Since I had to ship a very large painting to the Southern Watercolor Society show recently I thought I would do a follow-up post on my shipping artwork series. Artist Margret Mcdermott was kind to make some comments recently on my post “Shipping Artwork FedEx Ground vs. UPS: What I've learned,” with some of her recent experiences. Since I have been shipping artwork to shows for about three years now, the consensus among artists is that although we go to great lengths to try to do our research and protect our art as much as we can in the shipping process. It is all essentially a crap shoot if we were ever to file a claim. The kicker will be what we have determined the “declared value” to be. Shipping companies won’t just take our word for it. There attitude is, we are the artist, we could put any price on it we want! I have been told by one shipping company they would take the word of an appraiser though. I don’t know of anyone that sends painting to shows that hires an appraiser to appraise their paintings! I have heard of artists having to jump through hoops in the process of filing a claim for damages and the best we can hope for is they would accept documentation of your sales or sales records from your galleries as proof of the value of your work.
The best strategy is to pack your work as best as possible and hope for the best. If anyone out there has filed a claim for damaged artwork. Please share your experience here in the comments section!
But I have digressed, I wanted to write a little bit about shipping a large painting! In my article, Shipping Large Paintings: What I’ve Learned, I went into detail about how to calculate whether your box is oversized. Instead of turning my large Air Float box into a workbench, which I had threatened to do, I did use it again to ship my painting to the Southern Watercolor Society Exhibition. I bit the bullet and just got over the fact that my painting is big and yes I was going to have to pay extra to get it there. This time the box was sent using FedEx vs. UPS. I just wanted to share that the charge for the box being oversizedwas less with FedEx than the UPS oversize charge the first time I used the box.
Whenever I send a painting to a show I always check the prices with FedEx and UPS in the estimate calculator, which is so easy to do if you have an account you can save all the address information so you only have to enter it once. If you are shipping work to shows I highly advise setting up an account with both companies! It’s free, you can schedule pick ups and you don’t always have to rely on the UPS store. In this case with my oversize box it was more economical for me to go FedEx. Always try your own dimensions with both to see what works best for you! Please feel free to share in the comments any knowledge you have had with shipping so that others can learn and benefit from our experiences!