encoded in their strokes like DNA."
(Stephen King, in Duma Key)
I am one of those people who considers the process of artmaking to be just as meaningful as the finished artwork. I'll even go so far as to say that, sometimes, the process that the artist goes through is even more aesthetically meaningful than the final product. As a piece transforms from a blank canvas to finished artwork, it will assume different entities, like a child growing up. Each stage is unique and can never be revisited. Once finished, the painting leaves the easel, and from then on it takes on a completely different persona. It becomes a representation of an experience, rather than the original experience. It becomes a product of the creative process, but can never reenact that initial process. We might even consider the finished painting to be merely a reproduction, in a sense, because the time, place and circumstances that it depicts no longer exist. That's something we can't do anything about... but we CAN decide whether or not to make more reproductions from that first one, and how closely they will resemble the original painting.
Every artist has their own philosophy about posting their artwork on the internet to let others see it in a smaller size, with less-than-true colors, or with less contrast or clarity. And we all have to make the decision as to whether or not we want to make and sell prints of our work. Some do, and some don't. I can see the reasoning behind both choices.
|Left: Giclee print on 100% cotton Hahnemuhle photo rag paper|
Right: Photocopy from Office Depot on cardstock
Preserving the integrity of my artwork is more important to me than being able to say I sold a great quantity of substandard prints.
I was happy with my decision... but the next problem was how to justify the high cost, when other artists could sell cheap prints for way lower prices than I could. I called my printer and asked if they had any type of Certificate of Authenticity that I might attach to the back of the prints, proving that it was of the highest archival quality and the truest reproduction of the original artwork that could ever be made. They thought it was a good idea and called me in to show me a prototype of what they'd come up with. Each certificate verifies that the print has been approved by the artist, is an archival, high-quality giclee on the finest paper, and has the title of the artwork, and the artist's name embossed into it, and a place for the signature of the company representative as well as the artist. It can be adhered to the back of the frame, or included in a sleeve with the giclee print. They're going to offer these certificates to all artists who have prints made with their company from now on!
How about you? What are your own thoughts about selling prints of your work?