Nowadays, it seems like every time you open your Instagram feed someone new is selling art prints.
While online art selling has gained significant momentum in recent years, much to the benefit of up-and-coming artists seeking exposure for their work, it’s important to think about a purchase before you go ahead and buy.
In this article, we’re giving you 7 key things to consider before you buy art prints online.
Are you ready to find the perfect print for your home?
Let’s find out how.
Make Sure The Source Is Reputable
When encountering a stunning print online, that doesn’t always mean that the original artist who produced the work is responsible for the post or listing.
Because the online art market has emerged as a significant industry in the last couple of years, scammers are always afoot.
If you reach a piece of work through a paid ad, it’s most likely been vetted for authenticity.
But if you’re just scrolling organically and come across something that looks too good to be true, it probably is.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting high-quality art prints is by shopping through a reputable online marketplace.
These marketplaces should always use an escrow system to ensure that you are satisfied with your purchase. If the print does not show up as promised to you—you shouldn’t pay for it!
That is to say, if your money back is not guaranteed, the artist (or scammer) probably has something to hide.
Consider The Type of Print You Want
The decision to buy art prints online is an awesome way to discover prints in all types of mediums; you just want to be sure that you have them sorted out.
Here are the main types of printmaking:
- Relief Printing: Printed from a designed surface or block. The artist cuts away from the surface using gouging tools to create the desired image/design. The raised portions are then coated in ink.
- Intaglio Printing: Opposite of relief, scratched out of the surface or plate that is printed. Ink applied to the plate settles in the stitched and scratched areas before remaining ink is wiped off.
- Lithography: Artist uses flat stone or metal plate to draw directly on the surface using a greasy substance. One of the oldest forms of printmaking, dating back to the 1700s.
- Serigraphy: Also known as screen printing, the desired image is stencilled out before ink is placed on a screen and pushed through the stencil. One of the most popular methods, used frequently by Andy Warhol.
- Digital Printing: Artists take a digital image and print it onto another surface using laser or inkjet printers. One of the newest art forms in the known universe, digital printing is revolutionizing the way print artists operate.
Any of these seem especially appealing to you?
Browse some prints from all different types to see what you like best.
Look Out For Editions
Upon making a print, the artist gives that print an edition number. This number usually appears in the form of a fraction (16 / 40, for example).
The number to the right of the slash (40, in this case) is the total edition size. The number on the left (16) indicates the individual print’s number.
An edition size indicates that only a certain number of those prints are available, making them limited edition.
In most cases, these are considered more valuable than open edition prints, which do not require an edition size because there is no predetermined amount that the artist is willing to produce.
If you want something more one-of-a-kind (or in the above example, 40 of a kind), you might want to look for something limited edition.
But if you really fall in love with a print and don’t care how many other people have it, there’s no shame in going after an open edition print that really speaks to you.
Original vs Reproduction
Being able to distinguish between original and reproduced prints is essential when looking to buy art prints online.
In some cases, prints by famous artists are reproduced in a digital format and sold as reproductions.
However, many artists create the print themselves as an original piece of work. These are called original prints, and just like a painting or sculpture, they represent a unique piece of art.
Original prints are generally valued higher than reproduction prints, especially if the edition is limited.
However, just like with open edition prints, if a famous artist’s print speaks to you, there’s no shame in adding it to the collection.
Signed vs Unsigned
In addition to distinguishing between editions and original vs reproduction prints, it’s almost important to note whether the print has been signed by the artist.
Usually, this signature will appear at the bottom right hand of a piece of work. This marking is vital to prove that the artist endorses the piece of work for sale, and can be used to authenticate the print.
It tends to be safer to select prints with an artist signature rather than without, especially if you are dealing with limited or original pieces.
If you’re looking to buy art prints online, you’ve come to the right guide.
Buying art online should be fun. Finding prints that truly speak to you can inspire and ignite curiosity in your home.
Looking for a place to start?
With reliable buying methods and a wide selection from up-and-coming and well-established artists alike from around the world, you’re sure to find a piece that speaks to you.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, you’re ready to shop!
Dive in and discover all the best prints!