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earthyvirgo

Feeling a bit sad

...to see another fellow printmaker proudly announce that their online shop now offers "a giclee print faithfully reproduced".

I'm not going to name names, it's really none of my business and I know needs must and all that but it is sad nevertheless to see yet another talented printmaker sell their soul to the 'art' of high quality reproductions.

EV
Went

A sad sign of the times - people need to pay the bills unless it's been done for greed in which case they have sold out to their art....
arvo

What's the deal there EV? I don't understand the sub-text.

(Still saving up to buy art, see.) Smile
earthyvirgo

What's the deal there EV? I don't understand the sub-text.

(Still saving up to buy art, see.) Smile


OK, this is the way I see.
By producing the originals as giclee 'prints', the definition of a print gets muddied. I would like to see anything that comes off a machine, called (by law) a reproduction.

What I produce is a print (apart from my cards which are reproductions). Each one is an original because there are minor differences between one and the next. I'm producing them by hand, so there's no way I can ensure the same pressure on the press, exactly the same ink coverage and so on.

By calling reproductions prints, many people assume they're one and the same, so when they see a large, full colour reproduction for under 60 and a single colour original linocut for 60, which d'you think they're going to go for?
It's bigger, it's colour, it's more value for money.
They'll have the reproduction please.

And if they don't mind that they're not buying an original piece of art, then that's fine, I have absolutely no problem with that. It's when they under a misconception that I start to get the wobbles. What they're actually buying is no more than a well produced poster, quite an expensive one at that!

You'd (@Arvo) 'save up' to buy an original because you understand what it means and it matters to you, which from my point of view is great.

On the flip side, you could say that at least reproductions bring art to a wider audience ...well, yes, I can see that side of it but it's the devaluation of the original work that concerns me.

Anyway, I won't rant on as I've got ink drying Smile

EV
BahamaMama

A really interesting and valuable defintion - print v. reproduction. Thanks for that.
yummersetter

You're fighting the fight I went through, and pretty much lost, a few years back. My limited edition photographic hand prints, each made individually in a darkroom and unique, suddenly came up against Lightjet laser printed images on photo paper, where a digital file (of variable quality) was machine printed and sold, both by the printers and galleries, at double the price for a thousandth the skill. I still make handprints but the owners don't really appreciate the process and skill involved unless I explain everything to them. I have a collector here in California who has a drawing taped to the back of the prints explaining how the print was made, which areas darkened, lightened and why, and that that image is handmade and unique.

Giclee prints are inkjets in their best clothes and I have the title of being an Epson Giclee Artist or something, with a stamp and certificate. But no-one checks my ability, just that I will count to the edition number then stop hitting the button. Giclees can be rewarding if done well, and efficient if the buyer wants a picture just like everyone else. Like all inkjets they rarely print the way you'd like straight off and should have a lot of fine tuning before the image matches the original artwork - the materials are insanely overpriced so that is frequently skipped to save costs.

You need to stress the words handmade, individual, print artist and sell hard, I'd say. Can you copy the inkjet/giclee example and come up with a new name for the process you use that gives you the opening to explain to buyers what you do?
marigold


You need to stress the words handmade, individual, print artist and sell hard, I'd say. Can you copy the inkjet/giclee example and come up with a new name for the process you use that gives you the opening to explain to buyers what you do?


This. The word "print" covers a multitude of meanings to the lay person, so you need to emphasise what kind of print you are making and selling. Your cards are "printed" by a machine and I doubt that calling a greetings card a reproduction would mean much to most people. And anyway isn't your press a machine? Wink
arvo

And anyway isn't your press a machine? Wink

A press is a machine, but only in the same way a needle is a machine or a potters wheel.
Mistress Rose

I am afraid to the lay person, a print is a reproduction.

Although each one of your prints is unique, do you use the same blocks for each of them? Perhaps you could have a little picture of your press on the back of them and where you sell them. You might call them hand pressed rather than printed too.

Yummersetter, my father used to spend quite a lot of time on printing out his photos, intensifying the sky to bring out the clouds etc. and covering areas that he wanted to lighten. A photographic print is anything from a snapshot, grey and badly composed and framed, to a real work of art unfortunately, but that is the way things are. The aim is to find a way to describe the product to show the skill involved.

Prints can have their place. I have seen several oil and watercolour pictures that I would like, but would not be able to afford the 1000+ price tag. I can afford a print at perhaps 50, so although I know something is missing, having seen the original, it gives me a chance to have a reproduction of a picture I like.
earthyvirgo

I am afraid to the lay person, a print is a reproduction.

Although each one of your prints is unique, do you use the same blocks for each of them? Perhaps you could have a little picture of your press on the back of them and where you sell them. You might call them hand pressed rather than printed too.

Yummersetter, my father used to spend quite a lot of time on printing out his photos, intensifying the sky to bring out the clouds etc. and covering areas that he wanted to lighten. A photographic print is anything from a snapshot, grey and badly composed and framed, to a real work of art unfortunately, but that is the way things are. The aim is to find a way to describe the product to show the skill involved.

Prints can have their place. I have seen several oil and watercolour pictures that I would like, but would not be able to afford the 1000+ price tag. I can afford a print at perhaps 50, so although I know something is missing, having seen the original, it gives me a chance to have a reproduction of a picture I like.

Thanks for continuing this discussion. It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that just because I recognise the difference, I can't expect everyone else to.

You say above "I can afford a print at perhaps 50 ..." and I assume, you mean by that a reproduction/copy of a painting you really love.

Quite a few artists produce original prints (woodcuts, etchings, lithogrpahs, wood/linocuts ...) as well as paintings, so it's often possible to buy a 'smaller' piece of original art by the same artist for the same price as the reproduction of their painting. I understand that if it's the image you love, that won't apply.

The Attic Gallery in Swansea has a bit of info on their website that probably puts it better than I could http://www.atticgallery.co.uk/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=222

EV
Nick



Thanks for continuing this discussion. It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that just because I recognise the difference, I can't expect everyone else to.

You say above "I can afford a print at perhaps 50 ..." and I assume, you mean by that a reproduction/copy of a painting you really love.

Quite a few artists produce original prints (woodcuts, etchings, lithogrpahs, wood/linocuts ...) as well as paintings, so it's often possible to buy a 'smaller' piece of original art by the same artist for the same price as the reproduction of their painting. I understand that if it's the image you love, that won't apply.

The Attic Gallery in Swansea has a bit of info on their website that probably puts it better than I could http://www.atticgallery.co.uk/scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=222

EV


I think this is the same disconnect I mentioned the other day. An artist makes a picture (in whatever medium) and that's the original. Then, everything else is a copy, to me. Or at least was, until we talked. I think I assumed limited edition prints were just signed and numbered (and an artist could knock a few hundred more out if times were hard).
12Bore

Have to admit, I thought the same as Nick. Confused Nick

And, while I'm happy to put my hand up and admit ignorance, it's a problem for artists, rather than me because it limits your market. Or at least, as well as me.

Your work is lino work, and hand printed. I can see how each print varies and has its own uniqueness. How does it work with water colours, and the like? Why aren't they just photocopies?
vegplot

Buyers are, on the whole, largely ignorant of the term 'print' as the definition is too loose and encompasses both hand and machine print.

A lino cut or etching, for instance, is a handmade print each one very slightly different especially true when colours are printed one on top of the other. In EV's case she uses the same block for each colour, cutting away at the block for each colour run. The number of prints is governed by the number of impressions of the first colour, any mistakes or mis-registration in subsequent colours reduce the final print count as does the life of the lino. The normal print run is limited to about 1-25 prints with 15 being about the average.

Then there are limited editions of an original. These are machine preproduction prints of a water colour, oil, or some other art work reproduced by machine but limited in number and signed as such. You can normally tell these as they are in in fairly large runs of 100-500 or so.

Finally, there's unlimited machine reproduction prints.

Machine prints are not always labelled by galleries or shops as reproductions but simply as prints and that blurs the distinction between unique hand printed prints, in which each is slightly different, to identical machine reproductions. There is scope for further confusion when a hand print, along with it's unique number is reproduced giving the impression it's unique when it's a faithful texture-less copy of one of the hand prints.

Very confusing.
earthyvirgo

And, while I'm happy to put my hand up and admit ignorance, it's a problem for artists, rather than me because it limits your market. Or at least, as well as me.

Your work is lino work, and hand printed. I can see how each print varies and has its own uniqueness. How does it work with water colours, and the like? Why aren't they just photocopies?

Oh blimey, huge subject.

You've pinpointed the 'problem' in mentioning watercolours ... and any one-off original really (oil, acrylic, pastel, whatever).

The dilemma for an artist who produces one-offs is that once it's gone, it's gone. For me, it's a bit different but not hugely, once each print in the edition of say 15 has gone, that's it. Opportunity for income from that piece of work is over, unless we reproduce.

So, artists have a choice, they could:

- increase productivity and/or sell more
- or they up their prices
- scan/photograph their work at high resolution and make machine copies

1 and 2 are pretty impractical, hence many artists going down the reproduction line.

You ask "Why aren't they just photocopies?".

Well, they are really, albeit high quality ones.
And they're often signed by the artist which give the impression that they're worth more but they're not really unless you're a collector of autographs I suppose.

I get more narked off when printmakers reproduce their work than I do when painters do. I guess it's more of an affront to my chosen medium because of the misuse of the word print but I also find it pretty offensive when I hear than an artist's 'sold out' edition suddenly reappears on the market as a Giclee print (poster).

OK, I might be cutting my own throat not doing this but so be it. I'd rather be creating new work and moving forwards with my work, not regurgitating the same image over and over.

And yes, my cards are reproductions. That's where I draw the limit. I'm not pretending they're anything other than.

EV
Nicky Colour it green

I definitely didn't understand, until reading this discussion, that lino prints could be truly limited - i think i get it now... as you alter the impression with each stage. and to that end I think if you sell X number of prints and state they are limited edition, it strikes me as not really ok to the reproduce the picture after the event.

I'm not sure i mind reproductions per se - I have a Monet hanging up - not the original Laughing i could not afford it nor have walls big enough. - So long as it is clear what they are and there was no implied limited runs. Particularly ok if the artist is the one selling the prints. - you see it a lot the original for sale and then smaller prints - that should be reproductions - of the same picture for less s

Definitely something to think on.
earthyvirgo

I definitely didn't understand, until reading this discussion, that lino prints could be truly limited - i think i get it now... as you alter the impression with each stage. and to that end I think if you sell X number of prints and state they are limited edition, it strikes me as not really ok to the reproduce the picture after the event.

I'm not sure i mind reproductions per se - I have a Monet hanging up - not the original Laughing i could not afford it nor have walls big enough. - So long as it is clear what they are and there was no implied limited runs. Particularly ok if the artist is the one selling the prints. - you see it a lot the original for sale and then smaller prints - that should be reproductions - of the same picture for less s

Definitely something to think on.

I know I harp on a bit (OK a lot) about it and I do apologise if it gets a bit tedious but I'm glad it makes some sense.

You're right CiG, particularly with my reductive method of linocutting, which involves just the one block, and cutting away more lino for each colour. So, even if I wanted to, (say I misjudged the popularity of a piece badly and only created an edition of 15) I couldn't print more. Multi-block printmakers (one block for each colour) could run a 2nd edition but I've never actually seen one myself. Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s.

EV
Behemoth

Are you just selling exclusivity rather than art?

(to be deliberately contentious)
sean

Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s.

EV

Could you sell the block? For your way of printing owning the block wouldn't let the purchaser make a new copy of the print anyway. Just a thought.
vegplot

Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s.

EV

Could you sell the block? For your way of printing owning the block wouldn't let the purchaser make a new copy of the print anyway. Just a thought.

Not with the way EV cuts her block. Unless it's only one colour, as each colour is cut away in sequence, all you have left to print is the last colour (darkest shade - often black).
sean

I think that's what I said, pretty much. I was asking if there would be a market for the spent block. alison

That is the point though, I think Sean means give the exclusivity to the set, by selling the "useless" block with one of the set. vegplot

Are you just selling exclusivity rather than art?

(to be deliberately contentious)

It's exclusive by the very nature of the printing process. Each one has to be different as you never get the registration, inking, and press pressure the same each time.

Being exclusive doesn't mean it will sell it has to have some merit, which in itself can be very contentious depending on how you view the art world.
judith

Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s.

EV

Could you sell the block? For your way of printing owning the block wouldn't let the purchaser make a new copy of the print anyway. Just a thought.

For our wedding, EV gave us a limited edition (of 1) card AND the block that made the card. I treasure them both and even more so because the two are together.

I can see that selling the block as well could really add value to one of your prints.
vegplot

I think that's what I said, pretty much. I was asking if there would be a market for the spent block.

I've not heard of it but I dare say there'd be good money for any surviving blocks of the better known artist. Most artists, as far as my limited knowledge stretches, destroy the block to prevent copies being made which is what I think Behemoth was hinting at.

Buyers of a limited editions do not want to see other editions of the same print devaluing their investment.
earthyvirgo

I think that's what I said, pretty much. I was asking if there would be a market for the spent block.

I could.

I think what vegplot was saying is that what's left of a reduction lino isn't exactly particularly pretty unless it's a single colour block (like Judith's).

At the last exhibition, the group one in Betws y Coed, I put some of the blocks and a selection of cutting tools, rollers etc in a display cabinet and they did seem to get people thinking.

EV
sean

I don't think that it needs to be pretty. I think that some people might like to own part of the process as well as the image. And they'd know that nobody was going to run off any more copies.

I would think seriously about buying the block if it was available. I may be unusually geeky.
vegplot

It's a fair point. T.G

Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s. EV

I'd understood about prints etc. for years but I'd never thought about the actual mechanics, it seems such a shame to destroy the work done by producing the blocks but I understand the reasoning...still all that work ...
earthyvirgo

Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s. EV

I'd understood about prints etc. for years but I'd never thought about the actual mechanics, it seems such a shame to destroy the work done by producing the blocks but I understand the reasoning...still all that work ...

The suggested method it to score across the block/s but I can't honestly see any artist doing that.

My preference (along with the physical impossibility of reconstructing my single block) is to provide a 'guarantee of authenticity' and an info sheet when the print sells, explaining the process. This is something I've started doing in the last couple of months.

EV
Calli

Fascinating discussion and very informative.

Is this information available at point of sale - be it on a website or whatever as you are talking about the benefits of why you should buy the original as opposed to the alternative.
earthyvirgo

Fascinating discussion and very informative.

Is this information available at point of sale - be it on a website or whatever as you are talking about the benefits of why you should buy the original as opposed to the alternative.

Calli, the new 'info sheet' is not on my current website but the information is probably all there in dribs and drabs.

It will however be prominent on my new website, (maybe to download as a .doc too?) which is being redesigned at this very moment and will be popped in behind the backing board of an online sale from now on.

The galleries who show my work know how passionate I feel about this and I'm pretty confident they can explain it to potential buyers if asked.

EV
Went

It is only my opinion but here goes:

Most people buy something because they like it, it is priced within their budget and because they have a reason to buy it.

Most do not care about the fine detail of the process and if they take the trouble to seek out art, they already understand the reason why a hand made product is more expensive than a machine reproduced one.

I, like many others am attracted by the whole package - i.e. The artist, the artist's story, the story behind the art and how it is presented.

Although it will be good to have an explanation of the processes involved (the story of the art) on your web site, I do not think it is necessary to justify the differences between commercially copied prints and hand pressed lino cut prints.

At the end of the day - art is art. Interesting, thought provoking and aesthetically pleasing pieces will sell - I don't think you need to worry too much.

I think artists such as yourself should beef up the personal profile (the story of the artist) and your inspiration (the story behind the art).

You are producing some great pieces and if presented appropriately, they will sell. Very Happy
Nicky Colour it green


I know I harp on a bit (OK a lot) about it and I do apologise if it gets a bit tedious but I'm glad it makes some sense.

You're right CiG, particularly with my reductive method of linocutting, which involves just the one block, and cutting away more lino for each colour. So, even if I wanted to, (say I misjudged the popularity of a piece badly and only created an edition of 15) I couldn't print more. Multi-block printmakers (one block for each colour) could run a 2nd edition but I've never actually seen one myself. Once and edition is complete, the artist should destroy the block/s.

EV

I do feel that if people buy a limited edition, it really ought to be limited and to the number quoted. It is part of the deal, and to some part of the appeal
although it is probably ok to make smaller reproductions or perhaps selected sections.

EV - are you feelings on this subject particular to printmaking or all art?

Definitely food for thought. I love wall pictures and have a lot - but if i had to limit to original art, I would only have 3 pictures, and they were made by friends/family and myself. Maybe that is how it is supposed to be though.... hmmm
Nicky Colour it green

p.s. i might have to start saving for one of your cat prints Smile earthyvirgo


I do feel that if people buy a limited edition, it really ought to be limited and to the number quoted. It is part of the deal, and to some part of the appeal
although it is probably ok to make smaller reproductions or perhaps selected sections.

EV - are you feelings on this subject particular to printmaking or all art?

Definitely food for thought. I love wall pictures and have a lot - but if i had to limit to original art, I would only have 3 pictures, and they were made by friends/family and myself. Maybe that is how it is supposed to be though.... hmmm

Mainly printmaking CiG because I feel reproductions devalue original prints more than they do paintings. When you see a Monet reproduction, or any oil or watercolour for that matter, it's easy to see it's not the original.

There is one artist I know of who sells original limited edition linocuts very successfully for a shade under 500 a piece. Just recently, they've appeared as limited edition reproductions. Of course, it's a wise move financially if they can be sold 'again' for 150 a shot when the originals have sold out, but it just makes me uncomfortable. He's not being dishonest about it, but it just strikes me as greedy.

Gawber is right - as long as people know what they're buying, there isn't a problem but when there's misinformation and poorly explained terminology going on (on purpose?), then I struggle to keep my mouth shut.

If/when I buy art (and it's usually very affordable original print), I always make sure I'm getting a numbered original. I've recently bought a couple of very simple linocuts from a printmaker called Alison Deegan - I think she's on Folksy. They're not at all expensive, I'm buying them because mainly because they appeal to me visually but partly because I can afford them. And where I can, I try to buy direct from the artist.

Before I was so involved with the gallery in Conwy, I used to occasionally buy reproductions/posters by well known and not so well known artists but now that I see paintings all the time (that I'd love on our walls but there's no way we could afford them!) I tend to enjoy them while they're in the gallery because although modern techniques have made colour copying almost perfect the process can't capture the surface texture of the original which is one of the things that makes a painting come alive for me.

EV
Nicky Colour it green

yes, I entirely see your point.

misinformation is definitely a big part of it - as I said I did not understand the terms before this discussion - up until now a 'print' was just the word people used for a copy of an original. and i am a bit shocked that there can be further print runs on limited editions.

I'm ok with posters etc of art by the popular and unaffordable - Monet, Renoir,Van Gogh etc - I think the familiarity of the images is part of the appeal - and then see them in real life and you are blown away. but f the images hadn't been around for a lifetime, the impact would be less i think..

I shall, I think, make more of an effort to buy originals. But it is hard. there is a picture I love hanging in the gallery I sell some of my woolly things through. I have a stare at it each time I visit. but it is completely out of my price range. One day it will be sold, and then it will be gone and I shall never see it again.
earthyvirgo

yes, I entirely see your point.

misinformation is definitely a big part of it - as I said I did not understand the terms before this discussion - up until now a 'print' was just the word people used for a copy of an original. and i am a bit shocked that there can be further print runs on limited editions.

I'm ok with posters etc of art by the popular and unaffordable - Monet, Renoir,Van Gogh etc - I think the familiarity of the images is part of the appeal - and then see them in real life and you are blown away. but f the images hadn't been around for a lifetime, the impact would be less i think..

I shall, I think, make more of an effort to buy originals. But it is hard. there is a picture I love hanging in the gallery I sell some of my woolly things through. I have a stare at it each time I visit. but it is completely out of my price range. One day it will be sold, and then it will be gone and I shall never see it again.

I'm am currently in love with a 2,000 sculpture of a lurcher by Sally Matthews ...

It will have to remain love at a distance Smile

EV
Mistress Rose

Earth virgo, I think misinformation is the main point. You may say that a print maker who sells limited edition prints then does reproduction runs from one of them is being mercenery, but he has to live, and this may be one way he can afford to do better original prints by getting some financial breathing space.

It should be made plain whether something is an original print or reproduction, and I must admit, although I was aware of the difference, it hadn't really occured to me as most of the prints I see are of photos or paintings.
earthyvirgo

Earth virgo, I think misinformation is the main point. You may say that a print maker who sells limited edition prints then does reproduction runs from one of them is being mercenery, but he has to live, and this may be one way he can afford to do better original prints by getting some financial breathing space.

It should be made plain whether something is an original print or reproduction, and I must admit, although I was aware of the difference, it hadn't really occured to me as most of the prints I see are of photos or paintings.

I'm linking to this site without knowing very much about the artist, so it may be an unfair judgement. http://sarahhough.com/collections/limited-edition-prints
but this is the sort of thing that niggles me.

Her limited edition giclee prints are printed (beautifully) onto canvas, and signed, in limited editions of 95.
It's a fantastic example of upselling and I can imagine they're really popular in certain circles.

They cost up to 450!
You could buy a really wonderful original painting for that amount, something that no-one else will have.

ETA but I'm concentrating on what Gawber said several days ago - it doesn't really matter what other artists choose to do, I should be focusing on my own work first and foremost.

EV
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