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OVER A QUARTER CENTURY OF DEDICATION TO PROTECTING, PRESERVING AND PROMOTING EROTIC ART.
Care and Preservation of Works of Art on Paper
By Gary Felgemaker
Now that you have purchased that artwork take care of it! You have a responsibility to the artist and yourself let alone thinking about resale value.
The greatest damage to artwork is caused by sunlight. Drawings with watercolor, sketches in felt pen, even photographs, will substantially fade if exposed to strong sunlight. Sunlight will turn India ink drawings brown over time. Digital photographs, even when printed on Epson paper and laser color prints will, within three to five years, lose the color and value.
The simple solution is to use `UV' Plexiglas instead of regular picture glass. `UV' Plexiglas will filter out the sun's harmful rays and will permanently protect the work. The Plexiglas does not look any different than picture glass, does not distort or tint the artwork and is not much different in cost than regular glass. `UV' Plexiglas is definitely worth it!
The second threat to works of art on paper is the framing. Many framers will dry mount or glue your artwork onto a backing to keep it flat. Aside from the fact that this will reduce the value of the artwork, it places the work in jeopardy. Paper expands and contracts with the temperature changes. If the work is mounted, it will expand and contract at a different rate that the backing; over time, this results in the artwork buckling and even splitting.
When you take your artwork to your framer, ask for a museum mount. A museum frame package consists first of a window mat. The mat should have three to four inch wide margins to display the artwork and should be of acid free 100% rag board. Acid free board was discovered by the Metropolitan Museum of New York nearly forty years ago. Never use paper mat board. This board, while cheaper, is very acid and will burn and discolor your artwork within a ten-year period. You have probably seen old newspapers that have turned orange and became very brittle. That was the result of the acid content of the newsprint. The window mat keeps the artwork away from the glass and prevents transfer of the image onto the glass (this is particularly the case with felt pen drawings and works sprayed with fixative).
The artwork should be hung with linen tape onto a 4-ply acid free backing board so that the work can expand and contract freely. Masking or other adhesive tapes should never be utilized because the adhesive will penetrate the paper. The backing board in turn is backed with neutral ph foam core board and then the entire package put into the frame. If your work is museum framed, it will be protected for 30-40 years.
If your artwork is damaged, take it to a professional; you'll be surprised what can be done. Stains and acid burns can be bleached out, paper can be cleaned, most backings can be removed and tears can be repaired. Most artists utilize good quality paper, but if the paper has an acid content or feels brittle, it can be deacidified. And artist's mistakes can be corrected.
Recently, I worked on a graphite portrait of a hot man by Tom of Finland. It seems that after Tom had completed the sketch, he sprayed the artwork with fixative without testing the spray first. The fixative shot out in big globs like... like... a slave cuming after being kept in a chastity device for weeks while being stimulated with an anal-electro device that... ah, but I digress... anyway it turned the sketch into a very crude messy drawing, which was never displayed. Utilizing solvents, the fixative was removed and the pencil drawing was restored to its original condition. But this type of work is very time consuming and very expensive. It is always better to take good care of your artwork at the onset.
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“In those days, a gay man was made to feel nothing but shame about his feelings and his sexuality. I wanted my drawings to counteract that, to show gay men being happy and positive about who they were. Oh, I didn’t sit down to think this all out carefully. But I knew — right from the start — that my men were going to be proud and happy men!" — Tom of Finland