It’s not surprising that there’s so much confusion over ‘art prints’, especially with the increasing popularity of digital reproductions as technology has become better and more accessible. There is certainly nothing wrong with digital prints, and they are often an affordable way to get access to Fine art.
As a printmaker, I often hear a lot of misconceptions about the process and with some digital prints being editioned it is blurring the boundaries between our understanding of originals and reproductions and I wanted to talk about why I create original art prints and what makes them original works of art.
To me, printmaking conveys emotion, the connection between the artist, paper, plate and inks. There is the craftsmanship involved in hand-pulled printmaking, including tearing the paper by hand, carving the plates, inking them up, lining up the layers and burnishing the back of the paper.
The end result is a tactile piece of artwork, the inks layered onto the paper and each other, it had a texture and its own beauty as an artwork in its own right. I want to honour the qualities of the process by keeping it in its original form, a digital print would never do it justice.
Printmaking is already a method of reproduction by its very nature so creating a digital copy feels counterintuitive.
I want collectors to know how many prints are in existence, rarity is important to me, and it feels respectful of their investment in my artwork. Digital prints are also less likely to increase in value.
You should be able to tell an original print, created by hand such as lino, screenprint, etching etc… by the fact that it is signed and editioned on the outside of the artwork. Digital and Giclée prints should be signed within the artwork to maintain the distinction. I would always say choose what you love when buying art but It is always worth asking questions about the process to know if it is an original piece.
To keep things simple every artwork you see on my website is an original print, with the exception of cards and postcards which are the only reproductions I sell.
I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about printmaking, let me know your thoughts, or if you have any questions.