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Methods Used To Create Original Prints

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When an artist finishes a painting, they can make arrangements for original prints to be made off of the finished work of art.  The intentional creation of the blocks and plates to make copies of the work is usually referred to as the first generation reproductions.  These can often be nearly as valuable as the authentic piece depending on who the artist might be and the artist’s popularity.
There are several ways to create copies of an authentic piece.  The original prints can be made through a process known as lithography, giclee or repro paintings.

In the past, lithography was usually the method used.  This process involves creating plates of the images, and then inking the plates to apply to the surface.  Surfaces ranged from paper to canvas.  This process makes a good reproduction, but it is labor intensive to the point that it can be more costly to the purchaser.  Making lithographs means that each set of colors or inks requires a plate change.  For this reason, most artists or their representatives must make the decision to reproduce as many copies as possible.  There is not a lot of flexibility when it comes to being able to run a few copies here and there as the need arises. 

Repro paintings have been used as a form of reproductions too.  This involves having a trained artist recreate the painting as closely as possible to the authentic piece.  These types of original prints can be expensive as well because they require a great deal of time to complete.  

The creation of giclee prints have been a method that has gained a lot of attention in the past couple of decades.  It is done with a laser inkjet printer that does not rely on dot matrix to recreate the work of art.  Instead, the archival quality ink is sprayed onto the surface that is chosen.  This is a method used to create original prints today because of its convenience and affordability.  The entire system works with a software program that allows for the image to be uploaded to a file, and then stored there for future runs.  In turn, the artist has the ability to order runs that fit their need at the moment.  These runs of original prints can be a large quantity or a small one.  The copy itself can be made smaller or larger to fit the customer’s needs.  Because of the ability to simply recall the file and make more copies, this has quickly become the most popular method in the industry today.

Most of the time, authorized reproductions are numbered and signed by the artist.  The numbers represent how many copies will be made in a closed end edition.  The number will look like a fraction with the top being representative of how many have been made thus far, and the bottom being representative of how many copies will be made in total.  Open end editions means that there are an unlimited number of copies to be made.  Having the piece numbered helps to increase the value of the reproduced piece for the collector.


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