Thursday, January 19, 2012

To Print or not to Print

One of my favorite blogging artists Andrea Pratt, has been grappling with making prints of her artwork.  While I have never seen one of per pieces in person, I can imagine it would be thrilling.  Her trees practically crackle with energy.  That got me to thinking about prints.  Again.  And that thinking got me to the same conclusion.  Again.

I do have some prints of others' work.  There are those occasions when the interest in an art piece wanes, and when it does, for me, it's always a print.  Sure, I'd love to have an Van Gogh.  Not going to happen.  So I settled for a framed print.  While I still enjoy looking at it, it no longer draws me in.  I see its flatness.  Of course it must be flat.  Texture does not convey.  I am still drawn to the original pieces of art in my home.  I've tired of the content of a couple of pieces, but the rest have stayed with me.  Their textures still draw me in.  Yes, I've been known to run my hands over these pieces.

As I've mentioned here before, I love creating my pieces.  I have loved working with textiles.  Then when I wanted more texture, I added beads.  Then paper.  Now I am working with paper and paint, and I add texture with those.  Sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.  I pet these pieces while I create them.  I pet these pieces when I finish them.  And since very few have left the house recently, I can take them all out and pet them when I need to reconnect.

These pieces still have energy.  I still feel the heat and excitement I felt when creating them.  Even though I am not creating the textile pieces right now, I still feel the same about them.  When I feel uninspired, I will take out my finished artwork and touch it.

There are cultures that believe to take a person's photograph is to steal their soul.  While I don't try too hard to avoid black cats and walking under ladders, I do feel there is something to that superstition.  I certainly feel that way about artwork.  My refrigerator is covered in photos, notes and drawings.  Many of the magnets are mini-reproductions of famous works of art.  I've got no problem with that.  And why not have a mouse pad Mona Lisa?  But to me, to truly feel the art -- its weight, meaning, significance, you've really got to be able to feel the art.  It's soul is lost when it becomes a photograph.

Art is not just a product.  It is also a process.  When I see my own art, I see the process.  I can still feel the process in my fingers.  When I look at art I've purchased I want to be able to do the same or to get as close to the process as possible.  I want to see the order the layers were applied.  I want to see and feel the textures.  I don't want a piece of art on my wall like a trophy.  Something once alive.  Something that I can't relate to and that can't relate to me.  I want the art on my walls to still be living and breathing.

I know that art is not cheap.  People will say that they love a certain artist's work and that buying a print is a close as they can get.  If there's some artist that you must have something, anything, by -- well sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  But to say you can't afford original art is probably not true.  Come to think of it, my artwork is pretty reasonable. Etsy is chockfull of awesome art. Look in junk shops and flea markets. Even the side of the road. Check out local crafts fairs and art auctions. Check your granny's attic.

I've probably ticked off some artists out there. Perhaps their work DOES translate well into prints. Mine doesn't.

Now go and buy some art or pull it out of someone's trash. Love it. Touch it often.

And if you think I'm wrong, please let me know.


andrea said...

Bravo! And your work *is* very reasonably priced, so why not buy an original? The original shows the process which is why it's so timeless. I love to look at oil paintings from different angles because the light changes.

My drawings on black paper are impossible to really capture in images. They are really hard to sell online because of it, but sell like mad (and -- shhhh -- for way more money) from galleries (if properly lit) because you have to see the original. (Sorry for tooting my own horn.)

All that said, your images are so strong and graphic that I bet they'd sell well as prints! :)

Susan said...

Maybe Andrea has a point. Some art can be view in the print form and be strong. Your art be it fiber or paper can be viewed as a print.

Who knows, where this may lead you. Maybe you could take your collages and create one for a certain city and make cards out of it, or highlight a certain historical object of a city.

I know this might take you out of your comfort zone, but it can help get your works out to the people that would love to see your work, but might not be able to afford the 30 to 500 dollar range for art.

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

Hi Kim....who can be silent with these posts of yours?!?!? So, I have a couple of things to of which is, I totally understand the need to touch and to pet. When I see something luscious, some artwork that causes me to stop in my tracks, I have the need for touch, but also the need to eat it!!! There is something about the things that I love most that make me want to consume them whole! Okay, perhaps I shouldn't have admitted that, but oh well. The other thing is this....the use of the word print, which for me, is a sticking point. I am married to a printmaker....a printmaker makes prints, which are original works of art, each print is the result of hand wiping a plate (not to mention the laborious hours to create the plate itself) and pulling the print themselves. Our language needs more words, for crying out loud. I prefer to call what you're talking about....reproductions, which is what many artists do to get their work out to a buying public. I understand the need for that, but I wish they could be called something besides print!!! You're absolutely surface, no texture....just a picture of art. Your point is right on the money....although reproductions are a way to have a picture of someone's work, there is no reason that people can not buy original art....there is much original work out there for sale that is absolutely affordable and it's the real thing. Your work is highly affordable and I purposely have a shop full of work that is original and affordable. It's there, everywhere, as you say, and all of it needs a good, loving home! Keep making those beautiful works!!! I'll shut up now! Patti

Dana Barbieri said...

I get what you are saying but I also love to have a favorite artists work on a note card, a calendar, and if I certainly couldn't afford an original, a print. Of course nothing can compare to the original. They do breathe a bit of the soul of the artist and the textures and colors can never truly compare to the original.

Sharmon Davidson said...

No, Kim, you're not wrong. There is an energy or spirit in the original piece that's put there during its making. There is texture, surface, and nuance that can't be seen in a print. But there is also art that is made to be printed- graphic design. I have to agree with Andrea that your work would look great as prints, as they are strongly graphic. For some work, I think I'd have to have the original, but I can't say that's true for everything. And as Susan said, it could get your work to where it will be seen. Prints can also make you some cash at times when the more expensive originals won't sell. How's that for a non-answer?

Kelly M. said...

Ah, no, you're absolutely on target, I think! Bravo for this great entry and you go, girl!!!!

tangled sky studio said...

i like the whole (somewhat romantic)idea of getting original art into more homes. i've had cards printed in the past they are just not the same. when you think of owning a picture of a sculpture over the 3 dimensional original it seems silly, right. just because a piece of art is flat does not mean it doesn't have a sculptural quality...

Nellie's Needles said...

Your post and a lot of the comments are also my sentiment about original art... most particularly the textile medium. Thanks for the conversation