When travelling with artwork on a tight budget it is not easy – but if you are seeking to expand the horizons of your art pieces by experiencing different cultures around the world, here are some helpful tips to help you along the way of your travels:
- Function small and light
Paint little, or make your art divide into several smaller components which you can fit in a bag. This makes traveling very straightforward. For example, when I took my work to an exhibition in Cuba, I attracted a Piece that enlarged to approximately 40″ x 60″ that was composed of different sections sewn onto a fabric which I could fold. (The whole thing fit into a state mailbox!) And if your artwork is unable to post back to you, consider art services which pack, wrap and send to your home without damaging your precious art.
This was a good experience, but I also have a bad one:
Last month I travelled to Prague with 12 paintings on canvas, in their wood supports. I got fancy and purchased the expensive ones, so they were HEAVY and hard to carry around. Choose lightweight wood supports and your trip will be a lot simpler! Or consider packing and crating services to deliver your goods safely home.
- Avoid using extra-large suitcases
Oversize suitcases are extremely expensive to check in the airplane (as well as cumbersome). Also remember that outside of the US people usually don’t possess super-sized cars, and taxis are tiny. I made this mistake once when I took 11 bits (that were approximately 18″ x 24″) into Puerto Rico. Luckily we could travel by van, because I do not know how I would have handled with these large suitcases. The smaller the better as it is easier to carry around on long journeys.
- Don’t pack your artwork in cardboard boxes
Airlines usually do not allow cardboard boxes for global travel. I did this once, with the same 18″ x 24″ frames, and nearly lost my flight and chance to open my art exhibit. Remember to check with airlines first what you can take on board your flight.
- Work flat
The flatter your art is, the better. Flat artwork means you might be able to fit everything into one portfolio, and that is really ideal! In 2010, my friend Raquel and I took our job on the street, so I bought folding easels (for rapid and easy screens) and created several paintings on flat canvas boards. It was such a terrific system that I did not even cover overweight or additional luggage on these flights.
- Check the airline’s rules for traveling with artwork
I didn’t think of this until last month, when I was trying to figure out how to shoot 12 paintings (which were 1.5″ thick) to Prague. In the long run, we assessed the suitcases and took the paintings carry-ons since the airline specified that you’re not to check art, and if you do, you need to sign a release form. I then decided to wrap the paintings with paper and put them face to face in a plastic bag, then in a large Costco bag to make sure they were extra safe. The two, 6-canvas packs each match perfectly in the overhead bin.
- Create a packing checklistIt is very important you understand exactly what you require, before you fly! I forgot to pack tape for Prague, and wrap the paintings at the interleaf newspapers for the flight back was not very enjoyable. They maintained unwrapping themselves.
Great luck and much success in your upcoming art travels with your precious artwork!