You should buy fine art prints and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

When it comes to art, the word “print” can mean many things. First, there’s the real deal: lithographs, woodcuts, serigraphs, and more. Even if an engraver could produce 20 editions of such a work, it is the pencil 6/20 in the lower corner you will sometimes see – they also had to make the plate, block or screen it came from and then manually print each edition on a press. Sometimes they even painstakingly tear their own paper to get those amazing unfinished edges! Thus, each of their “prints” is considered an original work of art, and you will have to pay accordingly. (That’s why some original photographs can be so expensive; you’re actually buying a “gelatin silver print” that was first made with a camera and then carefully crafted in a darkened room.) If you can allow this type of print, they’re amazing pieces to display and collect, and you’ll be supporting legendary art forms in the process. But the other type of printing is the one that is particularly useful to know about if you are decorating on a limited budget, although it sometimes has a bad reputation: digital reproduction.

BUY NOW: black cube and muses by Ieva Baklane, from $82 for a 10″ x 10″ piece printed on fine art paper (the original painting is available for $2,260), saatchiart.com

For perhaps obvious reasons, digital reproductions can be frowned upon in the art world. That’s partly because they discourage originality – think how many dormitories adorned with a Monet poster water lilies because the campus bookstore sells them for $10, but that’s mostly snobbery. Art prints are not considered original artwork, so some people look down on them. [Insert extremely long pause here.] You ask yourself, Why on earth would I care if something is “original art” if it’s cute and inexpensive and the artist is happy to sell it to me? ? Well, the same, fortunately. Many artists produce and sell art prints for much less than their originals in order to make money, but also to get their art out into the world to more people. You always support them by buying one if you can’t afford the real one! Once simply framed, digital prints can look super stylish and finished in any room of your home. A gallery wall starts to look a lot more doable if you buy art prints instead of originals! And you don’t have to end up with a cheesy reproduction of an old room hanging in the Louvre (these tend to be called “art prints” if you try to avoid them).

Elaine F. Brim