A New Era of Fine Art
The history of copying of art deliverables started with the book printing. A manuscript was quite a piece of art. Its manufacturing required many hours of tedious and skillful labor of calligraphers, rubricators, illuminators, and correctors. Mechanizing that process was a revolution. What was previously available only to the rulers and top rank clergies as a handful of unique manuscripts became available to regular people as printed books. Nowadays electronic books are getting more and more popular as they are much cheaper than the books printed on paper and, what becomes even more important, are environment friendly.
Next target of the mass copying technologies became sound, mostly human speech and music. The copying methods were mutating constantly along with the development of new technologies from the first cylinder recordings to a top notch digital format. Nowadays everyone can listen to their favorite band just by streaming it online.
Fine art images resisted to the technical progress for the longest time. The reproduction process was suffering a substantial loss of quality that devalued the copies, which were not considered art. Nowadays the twenty-first century’s technologies achieved such a progress that in most cases only a trained professional can distinguish an original painting from its high-tech reproduction.
As expected, the crooked art dealers got straight to the point and started using fine art prints to fake handmade paintings and sell them to unsuspecting buyers. The other crooks invented an abomination called “embellished prints“. They dare to claim that if the artist signed the print and allegedly touched it a couple of times with a brush, that print can be treated almost as the original work – when in comes to the price! A rabbi could turn a regular poultry into kosher chicken. Jesus Christ went even further, turning water into wine and the instrument of execution into a symbol of faith. And an art dealer can turn a print into a painting – price wise. What a f…ing miracle!
On the other hand, those art dealers who want to make top dollars on original paintings, intentionally belittle the value of museum quality art reproductions, repeating their usual mantra “a printed copy is not art, no matter what its quality is”.
There is an old joke about “fake Christmas decorations”. “Why are they so cheap?” the customer’s asking. “They look exactly like the real thing! What’s the difference?” “The difference is”, replies the salesman, “that those fakes won’t bring Christmas joy to your house!”
What kind of “Christmas joy” is associated with art? It’s investment potential! A lot of people buy stuff in order to make money without putting any labor. Some prefer to buy paintings rather than shares or bitcoins, thinking that art is a better deal.
For a long time artists had no other choice than sell their artworks for whatever price they could get and let someone else make money on their talent after their death. But now the times have changed! More and more artists are choosing to sell digital reproductions of their art and retain the full control over commercial distribution of their image. We are welcoming this change enthusiastically. Shall the artist live and the art speculator die!
The technological progress will soon reduce the cost of making digital copies of artwork to a point when everyone could have as many art reproductions on their digital canvas unit as they have songs on their music player. Art will be finally purified from elitism and profiteering and everyone will be able to collect art the same way and for the same price as people now collect books, music and movies.
The original oil painting or watercolor drawing will be playing the same role in fine art as a multitrack master recording does now in the music industry. Instead of being sold to someone who would’ve locked them mercilessly in a vault, they will be scanned and printed on demand. The artists will be making their living selling prints to the public just like musicians make their living selling CD’s.