View Full Version : Confusion about printmaking - it's not just us!

03-06-2003, 05:22 AM
There's a big print fair coming up at the Royal Academy and their member magazine had an article that I found amusing. Thought I'd share it. :)

The author Alan Cristea, print dealer, says "by far the majority of people do not come specifically to buy prints, they come to buy pictures. They don't really care - and frankly they don't really understand - how these things are made. I'm the first to admit that it's tricky. Even for me, it's a constant education process. And the process changes because the media change."

And the fun bits about historical artists: (All direct quotes from portions of the article)

'Another example I often use is Francis Bacon. Now, Francis had no interest in prints whatsoever. But all over the place you'll see prints by Bacon that are called lithographs and etchings and screenprints. But there's no original interest in the prints on his part - just an interest in signing them, as it helped to finance things a bit.'...
In the 60s, the heyday of Pop Art, debate centred on the legitimacy of the silkscreen (just as today it focuses on the inkjet). [HAHA!-me]
'The thing about the Pop Artists', says Cristea, 'is that they were investigating new methods. They wanted to introduce photographic elements and collage and throw them all into a print. The best way to do all this was the screenprint, so they adopted it as a fine art medium.[...]'

'Warhol is a fascinating case, because virtually everything he ever did was a screenprint [...] there were relatively few pictures where Warhol had actually dipped his brush in the pot and slapped the brush on the canvas, because they're silkscreens on canvas.' Now that confuses the hell out of people. When Warhol did the painting he was using exactly the same method as he would for a print (he started with a photograph, made a photo-stencil and then he started squeegee-ing on the colour); except he did it only once.
'So the difference between a painting and a print in Warhol's case is that they call the paintings "paintings" because there's only one of them. Strictly speaking they should call them "unique silkscreens on canvas".[...]'

I found the whole article amusing and reassuring in a funny way. :) It's from the Royal Academy Magazine, Number 78, Spring 2003 btw.


03-08-2003, 04:02 PM
Interesting stuff -- thanks for sharing.
I wasn't aware that screenprinting as a printmaking method was controversial at one time too. :)


03-11-2003, 09:24 PM
That is interesting. I have a sheet I print out on the process, and I place it with my prints for people to read. Many times they become so interested that they want to begin collecting. I have a few people that buy prints from me on a regular basis. They also collect prints from others. The explanation sheet has really helped explain why prints are valuable, what kind of work it takes to produce them, etc....