Its time for the final results! We've sent our unprotected art to Tokyo and then further on to an art show in Osaka, as well as a 2nd package to Hamburg and then back to Vienna. Both have now completed their travels, so lets give them a look!
(Dont forget to stick around to see the giveaway winner revealed)
Vienna -> Hamburg -> Vienna = min 2000km travel
I was very happy to be reacquainted with our XL box, especially after all its been through. It was cut apart, re-taped and returned by Austrian customs on the first attempt, then shipped to the Urbanshit Gallery in Hamburg and finally sent back to Vienna. So lets give it a look:
At first glance you can tell it is no longer in pristine condition, which I find great. Compare it to its original condition (see here) before it was shipped and the difference becomes even clearer. Just like us, it has gone through a journey in its life and is showing a bit of wear and tear. But this only adds to the story and makes these pieces even more interesting.
Finally it was time to take apart our giant box and divide it into its 4 separate pieces.
Lets take a look at some of the visible damage.
We've got little punctures around and on our images:
There's the classic corner dents:
Even some rare conveyor belt markings:
Of course theres plenty of tape that was added by customs after they opened the package and even a stab wound when they cut open one of the back sides to check for illegal contraband:
Theres all kinds of little dents, bruises and scratches, but overall everything looks great.
Its the perfect amount of wear and tear to remind you of their journey.
Pictured below is an example from 2020 of what can happen in a worst case scenario. (I'm happy to report that the framed original inside miraculously survived). Compared to this, our pieces had a smooth ride.
These are the final 4 pieces, ready to be hung and enjoyed for generations:
Vienna -> Tokyo -> Osaka = min 10.000km
After arriving in Tokyo, our 2nd package was sent further to Osaka. I'm happy to report that it reached its final destination and made it to the art exhibition just in time! Here it was displayed and the story shared.
Rio from Gallery Kawamatsu reported that the project was a big success, drawing lots of attention at the exhibition. Somebody might have even said it was the greatest piece of art they'd ever seen! I dont know, I wasnt there, but it very well could have been said.
The overall damage was minimal. A bit of wear and tear, some small punctures and even a sweet new line (circled in yellow).
In fact, our piece still had a lot of life left in it, so after a few days of hanging around the art show, he went on a sightseeing tour. With Rio as his trusty guide, he got a good view of Japan:
In Osaka he visited the police station:
Roamed around the famous Ohatsu Tenjin street.
Took a subway in Hiroshima (with his own ticket)
Got to take a boat ride
Enjoyed the scenery
And even connected with nature
Made friends with the locals
There was time for deep thoughts and reflection at the Shrine landscape on Miyajima Island
Enjoyed the sweeter side of life
Goofed around a bit
And escaped a monster
Finally, after a long journey, he even got to relax by the beach.
So there we have it, the answer to the question "what happens if you ship original art with zero packaging".
Does it arrive?: Some times. It can draw extra attention like it did with customs, who then "found a reason" to deny its passage. Its also possible that the art was responsible for a safe journey on the other tests. If postal workers gave it a bit of extra love and care due to the interesting image, then that might have spared it some damage.
Does it destroy the art?: All the art on the OUTside arrived in better condition than expected. The only truly damaged piece was the one INside the XL box, which customs rough handled on the first shipment.
So do you need protective packaging when shipping original art?: It depends. If you dont mind some authentic bumps and scratches, then your art would be fine without. If youre shipping the Mona Lisa, then a couple extra layers of bubble wrap are probably a good idea.
What has been your experience with shipping art, or packages in general? Feel free to let me know in the comments or via email what youve been through, or maybe even an experiment youve done yourself!
Its been a fun journey. If you have suggestions for the next experiment, if youd like to see Amazon Crime boxes released in an edition, or have any other suggestions, then be sure to let me know.
Thanks for joining along and see you all next time!
Amazon Crime Giveaway Winner:
Dont think I forgot about the giveaway! Close to 200 of you signed up for the giveaway of their own piece, shipped unprotected through the mail. With the help of a random number generator im happy to announce the winner:
"Imazagi" - Austria
Congratulations! I will be getting in contact to find out where to ship it.
Big thanks to Rudi at Urbanshit Gallery in Hamburg and Rio at Gallery Kawamatsu in Tokyo!
Quick update: The last piece was sent to the winner shortly after the post went live. Coincidentally this person was in the same city, so it was a fitting final experiment to ship an unprotected package just a short distance for a change. It arrived the next day, about 18 hours after postage.
The condition was pretty good, but considering the short travel distance it showed a similar amount of minor damage when compared to the long distance packages.
This concludes the great shipping experiment. May all your packages arrive safely and undamaged!