Art Your Way: My Editioning Policy

 

good as a mile: Digital collage by Liz Ruest
good as a mile: Limited edition print

As a printmaker, editions impress me. A limited edition series of 5, 10, or more means that the artist managed to line up an image, consistently ink the plate, and produce several copies of the same work. They limit it to make sure the last image is still as good as the first one, before the plate is damaged in any way — and then they destroy the plate, to make sure the edition can’t be extended.

My reaction to this process: monoprints! Many of the images from my printmaking days are numbered 1/1 — so that I don’t have to recreate ink colors or line up the printing plate just so.

Now I’m in the digital world, where the chance of decay, for the original image stored as bits on my hard drive, is much lower. A limited edition is an artificial imposition. Not only that, I upload many of my images to a print-on-demand site, where I don’t get to sign or number the images before they’re sent on their way. It’s a whole new world.

So, that means I get to make something up. Here’s my take on editioning in this modern world.

Open Editions

I love open editioning for making art more accessible. When I upload an image to redbubble.com, and see it on such a variety of products, it just makes me happy. I like the idea of having more art in the world, and affordable art too. Images I’ve made available for open editioning — smaller work and detail images — are categorized as Available/Print. If you’ve bought work from me on redbubble, thank you! Much of my work starts here, and evolves based on need.

Limited Editions

As much as I love redbubble, it is harder to connect with you there. For a more personal touch, I offer my larger work as signed, limited edition prints. That means the print passes through my hands, I track the edition  in my inventory software, ArtworkArchive. and I won’t print any more in that size once the edition has sold. These images are categorized as Available/Edition, and aren’t available as prints on redbubble.

Unique Editions

Unique editions — modern monoprints — still work too! If an image hasn’t made it out into the world, and you’ve taken a fancy to it, I can easily declare that I’ll only print one, and it’s all yours. Send me a custom order, I’ll sign it, number it 1/1, and take it off the open market. Limited editions are possible this way too — just ask!

good intentions: Digital collage by Liz Ruest
good intentions: Limited-edition print; open-edition accessories

To track this, I’ve added History and Availability sections to my recent collage art. For any piece that you’re interested in, you’ll be able to tell whether a piece has already been rendered. Note the exhibited, collected, and sold tags on any given piece: they mean, respectively, that a piece has been printed for a show, purchased to display, or bought as décor. Any piece that hasn’t yet been printed in any form is categorized as Digital, meaning that’s the only form it’s existed in so far.

Of Course, It’s Complicated

Pieces move from one state to another based on demand. For example, good as a mile, the top image, went from digital-only to limited edition in 2018 when I decided to show it at Lynn Hanson Gallery. Its detail piece, good intentions, the lower image, was available as an open edition print until I nabbed it for an earlier show in 2017. Now that it’s been declared as an editioned print, I removed prints as an option on Redbubble, but kept a few accessories. In general, my larger work is editioned, and smaller pieces might have a specially-declared edition.

There you have it: a fluctuating, per-image policy. Which version suits you?

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