admin on July 22nd, 2009
Posted in Artists | 5 Comments »
Interested in exhibiting in our Art Show? Full guidelines as to how to apply for a place are online here.
No digital allowed in the art show at all? really? I guess it’s a good thing Todd Lockwood was a GoH *last* year and not this year. Even the rather stodgy IFPDA acknowledges giclee of digital art works as fine art prints.
Perhaps things were different -because- Todd was the AGoH last year.
The key phrase is “without handwork by the artist”. If you do anything by hand to a print, such as a remarque or hand color part of the image, it is now has handwork by the artist, thus isn’t completely mechanical. (I don’t think that signing a print counts as handwork.)
Why require handwork? To make each artifact unique. So far it’s been nigh on impossible to craft a comprehensive set of rules that allow the greatest breath of media while excluding mass-produced “art”. For instance, some photographers do very fine hand-made prints but in open editions. If those open editions are allowed, are open editions of any media OK? This could allow mega-run offset prints. By requiring the handwork in printing, we can exclude the mass-market prints while still allowing the photos. (Although this WFC does require limited editions, many cons don’t. Also, some cons don’t accept photography at all, but this WFC does.)
Consider an etching– although the plate is nominally the same through the run, the artist’s action in inking the plate and pulling the print causes variations. Or resin castings of a sculpture– just out of the mold, they’re only copies. But when hand painted, they have something that would make one slightly different from another hand-painted casting of the same sculpture, even if they’re intended to look the same. We want the artifacts displayed in the show to be unique in some way. A set of unaltered mechanical prints of an all-digital work really aren’t different from a set of unaltered mechanical prints of, say, an oil painting. The source may be different, but the artifacts aren’t, they’re just copies.
In the end, absent other criteria the simplest way to have unique items and to prevent simple copies of works is by requiring some handwork by the artist on each item to be displayed, in whatever media they choose to work. It would have been very easy to exclude prints of any kind, however we chose not to do that.
Prints from an all-digital original are not copies, because this is no original being copied. A digital file is a woodblock, not a woodblock print. Digital is a printmaking process where the original block degrades even slower than 15th century woodblocks (many still printable, after thousands of impressions.) A Fine Art Print is not a Reproduction. Your rules actually privilege reproductions over fine art prints as long as they use methods which are on your checklist.
I didn’t put in the link to the IFPDA just to be flip. A much better way to distinguish between reproductions and fine art prints has been made, and adopted by both the fine art world and most sf conventions, at least in my area. To revert to the land of no digital, especially at a time when many major fantasy artists (not only Todd, but also Stephan Martiniere (last years WFA nominee just for names associated with World Fantasy, off the the top of my head, before caffeine ) are working entirely digitally, or mostly digitally (i.e. John Picacio, who has shown at WFC for years) is just… reactionary.
You do realize, that under your rules, an edition of 1 giclee (which is definitely a unique object, and by most art world standards an “original”) would not be allowable? And yet this is less valuable than a litho run of REPRODUCTIONS which has nothing to do with handwork and everything to do with large machines in a print shop printing from computer generated separations?
A better solution than these rules has existed for some time, and has been widely adopted. I’m sad because WFC was close enough this year I was going to try and come, particularly to see full-size work by some of my favorite artists who usually show at WFC — which these rules are not going to allow into the show. So I guess I’ll just save my money and hope Ohio will be better.
Interesting, Jeliza. That definition of print is partially useful for what I see as WFC’s desires, and partially not. It requires knowing the artist’s intent (the work is created to be a print, and not for another purpose); in some of the cases that I’ve seen at conventions, this would rule out a lot of what’s sold as giclee prints, because the piece was done with the intent of being a cover or an illustration. And it doesn’t deal well with items that are clearly “originals” in the sense of being paintings that were intended to be covers or illustration. I think the definition you point to is a good step forward in some ways. I’m not at all part of the art show here, and I am speaking only for myself as the grandson of a woman who ran a fine print business for about 40 years in the early-mid 20th century.
Historically, of course, it ignores the many prints now considered “fine” that were done by book illustrators like Stefano della Bella, or Audobon, or many others. Many of which weren’t considered Art at the time they were done, of course.
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