Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Project - Thoughts on Giclee Reproductions

Recently, I had an offer to work with a great interior designer who really admires my work. I won't go into all of those details right now, but working with him has gotten me started producing a few giclee reproductions of my art.

We are really starting to get some great results, so I feel comfortable writing about it here.
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into getting these to look good. I have been spending many hours with the printer trying to match color and learning about what a reproduction of my paintings can look like compared to the original.

Now, getting blogger to post accurate color on these images is another story.

"Little Dancer", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction 10" x 8" image size
Introductory Price: $60. USD
plus shipping

My feelings on producing digital prints, or giclees, of my art have been mixed for a while.

The idea of offering high quality digital reproductions of my paintings at a moderate price is appealing.
It would allow many more people to enjoy my art that maybe could not afford an original.
There are also many paintings that I am proud of, that are in private collections. The ability to offer giclees of those pieces to others that may have missed out on buying the original is another plus.

My fear had been that somehow this would "cheapen" the original art in some way.
After thinking about it for years I am getting over that.
Heck, Monet, Van Gogh, and renoir have been reproduced on posters, bags, cards , magnets, umbrellas, and probably underwear for years, and their originals are still highly valued.
In the art world, name recognition is important, and I think that getting reproductions of my work out can only help the name recognition for my "brand".

I have decided to go with high quality art paper instead of printing on canvas. Printing oil paintings on canvas seems to me like there is some sort of effort to mislead the buyer/ viewer that it is a piece of original art. It is not. They are high quality reproductions made with archival inks, but it is in no way supposed to pretend that it is an original painting. That may be one thing that had turned me off to the whole idea before. When I see "enhanced" giclee prints on canvas for sale I feel like someone is trying to say that a few dabs of clear gel or paint on top of a reproduction makes it a piece of "original" art or something.

I also feel that limited editions should be saved for the real hand pulled stuff that those numbers were intended for.
I am offering these as open editions, no numbers. The signature is on the painting already, so no signature in pencil on the reproduction either.

I will be offering these for sale on my web site once I get the shipping from Mexico and ordering issues worked out.
For now, You can contact me directly if you are interested.
The reproductions are on high quality art paper and un framed.
I'm sticking to making the reproductions the size of the original painting. I feel that the brushwork looks best like that.

I would really love to hear some feedback and opinions on giclee reproductions from both artists and collectors of art.

Anybody have any thoughts to share on reproducing artwork?
Buying or selling?
Below are the other giclees that I am offering so far.
Scroll down below them to post a comment.

"Burro Bonito", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Woman and Doves", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Working Hard II", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Rastrojo", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Fiesta of Flowers", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 7" x 5" image size
Introductory Price: $40. USD
plus shipping


Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

i don't think it cheapens the originals at all. i also feel that your mentality on it is correct too, unsigned, open edition, fair pricing, and no 'enhancements' are the way to go. i despise when any kind of art reproduction is presented in a misleading fashion. plus you have many great paintings that sold way too fast that many people would enjoy having in their homes, this allows many people to enjoy the same painting. nothing wrong with that. these are all fabulous selections too.

Jack Riddle said...

Frank--to put in writing what I told you: I think this is a wise path to follow. Not only will you sell more, you'll make the original that much more precious. Also, you make a great point in that you can offer popular pieces that have already sold in print form to a new audience. I will follow this closely as I am thinking about doing the same thing. I get many such requests at shows--so why not?

Daniel Corey said...

HI Frank, thanks for checking my site out and the compliment, yeah I got to paint with Colin about a month ago, great workshop. I think that the prints may enhance the value of the originals by the notoriety and in a way building a "legend".. and it would be nice to get one for a price that works on a micro-budget. good luck with this choice, Dan

mike rooney studios said...

ive only had a giclee done of one pc i did of a popular restaurant at the beach and he sells them inside the restaurant. he bought the original, and has re-ordered three times. so i made a ton off that one three hour session. if i'd only done the one painting (like usual), i'd have lost this extra money. i've chosen not to do anything except tourist hotspots in giclees, but watching your success or failure will help me decide if i need to rethink this decision for my regular subject matter. thanks for sharing your idea with the rest of us. preesh!

Alicia Padrón said...

I think is a great idea amigo! This is exciting. I'm sure you will be able to reach more people this way. And now a broader audience will be able to enjoy your art and have it in their homes.

I know I'm in love with Burrito Bonito... I'm thinking maybe I can add it my letter to Santa. Let's hope someone in my family picks up on it ;o)

Good luck with this Frank. I'm sure they will be a hit!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Christine. Jack, Dan, Mike and Alicia.
Thanks to all of you for your input.
I really appreciate all of your thoughts.

These are the first set. I will be working on some of the 24x30 size next.

Logan Maxwell Hagege said...

Hey Frank, Let me know how it goes. I know I have heard some mixed feelings from artists in the past, but each artist has a different career and different goals. So what is important to one artist might not be to the other. I once had a good artist friend of mine suggest I go into the print market because he thought a series that I did a few years ago would sell well in prints. This artist is well respected and is known for his originals but he gave the advice that it might be the right path for me. I haven't done prints but just because I am still thinking the whole idea over. Good luck with them.

Jennifer Thermes said...

These are great selections, Frank! I don't know much about giclées but think your rational sounds well thought out. :-)

Anonymous said...

I really like your style.

Where in Mexico are you? I visited Mexici City this summer.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Logan, I'll be sure to keep you posted.
Thanks for your input. It took me a long time to finally decide to try it.
I highly recommend being able to sit there with the printer and take time to make many visits to adjust color etc. It is not the kind of thing that would be easy to do via mail, emails or phone calls.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Jennifer. Like I said, I have been weighing pros and cons for a long time. Pros won out.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Britt. I am in San MIguel de Allende, right in the middle of Mexico, about 3 1/2 hours north of Mexico City.
Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

I happened on your blog through another artist’s blog and was interested to read your thoughts on archival printing. Although I am not familiar with your work, what I have just seen quickly on your blog looks wonderful.

Having sold my work in a tourist driven market for the last seven years, I understand the value of additional sales from high quality prints. I actually produce most of mine myself (although I can only print up to 13x19 inches…which is fine for me as my work is usually smaller than that). I love having control over the printing process, although you have to invest quite a bit into buying a good quality Epson archival ink printer and a good large size scanner or good camera. Quite a bit of experience in Photoshop is also required to be able to colour correct correctly etc.

My watercolours scan and reproduce wonderfully and also pastels paintings.

My experience of selling high quality prints is that the customer generally needs to be educated as to what he is buying….as you said in your post today….there are a lot of reproductions on the market which have been embellished and the poor customer does not always understand exactly what he is buying.

I always print on Epson archival matt paper and sometimes on one of the specially treated watercolour papers. My husband sells a lot of his photographs and we print these on archival matt paper also. This paper gives a good sharp clean matt finish.

If you check my blog there is a link to an article I wrote for WTERCOLOR MAGIC magazine (USA) last year on the basics of creating your own high quality fine art prints.

Sometimes I wish I could make a living out of selling originals only…..but I am just not well known (or prolific) enough for that at the moment! Each artist has to make tough decisions about selling prints….or not….the best thing about giclee or digital printing is that once the set up fees have been paid….it really is printing on demand. I agree with you about keeping your prints as open editions. Good luck with it, all and I will be interested to see how it all goes for you in a few months time.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Frank... Maggie gave some great advice. I have a large format Epson and do what she's doing too, basically. I also have a four foot high stack of offset lithography "artist proof" reproductions of paintings that I did with a publisher for 15 or so years. About 40 editions, just sitting in a pile.

Some of the biggest names in painting make reproductions, giclees now, but offset in the past. So I think that the argument that it cheapens your art is bogus. However, some galleries have policies that they won't carry the art of an artist who is in print. I guess I wouldn't get into those.

However you choose to do it, to be successful, they have to be marketed and sold . I have the Epson and I've made some prints of my landscape paintings and sold a few. To sell a lot, I'd have to have a plan and seriously market them. I'd rather market my paintings frankly.

My concern is, do I want to spend the time required to sell these things to really make it worthwhile? Or would I be better using that time to paint more? Seems like if you're going to do this, you should go into it with the idea of really making some cash or it doesn't make sense to do it. And it will take time.

My Epson now prints class materials in B&W, or really good reference photos. :) Ouch!

If you're going into it seriously, then it will take time. If not, what's the point? Is $5 or $10 here and there worth the time and expense to do it?
I don't know. It's like making cards or little $100 paintings and the like. Sure you can "make" some money.

You're a very good painter and I'd be afraid of it watering down what is most important, your painting time and effort.

Just my two cents.

Marc R. Hanson said...

I forgot to tell you, I tagged you. This is new to me. I only tagged painters who also teach. You're probably an old hat at this, it was new to me.

Anonymous said...

fascinating reading! - your post, and all the comments!
how is "giclee" pronounced? - zhi-clay?

anyway, i have nothing to add to this discussion, but wanted to say thanks for the interesting reading, all the same.

wish i could send you that mac, and buy ms. padron her burro print. sigh. oh well.


Susan Carlin said...

Great discussion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and what you're learnin.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that it was indeed on Marc’s blog where I came upon your blog. Also to add ...that what Marc says about marketing is 100% true. No point in having piles of matted or framed giclee prints sitting all over your studio. However marketing our prints does take a lot of time and effort…. and if the customer is not educated you will be competing against lesser quality reproductions where they bang them out for two a penny. It is a tough balancing act and I think the important thing is to really know YOUR market. Frank,
When I lived in South Florida, Competition was high in both originals and prints…. everyone was selling prints…and a lot of the tourists just wanted to take back home a little piece of paradise…not necessarily a high quality print…. so I had to keep in pricing with what everyone else was pricing…. but I sold a lot of Volume.
Being a one-man art-marketing band, really does take its toll on your painting time, though.
My printer is an Epson R2400 Stylus Photo printer…sounds like Marc’s might be a little larger.

Alicia Padrón said...

Aren't you sweet Solveg!
Thank you :o)

Anonymous said...

well, ms. padron - alicia (i don't want you to feel old!!!) - last time i checked, your blog didn't accept anonymous comments, so i haven't been able to tell you how much i adore your illustrations/books! but, since you saw my reference to you in my last comment, here on mr. gardner's - : ) - blog, perhaps you will read my appreciation of you, here. awhile back, there was a display of original Velveteen Rabbit illustrations (not THE original, but original RE-illustrations of that story) in a local gallery, here in Minneapolis, MN - they were so soft and delicate and beautiful. i looked at them over and over and over. Your work reminds me of those lovely illustrations. so, sorry mr. gardner, for taking up space on your blog, but still, thank you, ALICIA, for your lovely work. i'm certain that the children who see your pictures will cherish them all their lives.

Frank Gardner said...

Welcome Maggie.
I did not invest in a printer. I work with a printer here in town. They have a very high quality HP 44" printer with a 12 color system.
I am printing on high quality Hahnemuhle paper.
You are right about educating the customer as to what they are buying.
Thanks for checking in.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Marc, wow, lots of good thoughts here. I was hoping someone would bring up some of these points.
Like I said to maggie, I am not using my own printer, but work with a person here in town that has a much better printer than I could ever afford. I would rather buy a car for that much money.
I had never thought that a gallery might not want to carry the art of an artist who is in print. Huh... well, I am not in that many galleries anyway.
As far as marketing. I run my own gallery here that gets lots of traffic and the rest I will leave up to two "designers", for lack of a better word, who will handle a lot of that.
I spend a lot of time doing other things besides painting anyway. Like running the gallery and being a Dad. I get enough painting done though. Don't want to be obsessive about it.
Thanks for all of these thoughts.

and thanks for the tag.
Yeah, I know what it is about. I'll work on getting some things together and think of a few good people to pass it on to.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Solveg, Yeah, I think that is how you pronounce it.

Tell you what, you send the mac and I'll give Alicia the print.

Dont worry, I am working on getting it for myself. Cant live without my mac.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Susan, It is turning into a good discussion. All of the bases seem to be getting covered. I am just as confused about the whole thing as before.
Thought I would give it a try.

I am still trying to find a time when I can watch you paint on line. One of these days.

Thanks for checking in.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi again Maggie. I hope to leave most of the marketing on it up to others. I do have some at my gallery, but I sell them un framed and un matted.

I am already a one man marketing band with my gallery. That is about 90% of my sales.
A little more time with these seemed like it was doable.

Frank Gardner said...

Hey hey hey... what are you guys doing? I think there is a way to comment on a blog that does not take anonymous comments Solveg. They can all be set up differently, but if it has a place that says name/ url you can usually just sign in with a name, you dont need a blog or anything.

In the mean time, feel free to contact Ms Padron here.

Have you seen her video on her blog?

Frank Gardner said...

I'd like to add the thoughts of someone who sent me an email about the giclee idea. He is an artsit and I will just refer to him by the initials BS.
Here is part of what he said that I think deserves a mention too.

" These are some ideas for you to kick around in your new venture. Reproduction can reap the benefits you suggest. in all things...there is the flip side. Reproduction can diminish the saleability of your work in the eyes of the serious collectors....and might even anger a previous buyer if they see their one-of-a kind artwork which they feel they alone have purchased...on a fridge...or under a cocktail glass. Better check in with them PRIOR to undertaking the reproduction of the piece they own. Does a handful of $40 US prints ever equal a $4000 sale in a prestigious patron's home...because they admire your work? I wonder? Just my thoughts!"

Do any of you think that the owner of the original would be angered by seeing their work in print on paper form? I mean, the artist always retains copyright to the image, but should the owner be "checked" with before printing?

Marc R. Hanson said...

"Do any of you think that the owner of the original would be angered by seeing their work in print on paper form? I mean, the artist always retains copyright to the image, but should the owner be "checked" with before printing?" Frank quote

To be picky here...this is a great conversation by the way...But my past tells me that we should get the terminology going on the right path at the start.
A digital or offset or photo or etc.or other means of mechanically reproducing an image, where every single copy is the same with no hand of the artist involved other than pushing the 'on' switch, is a 'reproduction' of an 'original' piece of art and rightfully should be called just that..a 'reproduction'.

A 'Print' refers to etchings, stone lithography, intaglio, wood cut, etc...original prints where each piece of paper pulled or run through the process is usually going to have some variation, and in fact can be altered as the process continues. The plate, stone or... linoleum... degrades making the first 'prints' pulled usually the finest. Hence lower numbers in an edition being more desirable to some.

Sorry to get so involved but there has always been an element of confusion and uncomfortableness in the "print/reproduction" world. I apologize for taking so much of your blog space to explain this Frank as you probably already know, but for others it might help to keep things straight. It's easy to mix the terms up, I do it all the time.

To the point of your question:

This is tricky in my mind. First off, you have 'every' right to do whatever you want with your art without consulting ANY one ( I know you know that ). Buyers don't always realize that.

To spill the beans, or maybe not, I was published by one of the three largest publishers in the country when Wildlife, Western and Sporting art was very profitable. I used to run into situations where a painting sold and because of the profits involved at in that market at that time...the client thought they had the right to publish offset lithos of the paintings and make money from them. It sometimes took a little education to teach them 'who' held the rights and they still didn't always understand that.

In those situations they obviously didn't mind the paintings being reproduced. And in fact so many of those paintings that sold through the publisher's galleries were also being reproduced as limited editions reproductions, that it never occurred to us to ask permission, it wasn't done, it was the right of the artist and publisher to do so.

That said, that was a different clientele and market than what we are dealing with now in the work we do. Speaking personally, the people who buy my paintings now, and I suspect yours, are much more personally attached than those looking for cardinals at a feeder or ducks flying over a marsh. The clients that I have now buy 'ART' thank God. I would be hesitant to print a painting that one of these people purchase without at least telling them I might and gauging their reaction to that.

Frank I didn't realize that you run your own gallery. That's a different game then, you have the market setting there ready to go.

I bought a $500.00 Epson Stylus Photo R1800, smaller than Maggie's I think? I print on 100% rag paper up to 13x19. IF...IF...the digital file is good, this thing will print nearly exact duplicates of the painting. It takes some proofing, I use smaller size paper for that, lot's of ink and paper but is very easy to do once you get in tune with it.

Well I'm going to keep watching the discussion...good one.

Anonymous said...

oh - I'm gonna LOVE reading the comments to THAT question!!! I can see arguments for both sides. I'll check in later tonight to see what the experts say!!!
: )
and, re: anonymous comments...i've tried a bunch of things, none of which worked, but i'll try again.
and, re: alicia's video - i just noticed it yesterday but couldn't get a consistent wireless signal to watch's on my list of things to do.
: )

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank, my understanding of this is that an original of a popular print become fantastically more valuable. Those people who are fortunate to own the originals should be very grateful to you for releasing prints. Paul.

Frank Gardner said...

Well you are absolutely right Marc. I should have said reproduction not print. That is my whole issue with numbering and limited edition with digital reproduction.

Take all the space you need! It is good to get all these thoughts into one spot.

Thanks for staying with this discussion.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Paul.
Well, that is a good way to think about it.
Thanks for adding that!

Anonymous said...

Frank, thank you for welcoming me to your blog. It is indeed a good discussion…. really great to hear opinions from all sides of the coin. Sorry my thoughts below are a bit long…hope you don’t mind.

Marc, I too must stop using the word ‘print’ so loosely. It is one of those words that becomes intertwined with ‘reproduction’ and means many things to many people. But I DO understands why printmakers get annoyed with the word being used to describe digital reproductions.

I think the whole issue of selling giclee reproductions as add on sales is very much a personal issue for each individual artist. There are many factors to consider including what kind of following you have, what type of gallery representation you have, what your originals generally sell for, what type of market you sell too, if you are going to start wholesaling or selling through your own gallery (like Frank), What your competition is like in the same medium/subject matter….etc.

Each artist has to weigh up the pros and cons… and make an informed decision. Even though I do most of my own archival digital printing, it takes up a lot of time, I could use for painting, quite a bit of investment in equipment and software know how. I enjoy it, and get excited by seeing my paintings in print form and appreciate the opportunity to market my work to a larger customer base.... But I have begun being much more selective of which paintings to reproduce…(not everything reproduces well) and which sizes to pursue. Some customers get turned off by ‘mass production’…others just enjoy having the chance to display an image from which the original has already sold….at a fraction of the cost of an original.

Since I have moved back to the UK, the market for selling my paintings has changed. (along with a declining economy right now)…and I am realizing that the market for selling large quantities of giclee reproductions was directly influenced by the amount of year round tourists in South Florida. The selling and marketing of art is definitely a different ball game here than in Key West.

It is part of the ever-evolving path of an artist to re-group every so often and consider your market and client base… as an aside to re evaluating ones work and striving to be a better painter.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi again Maggie. I will limit my use of the word print too. I went back through and switched most of my uses of the word print to reproduction, just to try and clear up the difference, although I think there can be as many misunderstandings of that word as well.
I felt that calling them digital prints was enough, but I'll refer to them as reproductions as often as I can.

I have done a lot of printmaking in the past, so I know that there is a lot more effort that goes into making a hand pulled print look good. And as Marc pointed out. The signing and numbering of those is more important with the lower numbers being more desirable. I think that between 3 and 6 or 7 were always my best looking prints.

That is why I mentioned in this post that I was not signing and numbering the giclees. It just seems like a misleading thing to do as number 1 looks pretty much the same as number 100.

I guess "market" for the reproductions does come into the bottom line. Also, for me, the collector's point of view is important. I don't want to disturb the collector base that I have worked so hard to build up.

I'll have to see if I get any reaction on that front, and if I do, I will be sure to write about it here.

Kami Mendlik said...

HI Frank! I thought I'd introduce myself since you and I are the 'chosen' ones :) as links on Marc's site! He speaks quite highly of you and your work.

You're a great inspiration for many! Great work and I love your paint quality, wish I could see your originals!
Happy Painting! -Kami

Marian Fortunati said...

They look great. I hope they do well and that many people are able to enjoy your work.

Alicia Padrón said...

Hi Frank, I just have to give a quick thanks to Solveg after what he worte..

Solveg, I'm very touched. Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorite books. You are too kind, thank you!

Ok Frank, I'm leaving now.. don't get mad at me amigo. Love ya! ;o)

conor said...

I'm glad to see you don't 'number' the giclee's - it always makes me laugh to see them that way - the whole point of it being a digital reproduction is that #300 should look EXACTLY like #1 - it's digital, from a computer! Your pieces are beautiful, and this is probably a great way to sell in this market. I bet the tourists (if there are any left, with this economy) in SM would line up to buy them! You GO Frank!

conor said...

I'm glad to see you don't 'number' the giclee's - it always makes me laugh to see them that way - the whole point of it being a digital reproduction is that #300 should look EXACTLY like #1 - it's digital, from a computer! Your pieces are beautiful, and this is probably a great way to sell in this market. I bet the tourists (if there are any left, with this economy) in SM would line up to buy them! You GO Frank!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Kami, Thanks for the visit.
I had seen your web site from a mention on Marc's blog, but I did not know that you had started a blog. It is good to know.
Well, if you'd like to see the originals, I have a few of them here, where it's warm. Just reading that bit about 26 degrees being good enough to paint outside makes me shiver.
Look me up in Jan or Feb when you guys can't even paint in the car : )

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Marian. I have no idea what to expect from the whole thing.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Alicia, I like the Velveteen Rabbit too. I am gonna have to charge you guys rent : I

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Conor. Thanks for the input.
The numbering of digital prints, I mean reproductions, always seemed a bit weird. I'm glad to hear a few people agree with me on that.

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Hi Frank, Here's my two cents worth and more on reproductions. Over my 30+ year career (I'm there with Marc in the hayday of off-set reproductions in the 80-90's, tho I wasn't one of the lucky wildlife artists chosen by THE publisher at the time) one of my top galleries published my work, I have many posters printed by non-profit groups, etc. My point: Reproductions do have their place, bring in extra income for the artist (takes a lot of marketing to do so), another price point for art lovers who can't afford originals, etc. I also produced myself 14 hand-pulled serigraph editions and had to continually educate people on the difference between original prints and reproductions. The reproductions I always printed 10% smaller than the original so there would never be any confusion and of course I never reproduced a commissioned painting. As for the owner of the original painting..they were thrilled to own the original. I, like Marc, also had an owner call to see how she could have prints made and the ensuing discussion of who owns the rights...what I ended up doing is having 5 prints made just for her to give her kids and keep her happy. She just didn't get it. With your own gallery I think you are smart to make giclees, unnumbered.The print market got so over loaded with "limited editions" and then the so called secondary market, wow, (that was a hoax in my opinion) where repros were sold out by the publisher and could then be marked up many times, more valuable "they said". There were publishers and artists that would take orders upfront and limit the edition to that artist in particular had such a following that maybe 20,000 prints or more would be sold! Now that is marketing! Another successful artist friend of mine was referred to as the McDonalds of the artworld! Things seems to be more settled down now, as cycles come and go. Gicless make print as you sell them, a huge advantage over the old off-set repros. I have a stack of some of those, too, sitting here. Sorry for the ramble, hope it helps. Do you think the owner of a Rembrandt cares that there are prints out there? Go for it!

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Whoops, I mean "reproductions" out there.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Jennifer reminded me of one of the most annoying things that happened when she, I and others were showing with published reproductions in the mix with originals. Don't get me wrong, this is not the fault of people who hadn't been told the difference...But, many times artists would be involved in large exhibits (not the LYWAM show of which Jennifer and I were both a part of for years) that involved publishers, galleries, and their stables of artists, and individual artists all under the same roof. So there was a mix of original art and the 'marketing' art which was really the focus of it all.

The frustrating part was that people would walk up to the booth where your original paintings were hanging, sometimes near the reproductions of the same work, and say, (about the original painting) "I just love that 'print'... how much is it?" They had been so 'not-educated', as to the difference between a piece of paper with ink on it and an original painting, that to them they were the same. That's why some really 'hot' artists' reproductions sold for 2,3,4,5... times as much as the originals of a lot of the rest of us. They sold to those buyers who didn't understand the difference in value (meaning intrinsic value, not monetary value) between a piece taking hours and hours of skilled effort to create and one taking, what?, 2 minutes to come through the mechanical press!

I only bring this up, not to sound bitter ( therapy has taught me not to be :)... I kid), but to talk about why some customers and galleries don't want anything to do with anything from an artist but originals...incuding 'original' prints, drawings and paintings... but not anything mechanically reproduced. The 80's and 90's, in particular, did a lot to put a bad taste in the mouth for that marketing practice; the artists taking the brunt of the negativity.

Finally, I didn't mean to write so much about this, but in that time I would have 'loved' to have been popular enough to have editions of 20,000! My writing about this has nothing to do with thinking that someone shouldn't go for this approach if that's where they want to put their efforts. I'm all for that. :)

Thanks Frank!

Anonymous said...

Frank- I'm late to this party so adding just some encouragement to run with the giclees. I agree with you about not printing them on canvas as they look too " wannabe".
It's a great way to get more exposure for your work, and as well, giving more people a chance to own an affordable version.

Musicians write and record a song, and have the added income of royalties. Seems right to me that artists be able to extend the life and outreach of their paintings.

PS- like the burros face on your profile sidebar and I see the new additions of the 'follow this blog ".
How does that work? Do folks just put themselves up there or do you ask them to..

You've gotten some excellent comments here from well versed sources- good advice all of it.
I'm certain you'll find the right equation for yourself.

Solvay said...

Well, it HAS been fascinating reading - some of my faves have weighted in, and I've enjoyed the discussion.
Meanwhile, since I didn't want to PAY RENT to compliment our lovely princess Padron, I unearthed a blog I set up ages ago just for the purpose of commenting on nonanonymous-accepting blogs. I felt SO STUPID doing it that I only used it a couple of times, then vowed to comment from then forward only where I could rightly be anonymous, being a nonpainter nobody, after all. But, I woke it up for the sake of princess P. : )
so, well, it only seems right to sign in here with the same. So, here, stupid-feeling, am I, with blank blog, "solvay" (the phonetical spelling of my neam, since I can't stand to be called sahlvegggg, which is what people call me when they only see the odd Danish spelling of the name......).

Looks like you're sashaying into the reproduction market, and becoming a painter/gallery-owner/marketer - entrepreneur deluxe. Soon you'll be painting elephants.
couldn't help it.
: )
(I'm a fan of the hefelump, myself. And bunnies and teddy bears and HORSES and BURROS are nice too.)

Anonymous said...

hey Frank, i like that donkey in the top piece - it's got a great sense of realism. btw, i've changed my blog address... not sure if you have my old one still.

Anonymous said...

Note to Solveg:
Your name may have said anonymous but your comments are always so very present and expressive.

I enjoy reading your insightful, thoughtful words and that is YOUR art.

I'm guessing Frank won't mind using his comment page as a sidebar. :-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting reading about your thoughts on prints. I agree that getting your name out there is paramount. High quality prints that show of your work to its best are a perfect way. Good luck!

Solvay said...

More rent for you, Frank!
: )

Thanks, Bonnie! That's very nice of you to say!


Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for joining in Jennifer. It sounds like both you and Marc have a lot of experience in this.
I am not interested in turning out huge numbers. Don't want to become the next Kinkade or anything.
It does take a lot of time to get going though.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bonnie, Thanks for your input too.

I guess you figured out the "follow this blog" thing. Thanks for adding your avatar.
Yes, people just sign up to blogs they follow. A lot that I follow still do not have the gadget added yet.

As for the advice. It is all great. I am trying not to become more confused.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi again Marc, I am glad you are still following all of the comments.
Yeah, I can imagine what it must be like to have someone want to by that print and it is one of your originals. I hear interesting comments similar to that quite often in my gallery. I try not to take stuff like that personally. I think that showing the repro sample under glass will separate the originals from the repros.

Like I said earlier. I don't think I will get the editions up quite that large. If I do, I'll be sure to offer you a franchise opportunity at your local mall :)

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Solveg. I'm glad to see you have a blog space set up. Maybe you could upload a post on something. Your a great writer. I'm sure you could come up with something.
I was going to let you guys slide on the rent of space here, but now Bonnie has started sending you messages too.
I doubt I'll be painting elephants any time soon. Maybe pink elephants from Dumbo.

Well, I like Lumpy too. He has a great voice. Maybe he will be my next kids toy still life painting.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Simon. I was wondering what happened to you. I'll check out the new site once I have more computer time.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Alexandre. Yeah, gotta get the name out there a bit.
Thanks for the input! said...

These burros are just beautiful beyond words. said...

These burros are just beautiful beyond words.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Bill.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank,

First time visitor, and whew! What a great discussion! My 2 cents: I created a few giclees a number of years ago; sold a few. My problem is that I'm still firming up my "visual voice" so my giclees show a style of painting from years ago. Doesn't reflect the growth since; thus making it quite different from my current work.

I also very much like your concept behind the "no numbers". Definitely something I should reconsider for all those still unsold.

Thanks for initiating such a good discussion!

Frank Gardner said...

Welcome aboard Tracy.
Thanks for your input.
Yeah, I don't think giclees should be numbered.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

thanks for addressing those, "re-marques" which is what I've seen the one dab of paint on top of a print called. So fake. Very good points here about numbering and originals vs giclees.
I think your prices are quite reasonable, too.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Mary.
Hey, everyone can do what they want, but that seems lame to me to do that "re-marque" as you call it.
I'm glad you agree.
Glad that you think the prices are reasonable too.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Just dropped by to take a look at your recent work (wonderful, BTW) and stumbled on this very good discussion.

It is a bit confusing at times to know exactly how to proceed with reproductions; Print on demand? hand-enhanced? limited edition? signed and numbered? Repros on canvas? Giclee? Mechanical lithography? etc.

Because, as others here have pointed out, the public doesn't always know much about repros, it's sometimes challenging to simply offer reproductions without taking into account how the big companies market their wares.

Companies such as Greenwich Workshop insist on "limited" editions, although I've noticed that the huge numbered editions of a few years ago have given way to small editions.

For the most part, my editions are open. The folks who buy my reproductions are looking for a low-cost option and simply can't afford original art. So most of them don't care about much except the image and a (low) price.

However, there are a few customers who want the hand-enhancement. I hear also from others who believe that a limited edition is valuable because not everyone can get one. To their minds it gives the picture some special value.

The print-on-demand giclee publishing options are surely a boon for artists. Those piles of unsold repros (yes I have stacks of them too) from the mechanical lithography editions can be such a burden to market, move, or store.

Jennifer, you might want to include your copyright info in your bill of sale, so buyers of originals understand that they are not getting any reproduction rights. This is challenging when it's a gallery sale, but a statement on the back of originals can notify buyers that you reserve all rights. It's not a bad idea to spell things out for customers so they can understand a little about intellectual property rights of the artist.

For something like a commissioned portrait, it would be good to talk about reproduction rights when discussing price for the commission. Write it out for them. Most artists have a different fee for clients buying all rights, than for those who are only buying the painting and no reproduction rights.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Diana.
I appreciate you adding your thoughts to this.
I am just doing open editions for now.
Hand enhancement just seems dumb to me.
As far as the limited editions making it valuable because not everyone can get them. I guess that would be true if I were getting 20,000. for the original or something. I think that if someone wants something that not everyone can get then they should buy the original piece to begin with.

Good point to put the statement on the back to notify buyers that the artist reserves all rights. I don't think that people understand that.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just found you by googling this topic.
I also have struggled with to print or not.

But here was my conclusion. I was selling originals for too little. They are one of a kinds.

I need to look at my prints like I am a "designer" and most designers would never make just one toaster or just five.

The prints I make are TOP quality. They are digital prints or giclee prints, but I like to call them digital because I work them digitally. They are not just photos or scans. And some pieces don't work and some do as prints.

I can now offer a lower priced print AND a higher priced original one-of-a-kind.

Usually, I hold back the original from the print editions. Still thinking on that. Thinking I will leave them to my daughter.

I don't make prints from all or nearly all of my paintings. Only the ones more apt to have multiple buyers.

And I started off just having unnumbered "limited printing" editions (where I can decide when there are enough of them in the world.
But I found that people like the numbers. It's a hassle, but I keep a file and just note when I print another in an edition. That tells the buyer that "at the most" there will only be so many of an edition and so many "artist proofs." It can STILL mean there are only 20 that ever actually get printed. And it can mean that eventually the whole edition is run.

I LOVE the quality it allows.

But I struggle with the fact that, like paintings, they really need high quality museum matting and framing and THAT is the stickler sometimes. You can't take a beating on a frame cost. AND, the frame helps support and hold up the print, just like art. It is a needed tool. In most galleries you have to double or triple that cost just to get your cost back. It causes confusion and sticker shock. I always urge buyers to buy unframed and frame themselves, but that is asking alot of some people. But I still cannot take a loss on the framing or I am out of business.

What also hurts is that in some parts of the country, giclees are despised by galleries. In other parts, they sell well and help sell originals too, just as originals help sell prints.

I think an artist has to try to make a living and be true to their art. ONLY selling one of a kinds for a low price will put most artists in long patches of no sales or little money. We deserve to have channels to make a living and giclee prints are one that I think are ethical, smart, and necessarily, at least in part, to make a go of it, which is still hard.

My two cents. Please add it to this great conversation.


Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for joining in bb. You make some good points.

Canvas Printing Online said...

Hi frank! I really like your style., Keep it up! More! more!

Anonymous said...

Hello - I have been thinking about Giclees on and off for a few years. Some issues I have:
1. I collect original art myself, I would never collect a Giclee as I don't consider this as original art. SO why put my own out there? this might sound strange but if someone can't appreciate my originals enough to spend less then the cost of a loungesuite or the cost of a designer outfit on one, I just don't want them to have anything of mine.
2. It seems a lot of artists producing Giclees are doing it because they need more money, does this mean they are not selling enough of their originals, and why not? I think serious collectors wouldn't be happy with this thought.
3. Often I hear "So and So (famous artist) has reproductions everywhere" I think this is totally irrelevant to the discussion because most doing giclees aren't and never were 'famous'. things have changed.
4. If I want to sell more 'affordable' work to a different market - I draw.

Someone mentioned that it depends on your goals. Mine is to be a great artist and be shown world wide and collected, talked about and respected my many, I have a feeling if I went down the Giclee path - this would never happen, I would never even have the discussion with my gallery. I would feel like a sell out.

Frank Gardner said...

I agree with all four of your points Anonymous.
I am not real pleased with them now that I spent all that time on them. I am not showing them here in the gallery anymore and won't be offering them on my web site.
Thanks for the comment, wish you would have left your name.