by ALAN KESTNER
When the Booker Prize is announced and you want to read the book, you wouldn’t dream of writing to the author and asking for the original manuscript – you would be quite happy with a printed copy. But, for some reason, this is quite different in the world of art where the original is prized far above any copy. The Giclee method of making a copy of your painting involves photographing it very accurately and transferring this to a computer and then printing it out with a special large inkjet printer. Unlike your desktop printer this typically uses ten or twelve different light-proof inks and makes an extremely accurate copy of your artwork. It is printed onto high quality watercolour or art paper and if done properly looks indistinguishable from the original. Of course, not all art is suitable for copying and printing using the Giclee process, e.g. thick impasto surfaces. But many pictures do reproduce beautifully and, provided the printer adjusts the colour correctly, a suitable copy is produced. So why do so many people turn up their noses at this?
Is your appreciation aesthetic or commercial?
The original work of art is clearly more valuable as, by definition, it has scarcity value. But should you be judging art by its commercial value? After all, you can sit down and relax listening to a beautiful piece of music on CD rather than going to a concert and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. So why can’t you do something similar with a giclee print of whatever painting takes your fancy? It is possible to do this with prints from famous artists, but commercially they are often of rather poor quality with quite a distortion of colour. Hence, prints are viewed as something a student might put on their wall but not a suitable decoration for your adult home. Unfortunately, this then rolls through to less famous artists whose prints, even though of very high quality, are shunned in favour of originals. And this then means that their working practice becomes un-commercial. No-one wants their prints, so their price is pushed down and they cannot recoup the cost of their originals because of the long time and effort expended in producing them.
Limited edition prints
One solution that is often tried is to produce a limited edition of the print. The buyer then thinks this is something special and exclusive and justifies a higher price. But isn’t this just pandering to snobbishness? The vast majority of people are not concerned about whether a book is a first edition or not, they just want to read and enjoy the story. So, as an artist whose paintings often take months to complete, my plea is – Buy the Giclee Prints!– these copies of mine are every bit as good as the originals and you can buy them very reasonably! If you would like to see them look for “prints” on my website at “ludwikart.com” or contact me via my “contact” page.
LiterArties, people who embrace, explore and capture their creativity in many ways.