Sprung Backwards: Ten Weeks to Go

Already Spring?

Ten weeks now remain until the Sebastopol Center for the Arts-organized Art at the Source 2024. In the days since the last post, a number of tools have been added, books reviewed and designs thrown out, rooms and doors have been measured, gallery ID numbers distributed (16B!), data storage and analytics have been changed, ads were designed, print budgets budgeted, and a picture I’d loved but nearly forgotten has been recovered and is sure to make an appearance.

Previous post in this series, 5 March: Sonoma Sources

Books

The work to be shown for sale at A.a.t.S. will always have a book-related context. Most of the books – at least the final editions for the event – still need to be printed in numbers larger than two or three.

My expectation is that at least four weeks is required to reliably return anything from the printer, meaning that book redesigns need to be completed by the first of May – only six weeks from now. But:

While most books have been test-printed, some… have not, and the previous tests revealed that the design of one was flawed. This is a really pressing concern: if there’s a four-week turnaround, it means that I really only have remaining time for one more test print before sending the final orders in. That test – for three designs – needs to be ready not in six weeks, but two.

Prints and Print Displays

Here comes another math part.

Visitors to open studio events like AatS can typically browse through print racks. Prints in such racks need to be packaged with enough support to survive careless treatment, which means bagged matte boards and mattes, at least for the prints on the print racks.

A good matte at bulk rate in the sizes I would use is $4-9 a pop.

Each editioned print needs to be tracked in a spreadsheet and aligned with a small copy of the book from which it’s selected, which will in turn operate as a certificate of authenticity – both the book and the print are numbered and signed together. The books cost a bit more than a matte.

A quick review of the arithmetic of this scheme makes it apparent that for a sixty-page book like Forgotten Signs, where each print is to be available in editions of three small and one large, that those 240 prints and 240 booklets add up in cost quickly: my back-of-the-test-print quick calculation came to over $3K just in materials, un-matted and unbagged, if everything for that one project, out of several, is completely packaged and available on the first day of AatS.

So: they won’t be. Instead there will be only a few of the small and large prints available for each book, and only a sampler for the books too – enough to package with the prints that are present.

If anything in particular sells-through the supply on-hand, I can stay up late printing more for the next day’s events. If there’s a backlog on the books, they can can be re-ordered and shipped. If a book runs out during the show for a specific edition of a specific print, that lucky buyer will also receive a secondary signed edition-certificate card to take while awaiting their book to be shipped.

Or no one will like them and it won’t matter.

The small and large prints I describe will usually be in the 8x10 and 16x20 range – depending on the specific format (rectangular or square). Having only two sizes simplifies pricing and handling.

There are also a small handful of much larger metal prints, ranging in size up to 48 inches. These are special cases.

Preparing bagged mattes for all of the paper prints is likewise a daunting task and a large consumer of space, so instead there will be matted prints in racks but also Printfile folios with more pictures.

A video feed of some images will be present in the studio, each image displayed with an index number overlaid for ordering or lookup in the Printfiles. I’ve seen people stop what they’re doing and watch this same video feed for a long while. Multiple complete loops. Will providing this extra context for the pictures drive sales, or just keep people busy watching? We’ll find out!

(Another task… Re-recording the video, to add the indexing. And before that: the indexing.)

The metal prints can’t fit in a Printfile or a rack and will be hung. To avoid trashing my host’s walls I’ve dug up some ProPanel supports – I thought I might need two or three, but for the cost of those three I’ve actually found myself in possesion of ten panels, plus all the corner hardware, pedestal, etc. Thirty-three feet of seven-foot panel wall, if all were deployed. I’ll use four.

Another special print is needed, by early May, for the opening reception at the SebArts Gallery on May 11th. The recommended presentation size is too small for the metal prints, yet larger than my other studio sizes. A puzzle. I may present a more-special-than-special print that includes a book on the front. This needs more thought, but needs to get sorted quickly. If book pages are included, that book must be in my hand by the first week of May.

The Space: Studio 16B, 583 Harrison Street, Sebastopol

More or Less

Using the panels in an “L” shape this way leaves the space open toward the back, not obscuring Barbara’s jewelry studio – it also provides an opportunity to place large images close to the entry.

The monitor placement is the best corner to be facing away from any window. The summer light should be fantastic, as the studio has skylights and the patio is very lovely.

Catalog and Website

I chose to include a small extra ad in the catalog, aside from the basic listing. The ad contains a QR code, with the thought that people with more curiosity than gasoline might visit the online store in addition to driving to Sebastopol.

Changes to botzilla.com have been a challenge, in terms of attention. Either I must refactor the existing botzilla material to a different system like Ghost, or adapt botzilla’s existing system to accomodate sales and newsletter integrations. The latter seems the larger task, but neither is small – and I need the revised system to continue to serve email.

Just this morning I realized that the AatS website links people not to my dedicated AatS page but to botzilla.com’s front page. I’ll need to see if that can be improved, probably both at the source and also a modification for the front page here.

Three-Inch (printed) Catalog Ad

Signage

TBD: something more than the familiar yellow AatS sign might be warranted.

If I can get the time in for it, I’ll also be designing a promo card that highlights the books and images, to be left in art and book spaces around Sonoma and maybe neighboring counties.

Live Studio Activities

It’s tempting to deploy my AxiDraw to be drawing on-site during the event, but it’s not a high priority and there’s really not space for it. With that in mind, it’s unlikely that I’ll show any of those mechanical drawings.

It’s also a stretch to deploy my outdoor portable studio in part of the patio – fun but… maybe too much to manage both the inside and outside, and an interrupted portrait session is never a good one.

I have other ideas for unique live activities that need some testing. I know that sounds like a tease but I need to test, and if they work out, I’ll report them here. Or they’ll vaporize.

Pricing and Editions

More arithmetic.

As mentioned briefly, there will be two basic sizes of print available during AatS. Each print is made be myself, each will contain a signed and matched-edition book showing the context of the work. These book editions will be available no other way except by purchase with a print.

All prints of the same size will have the same price, except one specific print.

Misc

After some weeks of bureaucratic-delay anxiety, my CA tax ID came through. I’ve already used it.

Did I mention I’m taking a week off? Hmm, make that nine weeks.

Back to sweating over hot pixels in InDesign…

Next link in this series: 9 April: Sailing: Eight Weeks to Go, or Maybe Two

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