Key Reasons why Art Prints are Worth Your Investment

(A Collector’s Guide by Red Eight Gallery)

Whether you are starting your first art collection or you are an experienced art collector, you cannot afford to miss investing in your first art print. A common misconception is that prints are not as valuable as the original piece. However, artists such as Joe Webb, have proved that the investment value of art prints has increased rapidly; a few years ago some of Joe’s prints were selling for £225 and they are now selling for up to £5,000. Art prints are not just copies of the original, the fine detail and attention paid to the process of printing contribute to the ever increasing value and can have nearly the same value and, on some occasions, even more than the original. Prints that are signed and hand finished can command an even higher price tag.

This is your ultimate step by step guide to investing in art prints. 

When beginning your journey, consider that original art prints give you more than oneinvestment option and art pieces are a great asset that always have the potential to grow. Art offers a level of security that may not be available in other forms of investment; one of the strongest attributes being its tangibility which gives it significant value beyond just personal wealth. Unlike bonds and stocks, where you are at risk of it losing value quickly, art prints frequently have a higher residual value, more so than non-tangible assets. 

No matter the situation of the current art market, you can always sell your art. The artmarket is constantly growing and the market value is ever increasing. One of the golden rules when adding to your art collection, as an investor, is to look for good quality prints that will appreciate over time.  Joe Webb is among a group of quality artists whose prints areincreasing in value rapidly. After breaking into the internet market and becoming a viral sensation with his dreamlike, thought provoking and surreal prints, Joe Webb started making his pieces in response to his computer-focused graphic design job. Turning away from the screen, he reveled in the simplicity of using two or three print images to create totally new representations. He first created his hand made collages reimagining found imagery using simple and concise edits to make artworks that sent a message; looking at issues such as the environment, war and inequality, questioning our place in the universe and then creating printed versions. His prints are delicately screen printed on paper, often with a glitter varnish, signed, titled and numbered by him. 

Joe Webb – Dark Matter 2022
5 colour silkscreen with glitter varnish
Somerset Enhanced Velvet 410gsm Paper
Supplied with a signed certificate of authentication
Edition of 100 numbered, titled and signed by the artist
£225 Retail price

Lisa Casson – “Choose Love” 2022
Silkscreen print
Paper size: 420 x 594 mm (A2)
Print size: 345 x 500mm
£225 Retail price

Lisa Thomson will be launching her first ever silkscreen print to raise vital funds for the war in Ukraine. 

Why invest in original art prints? Because art itself is beautiful. Through art you canexperience joy, peace, serenity and quiet reflection. Art can provoke thinking, encourage debate and  conversation; It is not just about the wealth you create by your investment. A diverse portfolio can prove to be more successful so do keep an open mind and do not be afraid for some pieces to lose value alongside those that gain. It is healthy to create a balance. When an artist sells open edition prints, there is no predetermined limit on how many prints will be offered. This does not mean that an art print will be available indefinitely so, when you discover art you love, it is always a good idea to act upon it.

Again, although printmaking involves reproducing an image, a print is more than just a copy of the original. Fine art prints result from a close collaboration between the artist and the print studio. Printers — the people who work with the artist to produce an edition — are highly skilled technicians and can be described as artists in their own right.

Prints are not made in large production runs, intended solely for commercial sale.  A limited number (known as an edition) are produced, with prescribed routes for initial sale — either through the artist, a commercial gallery or a publisher. As a result, they are true works of art and as important to the artist as drawings or other works on paper.

The printing process is very interesting with varying methods and paper available. For example, canvas prints are museum quality giclée (pronounced “gee-clay”) reproductions; created using an advanced ink jet printing process, specially designed to capture the lookof painted pigments and capable of reproducing more than thirty-six million colours. Like screen printing, an image is cut into a sheet of paper or plastic film, creating a stencil. This stencil is then placed in a frame, which has a layer of fine mesh stretched across it, forming a ‘screen’. A sheet of paper is placed below the screen and ink is pushed through the stencil from above using a rubber blade or squeegee and only the cut-out portions ofthe stencil are printed. In addition to stencils, a photographic image can be reproduced on the screen using light-sensitive gelatins. This was a hugely important innovation for Andy Warhol and other members of the Pop generation, who would appropriate commercial photographs and popular images alongside this technique.

Fine art paper prints are also high quality giclée reproductions, which often feature soft colour fidelity on a slightly textured surface similar to watercolour paper.

We cannot deny that art prints make investing in art more accessible. Take Banksy for example – imagine if there was just one original ‘girl with balloon’, it would make it impossible for some Banksy fans to invest in this iconic art piece as the cost would be extreme and only one lucky individual could be the owner. Prints present the opportunity to own an authentic and iconic subject without a seven-figure price tag attached. It is a great way to get started, a way to acquaint yourself with styles and artists in the same mode as other mediums but with a different price point.

Artists make prints for a variety of reasons; some might be drawn to the collaborative nature of the print studio; some for the potential for innovation the medium offers; some for a print’s potential to document each stage of a creative process. Prints can offer a completely different creative outlet to the artist’s primary working method. Some artists make prints throughout their entire career — Jasper Johns and Pablo Picasso are such famous examples. The choice of paper is an important part of the print making process because it can directly influence the nature of the printed image. Jasper Johns is famous for having pushed for higher quality, heavier paper for his prints, whilst Andy Warhol loved cheaper, thinner paper for his Soup Can prints from the 1960s to emphasise that they were meant to be enjoyed by the masses.