So we’d got our boxes of 20:20 prints (see last post) and swapped a few with other printers taking part. (This really emphasises to me how subjective art is. A print which one person dislikes is a gem to another.) So we moved on to our Under the Bed Sale. This is our pile-’em-high-sell-’em-cheap annual sale of prints – end of editions, proofs or just ones you’re fed up of trying to sell at full price. Hot Bed Press take 50% commission, but it is a major fund raiser and printers are generous with the prints they put in and buying other peoples’.
As Andy’s photo shows, my pile seemed to get higher and higher and I spent far more than I intended.
A couple of friends came down to see the studio to have a look round as John has the opportunity of acquiring a small screenprint bed. We started chatting about the prices of the prints. The most expensive ones were £50 (the cheapest were 50p!) and he jokingly said that they couldn’t really be art at only £50. They had to be at least £5000 to be considered art. I know he was speaking in jest, but earlier in the week I’d been at a ‘real’ i.e. commercial gallery where a series of paintings measuring approximately four inches by three inches had a price tag of £750 each. I know that I shouldn’t be trying to bracket the prices in a commercial art gallery with those at a fund raising sale of work, but it does make me reflect. Where do you say ‘this must be art if this is the asking price’? After all the £750 tag pales into insignificance with some auction house prices, even before you reach $150 million for three rashers of Bacon. I know it’s a old chestnut about art and its monetary value, but I’d love to find an answer to the question one day.
Anyway, here some of the prints I bought:
Fleur, a hand tinted etching by Cathy Ferns (the paper is actually cream. Sorry!)
Descending Stairs, an etching by Fred Jones
New York Doll, a gum arabic transfer print by Catherine Kleeli
A relief print by Karen Joyce Mercer, again the paper should be cream.
I’ve only described the last print as being a relief print as I need to check with Karen how she did this. She used to do only linocuts but recently she has been using mountboard as her substrate. I’d wrongly thought this was to do with costs but in fact the mountboard gives a softer edge to the printed image which Karen prefers. I particularly like the way Karen has wiped the plate for this print.
(I’ve now been advised it is in fact a collograph. What do screenprinters know?!)