How To Care For a Banksy Print
What Should Collectors Inspect Before Purchasing a Banksy Print?
Before investing in a Banksy print, it is vital to ensure its condition. Thoroughly examine both the front and back of the artwork, ideally under normal, raking, and transmitted light. If possible, inspect the work without its frame, as concealed edges can reveal much about its condition. Keep an eye out for planar distortions, stains, tears, tape remnants, uneven paper tone, discoloration, creases, cracked or flaking media, and scratches. It's worth noting that spray paint editions may be more vulnerable in the long run due to their less stable materials compared to screen prints.
How Can a Condition Report Be Beneficial?
To the untrained eye, a print may appear undamaged, making a condition report invaluable. A conservator, trained to identify and interpret potential issues, can provide this report. It details and discusses all the issues mentioned earlier and may include treatment and future care recommendations. If uncertainty persists, it is advisable to have the work assessed unframed by a conservator before purchase, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of the artwork's condition, frame, framing materials, and suitable display suggestions.
Why Is It Crucial to Conserve or Restore Your Banksy Print?
Beyond safeguarding your investment, proper conservation ensures that the artwork can be enjoyed by generations to come. Artworks possess aesthetic, political, and social significance, preserving which enables future generations to connect with the artists and their predecessors. While Banksy's headline-making acts, like shredding his own prints, may grab attention, replicating such actions is ill-advised.
Though navigating the world of art print conservation and restoration may seem daunting, assistance is readily available. Collectors should seek guidance from conservators, reputable art professionals, and framers regarding the best practices for caring, housing, and displaying artwork. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that some deterioration is inevitable due to the inherent tension between preserving paper art and exposing it to light and environmental conditions during display. A balance must always be struck between showcasing art and preserving it.
What Factors Should Be Considered When Displaying a Banksy Print at Home?
Selecting the perfect spot for a Banksy print, such as "Girl With Balloon" or "Love Rat," involves more than aesthetics. Consider the impact of sunlight and seasonal changes on the paper. Works on paper should be kept away from sources of light, heat, high humidity, and fluctuating humidity. Areas like kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, pool houses, and boats should be avoided, as they demand specific display solutions.
While UV-filtering glass can reduce harm from harmful wavelengths, it cannot prevent damage caused by visible light. Exposure to light is cumulative and permanent. Small measures, such as turning off lights and closing curtains when the display area is not in use, can make a significant difference.
How Should Banksy Prints Be Framed?
Window-mounting a Banksy print is discouraged. Experts recommend consulting with professionals to tailor a frame to the artwork. A well-designed frame complements and safeguards the artwork. Frames should be periodically inspected every 5–10 years to ensure they continue to provide adequate protection.
How Should a Banksy Print Be Stored When Not Displayed?
If you intend to store your Banksy print before framing and hanging it, take precautions to protect it. Store prints flat, in darkness, away from potentially acidic or unstable materials. Ideally, wrap them in acid-free glassine or tissue and house them in custom folders or boxes made from acid-free materials. It is advisable to consult a conservator like Foley Schalkx Conservation for guidance on suitable storage materials.
Can Damaged Prints Be Repaired?
Although collectors may worry when they notice damage, expert conservators like Roo and Maartje can often improve or stabilise condition issues. However, there are no guaranteed quick fixes, as the extent of improvement depends on the individual artwork's inherent qualities. Roo and Maartje emphasise preventive conservation as the best approach, underscoring the importance of correct framing, handling, display, and storage practices from the outset.
For more practical information on framing, restoring, or caring for your Banksy print, we can introduce you to our recommended conservators. Foley Schalkx Conservation is a private conservation studio offering a range of personalised services for collectors of modern and contemporary works of art on paper.