handling. These basic tips are just a starting point to help preserve and allow your new artwork to age gracefully thus retaining its value.
Many seasoned and distinguished collectors have their own unique and advanced methods of preserving their prized art collections. These methods range from the low budget basics to the high financial investments resulting in the absolute archival environment. As a collector at any level, it is totally up to you to choose your level of care, handling and preservation to the level that is comfortable and still enjoyable for you. It is good to be aware of the following information, but do not become obsessed with it. Collecting art should be for the purpose of pure enjoyment, enjoy it for you.
The following information is intended as a basic guideline for the care and handling of the sculptural work by John Paul Goodyear. This information may not necessarily apply to other forms of wood art and is especially not intended for other forms of fine art. It is recommended that a collector contact the artist and or gallery of purchase for information that is specific to a piece of art.
When handling artwork with fine and highly raised detail, it is always a good practice to use latex or nitrile surgical gloves that fit snugly to prevent slippage and of course they must be powder free. Dispose of gloves after each installation session to maintain a clean touch. It is not recommended to use the traditional white Cotton or Nylon handling gloves for these sculptures due to the risk that the knit of the gloves may hook and possibly tear the fine textural detail.
For those who are not receptive to wearing gloves, it is highly recommended that hands are washed thoroughly immediately before to remove the natural oils, acids, salts and other contaminants that may exist on the fingers. These contaminants may stain the surface over time or require the unnecessary removal of fingerprints, thus increasing the risk of surface damage.
When moving larger works, always hold with your strongest hand at the bottom and the supporting hand against the side for balance. Have an assistant for any additional tasks such as attaching the hanging wire to the wall hook. Be aware of your surroundings when moving artwork. Avoid moving through tight cluttered spaces where there is a risk of tripping or actually striking your prized art. Remember, most 3D works including wall sculptures are not housed within a frame that can protect the outer edges; therefore, a strike is guaranteed damage.
Also, be aware of other art damaging hazards when handling art such as fingernails that can scratch, jewelry as in rings and watches that can nick and also scratch, and of course, bracelets and necklaces that can hook corners and any raised detail.
In today's modern world, the selection of hanging hardware that is available for wall-mounted work is quite extensive with respect to style and structural integrity. When choosing hanging hardware, always choose good quality hardware that has the required load rating needed. Always avoid using cheap, no name hardware assortments especially those that do not indicate a load rating.
The ability to install a mechanical fastener into a structural support such as a wall stud is always a favored option. However, if this option is not available due to the desired placement of the artwork, choose the correct hardware that is designed specifically for that wall surface material.
Quality hanging hardware is available at most fine art suppliers and reputable building supply centers.
On a regular basis gently remove dust using either compressed air or good quality soft bristle brushes. Compressed air is the most preferred option considering that there is virtually no contact with the surface of the artwork. Always use moisture free and ozone friendly products that are made specifically for sensitive dust removal. Cans of compressed air are available at most fine art and photo supply shops and electronics centers. Good quality soft bristle brushes such as professional artist brushes or high-end make-up brushes made only of natural hair such as badger or sable is the alternative to compressed air, however a very gentle touch is recommended. Purchase brush sizes appropriate for the application. Large brushes are best suited for large smooth surfaces while smaller pointed brushes may be required to access deep and narrow sculptural detail. Always start at the top and work your way down.
Caution: Do not use feather dusters, cleaning cloths, vacuum brushes or any other cleaning or dusting tools or devises other than the above mentioned.
For those who are really concerned about the long-term preservation of their prized collection, it is important to know your enemies with regards to art. While many modern homes today are more fine art friendly than previously, there are still several factors to be aware off. Despite the fact that the materials used in contemporary fine art are chosen and designed to be as archival and long lasting as possible, they are still at some degree prone to damage if not placed in the proper environment. The following are the most common enemies of most objects and surfaces that exist in many homes, offices and other living spaces, and of course they are also enemies of art.
Undeniably the leading cause of damage to contemporary art are people themselves. Accidents during handling, improper installation and storage, and people that are not paying attention to their surroundings are the primary threats to art. Whether you are a collector, a member of gallery staff, a spectator or just someone in the presence of art, always be aware of your actions.
Other than the risk from people, UV light is the greatest enemy to most man made objects and surfaces, including art. Natural light, whether direct exposure or reflected off snow, water or glass is the main source of UV light. Surprisingly to many people, florescent lighting, including compact florescent lamps, are also considerable producers of UV light followed by incandescent lighting, which produces much lower levels.
A growing trend among many collectors and galleries is the installation of UV blocking films on windows, as well as the use of LED and fibre-optic lighting that produces extremely low and insignificant levels of UV light.
Another contributor to the deterioration of art is airborne contaminants such as fat and oil molecules and smoke. Cooking food, especially with deep fryers, frying pans and the steaming of certain foods, create airborne fat and oil molecules that cling to all surfaces, including artwork that may cause staining as well as attracting small insects. Smoke created by candles and fireplaces as well as tobacco smoke can create a tar film that may contain damaging chemicals and thus the unnecessary need for cleaning.
Temperature and Humidity
Controlling temperature and humidity in a space that is hosting art of any kind is a subject that all collectors should be aware off, especially those living in climates of extreme changes in temperature and humidity.
For those who do not have climate control in the space that is hosting art, a simple solution is to maintain the temperature within a 59-68 °F (15-20 °C) range with less than a 20% variance in relative humidity within 24-hour periods. This will minimize the dimensional change in art materials caused by the expanding and contracting due to temperature and especially humidity changes. Temperature and humidity are closely associated with each other, which is why it is important to monitor and control both, especially humidity. Humidity is the dominant force of dimensional change in wood and other fine art material that in some cases is the cause of warping and splitting.
Here are some basic tips regarding temperature and humidity.
- The ideal temperature for most art is 55-65 °F (13-18 °C). However, 65-75 °F (18-24 °C) is acceptable with humidity of 40 to 55 percent.
- Avoid placing or hanging art near or above heat sources, windows and doors that are opened on a regular basis, and in high humid areas such as bathrooms and saunas.
- After receiving art from a different region or location it is a good practice to allow the art to remain in the crate or packaging for up to 48 hours. This will allow the material to acclimate to change in temperature and humidity of its new environment.