A digital painting of leaves on a rainforest floor near Lake Barrington, Tasmania.

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.



About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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  1. Gillian says:

    I love that leaf image, Richard.

    The problem with any digital print is that the ‘original’ is just an electronic file. Whilst you could state that the one you’re selling is a one-off, buyers could be sceptical. People are happy to buy art photography in print form so maybe things will change.

    • artkleko says:

      You make a good point Gillian, and I’m in no doubt that when attitudes change to the value (or otherwise) of mass-producing artwork, we will see a shift in the market. I fear though that this will be to the detriment of ‘real’ art.

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