Purchasing Art - A Guide to Decision Making
by Wayne D. King
People purchase art for many different reasons. Understanding those reasons can help you to hone in on the specific investment you want to make. This short piece is written to try and simplify the decision making process while giving you enough information to assure your long term satisfaction.
Original Art or Reproduction Prints?
Aside from the obvious choices about what specific pieces you are interested in, the first choice that needs to be made is whether to purchase signed original art or reproductions.
Original art is often seen as an investment by purchasers because the value of original art often increases over time. The trade off of course is that purchasing original work is bound to be more expensive because only a limited amount of it exists. For example, a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” will cost you about $50.00 while the actual artwork is now worth well over $100 million dollars. In another 50 years the original will be worth considerably more while the reproduction will likely be only worth what it was purchased for initially, unless there are other factors that enhance the value.
Fine Art prints, or Reproductions
Fine Art prints, or reproductions, are the more affordable alternative. They are the logical choice if you are purchasing them purely for the love of art and not for the investment. The cost of purchasing Fine Art Prints or reproductions are likely to be only slightly more than it cost the artist to actually create the piece. With the advent of “on-demand” printing it is now simpler for artists to offer these reproductions. Before on-demand printing an artist had to contract with a printer to do a print run of multiple copies in order to be able to offer reproductions. Now websites like Fine Art America, Zazzle and Red Bubble allow them to offer individual prints at a very affordable cost without the high costs of printing large numbers of individual images.
When purchasing Fine Art reproductions it is also important to know that the quality of the print can vary wildly. If possible it is best to purchase prints made on high quality paper or canvas with archival (long lasting) inks. Any colors will fade if displayed in direct sunlight, even archival inks, though the archival inks will last much longer. Other new innovations like metal prints offer an interesting alternative but require you to decide whether the print surface adds or detracts from the image itself.
Purchasing Photographic Art
Purchasing photographic art is only slightly different than purchasing any other art. Original art is determined only on the basis of whether the print is signed. A purchaser should always look for photographic art where the signature is on the image itself and not on the mat. Mat board can become damaged and if the signature is on the mat and the mat is discarded it will be far more difficult to prove that it is an original. Often original photography is sold in a limited edition. This means that the number of original prints is limited only to the edition number and the artist pledges not to sign any more than the number of prints in the edition. The edition number may be included on the print or simply included in a separate “Certificate of Authenticity” signed by the artist with or without a specific edition number. The edition number is usually in the following form: 1/100, where the first number is the number of the specific print in the edition and the second number is the limit of the edition.
Purchasing my art
The images that I create are usually limited to only 5 or 10 original prints of each image. Rarely editions will be as high as 100 and sometimes as low as 1 single piece. Higher number editions are usually made to allow me to sell the art at a lower cost.
Original prints are available only by purchase directly from me directly or from my personal Website. Not all images are available on my website but can be added by request.
Fine art reproductions can be purchased at any of the sites listed below. I place a digital initial on each image that gives the buyer the closest approximation of an original without the premium cost of purchasing an original. Years from now, when I am long gone, appraisers will be able to tell an original print from a reproduction based on whether it is initialed digitally or signed by my own hand. Such are the possibilities in the digital age!
I have carefully chosen the sites below to be sure of the reproduction quality and the options for choosing special paper, matting and framing. I order my own prints made at these sites so I recommend them highly.
Of course I would rather have you purchase originals but I would be honored to have my work hanging in your home or office in any form. If you want original work you can use the sites listed below to choose the images and sizes that you want and then contact me by email, phone or through my facebook page with your specific request or even to make an offer. Generally I sell the originals unframed so that you can choose framing based on your personal needs but I am happy to provide a price for framed work as well.
Fine Art Reproduction Sites
Red Bubble - www.redbubble.com
Personal site: bit.ly/wdk_mindscapes
PO Box 500
Rumney NH 03266