I recently had an online conversation in one of my social networks about fine art prints. I put a request to the network for help with promoting my prints. I want to reach a wider audience than my 5000 or so opt in subscribers… the response I got back from one gentleman was to be very careful about doing reproductions for the following reasons:

  • Only very famous artists sell repros of their very expensive works successfully
  • The only ones making the money are the printers doing the printing for you
  • Because of the economy the target market can barely afford to put gas in their cars let alone buy a print.
  • Going big with prints may put off “monied clients” as they feel that prints “cheapen” your art and your name.

OK, now whilst I consider all of the above to be valid points, I had to answer back with the following to protect my position!

  • We have spent 2 years putting this together getting this right for the above valid reasons.
  • I am not a member of a publishing house, the art prints are solely owned by me and individually printed to order, so the printer does not make any money until I make a sale.
  • The art prints are sold exclusively from my website, I have full control. 
  • The art prints are all personally signed and numbered by me or a member of my team (they do not sign, just number with a stamp).
  • I discussed this at length with my business manager (my very own version of Frank Dunphy!) and they are specifically targeted to a segment of the market who could not afford many thousands of pounds to buy an original but could afford to spend the equivalent of a tank of gas on an art print from one of my collections.
  • I have been receiving requests for prints from followers of my work since my début exhibition in 2006.
  • I have answered their need and am now trying to expand my reach beyond my regular followers in order to keep making money to survive.
  • This business model has enabled me to approach two different segments of the market place with my offering.
  • The art prints are  not produced in huge numbers, and the printing method is of a high quality
  • I have also spoken to my collectors and they assured me they are fine with this as long as the numbers of each one are limited which is the case.
  • Selling art prints also allows me to support a charity that I work with- the NCDV. The collection that they commissioned me to paint is also available in the same format and the profitable portion of the sale goes to them.

OK so there you have it. In actual fact, I personally do not agree that prints devalue your work. Especially if they are of a decent quality. They can in my opinion work in your favour by making your work accessible to a lot more people , making you as an artist more popular to people that otherwise would not necessarily have access to your work.

Jack Vettriano art prints adorn the walls of many thousands of homes and establishments globally. Although for most of his career he has been shunned by the “art establishment” he is still one of the most well known artists of the modern era. His originals have sold for up to £750,000. He makes millions from selling his prints world wide. Obviously he is a famous artist now, but even Jack Vettriano started somewhere.

So what do you think? What are your experiences of selling prints if you are an artist?

Best

Adelaide

7 replies
  1. Artist Boyd Greene
    Artist Boyd Greene says:

    Not only is your art thought provoking your business concept is as well.

    I look for a lot of great things to happen for you in art with such an innovative mind.

    Check out Clyde Butcher’s prints if you get a chance. He has built value into his brand by uping the price a little every time he sells a print. Builds value for his collectors and himself. I’ve watched his prices skyrocket!

    If I ever do prints they will be very small editions and with accelerated pricing just as Clyde does. Partly because I used to work with a design company that sold thousands of prints and learned quickly how much work goes into selling thousands of prints!

  2. Adelaide Damoah
    Adelaide Damoah says:

    Hello Boyd,

    Thank you so much, a lovely compliment and my first blog comment whoop whoop!

    Not only did I check out Clyde Butchers prints, I also had a sneaky peak at your website. Fabulously detailed and beautifully painted flowers. Love the moodiness of the Texas Longhorn, how come it is unavailable? Is it sold?

    The idea of pushing up the prices to raise value is something I had thought of doing, but not in that way. Definitely worth looking into and perhaps implementing, thank you for the idea!

    Have you a blog, facebook or twitter? I would love to stay in touch and pick your brains about how to sell thousands of prints! That is definitely in my list of things to do within the next year 🙂

    Best

    Adelaide

  3. knotaway
    knotaway says:

    Adelaide,
    I have a question about how you number your prints…
    If you print them “on demand” or as needed, how do you number them? Hoping this doesn’t sound sarcastic. 🙂
    I’ve considered trying this, but the numbering always stumped me.
    Joanna

  4. Adelaide Damoah
    Adelaide Damoah says:

    Hi Joanna,

    Number stamps and keeping good records!

    It is really quite simple. At the moment, I am not selling huge numbers so it is perfectly practical to do so.

    Each image is numbered separately for example- the Naomi prints are numbered in sequence, I sent one out last week. In my records that was number 100. So the one I sent today was number 101. I am up to number 100 with the Jourdan print, so the next one will be 101 and so on. I keep all copies of the invoices in a folder and record them in a log book so that I do not lose count.

    Hope that clears it up? Feel free to ask any other questions you like. Your question did not sound sarcastic to me.

    Best

    Adelaide

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I always think of art prints as something different than reproductions of other pieces.
    I know of many artists who make prints which compliment there show and are at a lower price point.
    this makes the artists work more accessible
    jerry

  6. Mel.
    Mel. says:

    Hi Adelaide, Selling prints of your artworks perhaps gets your art to the wider market?

    The original artwork behind those prints now becomes the more valued original, perhaps?
    TheMeltemi…Meltemi…PK.

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