When it comes to purchasing art to decorate your home, there is often confusion regarding the terminology used to define different finished pieces; primarily art prints versus art reproductions.
An art print is a finished work which was created by means of a transfer of ink from a matrix (or master) onto a chosen surface. The matrix can be many things depending on the print type, a carved woodblock, a prepared screen, an etched metal plate and countless others. The final image can also be printed upon many different surfaces; most common would be a variety of high quality papers. Prints generally come in editions, and will be numbered and signed by the artist. Printmakers create their work with the intent of multiples, it is the nature of printmaking as an art form; this differs from drawings and paintings of which there is only one final piece.
An art reproduction is an entirely different thing! An art reproduction is a mechanical reproduction of a finished piece of art. In the very simplest terms, if you were to head to the local museum and purchase a poster of The Mona Lisa you would have just purchased an art reproduction! Art reproductions can vary in quality however, from posters to high quality archival images printed on canvas! Giclée prints, for example are very high quality inkjet printouts onto high quality art papers or even canvas! Artists often utilize this process to produce limited editions of their already completed 2 dimensional works.
With the advent of high quality home inkjet printers, there is yet more confusion regarding what is a print and what is a reproduction. Digital art, for example, would seem to be a reproduction as it is produced from an inkjet printer but it is not that simple! If an image is scanned as is, and printed from an inkjet printer it is indeed a reproduction, however if an image was altered or created on a computer with the intent of printing it out onto paper as the ‘final work’ then it is an original (digital) art print.
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Armed with a little bit of knowledge the criteria is quite simple, if the final complete image was intended to be realized only once printed, then it is an art print. A reproduction is a piece that is a mechanical reproduction of a work that was already complete via other means. And with that knowledge, you should have no trouble finding beautiful art to surround yourself with!