Starting a collection of art that speaks to you is a worthy goal, but it may seem out of reach … and more than a little confusing. Where do you begin? What is the difference between an original work, a limited-edition print and a poster?
Explore your taste. Before diving in and making a purchase, spend some time getting to know what sort of work you respond to. Make weekend dates to browse local art museums and galleries, pick up an art magazine or flip through a stack of art books.
Are there certain styles, colors or subjects that draw you in? Do you gravitate toward black and white photography, modern abstract paintings, still lifes? Note what you love. Exploring and observing will build confidence, not to mention expose you to new styles and artists you might never have found otherwise.
Types of Art
Original art (and why it costs so much). Original work includes any art that is one of a kind: original paintings, drawings, sculptures and more. Why the high price?
An artist can profit only once from the sale of an original work, such as a painting on canvas; then it’s gone. Even if the work grows in value over time, it is the collector who profits. If you understand that, it makes sense for original pieces to have a higher price than prints or reproductions.
Prints. A true print, while not one of a kind, is still an original work of art. The artist uses any one of a number of methods to create an original image on a surface like wood, rubber, stone or metal, applies color and then creates a print on paper.
Print types include Digital, engravings, lithographs, screen prints, aquatints, linocuts and woodblock prints.
Limited-edition prints. If the artist sets a limit for the number of prints he or she will make with a given image, that is known as a limited edition. Of course, today the lines are being blurred, with artists using digital media to create original works, and a piece may be called a limited-edition print even if it was created or reproduced digitally — that is, it’s not one of the types listed earlier.