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Protecting your investment in one of a kind art

Protecting your investment

Your investment in an original piece of art makes choosing protection important for several reasons. While your artist or design consultant will take care to work with products such as paint with a long life and drawing materials such as paper of archival quality, the environment often produces hazards to the vibrancy of colors and the durability of certain types of art is dependent upon its care over time. Art can offer lifetime enjoyment and unique inheritance for your heirs if you choose some simple ways to safeguard your art at the time of purchase.  The protection of murals is different from that required for framed work or sculpture. Each type of work is susceptible to individual hazards for which there are specifically designed solutions. Your design consultant will assess the visible hazards at the time of your consultation and ask questions to determine whether other problems are likely to arise over the life of the work.

Hazards to both mural and framed works include fading from exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays via direct sunlight through windows and harsh lighting. This particular hazard generally does not affect sculpture made of certain materials, while other works will be as affected as a drawing or painting. To determine the strength of sun and interior lighting, factors like length of exposure and heat generated will help. The solution for all types of light affected fading involves ultraviolet blocking sealants, glass or plexi-glass.

Kids, pets, food, airborne particulates and moisture all raise the need for ease of cleaning. In the case of art that is directly on a wall or a freestanding sculpture, the solution is a durable, easy to clean sealant applied to the painting after completion. For framed works, glass or plexi-glass provides a washable barrier between the art and the environment. Both glass and plexi-glass can be selected for a variety of additional hazards such as non-glare where lighting is likely to be reflected and ultraviolet-protective where sun is present. Glass is scratch proof and inflexible, with a durable washable surface.  Plexi-glass, while susceptible to some surface scratching, offers additional resistance to shattering in comparison to glass and is ideal for providing safety in spaces where children play.

In spaces like recreation rooms and outdoor applications, damage control is necessary. Sealants come in a variety of densities offering additional durability to minimize dings, scratches and weather related peeling, fading or flaking. The application of painted work to building exteriors also requires certain conditions to prevent premature aging or decay of the art work. For example, outdoor work should be completed during the warmer months of the year, when the wall or substrate is clean and dry. Paint should be allowed to dry fully before a finish is applied and several coats of sealant may be needed. All outdoor applications should be placed on surfaces that are sound, without dryrot in the case of wood, and without pitting, chalking or cracking in the case of painted surfaces, stone, brick and cement. 

Choosing the right protective finish for your project will be a collaborative effort between you and your designer. The designer will use her expertise to suggest the right options based on the clear information you share about your home, business or outdoor space’s ongoing use, traffic, weather conditions, lighting and the people, animals and activities that inhabit it.


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