Some pictures never leave us. We may not know who the artist is, or the context behind the image, but many of the most famous are universal. Think Mona Lisa, The Creation of Adam, The Last Supper, etc. And, where in the world would Mickey Mouse go unrecognised? Fancy a poster or print to adorn your wall, and you could pick up any of these for a song, in any number of places.
But is it art?
Mass production makes art accessible to all and, under UK Law at least, artwork falls into the public domain 70 years after the death of the artist. So, the reproduction of that “Old Master” can be cheaply done. But just because the artistry is good and the artist skilled, it doesn’t mean that the output is necessarily something you’d want to gaze at on a daily basis!
Quality vs quantity
Giclée printing, a term which comes from the French “to spray”, was coined by Jack Duganne in the 1990s, and is a form of fine-art print-on-demand. Using the inkjet printing process, it achieves the best possible replication of an original artwork using pigment-based inks as opposed to the cheaper, lower-quality, dye-based inks found in mass-produced alternatives.
Not only does Giclée look better, it’s more enduring. So, canvasses and prints last considerably longer too. And that’s something artists need to seriously consider when they’re selling their work if they want to it to hold and, optimally, increase in value.
Open Edition vs Limited Edition
Artists often use a version of the Scarcity Principle – the economic idea of demand outstripping supply – to elevate the collectability and price of their work. Creating only a small number, and controlling the sale of these carefully, does just that. Allowing it to be reproduced without any control or regulation is an expensive mistake many have famously made.
Even if you’ve not heard of Jim Fitzpatrick, you’ll have seen his most famous work, the iconic poster of Che Guevara. A political idealist, Fitzpatrick created the image in 1968 making it freely available to anyone who wanted to use it. It went on to become the star of many a would-be revolutionary’s bedroom wall. Contrary to his principles and wishes, commercial organisations also saw its appeal, using it to promote all kinds of products and leading him to fight to reclaim the copyright in 2010.
Most popular of all
Queen Elizabeth’s profile is said to be the world’s most reproduced; in no small part to having been printed more than 220 billion times on mailing stamps. That’s an honour shared by Che who was commemorated on a series of Irish stamps in 2017 that marked both 50 years since his death and, surprisingly, his little-known Irish heritage!
Prime works with artists, painters, and photographers both reproducing their work to the highest possible quality standards and helping generate value and revenue across their portfolios. Please do get in touch to see examples of our print on demand work, or to talk to us about how we might help.