Thursday, December 16, 2010

Should I Make Prints?

     I get this question all the time.  This is once again a question that only you, the artist, can answer.  I will say this ---- the print buyer and the original buyer are tigers of a different stripe.  I find dealing with the print crowd to be exhausting.  They generally want to fiddle with matting styles, colors, frames, the color of their living room, the color of the couch, signatures, remarques, etc.    It all becomes too much.
     The original buyer will occasionally want to change the frame, but if they do, they usually have their own framer, and it becomes a non-issue.  I guess we could put the customer who wants a commission into a sub-category of the original buyer, but I’ve told you how I deal with commissions, so it’s rarely a problem.
     Some artists do nothing but prints, and they have a process that works for them.  At the beginning of their careers, most new artists want to climb on the print wagon as soon as possible.  I was no different.  But I quickly learned that the two worlds are very different and are chalk and cheese when it comes time to market your wares.
     I wouldn’t reproduce any of the earlier works you complete.  Let some time get under the art bridge before you decide to undertake the print road.
     Over the years, I concentrated on producing and selling original works.  Several of the larger shows I’ve attended had customers who wanted a low-price-point piece of art, so I produced very inexpensive, unframed, signed but not numbered mini prints. 
     These are generally in the 8 x 10 size format, and are inexpensive to produce.  When I attend trade shows or outdoor type events, they become a good piece for those on a budget.  I basically offer a $30 miniprint, a coffee table book of my work for $60, or original work in the range from $750 to $5000.  This has worked great for my specific marketing efforts.  The minis allow people who can’t afford an original, to take a piece of my art home (and the kids love them!), while the real collectors move toward the originals, which are priced for  those purchasing art for the first time, as well as seasoned collectors.  The book serves as a good entry for a new collector, or as a closing gift for a bigger purchase. 
     Think about what you want to do with your work, who your customer is, and then direct your efforts towards that goal.  Make it work for you!


  1. Thank you, Mark. Those were timely words for me.

  2. Everyone has to make the "print decision" for themselves, so I hope my thought processes will help you all come to your own determination.