A high percentage of visual artists and fine art photographers keep a keen interest in how to sell art prints.
Those who have studied the art print market know it has been very profitable for top selling print artists. Some want to emulate that success. Other artists are looking for new ways to sell more art; they seek use it to find new customers.
As an artists’ advocate and consultant for more than 20 years, I am a strong proponent of the print market because I have seen firsthand how success in the print market positively affects artists’ careers. Repeated sales from the same creative output is why I champion the art print market.
There is more to the art print market than just making more money. It can open the doors to all kinds of opportunities for artists to have a profound effect on things about which they are passionate.
Would the world famous marine wildlife artist, Wyland, have been able to paint 100 whaling walls around the globe, which an estimated one billion people have seen, and raise awareness for marine wildlife conservation as he has, if he only sold originals? I doubt it. That the exposure from his print market activities helped him become a multi-millionaire, is not an unwelcome side effect of having a fabulously successful career in the art print market. The same is true for Robert Bateman with his conservation philanthropy, and other too numerous to mention.
While attaining global status may be out of reach for many artists, all can still use the print market to their advantage.
Artists, going back to Rembrandt, have used art print techniques to help them gain more buyers for their work. The contemporary art print market has been an important part of the art market since Jules Cheret. He is known both as the father of poster art and as the father of modern lithography.
The vision Cheret applied to advertising posters in the late 1800s lifted a mundane vehicle to art status. He reduced the amount of text and replaced it with visual imagery. This allowed advertising messages to be conveyed and understood even by those who did not read French or were illiterate. His work with color in lithography profoundly influenced how 4-color printing was done. His developments formed the basis for technology still used in mass art printing today.
The fact that my book, How to Profit from the Art Print Market, 2nd Edition has been a bestseller on the Amazon.com “business of art” and “prints” lists since 2005 shows interest in how to sell art prints remains strong.
A noticeable shift in the previous year is the Kindle edition now outsells the paperback most months. Any time a book sells well for more than eight years, you have to understand the value in the content is what makes it happen.
When I came out with the second edition, the same questions (with answers) that came up all the time. Here are the most important and frequently asked:
Q. What is new in the Second Edition of How to Profit from the Art Print Market?
A. It has much more information with 30% more copy and four additional chapters than the first edition. The Resources section has been vastly enhanced to 500 listings of companies, services and information sources for artists.
The book reflects the enormous changes in the print market since 2005 when the first edition was published. Both print-on-demand (POD) technology and e-commerce have made tremendous strides in how art gets to market. The rise of social media and mobile computing have changed how consumers access and process information. Trade magazines and tradeshows have been nearly brushed aside by these changes.
Q. With all this change, what has stayed the same in the print market?
A. Artists still need to figure out what they want from their careers. If you are going to some place you have not been previously, having an idea of where it is, and a decent map and compass will get you there. The book helps artists understand what is relevant to them so they can take appropriate actions.
The basics for operating under sound economic principles remain constant regardless of the current market conditions. The need to learn how those who have attained success got there also remains constant. The book addresses these needs.
Q. Besides technological changes, how else are things different for artists now?
A. The idea of making a career working for a publisher was feasible in 2005. Today, both poster and limited edition publishers are facing great difficulty to maintain market share. This means artists more than ever need to be in charge of as much delivery of their work as possible. The good news is there are better tools and ways for artists to do this as never before. The book goes into considerable detail discussing how e-commerce, social media, artist’s websites and other marketing all can help artists’ career self-sustain.
Q. What other content does the second edition cover?
A. Readers are going to find more information on copyrights and Certificates of Authenticity. There is greater emphasis on proper use of basic business marketing techniques. The idea of publicity, self-promotion, and self-belief also are covered in more depth. The chapter on giclées and digital prints comes last but is far from least. It offers solid advice on how giclées are made, what the giclée workflow looks like and how to choose and work with a digital fine art printmaker.
There is a discussion on whether using limited editions with digital prints makes sense, or whether it is a vestige of other art printmaking eras. The discussion goes into whether the term “giclée” has become passé and if it should be changed to the suggested “convergent media.”