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Wrendesign is an artist-owned company showcasing about 400 original paintings and also offering a section on illustrated children's stories online which can be downloaded free for single use. This blog is maintained by one of the resident artists. To see our website please click on link above.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Original Graphics - What Are They?

There is a category of art known as Original Graphics. These are truly original, as the artist created them by drawing directly on multiple lithograph stones or silkscreens or woodblocks or copper plates or some similar thing.    They were created with the express intention of making multiple copies - there is no "original" painting being copied.    The resulting images may each be slightly different due to alignment etc., or they may even be done in different colors, but they are essentially the same picture. They are usually signed and numbered and in limited edition as the screens etc. tend to wear out. They will be numbered like this -- 14/50, meaning this is #14 or an edition of 50. They are "original" but not in the sense of an original painting which is one of a kind. But they do have a value as an original creation.   (It is possible for an artist to make an original lithograph or silkscreen or etching of their own original painting but this is very unusual as the techniques are so different as to render the resulting graphic not very similar to the painting.   They would more likely be considered different works of art.)    In the past this was a common way for artists to make their work more affordable to their public.   It is still used by some artists to obtain specific effects.

Sometimes photographic prints are called "Original Graphics".    These are photographic prints of a painting that actually exists.    But they are not always labeled as such.   They should be called limited edition prints.  They can be done on paper or canvas and be any size.   In fact, they are often available in a choice of sizes.   Giclees fall into this category.   In such cases the original painting may also be available for sale.   The edition may be very large and neither signed nor numbered.    Or it may be quite small,  signed by the original artist and numbered. The value increases if the edition is limited.   There can also be great variation in the quality of the photography, the printing, the inks used, the number of inks used, and the quality of the paper or canvas.

Do not disdain these, if of high quality.   It can cost an artist hundreds of dollars to have a large painting photographed or scanned on high-quality scanner (which itself can cost thousands of dollars), and the printing is also very expensive if high quality inks and paper are used.   It does give the artist a wider audience though, and it allows more people to enjoy their work at an affordable price.

These are worth more than regular "prints" which are usually printed by a publisher and distributed in large quantities and also called graphics (which is really just a generic term).    There are high quality prints distributed by the art houses such as New York Graphics, and lower quality posters which you can buy everywhere for $3.   But they are not limited editions and almost never signed in pencil.

See the next blog for information on numbered editions.

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