A licensee is a person who licenses an artist’s work for a set amount of time. The license may be negotiated between the licensee and the artist, or the licensee and an artist agent. The licensee may have various types of legal control over an artist’s artwork. It is necessary to carefully analyze any license agreement in order that both parties are clear on their legal rights – what for example, the licensee can or cannot do in regard to the use of the artwork.
An artist agent is a person hired to help an artist gain exposure for his artwork and to generate sales. Agents receive up to 50% of an artist’s profits. Therefore, it is important that the agent representing one’s artwork is chosen carefully and keeps one’s best interests in mind. An agent should specialize in the type of artwork an artist creates. It is also important that an agent has good referrals and gives one access to previous or current clients to learn how good the agent performs his/her job. An artist and an artist agent sign a fair agent agreement to work together professionally.
An artist's proof is the impression of a print created in the print-making process to understand the progress of the plate an artist is working on. An artist proof can also be a test print that shows the colors that make up the final print. Frequently an artist will make a proof in order to view how the image is going to print. The term is now often used to refer to the impression of the finished work that is the same as the numbered copies. The artist's proofs are not given place in the limited edition count. Traditionally, an artist is not suppose to sell his/her proofs (which may number over twenty) immediately after printing them.
The prints are often signed “AP” or “Artist Proof” with the standard edition size not to go beyond 10% of the regular limited edition size. For example, an edition of 200 would have 20 artist proofs. Serious art collectors often want artist proofs because there are fewer of them. And sometimes an artist proof is remarqued – which makes the print even more desirable. However, it is important to note that artists’ proofs are not necessarily better in quality than the regular print edition due to modern printing techniques.
A commission is an original piece of artwork completed by an artist as requested by a client.
Using a bill of sale is the ideal way to go for artists because it allows one to include some essential terms of the sale, as well as keep a record of past sales. It is not enough to use a receipt or invoice because they permit only limited information of one’s sales. A bill of sale can include: the size and title of the art piece along with other identifying information, other additional items included in the sale (such as any matting or framework), the sale price, the sale date, certain instructions (such as maintenance concerns), and particular terms of the artwork agreement. If the artwork is a commission piece, the bill of sale should describe the terms of the commission agreement.
Dry Mount is a framing method that includes gluing a print to a firm backboard (like foam core) with a heat activated dry adhesive. The method is not ideal for a limited edition print. However, dry mounting is recommended if one knows that a piece of artwork will be exposed to temperature changes and humid conditions. The dry mount technique will prevent the piece from buckling.
An edition is a number of prints that are created from the original piece of artwork. The number of the edition does not contain special editions or artist proofs.
A fair agent agreement is an agreement made between an artist and an artist agent in regard to how the agent will go about gaining exposure for the artist’s work. Some agreements are exclusive agreements – in other words, one agrees to work with only one particular agent. Some agents desire an artist to sign an agency agreement that lasts up to three years. This provides them the chance to market one’s work and start working on licenses agreements. It is best not to sign an agreement longer than a year with an art agent unless one is interested in licensing one’s work. This way if an agent does not perform his/her job to one’s tastes, one can then switch to another agent in a shorter amount of time.
A few key items that are important in a fair agent agreement are statements that allow any work loaned to the agent to be returned once the agreement ends, a description of the reservation of an artist’s right to end a licensing or sale agreement, a description of who will take on the cost of advertising and promotional materials and additional expenses, the amount the agent will be paid for up-coming transactions (like sales, licenses…) without the assistance of the agent, as well as provision of the rights of both parties to end the agreement.
An artist needs exposure for his artwork. To do this, one may work with organizations, websites and galleries to display the work. In working with anyone or organization, an artist needs to maintain control over his rights of the artwork. For example, to display work with a gallery, an agreement is signed in regard to how the gallery will present and hold the artwork. The placement of the artwork, the framing of the artwork, terms of delivery, the sale price and the value of the work should be clarified, identification of the artwork, fees for displaying the artwork and the time the exhibition will be displayed all need to be included within an agreement. It is also important to include any license information that allows the gallery to reproduce the artist’s work without infringement. One should be careful to analyze the license terms of agreement as a separate entity especially if the license includes terms that go beyond reproduction for publicity purposes. Also any gallery agreement must include information about the risk of loss of the artwork should any event or damage occur. Galleries should have insurance that takes care of artwork exhibited.
A gicleé (zee-clay) is a French word that means to spray or spit. Gicleé reproductions are images of the original piece of artwork that are created with a high-end ink jet process.
The image size is the size of the artwork that is reproduced on a print. The image size refers to the actual image itself – not the overall size of the paper.
A limited edition is a number of prints created from an original piece of artwork that includes only a set amount of prints. Every time a print is made it includes within it a number that signifies how many prints have been made of the original since it was signed. For example, 23/200 means that the print is number 23 of 200 possible number of prints of the original. Artists frequently make use of using limited editions to add value to a print and to the original artwork.
A lithograph is a term that relates to general offset printing. Most print publishers today use this process of printing. It involves photographing the original artwork and then burning the image into 4 plates for a full color printing process. A roller on a printing press contains the ink. Acid free paper and a fine dot screen are used for the best lithographs.
Mass marketed art is that that art made for the masses. A painting, for example, may be completed assembly-line style in which several people work on the same painting, with each person doing a certain part of the painting. Mass marketed art is usually of inferior quality and is often reproductions of trendy styles, certain color combinations, and well-known pieces of art.
Matted size refers to the overall size of a mat that holds the original or print.
Finding a niche market is essential for any artist to successfully sell his artwork. Understanding where and who potential buyers are is part of finding the niche market. An artist must also know how much he can charge for his art in relation to what other artists creating similar pieces are charging. Analyzing who has purchased artwork in the past and at what cost, as well as finding art agents, and licensees are other parts of finding one’s niche market.
A numbered print is a print created to display the size or limit of a print edition; usually a number is written before the size of the edition. For instance, 15/200 would explain that a print is number 15 out of an edition of 200. Sometimes with older printing processes, having a print with a lower number signifies the printing of the print is of superior quality than the prints printed after it. However, with modern printing, this is not the case.
An open edition is offset lithographic prints. The prints may be signed by the artist, or it may not. A print is considered to be a poster if it is not number or signed. The term also denotes that the original can be reproduced in different sizes, as well as being printed on various media (such as on coffee mugs or cloth).
To purchase an original means that a person possesses the only one. An original is the work of art completed by an artist. Frequently no reproductions are created from a drawing or painting. Prints are made from photographing the original piece. An original with a limited edition print is more valuable than just the original being made because it has the opportunity to be better known and admired. Often times a print is smaller than the original.
The size of the limited edition print. The overall size includes the margins of the paper and the actual image.
The publisher is the marketing and printer company that creates and distributes the limited edition prints for the artist. Artists may be the publisher of their artwork they have the correct equipment.
To register a piece of artwork means to register it with a copyright office. The registration of a piece of artwork can happen at any point once the artwork is finished. The registration does not include copyright protection. Rather, registration is a legal formality ensuring the work is on public record. Regardless, this legal formality is essential to an artist if he hopes to license his work or show his work in any way that may put the artwork at risk of possible infringement. There is little cost in registering pieces of artwork and a savy artist does it to basically protect the work from another person copying it.
In order to register a piece of artwork, an artist completes an application and sends it to the copyright office. The application includes a filing fee, a deposit of copies of the artwork, and a visual arts application form. Registration of the artwork may take a number of months. However, the copyright leverage becomes effective starting from the date the application is received by the copyright office. An artist may obtain copies of the application form online from the United States Copyright Office.
A little original sketch completed by an artist that is positioned outside of the image of a print (often in pencil, watercolor, or ink). Serious art collects often prize a remarqued print because the print becomes a one-of-a-kind print along with the original artwork.
A reproof may signify several things, including that a new negative as been created, that an original has been worked on to remove previous blemishes or mistakes, to signify a reproduction was created from the original, or that a piece has been touched up because it was harmed in some way.
A signature may refer to the artist’s signature on a print after the printing process, or it may refer to the signature on the plate itself.
A print that has been signed and numbered means that the artist’s signature (usually in pencil) and the number of the edition has been put on it.
A print that is signed only means that the print has the artist’s signature on it, but it is not numbered. A signed only print is often known as an “open edition.”
Sold out means that a limited edition print is no longer available for purchase at the issue price; instead, it is being sold at secondary market prices.
An artist needs exposure for his artwork. To do this, one may work with organizations, websites and galleries to display the work. In working with anyone or organization, an artist needs to maintain control over his rights of the artwork. Gaining exposure via the web is a popular to present one’s artwork. However, it is important to take necessary precautions because people can easily download one’s artwork images. To prevent copyright infringement, one should incorporate a copyright notice in the image file that includes the “©” symbol and one’s name. Also, adding a watermark on the image notifies people immediately that the artwork is protected. Moreover, one should include a statement that clearly states that one’s images are subject to copyright and that the artist’s rights are reserved. And lastly, it is ideal to format one’s images online that that they cannot be downloaded.