Have I waded out toooo deep .....Cruise Art !!!


True Grumbler
Jan 11, 2003
Pensacola Florida
Firstly, thanks once again to all the Grumble guys/gals for all the wisdom you have passed on...As a Newbie to the world of framing I have learned a lot from the Grumble...but I think that I may be just a wee bit over my head on this one......A friend of mine just returned from a "Cruise"...and guess what she returned with ( No Tom, not an STD !!! ) ...Yep, "Cruise Art"....She bought an arm load of "Tarkays"...She is so happy with the treasures she purchased...I said nothing, I had read various articles on and off Grumble..so, me not being the one to burst bubbles I just nodded and ooooood and ahhhhhhhd...but I will say that the colors are beautiful (The glass is half full)...The point is, most of these prints are smaller sizes 16x20ish ...but she brought back one that is the size of a sheet of plywood !!! The print its self is almost 32x40 !!! I almost told her to just take it home and make a wall mural out it !!! All these prints were "Shipped" to her in a tube....They are all printed on super heavy stock, and looked like they had been rolled up for maybe..oh... 20 years or so !!! How in the world will I ever flatten this monster out ??? Mount it ??? I think if I ever got it unrolled and and let go of it, it could really hurt someone !!! Ole wise ones...please help me through this one...And yes, I did think about simply referring her to a much more experienced framer, but I could possibly loose all the work rather than just the one piece...So, that said....throw me a life preserver, I am drowning in "Cruise Art"....
J. Michael
Just up the road from "Framerguy"...and by the way Tom, that ringing is not in your head...it's your phone !!! :confused:
J. Michael,
Just a footnote: I've been on these cruises and did buy a couple pieces of their art - more so to test their "system" than to acquire the art. When it came time to add up all their hidden charges and pay their big bill, we had to discuss shipping. I asked that it be shipped flat and they were astounded at such a request. Long story short, they would not do it!

From that experience and the experience of seeing what rolling does to art, I have made it a mission to add to my education circuit with customers that, if they ever have worthy artwork shipped to insist on flat....and if the company can't honor that, then I'd question the value that the company places on their product line.

You can search this topic out (click on search) - it's been discussed a lot.

Good luck!!
J. Michael,
Just a footnote: I've been on these cruises and did buy a couple pieces of their art - more so to test their "system" than to acquire the art. When it came time to add up all their hidden charges and pay their big bill, we had to discuss shipping. I asked that it be shipped flat and they were astounded at such a request. Long story short, they would not do it!

From that experience and the experience of seeing what rolling does to art, I have made it a mission to add to my education circuit with customers that, if they ever have worthy artwork shipped to insist on flat....and if the company can't honor that, then I'd question the value that the company places on their product line.

You can search this topic out (click on search) - it's been discussed a lot.

Good luck!!
J Michael,

One thing that is very apparent with the Grumble is Framers helping Framers. I've found this to be true outside the Grumble as well. If you know a more experianced framer in your area, go to them and ask for help on part if not the whole piece. Do what you feel comfortable doing and farm out the rest.

Good Luck
There is something that I left out in my original post...I really did not know exactly how to approach the topic, but have been wanting to ask for a while...And then I was reading Grumble a week or so ago and a few of you guys/gals were having a heated discussion about "Business Ethics" and I thought I would present this scenario...So...I ask all of you, the Seasoned Pros, the Pros and all the Newbies.....If a friend of yours such as mine came into "Your" shop, a person you cared about in and out of your shop as a friend (Just a Friend ).... and one whom you knew to be a true novice at investing in any form of "Art" and brought you all this "Cruise Art" and put their faith in you as their friend to frame their new "Art Investment (???)" and you knew exactly what had happened to she/he and knew that a lot of people had "Gotten Their Money Back" from these Art Scam Pirates, and live happily ever after... and also sort of figured in the back of your mind/heart that some where down the road "Your" friend was going to find out that she had "Got taken for a ride on the high seas !!!" And then she in turn ask you why you did not inform her as her friend (since "you" are the Pro) that she had be shanghied (sp)....what would you tell them ???...That you figured it was none of your business ? That you didn't want to pop her bubble ??? Or....
That you just needed the business ???
The reason I propose these questions is because of quote I heard more than once as a child...
" Having no conscience, is worse than having no money ". ....Gladys Gautney....
She was my Grandmother........
J. Michael
The 1969 Alabama Speling Bee Champeeun
I often tell friends and others that they should buy art because they like it. That is to say because they enjoy veiwing the image, looking at the sculpture, or listening to the music. If at some point in time in the future the art gains added value and they sell it for more than they paid for it that is a nice bonus.
Mind your business

32x40 is not large

Take it to Framerguy

I agree with Bob, buy art for your enjoyment. If it goes up in value, great!!! So as far as your friend goes, help her frame the art so that she can enjoy it. It is also a nice reminder of the fun they had on the cruise. From what I have heard, the cruise lines make a big deal out of the buying of the art and it becomes a part of the "experience".
Thanks Grumblers....and now...how would you mount this baby ? I do not have any type of press machine...Could I get by with attempting to flatten it out with anything less...Speaking of "Less"....the image is about 32x40 the entire thing is huge.... and yes I have tried to call "Framerguy" for a week or so..and I have emailed him ...I haven't heard from him in a while...I just hope all is well.....
J. Michael
I may regret this, but I'm going to have to agree with Less (more or less). Even the part about getting Tom to fire up his drymount press.

If it's a question of aesthetics, it isn't our job as framers to point out that customers paid more for their art than we think they should have.

Twice I've had to tell customers that their art was fake. One was an '18th Century etching' that had been reproduced on a dot matrix printer; the other was an 'antique lithograph' with the month of August printed on the back.

Both times the customers were disappointed but decided to go ahead with the framing because they liked the images.

The lady with the cruise art likes the pictures and they are souvenirs of her vacation. That's worth framing.

Lets forget the source of this "art". We get artwork coming through our doors all the time that has been rolled. Getting them flat is no big deal. Place them in a foam core folder, tape the edges shut, then let the paper relax in the folder for a couple of weeks. When you take them out to do the job, they will lay pretty darn flat. You can flatten them more by putting them in a slightly warm vacuum mount press. That step is usually not necessary.

The size you seem concerned about is not large at all by todays standards. All you need is 40"X 60" mat board and a 60" cutter. Just frame it like any other picture, it will go just fine for you.

If you don't have a mat cutter that will handle this size, you had better look into getting one. Over size mats are a common item in just about all custom framing shops.

Did I miss something? I may have....long day. Is this 'print' signed? Numbered? A seriograph?

Having been to those art auctions, and having just framed a few for a customer, what I've seen is quality and a certificate of authenticity generally accompanies it. They may be overpriced, but not certain they are fakes. One of the pieces, I contacted the artists and substantiated the piece.

My point is, are you really considering drymounting it? No way out?
Keep those cards and letters coming in fellow Grumblers !!! Thanks for all the Wisdom/advice/help...I have decided that, as a lot of you have stated, the art, whatever it is, is part of "Her" cruise, and her memories....these are serilithographs/seriolithographs (SP?)They are "Plate Signed" and numbered...I will try to simply place the piece between some foam core board and see if it lays down..My main concern was getting the print to the point that I could frame it without fear of it starting to buckle or something in the future....If it does not, I will direct her to someone who is better equiped to handle this type thing....Now all you guys/gals see how us rookies get when a really large framing job comes in...Can you folks remember your first time ? And you can answer that anyway you like !!!
J. Michael
Hey there J. Michael,

I just got back from an "assignment" that I cannot discuss in public for security reasons but I can say that it involved some hanging chad and the future of one of the Grumblers on this forum.

I can flatten that print for you. I can drymount that print for you if that is what your customer wants. I have everything you need here in the shop except the oversized matboards. I don't stock those but you can get them delivered by LJ either at your shop or here.

Why don't you call me at work tomorrow (I PROMISE I'll answer the phone) and we'll discuss more about what your choices are for this piece.


P.S. I cruised right by your exit yesterday coming back from the VA in Biloxi but it was late and I didn't have time to stop. Sorry.
Hinge - NOT dry mount

flatten, no problem - read JRB

Less has been known to fire up
his iron on low-self esteem

acid-free mat

acid-free mounting board

U.V. glass or plexi
Let's look at this seriously, folks. Chances are slim to none that this lady came back from a cruise with an armload of Tarkays!! Maybe an armload of "Turkays" but not authentic Tarkays, nada. If she actually DID buy some authentic Tarkays they wouldn't have a "plate Signature" on them and they would NOT have been sold in International waters either!! There is a good reason that these were offered for sale off the mainland of the US. Tarkay has been copied so many times that their legal team has gone through numerous successful lawsuits in an attempt to stem the "ripoffs" of this style of artwork. So lets hang up the archival bible for a bit and get down to what poor J. Michael should do to keep his customer.

This cruise junk (unless I see something that isn't apparent in these posts when/if you bring them around) can be easilty flattened, drymounted, and matted using oversized foamcore and matboards and 1 sheet of 36x48 glass, period. If you are worried about your customer wanting to archivally preserve these "gems" for her greatgrand kids, then explain the options to her and let her make the final decision. Have her sign a simple authorization to do the work and go from there.

I think the term "seriolithograph" has some of you misinformed as to the value of this art. You can print a NASCAR race poster in "seriolithograph" form if you want to pay for the extra treatments. It is an identifying tag for a printing procedure, not a title of worth. And I would question that procedure when it may have been done in some third world country to begin with. J. Michael hasn't said where these fakes were printed or through which art distributor they are available. Many of you are jumping to conclusions before you have all the details and, before you climb my tree about this post, that is EXACTLY what I did in this post! And I did it on purpose to make a point. Less, advocating using nothing but archival methods on this particular print without even knowing if it is a genuine Tarkay. Now Maybe he has followed the various lawsuits of the Tarkay group and is aware of the interest in Tarkay's style of painting "street scenes". But, he should also be aware of the value of a Tarkay print and know that you aren't going to come back from a 5 day cruise in the Gulf with an "armload" of these valuable prints. So, what's the big whoop with using all the archival stuff to mount some essentially souvenir posters from a cruise??

Just my personal and humble opinion and open to discussion and demolition at the whim of any other Grumbler.

Nothing to add as to mounting, but had to notice that J. Michael has replaced Sherry Lee as the all-time winner for most punctuation marks in a single sentence.

Sherry used to be the biggest user of multiple question marks and exclamamtion marks in a sentence, but J. has lapped her big time.

I think I counted 93 punctauation marks in the first post, alone.

The Queen is dead.....Long Live the Overuse King!!!!!!!!

All this is intended in a purely humorous vein
Jerome, I not only can remember that, I can remember when they SEEMED large to me.

trying to extricate ourselves from this Frankenthread

How in the world will I ever flatten this monster out ??? Mount it ???
Even if you decide not to mount it, you may have to plunk it into a drymount press just to get it flat. If you don't have one that large, take it to a reputable framer and have them flatten it for you. Then you can frame it yourself.

We have a "flatten/uncurl" charge of just a couple of bucks for just those circumstances.
Now a message from your King......
My Fellow Grumblers....
Thanks guys and gals for a making this project a lot easier.....I hope you all know how helpful you have been in lending your wisdom....All has settled down and I will get through this with a lot more confidence than when I started....
A short note for Sherry Lee.....
I regret that I have De-throned you ....it just happened and I hope that there are no hard feelings...And I hope that we will remain on speaking terms...However, I would request that you address me as """ King J.Michael""" or
""" Your Royal Hineass""" ( There is at least one truth in this last statement !!! )
I have noticed that most all you Grumblers are little twisted !!! And that is the quality I admire the most .......

So, now all rise....as I am about to leave the room ........
J. Michael
Alabama 1969 Spelinng Be Champeeun
Oh my Bob Carter, I can't tell you how hard I laughed at your 'editorial'!!!!!!!!!! You are VERY observant!

Just so you understand, there is a reason for such madness. I find writing/reading emails or posts difficult because there's no voice inflections which, I think, causes some comments to be misconstrued. This is how I compensate: !!!!????.......

I do believe, however, that I'm trading one habit for another........(well, maybe not totally). I've noticed I'm using more instant Graemlins (when time permits). :rolleyes: This practice also helps to replace voices. Or at least I've convinced myself of that. Now there's a scarey thought. :eek:

So, I'm more than happy to pass the throne to King J. Michael. Yes, "Your Highness", you too have good observation skills. We ARE a tad twisted. I often describe it as being warped ..................................... you got it..............it's a side effect from working with warped moulding!!!!! Or too much Phoenix sun. :cool:
...on a lighter note...

One of my clients just came back from a cruise. She entered a drawing on the ship and won...guess what?! a signed print!!! She was given a choice of about a half dozen prints from which to choose.

It is by nobody I recognize and is not a great piece of art but somewhat decorative. She didn't even want it because it doesn't fit with the decor in her house...but it was free!

Next they talked her into framing and shipping it back home for her.

She now has a virtually useless piece of no name art double matted with decorative mat board in a cheap gold frame. For this free gift she has spent $350!!!!

She asked my opinion and I told her to donate it, or "re-gift" it to charity in town...her husband agreed!!

This thread will probably be shifted to Warped soon, but here goes anyway... While we're on the language topic and someone mentioned the "Instant Graemlins", shouldn't it actually be "Gremlins"? Or is a Graemlin something else entirely?

Just wondering. :cool: Rick
Good question! I wondered that myself as I typed the word.

Just betcha there's a good explanation, found somewhere between the chocololate chip cookies and beer! :rolleyes: (That story goes back a while.)
Framerguy, what if you dry mounted said no name print and the ink stuck or melted or ran or whatever, or if the paper got a crease in it? (That cruise art ink is usually "plasticized", so I would bet on melting or sticking as a possible problem.) What would you tell the customer? How would you get out of this pickle? Would you have to go on a cruise to get a replacement piece? :confused:

Customers can sign waivers but I don't think they truly understand some of the potential disasters that can happen with dry or wet mounting. If something happened the print, would you have to pay for it? :confused:

I'd just do what Less suggests.

I haven't framed much cruise art lately. :( I always like the bright colors and can get creative with it.
I framed a seriolithograph (cruise art) not too long ago. It definitely had the look and feel of a seriograph. I actually thought it was a seriograph until I looked at the certificate that came with it. It used the term seriolithograph. I had never heard of it until then. The customer claimed it was worth $500. We framed it.
Thank the Framing God that the customer has come to you for framing their cruise art. Frame it well as you would any fine art. The fact that they like it and have good memories associated with it makes it valuable. Live it up, they are happy you should be happy too!

I wonder if these will eventually become somewhat collectible by those who wish they had bought it.

edit: I know what I wrote isn't different from what others said, but it does bear repeating. It helps to have the G to complain about it, but act like it is a treasure when you are with the customer. You do not want to be the one to disappoint them.

[ 01-10-2004, 08:25 AM: Message edited by: jframe ]
Originally posted by jframe:

edit: I know what I wrote isn't different from what others said, but it does bear repeating. It helps to have the G to complain about it, but act like it is a treasure when you are with the customer. You do not want to be the one to disappoint them.

Yes, you never want to be the bearer of bad news BUT, is it fair to your customer, who truly believes that she has purchased some very high quality art prints from an internationally known artist, to keep your mouth shut, go ahead and take her $987.00 for framing each one of them in that high priced LJ frame, and not mention anything about the fact that they may very well be rip-offs sold in International waters so as to circumvent the legal system of the US for dealing with forged art sales??

This customer has come to you because she trusts your judgement for her framing. That doesn't mean that you should be an art expert but there are some things that are rather evident in the art world that should be brought to the attention of that customer if you suspect that there was foul play involved. In this case, the sale of "genuine" Tarkays on a cruise ship is a dead giveaway to me. And I wonder who this customer will come back to when she finds out that these are fakes, the cruise line or the framer who said "Gosh, that is beautiful art and should be housed in this rather expensive gold Italian moulding with conservation this and archival that??

Follow along with my trend of thought, please.

1. She buys this art for say a grand a piece on a cruise.

2. She comes back, enters your shop all excited about her purchases and wants you to do the framing.

3. You suspect what she thought she bought is not what she actually got.

4. You don't say anything about the authenticity of the artwork because she is already convinced that the "certificate" that accompanied the art or the "plate signature" is the official proof that it is genuine.

5. You frame these pieces for an additional $900 and call the client for pickup.

6. She decides that, since she has almost $2000 invested in each one of these beauties, she will stop by the insurance company and have them insured.

Now, the insurance company says that she has to have them appraised first to establish a value for them. The appraiser tell her that they are worth at least $75.00 each and the framing is outstanding and can be appraised at full cost!

Do you feel that this customer will be comfortable with the charges that you made for framing this art? Would she think that you should be the "art expert" since your career is framing art? Would she be upset that she has just spent another $900 in framing each piece of this art that she now finds out is exactly what it really is, cheap cruise art?

I am not trying to take sides in this issue. I have already talked to J. Michael and have voiced my opinions to him. And he is a big boy now and can make his own decisions about how to handle this customer. But, there is so much cut and dried attitude about how to frame this stuff that I wonder sometimes whether anybody stops and considers some of the ramifications of adhering to the strict principles of archival framing simply because of the implied value of the art. Sometimes a customer just gets REAMED and has to accept that fact.

I would much rather put the onus on the insurance company to find the true value of this artwork and inform the customer of such or else come out and be totally honest with that customer myself. You needn't try to impress them with any baseless art wisdom but make sure that they are aware of what they have before you become involved in something that may have started out wrong and can only go further wrong.

For everyones knowledge, the cruise ship concession is operated by Park West Gallery here in the Detroit Area.

He has a contractural arangement with Tarkay for many years as both a gallery and publisher.
Jerry- Thanks for clearing that up. Many of our customers bring in art they have bought on cruises. Occasionally they have, in addition to their pricey prints, a "freebie" plate-signed Tarkay which they recieved as a gift along with their purchases. They usually go with simple, relatively modest framing on those. But most of what I see from the Park West cruise sales appears to me to be genuine. I'm no expert on authenticity, but I think I could tell an obvious fraud after framing for 30 years. I have been known to tell people that what they thought was a watercolor is actually a giclee, or something of that nature, but it's more about the customer's confusion over media than an issue of forgery.
Many people posting on this thread seem to be certain that people who buy prints on cruises are getting ripped off, but I gotta say that, unless I'm missing something, I haven't seen it.

:cool: Rick

I'm very comfortable with selling a $900 frame for whatever may walk in the door. I've sold $900 frames for $25 posters many times. I don't sell framing based on the value (percieved or real) or cost of the art. If a customer asksed my opinion on the value of their art I would refer them to an appraiser before being framed. It's not the job of the framer to judge the art. It's my job to make the art look great and to make the customer feel good about it. It's the customers job to decide what they want to pay.

One of my customers bought a framed print on a trip to San Francisco. The shop told her it was an old print. She translated it to antique. It was $100 framed. We took the old frame off and reframed it beautifuilly. She adores it and it reminds her of the great trip she had to S.F. The cost is irrelevant. She pays that much or more to get her hair dyed a weird shade of eggplant. Where does the critique end? It's not my business. It's my business to make her world look great.

On the other hand I have a couple of customers who got stung in the Dali fiasco. Sure, they felt ripped off but they LOVE to tell the story, they LOVE the implication that they have money to burn.

Where art is concerned, the only thing that I have reservations about, or, in fact wish I hadn't done at all is to sell "limited edition" prints to customers who truly thought it was an investment no matter how I tried to tell them to just buy what they like. The issue price they bought them for was ridiculous. That was a rip off.
I hate to frankenthread this, but might I ask about the "Dali fiasco" that Jo mentioned? I tried to do a search, but didn't come up with anything relevent.

Thanks in advance.