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!

“A Minute With Miguel” May Interview!

Miguel Latorre is a talented photographer currently working as an intern for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. He did a great job interviewing and photographing me for the May 2014 newsletter! Anyone who can make me look like less of a slob than usual is a wizard. Below is the interview, enjoy!

Heather photo by Miguel Latorre

Q: Your art ecompasses a wide variety of mediums, including digital art, printmaking, pen and ink, acrylic and pastels. This broad range allows you many creative opportunities….do you favor any of these mediums? Why?

A: I think my two favorite mediums at the moment are digital art and decoupage, because digital art allows for infinite exploration of a piece (many different versions, unlimited changes, and so on) and decoupage is the exact opposite…it’s an incredibly cathartic feeling to glue down an element and know I can’t do much if anything to take back what I did.

Q: The themes of your work seem to vary. All the way from the whimsical to dark and spooky. I believe this is one of your strengths. Are there any themes you stay away from?

A: I try to stay away from what I call “Disney” style art and from art that overly objectifies or minimizes a person or creature. I actually enjoy seeing fine examples of almost any kind of art, but these two styles seem to be the most inimical to my particular way of portraying things.

Q: How would describe your artistic style?

A: “Stubborn.” My style consists almost entirely of seeing a piece of art or an idea superior to my work, becoming disgruntled, and then doing my best to master the skill set that enabled the better artist to create it. I’ll purposefully avoid using the same style as another artist, but I frequently slave to increase my range of techniques.

Q: In your printmaking, you seem to favor block prints. What is it about the block print process that attracts you?

A: I love the block print process simply because it can be performed no matter what your circumstances. Since my “studio” consists of a corner of the kitchen table with some toys shoved aside, I definitely have to have a printmaking process that takes a minimum amount of space to perform. In addition, I have always adored creating stark pieces with strong attention to value, and block printing is ideal for this.

Q: What are the first things you do when planning a new print?

A: These days I design a print first on the computer. I discovered a neat process by which you can print your design on a toner printer and then transfer it to linoleum using acetone (or in my case, fingernail polish remover!) This way I can create more photographic looking prints.

Q: How much does spontaneity figure into your creative process?

A: Deeply integral. In digital art, I’ll frequently notice something about a couple of windows that are overlapping or a layer I accidentally moved or turned off that improves or drastically changes how I envisioned the whole piece. In traditional art, I’ll accidentally destroy a print or drawing and then notice it would be ideal for use in collage or decoupage. Moreover, most of my successful pieces are actually based on dreams I had, so I was unable to plan them out…they simply arrived in a flash and I obeyed.

Q: My favorite piece of yours is a print with a group of dark, anonymous humanoid silhouettes on a white background. The effect is intimidating yet mesmerizing at the same time. What was your inspiration for this piece?

A: Haha, do you know, the inspiration was all my friends on the Arts Council of Doom! I was trying to portray them for a zine project…there’s a Stephanie Osborne shadow, a Todd Huber shadow, and so on…

Q: I had no idea that you made comics until I visited your website sandpaperdaisy.com. How would one go about obtaining issues of your comics?

A: I’ll be printing up and selling my comics soon for a table at Cincy Comicon, this September 5-7. Before that, I can have “The Killing of Dreams” printed up anytime on an individual basis if anyone wishes to request it. Eventually I plan to put my comics on Amazon and/or Indy Comics Planet, these changes will be announced on my website http://sandpaperdaisy.com.

Q: Was it fun participating in the EvilleCon this year? I saw you made illustrations specifically for this event.

A: It was amazingly fun. Don’t ask me why, but I adore anime and have absolutely no compunction about making the occasional anime-style piece. That probably makes me inconsistent, but I think of the anime/manga style as a direct evolution of the old ukiyo-e style blockprints that used to come out of Japan. And I’ve always loved that style.

Q: The Big Lebowski in Little China Arts Council of Doom up, and I happen to know you are one of the artists who is entering work. Without giving away anything about the piece, can you give us some hints as to whether your work will be dark or whimsical?

A: I’m afraid it might come off as somewhat dark…ironically so, because it consists of blazingly bright colors! But I chose to focus on one of the more sinister iconic scenes from “Big Trouble in Little China,” so it has a somewhat unsettling feel to it.

Q: If you wanted to learn to work in an artistic medium that’s outside of your experience, what would you choose?

A: Screen printing!! I plan to add that to my skill set as soon as I have the time. The other thing I very much want to learn more about is basic use of 3-D programs, so I can more efficiently construct convincing backgrounds.

Q: There always seems to be an unspoken story behind your digital work. Is this something you do subconsciously, or do it on purpose to make the imagination of your viewer try to come up with their own interpretation?

A: Much of that is probably due to the fact that the vast majority of them come from my dreams. A dream might only focus on a few moments of time, but there is clearly a vast story behind many dreams that you, the dreamer, somehow take for granted without being able to fully articulate it to yourself. This is how I feel about all of my projects, based on dreams or not…the moment I portray is simply a glimpse of some vast story. I very often continue this story over many pieces. “Atomic Jazz” and “DRIFT” portray the same two children, and they will continue to appear. “Plague Doctor,” a painting, can be found as a character in my comic project “The Ocean.” “The Crowd,” the one you like Miguel, will be appearing again in an upcoming comic for Cincy Comicon…and so on. Each picture I make is a different moment from the same universe, perhaps eons apart, but always connected.

Heather Landry’s Work

The many faces of Daedalus…how do you feel about re-using your art?

a repeating row of dissected mudpuppies combined with airplane blueprints in bright neon colors

This piece is one of many versions of this linoleum block print I did for the 2012 Hand Prints show:

linoleum block print of dissected mudpuppies melded with airplane blueprints.

A friend of mine had a lot of fun taking it and coloring on it to create three collaborative pieces as well:

daisytrog_collaboration_3_by_troglodytespacebird-d57b54x

daisytrog_collaboration_2_by_troglodytespacebird-d57b522

daisytrog_collaboration_1_by_troglodytespacebird-d57b4yy

And lastly, I recently used them in different pieces for my December 2013 solo show:

polygons and viscera, goya reference

The Sleep of Reason on Society6||Redbubble

Bone and syringe butterflies merge into black polygons which in return become flying lizards. An homage to Escher's Metamorphoses.

Ergo Sum

In other words, those mudpuppies really got around! I’m not sure when I first hit upon the idea of using my own art as collage to make new pieces, but I’m currently using the same approach on my Kaguya Hime piece in progress. Part of a totally unrelated piece (Moonlit Night, in fact!) is supplying the huge swollen moon behind the princess.

I personally like finding new ways to use different elements I’ve made that lend themselves to replication (mainly my digital and block prints) because that way, as an artist I still have the option of finding a better way to finish a work of art. If something I made doesn’t stand out in its original setting but later becomes much more successful in a completely different context, I feel very gratified. I have also done this with very old art, using amateur monoprints as effective and vibrant backgrounds for newer, more skilled block prints or incorporating crude paintings from my youth into new collage art.

How do you feel about re-using a piece of art or making series based on many variations of an element you’ve created?