A great example of the life of an image through editions is this print by Shepard Fairey, American street artist, whose screen print of Barack Obama and following among young, apathetic American voters helped to put a new face to American leadership.

If you visit Shepard's website, Obey Giant, this note is the artist's response to requests for more prints:

Thanks for all those who bought the print in support of OBEY and OBAMA. Unfortunately, the print is sold out and we do not plan on producing another edition. The edition was released earlier today with great response. The PROGRESS screenprint was exclusively available through OBEY and the HOPE offset print will be distributed by the OBAMA Camp as an awareness campaign.

I believe with great conviction that Barack Obama should be the next President. I have been paying close attention to him since the Democratic convention in 2004. I feel that he is more a statesman than a politician. He was against the war when it was an unpopular position (and Hillary was for the war at that time), Obama is for energy and environmental conservation. He is for healthcare reform. Check him out for yourself www.barackobama.com. Proceeds from this print go to produce prints for a large statewide poster campaign.



The artist's original edition of this work was 350, unnumbered and unsigned. Various copies of the print are available for auction all over the world at various prices, for a number of reasons. Depending on the success of Obama's reign, the value of the print will continue to soar and it is, without any question, already more historically significant that any headline-bearing newspaper announcing the changing political guard.


Editions ... again!

Dear Reader,

Do you feel abandoned? With the swing of life from 2008 to 2009, it seems like the winter hibernation of the art world and the holidays is finally over, as streets and galleries come back to life with traffic. Actually, during the break, we were out and about, working the art life, attending events (parties!), exhibitions around town and reading about economic reverberations everywhere, especially as they concern the art market.

I promised to discuss editions in an earlier blog, and to be honest, it's really dry stuff, but there are some basics that need to be understood by the beginner art collector - so here we go:

Editions are an easy way for the artist to introduce his work to a developing art market, and for novice collectors to invest in artworks. By definition, an edition is a closed set of copies of a particular work. We hear references to editions in terms of prints and books, as limited or unlimited sets. A limited edition is closed in terms of numbers of copies, for example, an artwork will be limited to 9 editions, or 9 copies; each edition of the artwork will be numbered in chronological order, as created, from 1 to 9; and marked consecutively 1/9 to show the first work of an edition of nine works. Editions can range from as few as 2 to whatever number the artist decides to choose, and generally, depending on the artist's reputation and the skill level of the artwork, the edition number of the work will have a direct impact on the value (price) of individual works. An unlimited edition, is a set of works that will have unlimited copies. These works may be noted as from an unlimited edition, although usually not, and will not have a numbering system.

Voila! I'll follow up and pick this up again next post!


Happy New Year! (...in 40 seconds)

Happy New Year! Whether we know each other, or not, I hope all your wishes come true for 2009 and beyond.

Early in 2008, I began this blog on art collecting because of questions that came up from novices and seasoned collectors about collecting art. Questions ranged from the importance of original (one of a kind, or singular) work versus editioned (copies and/or multiples) works. Depending on the circumstance, I've advocated one thing or another, and yes, I do stand by what I say (or in this case, write). My initial intent was to follow a formal line of ideas forming general philosophies toward art collecting, but it seems too many things come up in life, and it's much more fun and perhaps more relevant, to address the issues of art collecting as they arise. For now, this blog's organization is informal and simply chronological. If there is anything you wish to know in particular, and don't find it here, please write to me and let me know. I will do everything I can to assist you and develop a collecting plan.

Lately, the case for collecting art has arisen a lot in my immediate personal circle. By way of explanation, among my personal friends, I'm the only one that collects art on a selective basis (planned and with focus), and often defend what some see as a frivolous or silly pastime as an academic pursuit, formal, worthy of high mindedness and considerable investment. Even in today's gloomy economic times? Yes, because the presence of the arts is, whether visual or performance, what separates man from beast. Art is the particular dialogue of soul to soul that compels us like no other thing. It is appreciation for beauty, however we may perceive it, and the effect of it on our lives.

An example of this is something I found purely by chance this morning. As I wrote in a separate blog today, I opened my Yahoo account instead of work email, to escape from the remnants of 2008, relax and find cool things that are
endlessly fascinating ... here is one exciting discovery, and my entire justification for starting a video collection:

The video, as you'll see from the first page, is credited to Eirik Solheim at eirikso.com. From his website, he seems to be an ordinary guy in Norway with a particular talent for cameras, he's marvellously intelligent, and enjoys considerable personal integrity. Further reading shows he has a worldwide following, not just resulting from his simply elegant and marvelous video. I hope you enjoy his video, and if you do, please let him know (email him at eirikso@eirikso.com). Every artist should receive thanks and appreciation for beautiful work! Bravo, Mr. Solheim, I am definitely a fan!