What is a fine art print?
A fine art print is an artwork on paper created by an artist, sometimes in collaboration with a printing expert. The artist makes the final decision on when a print is ready for production, and the artist signs each print. There are many different priceniques artists can use: etching, relief printing, engraving, lithography, and the like. The pricenique used depends on the artist's personal preference and on the final image desired.
What is an original print?
The term "original print" does not mean "unique", in that an original print is not (necessarily) one of a kind. A one of a kind original print is called a monoprint (more information below). Instead, the term "original print" means that this is the intended form of the final artwork -- the artist originally set out expressly to make the print. Compare this to my explanation of reproductions, below.
What is a certificate of authenticity?
A CoA is basically a written description of all sorts of relevant information about the print: the edition size, the number of additional artist's prints, as well as any additional information the artist would consider relevant. It's associated with a specific print, and it is essentially your written guarantee by the artist that the print is genuine, that the limited edition is truly limited, and so on.
What is a limited edition?
A limited edition is a series of identical original art prints, numbered from 1 to whatever, and signed by the artist. Although the prints are not one of a kind, they are each considered a work of art. As I print I compare the color and print quality to a master image (called a B.A.T. or "bon a tirer"). The key to any limited edition is that the artist only prints a certain number... then, never prints that image again (aside from the additional artist's proofs - see the next entry). If the image were from a woodblock or an etching plate, the block or plate would be destroyed when the edition was completely printed. In my case I destroy the original digital file when the edition is completely printed.
The numbering system for limited edition prints shows the print number over the total quantity in the edition. Print #7 out of 100 would have this written on it: 7/100. Lower numbers are printed first and sold first, so they are generally more highly prized than later prints.
What is an artist's proof?
It's customary for the artist to create additional prints called artist's proofs (AKA artist's prints), which number 10% of the limited edition. So if the edition size was, say, 150 prints... there would be 15 artist's proofs.
The numbering system for artist's proofs shows the print number over the total quantity of the artist's proofs. Print #7 out of 15 would have this written on it: AP 7/15. Artist's proofs are considered even more valuable than the original limited edition prints, since they are usually only sold once the edition itself has sold out.
What is a monoprint?
A monoprint is an original, unique work of art. That means there's just one. A limited edition of one, if you will. It's still called a print since the media is printmaking. In the past artists would strike the plate so that no more prints could be made from the plate, but in the modern era digital files are deleted after the print is made. The print being the only thing left of the process.
What is a reproduction?
As opposed to an original print, reproductions are a copy of some other artwork, like a print of a painting, of a photo, or of a watercolor. A poster of the Mona Lisa, for example, would be considered a reproduction. Another example would be my prints from FineArt America are reproductions in that they are not made from the original file. Online sites like these only allow you to upload images of a certain size 25mb at max thus they are compressed to .jpg files and the prints are created from these compressed .jpg file. While still high quality they are not from the original source files that are much larger in the 400mb range. You loose a lot of detail with reproductions.
There's a big difference between owning an original artwork (such as a painting, a photo, or an original print), and owning a reproduction. Needless to say, original artwork is much more highly valued than a reproduction copy of artwork.
How does this relate to my prints?
If you're buying direct from me via my website you are getting a signed original print created from the 400mb master file. If you purchase my work from FineArt America you are getting a reproduction created from a 20mb file that has been compressed for file storage reasons for these big online print on demand services.
If your goal is to invest in art that will hold it's value, order from my website directly, but if size, and options are your concern buy from FineArt America because they can print my work up to 80" on just about any surface, with many framing options. However, the more you buy from me directly the sooner I can afford bigger printers and offer my work in bigger sizes and options which will increase the value of my signed original work. I am currently saving for a 24" printer in the $3,000 range so any help is appreciated.