What is an Original Print ?
Everyone is familiar with the term 'print', but it has so many different uses that it can be difficult to define. People use the word 'print' to describe a whole range of things: photographs, posters, in fact anything and everything printed. In general terms we define prints as original works of art created using one of the various print techniques. Some of the world's most successful painters are also important printmakers, printmaking gives them something they can find in no other media.
The various printmaking techniques can be very inspiring to use. Many artists relish the opportunity to investigate the many weird and wonderful possibilities. Printing allows you to repeatedly change and modify an image, without having to start from scratch each time. This allows great freedom of expression and experimentation. Some artists love to experiment and try many techniques, others quickly settle upon one, and stick to it, for example Andy Warhol and screenprinting.
Some artists have an image in mind, but don't need to get involved with the process- they are happy to leave it to a master printer to translate their ideas. Others love to get their hands dirty, to really understand how the image develops.
What is a Silkscreen Print?
Screenprinting is essentially a stencil process. A gauzy fabric, traditionally silk, stretched taut onto a frame, is the screen. Areas of the screen are blocked by liquid filler or plastic sheet, leaving an open area; effectively a stencil. Paper is placed under the screen and ink is forced across the screen by a 'squeegee'. It passes through the open area of the screen onto the paper below.
Screenprinting has found favour amongst artists for the ease with which it prints brilliant and solid colours.
Prints can be an ideal investment for the art collector, as they are generally less expensive than paintings and sculpture. If you develop a taste for a particular artist you can buy superb examples of their work as a printmaker for a fraction of the cost of his oils. Original prints have great investment potential due to the limited number of prints available in any one edition; as the number of available prints in an addition becomes smaller, their value increases.
Given the subtlety and complexity of printmaking over the past five hundred years, printmaking is an art form that should be as highly regarded as any other.