To Print Or Not To Print

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For each artist the question, “To Print or Not To Print” is a very personal and individual choice. To help you make that important decision, we will point out the advantages and disadvantages of creating limited edition prints of your original art work.

Here are the 3 Advantages to creating Limited Edition Prints.

1. Income: You can make a living selling original art work, but sooner or later you’ll bump into an income ceiling. Artists can only make so much art. Even with a studio assistant and a great business plan, the very nature of art requires your participation. Andy Warhol as well as Thomas Kincaid used reproductions to become art business giants (odd putting them in the same sentence). They made a tremendous amount of money selling their prints.

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2. Exposure: The more recognized the artist becomes to the buying public, the greater the financial value of their work. There are exceptions and nuances but at its core, any marketing strategy should consider utilizing reproductions as a pay as you go advertising scheme aimed at expanding your collector base while bringing in additional income. You can sell reproductions for less than your original art work, and that means more people have an opportunity to collect your work.
3. Creative Economics: You can give prints away as impressive gifts to friends or relatives. (A print that costs you $100.00 can retail for $900.00, what a generous person you are!) Prints are a great way to donate to charities and you can take the cost of the printing as a tax deduction. I was overjoyed with the opportunity to trade prints for my children’s orthodontic work and to another doctor for a knee surgery, which cut my medical costs by about 80%. And the disadvantages are? There are not many disadvantages to this business strategy. However, you have to dig into your pocket and pay to have the prints made. As we all know, once you give Aunt Ida a print, Aunt Nellie will want one too. Prints (Giclee’s included) are cheaper in quantities, so you may need a method of storing them flat and out of the light. You’ll find that good galleries may be unenthused about selling prints while they are trying to market your original art work.

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A little help: When you begin to market your prints to print galleries, you will have to decide about your consignment policy for limited or open editions. Prints are fragile and may disappear from gallery storage more often than original art. Tracking, and accounting for collections can become a nightmare. The Centerpoint Art Project Editions Management feature will help you track each number in your limited edition prints. Check out Barney Davey’s take on the art print business for a much more in depth analysis.

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There will always be a limited number of originals which you will need for galleries, exhibitions and serious collectors. Selling prints can take some of the pressure off of you to product more original artwork, and can add to your income at the same time.