The debate over buying originals vs prints.
I don’t offer prints of my art despite repeated requests. I’ve literally created over 200+ pieces of original, very large scale art spanning over 25 years. That’s a huge undertaking that I wouldn’t have the studio space or resources to even begin creations of such magnitude unless I sold consistently. My process is really messy and supplies aren’t cheap.
I think prints are sorta saturating the art world now, not to mention the landfills. It may not be money well spent considering originals from emerging artists being the hot investment commodity that it is right now. Don’t get me wrong, I get it, the improved quality and accessibility of fine art prints are enabling the artist to share their work with a larger audience who might otherwise be restricted by budget, allowing more people to appreciate the beauty and significance of their creations, which is a good thing. When an original is reproduced using extremely high quality, archival giclee print it can be a rewarding comprise.
The downside is that it further annihilates people from ever being able to afford the original because it drives up the price of the piece from which the prints were derived.
That having been said, I like to think of my art as the exception to limited purchasing power. Seeing as my original art is so reasonably priced (no really it is...) As you already discovered by visiting any gallery, buying original art isn't for the faint of heart.
I’ve been told time and again from other artists, gallery owners and even patrons that I need to raise my prices and I ought to make prints of my work. Yes, I might make more money and God knows I can definitely use more of that! However, it’s worth mentioning that at least I live according to my values being true to my authentic self. As of now, as I strive for a more simplistic life and making prints isn’t anywhere near a priority. I get a gnawing feeling I would be doing my admirers a disservice by being disingenuous or perhaps that I’ve given into consumerism. For now, I’ll just keep on - keeping it real.
For starters, there's no substitute for the real thing especially my mixed media and silkscreen work or my occasional collage pieces where I scrounge forever to find the perfect scraps of vintage empherma and found objects. This can not be replicated by mechanical means, no way, no how.
During a recent sale of “Prada Marfa” at the Kerrville Art festival a well-spoken, seemingly affluent, middle-age woman who was an avid collector proudly exclaimed how she has no prints whatsoever in her home. She seemed almost indignant about the subject as she went on to explain the importance of surrounding herself with original art stemmed from her belief that the piece was "touched by the hands of the artist" and therefore the spirit of the artist transferred along with the piece. Now, you might be thinking that’s a little hokey or maybe you're not quite in alignment with the metaphysical world but personally, I found it quite flattering and insightful. I thought wow, makes the art seem priceless when you put it that way.
At my former furniture store, I had a couple come in who were on a really limited budget looking for furniture. They loved my art but couldn't afford it. They said they would rather live with completely blank walls in the meanwhile in their new home than to put prints. They were going to save and purchase a piece of my art one day. I thought that was really sticking to your guns and I was impressed.
Hopefully, I've given you some insight as to why I stick to originals but also acknowledge that both are excellent and exciting choices to collect and enjoy. This is not to say that I won’t incorporate prints of my finest work sometime in the future. For now, when I’m backed up on commissions and sales are brisk, I see no reason and have no time to further pursue the idea.
What are your thoughts regarding prints V/S originals? Do you feel a connection with handmade goods that can’t be had with mass-produced products? Please comment below, I would love to hear your opinion.
UPDATE: AUGUST 1, 20019 - That's all fine and dandy but doesn't always pay the bills. Attack of starving artist syndrome, I'm now introducing a full line of prints, posters, and merch out of necessity.