Pros and Cons of Reproducing Your Art

Didn’t want this comment from Kenneth Lane Smith to get buried and no one see it so I thought I’d bring it to your attention. The posting was about whether and when to reproduce your work.

Along with being a Fine Art
Photographer, who prints and sells my own work, I am also a Printmaker.
I deal with many brushstroke artists, creating reproductions for them.
Here are a few observations if I may.

Benefits of Reproductions:

1: It allows the artists to continue to generate income from a work whether the original has been sold or not.

2: Allows more people to have access to a single piece.

3: Allows the artist to retain ownership of the original and only sell reproductions should they wish.

4: Allows what may be a more comfortable price point for buyers wishing to buy a reproduction.

5: Allows the artist to release different sizes of a piece should they choose to.

There are other benefits, but I”ll leave it there.

Disadvantages Towards Reproductions:

1: Depending upon the method used to create the reproduction (litho, giclée, etc.) costs of creating a run may be prohibitive.

2: Preceived value of a reproduction may be an issue to some buyers.

3: There are many technical issues that come into play when creating
quality reproductions. Longevity of the reproduction can be called into
question if the printmaker is not knowledgeable on the process.

Again, there are more, but I will leave it there.

Finally, this may be helpful in determining if an artist should
consider reproductions. One of the first questions I ask an artist is
how much do they sell their original for. In my experience, the
absolute most one should expect to ask for a reproduction is 25% of the
price of an original. Any more than that and it simply doesn’t usually
make sense for a buyer to consider buying a reproduction when they may
be able to afford the original.

Clearly this is a very short answer to a complex issue, but I hope it helps.

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2 comments to Pros and Cons of Reproducing Your Art

  • As a traditional printmaker myself, I can’t express how frustrating it is to hear Kenneth Smith describe himself as a printmaker. Perhaps “creator of reproductions” would be more appropriate. Although traditional prints, such as intaglio or relief, are printed in editions, each print is a unique production, and it takes tremendous skill to insure that all the prints are the same to produce an edition of prints. Many prints are the result of a collaboration of an artist with a skilled printmaker to produce an original work of art, such as the works produced at Crown Point Press. I’m not trying to dismiss the technical skill required to make an accurate reproduction, but I do feel that the proliferation of reproductions has made it more difficult for traditional printmakers to market what are unique works of art.

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