At last weekend’s Water Ways Art Exhibition in Hobart I noticed two digital prints featuring fish. They were quite delightful, well executed and nicely framed. They ticked all the boxes in regards to composition, use of tone and texture and subject matter. But there was one thing that made my jaw drop. These were the first of a series of 50 prints, not the artist’s proofs, but part of a quite large collection of reproductions. I was a little disappointed by this revelation. Where is the uniqueness in mass production?
Art is special, a one-off. It has far greater value if it is singular. That doesn’t mean that art should not be reproduced in print form for a wider audience. It’s just that I feel it becomes ‘commercialised’ and of lesser importance.
This is a real problem with digital art. It can be (relatively) easily made and easily distributed to a vast audience.
If artists feel the need to sell prints of their work, they should limit the copies made. 500 is way too much, even 50 is a little ‘over the top’.
Digital art still struggles for recognition as a genuine form of expression, no doubt due to its mass production capabilities and appeal.
If all digital examples of art were single edition, they may become ‘special’.
On Sunday I will begin a series of 5 posts about artists David Lake and Dan Villiers who are currently featuring in an exhibition at Country Club Tasmania, here in Launceston.