What are Art Prints?
When we think of an artwork, a painting in particular, we believe that it is a unique piece, incomparable in value, and to be owned only by one. This is true, but only to a certain extent. An “original” is surely a unique piece; its value is definitely incomparable making it an asset; however, thanks to sophisticated methods of printing, it definitely doesn’t have to be limited to be enjoyed by the buyer of the original only. Many artists now sell art prints of their work.
So, the long and short of it is that there’s original art – created at hands of the artist and there are art prints or printed copies of the art. Art prints are reproductions which can further be of two kinds – an original artist’s print and simply, a reproduced print. An original artist’s print is also called an “original print” or a “fine art print”. As defined by the Print Council of America, this one is an image drawn or etched or engraved on some surface by the artist, who prints a limited number of the pieces by hand (or personally supervises someone else doing it), then signs and numbers the individual prints and disfigures the printing plate so that no more copies can be made. The other type is called a “reproduction” where the absolute original painting is photographed and its copies are created.
Again…What’s the difference?
Fine art prints are limited in number (limited editions), and are almost as good as the original, unique artwork. Again, to reiterate, the original art is incomparable. This is why, fine art prints are more expensive than the other prints or reproductions, in which textures and certain fine details, such as sheen and vibrancy of color, of the art may be lost while printing. Also, reproductions can have any number of copies and are “open editions”.
Ways To Create An Art Print
There are many methods of making art prints. Earlier, fine art prints, which are always ‘limited’ in number came to existence because the methods used for printing were cumbersome and time-taking. These traditional techniques such as letterpress, etching or lithograph are still used by artists to create fine prints. However, artists are going the digital way. Giclée, (pronounced “zhee-clay”), a modern technique for creating fine art prints, is also fast gaining popularity. It creates best quality digital prints, made on a large format inkjet printer, using paper or canvas. Prints made using giclée printing method are of excellent quality, the colors are as good as the original painting and the prints have a certain permanency. Giclée is however an expensive method which is why artists limit the number of prints and the resultant art prints are on the costlier side.
Digital techniques of printing are slowly erasing the demarcations between limited edition prints and open edition prints. Another, technique of generating art prints, which is a boon for artists creating water color paintings, is opting for high quality digital photography of artwork. Getting a professional photograph of your artwork, “post-production” of the image using software like Photoshop to make it true to the original and then generating prints in a medium of your choice (paper, canvas etc.) is a great way of creating art prints.
Why Art Prints?
To answer this question, first we need know why artists do what they do? Why do they pour themselves out into their creations? Why do they choose ‘art’? There sure can be multiple answers to these questions, but the essence is all the same – to let the world know, to let people appreciate the wonders art can bring with it and to share the range of emotions their artwork can evoke. How can that be possible if art is treated like an investment, associated only with the elite?
In simpler words;
• People buy art prints as they are an affordable way to enjoy the creations of an artist. Affordability allows everyone to infuse art in their lives.
• An artist can touch more hearts and have a far-reaching impact with reproductions of his work as compared to his/her works being a part of just one or a fair few homes.
• The others don’t “miss out” if an original is sold. Art connoisseurs, who can’t have the original can still opt for limited edition paintings done at the hands of the artist, applying traditional processes. These are also signed and numbered by the artist, almost true to the original and expensive enough to be a part of their collection!
There’s a joy in creative processes, like no other and every artist desires that his/her work to be appreciated. And whether an artist or not, bringing some art into your life is synonymous to bringing in a tangible source of joy. Art prints are thus, a much-needed key to making art a part of your life…