Why I Do Not Offer Limited Editions on My Digital Giclee Works
I simply offer all my prints (standard photo prints, fine art paper prints, metal prints, posters, giclees, postcards greeting cards, merchandise) as open editions. Because lets face it, if it’s digital art, I can reproduce that image limitless times and with no variation. The only "original"of digital art is on my hard drive and it will always be that way. When I photograph my original traditional drawings and paintings with a digital camera, and create Giclee prints, they become open edition digital prints, because that is what they are, a digital file, just like my digital art.
Back in the day when limited editions originated, the term "Limited Edition" meant just that: those items created and made for and pulled by the artist on a press, be it etchings, stone lithos, linoleum or wood cut, silk screen, or serigraphs. Each "pull" had unique variations and characteristics, because of the process. After the edition was created, the plates used by the artist were destroyed, and the edition was truly limited.
Today, with everything processed digitally, limiting editions of digitally printed reproductions is merely a marketing gimmick used to add urgency to a sale, or prestige to the product. It boils down to the process. No intelligent person believes more couldn’t easily be made. Further, only visual artists are stuck artificially limiting the amount of money they make on reproductions. The thought of limited edition films, records, even Broadway plays is absurd. Sign them all if you like, even number them, just don’t put a limit on them. And, with no limit, you don’t confuse the issue when you make different sizes.
Rarity does help make things collectible, but only if people in the future deem it valuable. Most limited editions are never worth more than they were originally. The best art and the best artists’ work will be collectible regardless of how many were sold. Art has intrinsic value in the moment. It should be sold that way without the crutch of a limited edition. That said, I do think a very small edition size that is special, remarqued, hand-embellished, special printing techniques, mixed media, etc. has a place in the market. But, garden variety Giclee prints should be unlimited. If you love it, buy it. and enjoy it.