thoughts on | reproduction art

i was going to do a post on original art vs. reproductions but i'm twisting the topic a little bit because i saw something the other day that perturbed me. i'm still perturbed actually.

it was my best friend's birthday this week so i went to one of her favourite stores to look for a gift (very ikea, very franchise, not mom and pop). i chose a nice vase, but the artwork that they had on the walls distracted me because it looked so...original. so i thought, "oh right, i've seen this before. it's when they make a canvas transfer or giclee of a piece of artwork and then they use a clear glaze to apply "brushstrokes" overtop of the piece to make it look like an original or more 'authentic'." but as i stepped closer to the pieces i realized that they were in fact paint on canvas.

urban barn. fields of gold. $119

so i said to the salesgirl "why do some of these pieces look like originals?" and she said something like "well, because they were painted." which really only got me one titch farther than my own thought process had taken me. i kind of wanted to shake her a bit because she was so very blase about it.

after doing a few laps around the store i came across a piece that i knew my friend would love. i pointed it out to the salesgirl and told her i would like to buy it. i thought she would reach up and take it down off the wall but no - she went into the back and brought me out a freshly wrapped one! the exact same piece but not! as if it was a purse i had chosen and she was fetching me a non-display purse from the backroom!

urban barn. inspiration 2. $49*

and here's the craziest part - these artworks are not priced like originals. they are priced much lower. disturbingly low for original art if you ask me! so what does this mean? these are handcrafted works of art, but they are being sold as reproductions, at reproduction prices. what does this mean for the future of original art? even i can see how tempting it is to buy an artwork like this because the price is so much lower than buying a piece in a gallery. more importantly - what does this mean for the artist. by mass producing these original pieces, they are essentially erasing and belittling the artist's importance in the process. are the people that painted these even artists?

i mean really...paintings on a production line? what's next??

* 49 dollars!!!


  1. Very interesting post. I think a lot about things like this for a variety of different reasons...artistic, economic, environmental. It's an interesting new world we're entering, and I'm still figuring out how I want to live in it. Right now, I'm trying to focus more of my dollars locally and towards products where I know the maker. It's tough though.

  2. Very interesting post. A lot to think about. I for one would think how depressing it must be as an artist to recreate a piece over and over again.. almost mindlessly.


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