Why I don’t offer (much) limited edition art

Tonight at an art reception I was very rightly advised to offer my digital art in limited editions. I’ve been sounded on the issue many times before, and I recently had fun offering a limited run of painted archival prints for Kickstarter’s make100 promotion. So why don’t I do this regularly?

Quite simply, limiting my art would be in direct conflict with my personal goals. Firstly, I want every person on Earth to be in possession of my art one day. Secondly, I want everyone who genuinely loves a piece of my art to be able to have that piece in some way, shape or form. Lastly, I want my art to change lives.

This means that the vast bulk of my art must necessarily be unlimited, widely shared, and affordable to everyone. My idols and role models are the artists who tag trains or illustrate comics, books and album covers that embedded themselves in the public consciousness.

My artist seal deliberately references Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, because he made amazing posters that were discarded after an event, and the Japanese ukiyo-e artists of old whose brilliant and colorful woodcuts were used as wrapping paper and box stuffing before they were wadded up and thrown away.

I have no desire to make myself sacred, or even to make myself rich. All I want to do, before I die, is make myself felt.

I do have a soft spot for my fans and clients, however. So, if someone commissions an exclusive or limited piece, and I know they like the actual art and don’t just want a valuable piece of colored paper with resale value, I’ll accommodate them. I know people like traditional pieces and sketches too, and I try to always bring a good number of my traditional pieces for those who must have a unique item. I’m not made of stone.

But I’m also not here to line anyone’s pockets by deliberately creating art with the main point of being collected and resold. If a person does not genuinely like and want a piece of my art, I’d rather not sell it to them. I’d rather sell a $15 print to an excited teenager than a $1000 limited edition something-or-other to a collector who doesn’t look at it except to gauge its future market value.

In the latter case of someone only buying my art as an investment, I haven’t touched anyone. Worse, a piece of art that I truly cared about is now buried away in some warehouse or in a single person’s residence. One of my art professors once stated, “A museum is a place art goes to die.” It’s a similar situation to me when someone buys a piece just to hide it away and treat it like a precious commodity. Art is not only for the privileged, and it must move out in the open, among everyone, to stay “alive.”

So if you’ve ever wondered why I’m not rich, now you know!

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