The allure of 'limited edition'

General art-related discussion.
alexfugazi
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Sun May 18, 2014 9:33 pm

People buy prints for different reasons.
Outside of this particular corner of the internet, most people don't seem to mind buying larger edition prints, at least in my experience.
I used to only make smaller, single editions of all my work, but I quickly realized that not only was it limiting my cash-flow, it was severely limiting my audience. Now, for a select group of prints- I keep them in print in successive editions (some prints, not all of them, mind you) and it has greatly increased my fan base outside of expresso beans and the 'investment collecting' fanbase, as well as my income.

I won't knock people for only wanting to collect prints that they think will increase in value, or that are rare, but it is not my intent to cater only to that group with every release. And that's fine.

I used to be afraid of the backlash that I would get by printing multiple editions of something like say, Change Into a Truck, but I quickly learned that the minimal backlash paled in comparison to the increase in fans and sales. It was more important to me to sell to as wide an audience as possible, then to a slowly diminishing collector base. With 2000+ copies of Change Into a Truck out there in the wild, on people's walls and those sales in my pocket- I think I've made the right choice.

I know someone will read this as 'Tim Doyle only cares about money!' and they're missing the point. I care about making a successful business on my art, which supports my family and pays my employees fairly, and provides health insurance for all of us, which is what I've done. So, yeah- money factors in there.

Now, let us invite in the criticism of people who have never had to make a living as an artist, or run a business. They'll be the ones commenting angrily and snarkily below.
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whl10
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Sun May 18, 2014 9:34 pm

whl10 wrote:Tim!
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alittle
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Sun May 18, 2014 9:37 pm

Play on playa!
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jkw3000
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Sun May 18, 2014 9:42 pm

Tl;dr:

Scarcity has value.
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mrkyuss
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Sun May 18, 2014 9:43 pm

Cool thread.
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bkboy77
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Sun May 18, 2014 9:55 pm

Walmart sells open edition posters. You should fill your walls with them since it was meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
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rerocustom1989
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:05 pm

jkw3000 wrote:Tl;dr:

Scarcity has value.
Is the value generated by scarcity just too tempting for some artists or galleries? I would love to not purchase works from those sellers, but sometimes the subject-matter is something I like too much. I'd much rather pay scalper prices to the artists or galleries themselves though. It would atleast keep them in business. Paying collectors and scalpers isn't helping any of the artists or commissioning groups.
bkboy77 wrote:Walmart sells open edition posters. You should fill your walls with them since it was meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
I would if I liked their subject-matter, but I don't so I don't purchase them. A few years back the Disney store at my mall sold some large eric tan prints pre-framed. Those were an immediate purchase. I enjoyed the subject matter of them quite a bit and they've been on my walls for years. Best 2x$30 purchases ever.
alexfugazi
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:15 pm

rerocustom1989 wrote:
jkw3000 wrote:Tl;dr:

Scarcity has value.
Is the value generated by scarcity just too tempting for some artists or galleries? I would love to not purchase works from those sellers, but sometimes the subject-matter is something I like too much. I'd much rather pay scalper prices to the artists or galleries themselves though. It would atleast keep them in business. Paying collectors and scalpers isn't helping any of the artists or commissioning groups.
bkboy77 wrote:Walmart sells open edition posters. You should fill your walls with them since it was meant to be enjoyed by everyone.
I would if I liked their subject-matter, but I don't so I don't purchase them. A few years back the Disney store at my mall sold some large eric tan prints pre-framed. Those were an immediate purchase. I enjoyed the subject matter of them quite a bit and they've been on my walls for years. Best 2x$30 purchases ever.
The value is an illusion. But some artists and galleries like to court that illusion because it will build hype in certain areas of the market that can sustain sales for years. And it has worked, and will work for a time. But it won't work forever. See also -Beanie Babies. Artists who complain about scalpers, but also want to sell small-edition reasonably priced prints are pointing the finger in the wrong direction. They are creating the very culture they dislike.

People bring up the 'Wal Mart' argument all the time, but they're missing the point. At no time can you purchase hand-made artist-produced work made in the US (or England, or where ever you're from) at a reasonable price. It's just an argument made in error. But it makes them feel superior, so I guess it's something, at least. It's a form of making fun of poor people. As in- "If poor people can buy it, then what good is it?" Ha-ha, it's fun to make fun of disadvantaged people. Actually, no it's not. It's a dick thing to do. But thanks.
rerocustom1989
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:26 pm

alexfugazi wrote:
People bring up the 'Wal Mart' argument all the time, but they're missing the point. At no time can you purchase hand-made artist-produced work made in the US (or England, or where ever you're from) at a reasonable price. It's just an argument made in error. But it makes them feel superior, so I guess it's something, at least. It's a form of making fun of poor people. As in- "If poor people can buy it, then what good is it?" Ha-ha, it's fun to make fun of disadvantaged people. Actually, no it's not. It's a dick thing to do. But thanks.
Ah I don't really know if I've observed that mentality from the collector crowd, but I think it would be strange to like the subject matter of a poster at Walmart and not purchase on the grounds that it's not monetarily valuable enough. Hell I wish the Disney store was selling more of that quality art today!
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canuck
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:31 pm

IT's AN ilLuSION!!!


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harrykeogh
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:37 pm

alexfugazi wrote:People buy prints for different reasons.
Outside of this particular corner of the internet, most people don't seem to mind buying larger edition prints, at least in my experience.
I used to only make smaller, single editions of all my work, but I quickly realized that not only was it limiting my cash-flow, it was severely limiting my audience. Now, for a select group of prints- I keep them in print in successive editions (some prints, not all of them, mind you) and it has greatly increased my fan base outside of expresso beans and the 'investment collecting' fanbase, as well as my income.

I won't knock people for only wanting to collect prints that they think will increase in value, or that are rare, but it is not my intent to cater only to that group with every release. And that's fine.

I used to be afraid of the backlash that I would get by printing multiple editions of something like say, Change Into a Truck, but I quickly learned that the minimal backlash paled in comparison to the increase in fans and sales. It was more important to me to sell to as wide an audience as possible, then to a slowly diminishing collector base. With 2000+ copies of Change Into a Truck out there in the wild, on people's walls and those sales in my pocket- I think I've made the right choice.

I know someone will read this as 'Tim Doyle only cares about money!' and they're missing the point. I care about making a successful business on my art, which supports my family and pays my employees fairly, and provides health insurance for all of us, which is what I've done. So, yeah- money factors in there.

Now, let us invite in the criticism of people who have never had to make a living as an artist, or run a business. They'll be the ones commenting angrily and snarkily below.
Well, I've never been one of those that gave you hell, but when you sold the multiples of early Stouts you had after you split from Mondo, did you give any of that $$$ back to Stout? Now I may be remembering incorrectly, but prior to adding some Stouts into your mystery tube sales, didn't you auction some on the bay for a nice paycheck?
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rerocustom1989
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:52 pm

harrykeogh wrote: Well, I've never been one of those that gave you hell, but when you sold the multiples of early Stouts you had after you split from Mondo, did you give any of that $$$ back to Stout? Now I may be remembering incorrectly, but prior to adding some Stouts into your mystery tube sales, didn't you auction some on the bay for a nice paycheck?
I don't really know what this stems from, but i'd rather we stay on topic as keep more personal vendettas out of the thread.
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harrykeogh
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:54 pm

It's not a personal vendetta with me. If he is going to make some of those statements, he can answer a simple question.
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charter
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:55 pm

I don't buy from anyone that willingly craps on their fanbase.

Also...there are posters at Walmart or on Etsy that are readily available to hang on your walls...and much more affordable.
Last edited by charter on Sun May 18, 2014 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jkw3000
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Sun May 18, 2014 10:57 pm

alexfugazi wrote:And it has worked, and will work for a time. But it won't work forever. See also -Beanie Babies.
I respect you Tim but I HATE whenever somebody uses this analogy. It assumes that the value of all art by all artists is equal, which is pretty much not true - be it in the secondary market value or by sheer popularity.

The value of art itself is an illusion. It provides no intrinsic value to our basic survival (unless you're burning the paper to provide heat or something). People buy these things because they're aesthetically pleasing or hit them on a personal, emotional level, and that kind of value is purely in the eye of the beholder. Not everybody values every artist the same, and that won't change no matter how much art by other people suddenly floods the market.
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