Since high quality reproduction of artwork became possible and accessible, it posed a new dilemma for the artist. Musicians/composers faced this same problem when music and performance was able to be recorded . Audio, film and print are now commonplace means of recording.
There was a time when a musician created an original composition, arranged and performed the piece (perhaps) only once for the pleasure of someone like a king and his royal court or devotional music commissioned by the church. Needless to say,only those of an elite high social standing ever got to hear quality orchestral performances of compositions outside of hymns of worship. The other version available was the music of the wandering minstrels who travelled the land with their songs which related stories and events from one area to another.
Mr. Edison changes the music world
All this changed with the invention of the gramophone and radio transmission. Music was suddenly democratised and became accessible to the public via various recording and signal transmission methods which continue to evolve to this day.
i-tunes are yet another way anyone can access any type of music at any time with the click of a button.
Colour Reproduction and Photography Change the Visual art World
Colour reproduction and modern printing technologies have made it possible to now create high definition reproductions of 2 dimensional artworks which can even fool a trained eye into believing they are looking at an original artwork ,( particularly when applied to a watercolour, pastel or pencil)
Commonly known as “Gicle’”
prints, these reproductions could be more fittingly described as facsimiles rather than simple reproductions.
Visual Artists Denied Freedom To RE-Create!
(Thou shalt not go forth and multiply)
Strangely enough, there is still resistance to accepting these as valid collectable versions of a 2 dimensional artwork which display every characteristic of the original. Now everyone can access high quality images and enjoy art on an affordable level.This does not replace the original , it simply shows more people what the original looks like.
In spite of this obvious fact, there are still collectors who expect the artist of today to only produce original paintings and not to have it reproduced because they see this as “cheapening” their investment of owning the original.
Would these same people go to a musician in this day and age, asking for the music, total production and creative artwork to only exist in one form, not to be recorded or ever performed again? would they seriously deny the musician the right to have recordings made and sold to the wider public?
…Art Lovers Show Gratitude?
That is what visual artists are expected to do these days. Intellectual property and copyright is often totally disregarded in many cases and I have actually received Thank You cards from buyers of my work featuring my own artwork on the professionally printed card!
Apart from the cost of a restraining order from my solicitor (and the cost to do that) and the bad-will set up from explaining, we decide it is cheaper to do nothing. “One would win the fight, but lose the war.”
Recorded music does not replace the orchestra, singer or virtuoso instrumentalist, it enables more people to develop an appreciation for the original performances presented from time, but at great expense for the average person wanting to attend.
Appreciating Art Or What It Is Worth… ?
Art should be appreciated for the image and and personal expression within the artwork, not for the exclusivity of it artificially maintained from sheer snobbery. One is about art appreciation, the other is about ownership.
If one wants to insist on only owning an original Rembrandt or Picasso, they would need a huge amount of money to do so, but it has been shown many times that a famous artists’ work was ignored when offered to the public without the usual hype that the market-place uses to shape public perception.
Mona Lisa, Could Buy Me A Lifestyle…
Jackson Pollock’s painting, “Blue Poles” ceased to be looked at from an art point of view long ago. Most look at it’s well advertised market value in awe. They have never seen $50 million dollars hanging on a wall before. They imagine what they could do if they had the cash the painting could be converted to. Mona Lisa is another which is priceless and fires the imagination regarding how owning such an artwork would be the ultimate “one-up” on all of one’s rivals in this competitive world where virtually everything is measured and valued by it’s net worth in dollars, plus they see it could buy anything and all the power they ever wanted, (but little they really needed.)
Looking After Number ONE!
Numbered prints only had/have validity when the process of making the print has some damaging affect on the printing plate. The gradual degradation of the printing image from wear and tear of the process on the plate can be seen quite obviously as each dozen or so prints are made.
This varies with different printing processes and techniques. e.g. Screen printing (serigraphy) can give many identical prints numbering thousands if required, but artists and the art market insist on a cut-off at say, 100.
This is an arbitrary number, not because of the process not being able to print thousands of identical prints without damage from the process, it is to create a deliberate shortage in the market- place for the benefit of collectors.
(This also becomes a nonsense when we consider other collectables such as coins. “Rare” is attributed to something that was originally minted in the thousands instead of the hundreds of thousands which is more the normal output.
There Is Nothing As Rare And Unique as ONE…
Compared to an original artwork which is unique as well as there being only ONE, the argument for rarity making coins valuable is ridiculous in comparison.)
On the other hand regarding numbered editions, Etchings and Dry-points deteriorate quickly compared compared with most other methods. Applying and wiping the abrasive ink off the plate is harmful enough, without the added stresses from applying several tons of pressure for each print.
Numbering each print as it is done has some meaning with these methods because the printing plates have a short life compared to others.
The First time is Not Always The Best…
Maintaining some “rarity” to artworks are a commercial invention built around investment and collectibility, it has nothing to do with art. I have often preferred the 10th or 30th image pulled from a plate than the first one. Something to do with the amount of ink or the speed at which it was wound through the press caused a unique difference which I could not repeat. Select carefully by appearance, not by snobbery .(This variation happens rarely, but if it does, I write a note verso stating the particular print is my personal choice over the others in the edition and say why.
PERMANENT PIGMENTED INKS ON ALL ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Each of the gicle images shown here are not like anything one sees in a colour magazine printed from 4 colours which are not light-fast. My gicles are printed from 10 to 12 colour permanent pigmented inks which have an 80 year light fastness guaranteed for the colours and 300 years for the black inks.
They are printed onto high quality canvas or 300 gsm. archival paper. These Oxley gicles’ will still appear new when some cheap originals will be long gone due to poorly prepared surfaces or poor technique.