Prints or Originals?

NEW cards (from original artwork) 5" x 7 " Laura Gaffke, 2010

Hello Tina & dear friends!

Have you ever recreated your artwork into a card or print? I have always enjoyed creating one of a kind cards for the special people in my life and feel warm & giddy inside when I pop one in the mail, wondering how the person will react when they open their mailbox. This is one of the reasons I delight in our postcard project. I started thinking about printing my artwork onto cards and have been selling them at The Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, at Artisans as well as open studio events. I am overjoyed and grateful for every one that sells and want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have helped support my creative dream. It means THE WORLD to me!

The images above are my latest cards, hot off the presses! They are from some of my new work and I wondered if you could take a moment to share which ones are your favorite?  The print quality is great and they have a lovely glossy sheen. I was even able to put my website on the back! It made me feel so “official” ~Ha! I added the “be happy” stamp for extra fun! What do you think?

Back of cards

It has been on my mind to have some of my work printed larger on nice, archival paper which could then be framed. This is an area I don’t know much about and have been researching. I wondered what you thought of prints versus original artwork? Would you buy a print if you couldn’t afford the original? Do you own any prints? Have you printed your own artwork? If so, do you have any considerations or thoughts as to where to I could get them printed in a cost effective way? I TRULY value your thoughts and ideas and would GREATLY appreciate any feedback you have in the comments. YOU ARE THE BEST!!! Thank YOU!

love, Laura

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5 thoughts on “Prints or Originals?

  1. Dear Laura (Tina & Friends),


    These are tough questions. Laura and I have had many a discussion regarding prints and reproductions. I am always confused by the terminology so I went to Wikipedia and looked them up. “Prints” is a term that we use freely in reference to materials reproduced, copied, or “printed” from a computer. In actuality, I learned or rather confirmed for myself that the term printing ( mostly references images produced using a printing press, letterpress and various other printmaking techniques. In effect, these images are published in large quantities with very industrial processes. If you can appreciate the art of printmaking (etchings, woodcuts, engravings, lithography etc.) you can understand the amount of time, knowledge and skill that are required to manage image and machine when reproducing work on a printing press.

    We also use the term printing when we describe reproducing an image from our computers (input) to a hardcopy or page (output). Digital technologies and on-demand printing rival the “old” printing methods in convenience and flexibility. With Giclée (zhee-clayée) printing, tiny dots of ink are directly sprayed onto the surface of almost any substrate (paper, canvas, etc). Many artist today are using this last process because of its archival expectations, vibrant colors, flexibility and availability! It is an on demand technology so you can print as many or as little reproductions as you want making cost more affordable for the artist.

    So now that we know the meaning of these terms, what does that mean to the artist? Giclée prints were actually intended to describe the prints being made by artists on professional color inkjet printers. The process has opened up the market for many of us to make our images available to a larger and more diverse audience. In effect, providing “art for the masses.” I find this potential market to be very exciting! Not only would you be able to reach more people but your images will have a more substantial presence by being enjoyed by many not just one.

    Now the trick is to remain true to our “intentions” (I’m stealing this term from you and Tina). We need to ask ourselves if we want to reach many or just cherish the one and only (the original)? Is it important for a viewer to see the image (product) or how it was put together (process)? Does our work translate well en masse or is it better viewed exclusively? There are no wrong answers here only a relationship between the artist and the viewer.

    My take– Well I am saving my pennies for originals ;) but I love the prospect that I am not excluded from becoming an art buyer because I cannot afford the original (just yet)! I also love the fact that I can share my favorite artists/art with the people in my life by sharing prints, cards and reproductions of work that inspires me. I am thrilled that I can continue the conversation without having to go to an exclusive art opening or gallery. I am enthusiastic about taking the power away from gallery directors and being able to reach out directly to the art enthusiast! My only gripe…time. It takes time to figure this out and time to accumulate a body of work but I’ll get there and in the meantime I am super stoked at seeing Laura embark on her journey. Oh, and these cards of hers– G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!

  2. Millie!
    I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write write this! I don’t think I fully understood what the difference between a giclee and a print was and appreciate the clarification! I loved how you asked these questions, “Is it important for a viewer to see the image (product) or how it was put together (process)? Does our work translate well en masse or is it better viewed exclusively?” You are right, it is a relationship between the artist and the viewer and something to ponder further. I wonder what our other readers think of this?

    You are right about the time aspect of all of this. Don’t worry my dear, you will get there! Love you! Laura

  3. Dear Laura:
    I love the top four cards the best because of the colors and the fact that I love wine! The Be Happy stamp is a pleasant surprise when the recipient turns the card over. But, then, who wouldn’t be happy by just looking at the front of the arts you create.

    I’ve never had a conversation with myself about my relationship with myself and the viewer regarding my art. I do art that moves me, and if lucky, someone else when I present it to the world. Everyone’s interpretation or meaning for a piece is different depending on the soul and eyes of that person.

    You’ve noted my willingness to share and that’s how I approach my art. If someone is so moved to buy my originals, I am thrilled and humbled at the same time since what I’ve created is for me first. By making giclee prints or reusing an image multiple times as a transfer in other “original pieces” it makes my art available to the masses (commercial art) and more people who can’t afford the originals can still derive pleasure from my creations. Yes, the texture and detail of the original are lost in these copies, but I see it as spreading happiness. I’ve marveled at the joy people experience when they buy my art as a print , a note card or on a T-shirt. They glow! My time here is short and so spreading the joy is a philanthrophic as well as a business decision. I don’t want the joy I create to be experienced posthumously as with many like Van Gogh.

    Carol Dunn does my giclee prints and I’ve had some done by Cooper’s Imaging in Norwichtown. Giclees are a nice way to have as few or as many as you want done so you don’t have to have 1000 made of each piece of art. Limited editions is another consideration that I decided was too cumbersome for me to be concerned with. Again, I want to make my art available for the pleasure it gives.

    Hope this helps……

  4. Carol~
    Thank you so very much for taking the time to add to this conversation! Your thoughts and ideas are have given me a lot to think about. I also appreciate you sharing where you get your prints made as I am sure it is a good resource for others. Cheery smiles & appreciation!

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