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A Thought On Printmaking

Printmaking, a word that gets thrown around the artistic world often but what is it exactly and how does it help the local artist? When would printmaking be beneficial for an artist? The majority of people need a printmaking education 101 so for all those people keep reading and let this be your introduction.

In the broad spectrum prints are a remake of a work of art. Much like a photograph is a representation of a place or a person, in the world of art printmaking is the same thing. Hold on, if it's a remake of some other artwork, doesn't that make it a copy? Not exactly. Creating prints isn't a two step thing, it's a process. Think of it as film photography instead of digital. Since that process can't be duplicated in an exact manner, in strict terms copies are not made. Come again? Okay, in a nut shell prints are made by transferring ink from a prepared screen or an etched plate of some kind and pressed onto a sheet of paper or some other ink friendly material. Because the plate or screen will never ink up in exactly the same way twice, each print will vary from one to another. So they're basically the same, how do the artists make a profit? Isn't the value of any piece based on it being one of a kind? Actually there are many factors that come together to price art but yes originality is a major part of it. Many times prints are created to help an up and coming artist gain exposure. New artists on the scene typically don't have enough pieces to both showcase and use as samples, to those within the art community, as a means of exposure. So as a way to bridge the gap they decide to create prints of the works that they have. True, the more prints created the value of each print decreases but everyone has to start somewhere. That is why most artists who create prints limit the amount of prints they create. For instance, they generally don't create more than ten to twenty to keep the value at a reasonable price. Some choose to mass create prints and generally create around fifty. Prints in that amount are usually made for the purpose of selling an iconic attraction image, such as the Golden Gate Bridge or the Sequoia trees of the Sequoia National Park. Those who sell prints on a more professional level create one print per a plate. Some even go as far as to destroy the plate once the print has been completed to be sure that the print remains the one copy. As any other media used printmaking is used by beginning and professional alike.

Printmaking is an art that is quite enjoyable for both the artist as well as the viewer. Since prints can be found just about anywhere that art is sold it can be found throughout the city, no special stops required. Chances are you've already been into places where prints have been hanging on the wall or displayed in a fashion. Go ahead, take a second look and see what else prints can show you.