Friday, May 29, 2009

Couterfeiting Money

Those of us in the art print business don't like to mention it out loud but selling prints is like counterfeiting money; I sell pieces of paper that have an arbitrary, perceived value but really are only worth the paper they are printed on. When I travel I often buy local art in the form of prints and have even purchased limited editions which have an even higher perceived value because, theoretically, there are a limited number. I noticed in our local market that if a print edition ran out we would see a number of "artists proofs" as if the artist slaved over the digital printer making manual color corrections. Then there will be some "remarques" on which the artist has made some kind of mark to distinguish this print from the regular run. While at the printer the other day I ran into a colleague who after running out of all the options was just printing more anyway. What the hell? I started with limited editions because of the cache but I have found that most people buy a picture because they like it and don't care about the pretension of limited editions. Exactly; if you like a picture (oh please) buy it. Of course the high end guys really buy into this as their prints can go as high as a couple of grand. They are geniuses of course, guys like David Blackwood (google him and you will find the spirit of this place) who still pull their own prints instead of making a glorified photocopy; still, I sell my happy little glorified photocopies for $14.95 and make a modest living doing what I like. I am a counterfeiter. It is completely legal and by the way, I do accept counterfeit money in the store. I spend it at Walmart on the way home.

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