Black Parrot is based on a simple premise: Art is a human need. Everyone should be free to pursue their own creative practice and everyone should have easy access to the best art in their community. To that end, we are very proud to support the full breadth of artists, enthusiasts, art collectors, art societies and galleries in the Southern Highlands with quality picture framing, art supplies and other art services.
We set up Black Parrot in 2014 because we wanted to support the artists we think are great by hosting pop-up exhibitions and a website that could show art to the world without the expensive froth of a commercial art gallery (which, so often, just freaks people out). In 2015 we broadened our vision to include our 'Art Room' in Mittagong. The Art Room is a custom framing and art supply shop, as well as a gallery and a space for local artists to meet and work. We also put on the odd workshop or event (there's always time for a shin-dig!).
We enjoy pretty much any framing challenge - we frame needleworks and old documents, ethnographic pieces and personal memorabilia - but our main focus is serving the artists and art collectors of the Southern Highlands with quality, understated framing that best compliments individual work.
For many artworks a simple, hand-finished hardwood frame is ideal, but other works call out for a flash Italian frame. We offer both and will enthusiastically advise you on the frame we think suits your individual piece.
Equally some artwork is meant to last many lifetimes, and you will want to use the finest archival framing techniques and materials, but you may be happy to frame a poster quite cheaply. We won't push the most expensive options, because sometimes a cheap option is the right one. We will advise you on the best or the cheapest options to match your needs, and make sure yo can make an informed decision.
We are members of the Fine Arts Trade Guild, the Picture Framers Guild of Australia and the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material; the three industry bodies which represent and support up-to-date methods for conservation framing.
Print editions mean an artwork, which may take weeks to make, can be seen and enjoyed by more people, and is more affordable than is possible with a one-off painting or sculpture.
The practice of artists' prints and multiples dates back to medieval woodcuts, and later the development of engravings and etchings (think Rembrandt and Goya), lithography (think Toulouse-Lautrec) and silkscreen (think Warhol). In the Twentieth Century it has become normal for artists to produce artworks in limited editions.
While a photograph can be printed indefinitely, and an etching can be printed hundreds of times, artists in these media generally set a limit to the number of works that will be produced. By numbering and signing each print, the artist makes a public contract that there will only ever be a set number of works printed. This ensures that every print is made with the full care and involvement of the artist, that each is checked and signed by the artist, and that collectors can be confident that there will only ever be a limited number of examples and so the investment potential of the work remains.
Artists use different printing techniques depending on the effects they are after, but the principle of a ‘print edition’ is always the same. Every print is marked, at the bottom, left-hand side, with the print number and edition number. For example “1/10” would mean this is the first print of an edition of ten. “2/10” would be the next print in the same edition, and so on. At “10/10” the edition is finished and no more will be printed.
Our prints come with a certificate of authenticity. Both print and certificate are embossed with the Black Parrot Editions seal and signed by the artist.
We have the expertise and equipment to print etchings, engravings, woodcuts and lithographs and we plan to release editions in a variety of media, however we are especially excited about the potential of giclee technology.
Giclee is a new, highly sophisticated form of digital printing using 12 specialist, archival, pigmented inks. The result is a print with extraordinarily vibrant and nuanced colour, incredible detail, is more chemically stable than many traditional media and, if treated well, should last over a century. Our giclee prints are on museum grade, acid-free Canson Rag 310gsm Photographique paper, made in France.
HOW GOOD ARE OUR PRINTS?
We use the best scanning and printing technology available to produce archival, museum-quality, fine art prints. Giclee prints don't get better than this!
Anthony Springford is the creative vision behind Black Parrot.
As an artist Anthony has exhibited at various Sydney galleries for about 15 years. He also has a PhD in Art History, and about 14 years experience teaching at major art schools - mostly CoFA (now UNSW Art & Design). He has done a bit of curating, a bit of freelance art writing, and some work delivering tours and events for museums.
Like many artists after the GFC he saw galleries close and his career options dwindle. As a result he began to hatch schemes for an alternative art economy based on concepts drawn from education and museums. He wanted something better than a normal art gallery, that didn't just sell work but fostered a reciprocal, equitable and welcoming environment in which new audiences can discover and support the work of local artists.
Prudence Macleod is the nerve centre of Black Parrot. She maintains our to-do lists, keeps the website up-to-date, and keeps our clients and friends in the loop on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Prudence also has a career in museum education, having designed and delivered programs for the State Library of NSW, the Dictionary of Sydney, the City of Sydney Council, Sydney Living Museums, the CSIRO, and at The Rocks. She has expertise in audience development, program design and art for young people.
She also has a background as a freelance researcher in history and heritage, and uses those skills to seek out new opportunities for exhibitions, government support and business partnerships.
Aaron Zimmerman manages most of the framing at the Black Parrot Art Room. He has been framing for over 10 years, and loves the challenge of stretching a tapestry or framing an embroidered Russian bodice. We'd be lost without him!
"I was so delighted when we received our work to discover that the quality of the print was far superior to what I had expected. The paper quality was stunning and the colours were deep and vivid."
Kate Hurst, Sydney
"I enjoy the story behind Anthony’s work."
John Meikle, Sydney
"Anthony’s originals are amazing! The texture and fine brush strokes he uses allows our Cruse scanning system to capture all the detail to produce his fine art prints."
Aaron Cook, Sydney
"Anthony’s work is so cheerful. It makes me smile!"
Fay Mander-Jones, Sydney
"A perfect gift. Thank you."
Pallavi Schroff, Seattle
"As a long time collector of Anthony Springford's art, I have to say that the quality of his Black Parrot prints is just phenomenal. I look forward to seeing both his and fellow artists being available through Black Parrot Editions."
Neil Topham, Sydney
Shipping of unframed prints within Australia is free. We will supply your print in a protective cardboard tube.
We expect to have unframed prints in the mail within 24 hours of receiving your order. We can notify you by email when it is shipped, and provide a tracking code from Australia Post.
Shipping unframed prints to other countries is a flat rate of $25.
The standard price for each print is the unframed price. If you choose we can organise to have your print framed, which will take approximately 10 working days.
Please email us your phone number and we will ring to advise you on different styles of frame and organise a quote. With framed prints it is much cheaper for local customers to pick them up from us. If you are unable to pick up framed works we can also quote for a courier service.
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