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Learning with DR: Concepts of Art #1

What is the difference between an original print vs. a reproduction of a work?  These concepts may seem similar but are distinctly different. First, let’s examine each type of work and then follow with comparing the two styles.  An original print is created by process of transferring an original image from a matrix onto paper.  This matrix allows an artist to hand press multiple numbers of virtually identical impressions.

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The most distinctive and vital part of this process is artist involvement.
The artist either personally presses each image onto paper or directly oversees the procress. Also, the number of original prints that can produced is limited. Typically, the number of created prints is established by the artist. In the rare case that an artist does not determine a set number of copies, the number will still be limited due to the breakdown of matrix quality. As a method to maintain the work’s authenticity and integrity, each individual print is labeled with two numbers. The first is the order in which they were printed and the second is the total number produced (e.g., 14/20). Additionally, the artist will also sign each print, and the matrix will be destroyed. Basically, these impressions are the closest “copy” you can get to the original from which they are derived. Yet, the high quality, method of production, and direct artis involvement establish a unique worthless (both monetary and artistic value) of an open print. Next, let’s define what a reproduction is and how orginal print is different.

A reproduction is a “copy” of a work made by mechanical printing.  A reproduction is vastly different than an original print.  First, a reproduction allows a work to be copied an unlimited number of times. However, the quality is vastly inferior to an original print.  This inferiority is noticeable in both paper and print quality.  Plus, there is no direct artist involvement in the process of reproduction.   All these characteristics lead to a reproduction holding very little in monetary value.   The value of a reproduction is able to see the art.   Just think, if a reproduction were unavailable the only way one could see great works would be through distant travel just to catch a fleeting glimpse.

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