I have people urging me to sell my work as prints or posters. I hear this on a fairly consistent basis. To me, I have always wanted to make things that are unique and personal that no one else will ever have. In this way, the work holds a value far beyond the price tag. Also, I'm not sure how well the feeling of the work would translate when it comes to reproduction. I make a lot of use of texture and material. How can this be captured?
On the other hand, there are a lot of people who enjoy the work simply from viewing it on the BearClaw Gallery website, and more recently, the website being set up specifically for my work. This may seem a small issue...to print or not to print, but I'm afraid it isn't quite that simple.
For one thing, I'm not in it for a quick buck. With the work, I am trying to communicate concepts and ideas and feelings that I think are important. I worry about dimishing that by hopping on the money wagon. On the other hand, I think about all the projects that I leave unfinished for lack of funds. The only way to disseminate the messages I explore in the paintings is to get the pieces out there. The best way to do this is to sell. When I sell, I have the means to further create.
Money itself is not a bad thing. What I worry about is maintaining credibilty and authenticity as an artist and as a human being. I am concerned about the possibilty of "corporatizing" myself.
I would love for people to have a way to purchase my work in any way possible, and if offering prints is a way to do that...
I don't believe in the intrinsic value of a print. I believe it is simply a high quality photoreproduction of an original piece and that is all. If I did go that route, one thing I would do is hand inspect each print. I would then add to each print. Each piece would have some form of handpainted originality to it. One thing I could never do is knowingly allow a piece to go to someone without my having touched it and left my mark on it in some way. I am not sure if reproductions are a good way to go.
I come from a background of people who work very hard for their money, and I know that any purchase anyone makes for art is a very big deal, no matter what their financial station might be. This is the hardest part of trying to make a living by sharing my art: the problem of how to deal with money in a clean and responsible and thankful way.
I am very deeply humbled whenever a person makes a decision to invite my work into their home. I never want to lose that.