How Technology Is Improving Artwork Security

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

Massive bush fires, flooding caused by heavy rainfall, and cyclones are constantly making the headlines more often than we would like and with global warming on the rise, this is likely to only become worse.

If you are an artist, you should be aware of how natural disasters could potentially destroy your artwork and put measures in place for protecting your art. It isn’t just natural disasters that are capable of destroying your art. Here are other examples:

A leaking water faucet can flood the room in which your art is stored. Basements typically have higher levels of humidity and if you store your paintings there, they could also be affected by mould. Excessive sunlight exposure may alter the colours of your paintings and melt oils.

Still, these natural misfortunes, which are also referred to as Acts of God, aren’t the only way that your artworks can be damaged. The so-called Acts of Man, such as vandalism, robberies, and theft, can also ruin your art collection.

We’ve identified five effective ways to ensure your art security with technology and protect your artwork effectively:

Take Out Appropriate Insurance

1. Take Out Appropriate Insurance

Taking out the appropriate insurance is an obvious first step to protecting the value of your artwork. Ensure that the coverage includes both Acts of Man and Acts of God and read the clauses very carefully. 

Insurance companies often have very tight terms and conditions and your artwork might not necessarily be protected under certain circumstances. While it isn’t everybody’s favourite task, it can be a good idea to shop around to find the best insurance for your artworks to be covered appropriately once disaster strikes.

2. Store Your Artwork in a Safe and Dry Place

Storing your artwork in a dry and safe place out of direct sunlight is a good second step. There’s plenty of inexpensive equipment that you can buy to make sure that your artwork is in a good environment.

When you don’t want to look at the artwork on a daily basis, you can buy storage crates or secure plastic bags. In case the environment becomes a bit damp and humid, you can buy an air dehumidifier to ensure that the artwork isn’t affected by humidity.

3. Invest in a Good Security System

If you have high-value artworks, it can be a good idea to invest in a state-of-the-art security system. You need to look for security systems that alert you in real-time when an accident such as a robbery or burglary occurs, so that action can be undertaken proactively and immediately while the incident is underway.

Even when your artworks aren’t of great monetary value, they probably still mean a great deal to you and you want to ensure that they are protected. Numerous home security systems can be purchased for a small price.

While such systems might not notify you in real-time that an incident is happening, it will give you peace of mind that you have evidence of the incident occurring. This can help with any claims that you make with the insurance company.

Protect Your Documentation

4. Protect Your Documentation

A nightmare scenario that you wouldn’t like to encounter is for your documentation to get lost when disaster strikes. This includes photos of the artwork, insurance documents, the title of the artwork, appraisals, a description of the artwork, etc. You should upload the information to a secure platform.

The platform automatically keeps documentation about an artwork’s entire transaction history, which includes invoices of past sales and certificates of authenticity.

Since the platform is built on blockchain technology, which has a reputation for being secure, your documents are stored safely, can’t be altered by third parties, and will be kept indefinitely, which ensures that your legacy is protected in the future.

5. Use an IoT Device to Protect Your Artwork

If you have really valuable artworks, you may consider going a step further. You can attach an IoT device to the artwork, such as a painting, which can autonomously and objectively monitor various conditions in real-time without the need for people to constantly check the conditions. The commercial life of the IoT device is about 8 to 10 years, which makes it an excellent long-term investment.

As the user of the IoT device, it is up to you to decide the parameters in which the artwork is to be kept and you will be notified once the parameters are breached.

Even better still, you can be notified whenever the conditions are becoming closer to the parameters being breached. That way, there’s still time to remedy what is happening rather than being notified once artworks are already damaged.

i). Temperature

It allows users to be notified when the temperature is becoming too high or too low.

ii). Location

You can see the location of your artwork at any stage and be notified whenever your artwork is moved. If there is a burglary, it will allow you to track and trace the artwork while it is being moved.

Still, it is highly recommended that you share the information with the authorities and avoid taking matters into your own hands.

iii). Humidity

Just as is the case with temperature, it is possible to monitor the humidity levels of the environment in which the artwork is stored to ensure that it is not damaged.

iv). Pressure

The pressure on the artwork is measurable, such as the pressure on the canvas of a painting, to make sure that the artwork is not damaged. The IoT device can also send an alert when it has been removed from the artwork.

Once this happens, it could be an indication of someone attempting to counterfeit/tamper with the artwork or that the artwork is subject to theft.

Art Security Tips: How Can I protect my artworks?

Art Security Tips: How Can I protect my artworks?

Here are some effective art security tips you can use with technology to protect your artworks from Acts of God and Acts of Man:

  • Take out appropriate insurance.
  • Store your artwork in a safe and dry place.
  • Invest in a good security system.
  • Protect your documentation.
  • Use an IoT device to protect your artwork.

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