By Carolyn Edlund
Your work may be appealing on the surface, but what do you see when you flip it over?
Years ago in a fiber art class, my professor looked at a piece I had completed as an assignment. Then she turned it over, frowned and said, “The back of your work must be as finished as the front.”
She was right, and I learned a lesson. This applies to all art, even when the back of the work is not visible when the work is installed. The way you finish the back speaks to the quality and perceived value of your work, and can considerably enhance it.
What’s on the back of your work? If it’s two-dimensional, do you take advantage of that piece of real estate to attach a Certificate of Authenticity, information about the subject matter, yourself as the artist, or other information?
Hiding knots and stitches, nails or other signs of the construction of a piece of art is important, of course. Framers often cover evidence of their construction with brown paper. At the very least, this type of finishing should be done.
Have you considered using the back (or inside) of your work to house a hidden surprise? Perhaps a beautiful decorative lining in a pocket, or words inscribed on the bottom of a handmade ceramic pot. Many greeting card artists take the opportunity to use the space on the back of each card to share a quote, a small image or piece of humor.
Small touches in unexpected places add value to your work. Using available space on the back of your work to help tell your story can make the difference in closing the sale. Consistent use of unexpected touches can be an expression of your brand as an artist, even when used on the back or the inside.
How are you using available space on the back of your own work to finish and enhance the value of your own art?