Why make prints today? Like many a print maker I ask myself this often. I have come to realize through my experience with trying to make Three Bones Society a viable business that the majority of people really don’t understand what a print is now. They are immersed in a culture where the word print signifies pushing a button on a computer screen and watching something emerge from a laser or ink jet printer. Even artists turn to this when selling prints of their Photoshop experiments or I-Phone photos of their paintings and drawings. A hundred years ago they would have turned to a professional printmaker to reimagine their visions as unique hand-wrought works. Frankly, even today, there are numerous printmakers who do this for artists who work in other media. That there could be a mutually beneficial form of commerce that would benefit both the original artist and printmaker eludes most artists. Sadly, these artists’ works when sold as giclee prints immediately depreciate in value upon sale. Unlike hand-made prints there is no appreciation in value. In fact, they are worth little more on the resale market then the artist’s signature commands as an autograph.
So what constitutes a print. To me that involves creating an image on a matrix, be it on metal, wood, screen mesh or experimental surface, inking that surface and pulling an impression on paper. It requires a multi-layered skill set. It is a complex and intimate creative process that results in multiple original works. The conveyance of that to a buyer or collector is a unique and intimate transmission.
I cannot help getting the feeling that people who look at photos of prints on the Internet simply don’t get this. They tend to perceive images of prints to represent some digital process. That lays down a real challenge in how one should go about selling prints on the web.
Of course, there is a small audience, who specifically collects prints and seeks them out. But if you want to make a business viable that sells prints, you need to have an expanded base. (Particularly since print collectors are more likely to buy from tradeshows, print dealers, and galleries than they are to peruse the internet.) So both Thomas and I realize that we need to devote time in educating people about prints and how they are made to help them appreciate the value of what we do.
So my question to you here is what would you like to know. Are you interested in the history of printmaking? specific processes?, step by step illustrations? Please use the comment form below or let us know using the contact form.