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Original digital fine art prints
My prints are original fine art prints. The colorshifted leaves are monoprints, and the 3D graphics are limited editions. Here's the longwinded explanation of what that means for those of you who don't already know...
- what is a fine art print?
- what is an original print?
- what is a certificate of authenticity?
- what is a limited edition?
- what is an artist's proof?
- what is a monoprint?
- what is a reproduction?
- how does this relate to digital prints?
what is a fine art print?
A fine art print is an artwork on paper created by an artist, sometimes in collaboration with a printing expert. The artist makes the final decision on when a print is ready for production, and the artist signs each print. There are many different priceniques artists can use: etching, relief printing, engraving, lithography, and the like. The pricenique used depends on the artist's personal preference and on the final image desired.
what is an original print?
The term "original print" does not mean "unique", in that an original print is not (necessarily) one of a kind. A one of a kind original print is called a monoprint (more information below). Instead, the term "original print" means that this is the intended form of the final artwork -- the artist originally set out expressly to make the print. Compare this to my explanation of reproductions, below.
what is a certificate of authenticity?
A CoA is basically a written description of all sorts of relevant information about the print: the edition size, the number of additional artist's prints, as well as any additional information the artist would consider relevant. It's associated with a specific print, and it is essentially your written guarantee by the artist that the print is genuine, that the limited edition is truly limited, and so on. I also like to include some basic archival information on all my certificates of authenticity.
what is a limited edition?
A limited edition is a series of identical original art prints, numbered from 1 to whatever, and signed by the artist. Although the prints are not one of a kind, they are each considered a work of art. As I print I compare the color and print quality to a master image (called a B.A.T. or "bon a tirer"). The key to any limited edition is that the artist only prints a certain number... then, never prints that image again (aside from the additional artist's proofs - see the next entry). If the image were from a woodblock or an etching plate, the block or plate would be destroyed when the edition was completely printed. In my case I destroy the original digital file when the edition is completely printed.
The numbering system for limited edition prints shows the print number over the total quantity in the edition. Print #7 out of 100 would have this written on it: 7/100. Lower numbers are printed first and sold first, so they are generally more highly prized than later prints.
what is an artist's proof?
It's customary for the artist to create additional prints called artist's proofs (AKA artist's prints), which number 10% of the limited edition. So if the edition size was, say, 150 prints... there would be 15 artist's proofs.
The numbering system for artist's proofs shows the print number over the total quantity of the artist's proofs. Print #7 out of 15 would have this written on it: AP 7/15. Artist's proofs are considered even more valuable than the original limited edition prints, since they are usually only sold once the edition itself has sold out.
what is a monoprint?
A monoprint is an original, unique work of art. That means there's just one. A limited edition of one, if you will. It's still called a print since the media is printmaking. My colorshifted leaf prints are monoprints that I print in sets. Though I print the same leaf two, four or six times, I only print a particular color once, ever. So each individual print is truly unique.
what is a reproduction, then?
As opposed to an original print, the print is not a reproduction or a copy of some other artwork, like a print of a painting, of a photo, or of a watercolor. A poster of the Mona Lisa, for example, would be considered a reproduction.
There's a big difference between owning an original artwork (such as a painting, a photo, or an original print), and owning a reproduction. Needless to say, original artwork is much more highly valued than a reproduction copy of artwork.
how does this relate to digital prints?
In their discussion of reproductions versus original prints, the IAFADP gives an excellent explanation of how these concepts relate to digital prints:
"An original digital print is not based upon using original artwork outside of the computer. The artist may use elements as source materials, such as photographs, drawings or other appropriated images, but the final form of the work exists only in the computer and as the final print or as an edition of prints."