What Is an Original Print?
“An original fine art print is the creation of a work of art, by an artist, in the print medium. What distinguishes it from printed reproductions is the artist’s direct participation in the creation of the image. It differs dramatically from a poster, which is a mechanical reproduction of an original work of art…. they are new works created by the artist and, for that reason, they are considered within the larger body of the artist work.”
*The Original Print, Chris Byrne.
‘Print’ is a generic term for an image produced in a multiple (more than one). There are many kinds of prints including the commercial printing of magazines, newspapers, packaging and reproductions of artworks such as posters of paintings you could purchase in Ikea!
So what is the difference between the original fine art prints you see here today and printed reproductions of painting?
A reproduction is an attempt to copy an existing image in often a photomechanical medium. An automated machine usually a commercial lithography press commercially prints reproductions. There is an unlimited or very large printing run of the image.
An original fine art print is a work of art conceived by the artist for the print medium alone, it directly involves the artist, who uses the special qualities of the printmaking process to express his or her ideas. The identification of an original prints is associated with the integral participation of the artist in the process. An original print is distinguished from a reproduction by the artist’s direct involvement in one or more of the printmaking processes resulting in either a series or edition of prints.
There is an age-old debate that questions the originality of printmaking. The word original means unique or first, this in turn is defined as one of its kind or single. How can a multiple be original and therefore unique?
Printmaking is naturally a democratic art form in that it can reach many thousands of people because it can reproduce the same image over and over again, unlike say a painting where there is just one. So the question still remains how can a print, be original, if there is more than one of the same.
Artists have concluded that a fine art print is an original piece of art because:
- The work of art was conceived by the artist for the print medium alone, as described above.
- An original print is an original multiple made by a process in which there are not one but many originals.
- Unlike the mass reproduction of printed materials like newspapers, original fine art prints are printed in proofs, states and limited editions.
About Mono/Screen Prints