Thursday, 25 June 2015

Image Vault News

The news that we reported on our Facebook page and Twitter feed three weeks ago concerning the pending sale of NZ art print publisher Image Vault has today been officially confirmed via email to all their stockists today.

"Dear All,

As most of you will already know, from July 1st Image Vault will be under new ownership. 
Due to an unfortunate glitch in our system, we were unaware that this formal notification had not been made, so we apologise profusely if this news had not already reached you!

The new owners are Nicola and Carl Church - and they are so excited to be embarking upon this new adventure! They bring fresh energy and ideas, and are hoping to meet with you at the Auckland Gift Fair in August. 

Many of you have been our loyal customers for many years, even dating back to our start in the top floor of Windsor Gallery! We want to acknowledge and express our gratitude for your support - it is your encouragement and feedback that allowed Image Vault to grow into the company it is today. Jane and Nathan will continue their association with IV by advising on product development and design, and Hamish will be on hand to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

Again, a huge thank you to you all.

Nathan Secker, Jane Secker, Hamish Bayly"

NZ Fine Prints was the customer they referred to in the email, this writer used to walk around to their High St gallery
Early Image Vault print - Coastal Breeze by Diana Adams
from our building in Hereford St to collect the first bundles of prints.  Image Vault had a great run with prints by artists such as Grahame Sydney and Diana Adams, riding the kiwiana art boom with prints like the Sweet As series by Jason Kelly whilst making the transition from offset printing to print on demand.

We wish the new owners the best of luck and look forward to promoting all the new artists and artworks they will publish in the future.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Christchurch Artist Hamish Allan's New Prints

ChCh Artist Hamish Allan
"Santa Barbara" - 500 x 500mm Art Print $64.95
Leaving out unnecessary imagery creates a sense of space and
serenity in the artwork of Christchurch painter Hamish Allan.   Composing a scene that is stripped back to the essential image means not making an exact copy of messy reality from a particular viewpoint. Because of this these new prints in stock here at NZ Fine Prints Christchurch Prints collection are clearly Canterbury landscapes and buildings but also distill from them a sense of place that is more of distillation of essential New Zealandness.

Allan's prints are contemporary artworks that give a sense of place with an accessible hook to draw the viewer in, Allan's love of classic cars and buildings viewed, as he says, "through rose tinted glasses at times gone by".   Look closer and the viewer begins to notice that Allan's paintings are also full of sly references to other things, for instance the road cone in "Santa Barbara" lets us know that this painting is post-earthquake.  We also enjoy the way Hamish pays tribute to famous NZ artists - for instance by hanging Don Binney's "Pacific Frigate Bird" print from the Barry Lett Gallery multiples on the wall of the upstairs room in "Blue HQ".  There are now over 20 Hamish Allan prints available, on both fine art paper and canvas.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Dick Frizzell Recipe Prints

Lisa's Afghans
Hot Buttered

From 2007 to 2009 Dick Frizzell created a series of screenprints based on the Frizzell family's favourite recipes. These silkscreen limited editions sold, ahem, like hot cakes, and several years later we were still being asked for "Coco's Pikelets" and especially "Lisa's Afghans".  Although the limited editions are long sold out Dick has made open edition (and unsigned) reproduction prints of the original artworks that he holds in his personal collection.  These are very well priced at just $NZ49.95 per print unframed.
Coco's Pikelets

Although this series is nearly a decade old Dick's stark colour palette cleverly anticipated the black and white revival in interior design today.  The recipe series distinctively "Frizzellian" handwriting and the fact that he used kiwi favourite foods (and the recipes actually work) make these prints perfect for kiwi kitchens, and we are delighted to list three new prints from Dick Frizzell's recipe series in our culinary prints and posters collection - food & drink this afternoon.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

New Blood Pop launches NZ Fine Prints' urban art collection.

Princess 1.1 by NBP (aka Brad Novak)
Not all contemporary non fine art is street art.  But there is a subtle change afoot when artists who have moved from Pop to Street to Urban Art like Brad Novak bring out new prints that have built on this progressive foundation to create something new.  Brad's new series under the moniker "New Blood Pop" takes iconography familiar to New Zealanders but not exclusive to us and shows these historical and cultural figures in a new light.

This is what Brad has to say about his remix of pop in a more urban art direction. “New Blood Pop is concerned with how we experience life itself, the 21st century issues we face such as inequalities in wealth and health, sustainability and globalization. I’m also interested in the idea of escapism especially through science fiction and the superhero franchise. Of the things we choose to believe, what’s real, and what’s not? These works are global, flagrant, iconic and ironic.

I endeavour to create powerful multi-layered works, with an emblazoned foreground overlaying a “veiled” background, to show that many of us are living life through a distorting veil, clouding our perception. Our awareness tainted by biases and judgments – a fantasy that we’ve created for ourselves – the practice of mindfulness promises salvation.”

We stock the new series of prints under Brad's moniker “New Blood Pop”, or “NBP76”,  all these new prints are hand-collaged and stencil-spray-painted artworks which involve the layering of popular imagery like the Princess Leia portrait shown here which is for sale at $695, available in an edition of just 35 signed and numbered screenprints.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

2014 - Art Print Market Review

Year of the Bird in NZ Art

2014 was the year of the bird in NZ prints.  The re-issued Native Birds of New Zealand poster nearly outsold "Mickey to Tiki", re-printed colour plates from Buller's Birds sold briskly alongside a menagerie of avian art from contemporary NZ artists.  Tui are definitely the new Nikau! And by the end of the year another big trend was shaping up - the circular print.  Yes, round is going to be a thing in 2015 - there were even artists so on trend they combined both with round prints of birds!
Native Birds of NZ

Publication News

The other exciting new prints published over 2014 included the first new print of a classic abstract Koru painting by Gordon Walters for a decade, the ongoing re-release of NZ's most popular artist Dick Frizzell's back catalogue as open edition prints, the expansion of the number of re-prints of genuine vintage posters alongside a huge number of new limited editions by NZ artists, especially the stunning work of veteran artist Michael Smither.  We also saw new prints of paintings by blue chip NZ artists like Hammond, Hotere and McCahon.  In 2013's art market review we said that tiki were going to evolve further and they certainly have, it's such an exciting area of NZ art we have now created a tiki category that numbered just on fifty different prints by the end of 2014.


The word picture/bus blind/eye chart has collapsed into a custom printed word association game that shows off the customisation potential of digital printing - editions of one for Kev & Julie's Wedding etc - think of 10 words and make sure you spell the names right. There are some good business models for printers in this now but the mainstream publishers are all saying that the place names bus blind and eye chart style typographical print has run its course.

One other change we have noticed is how remixed vintage style images are replacing straight photographic souvenirs like postcards. And yes, we are still waiting for the great NZ photography range to replace the stalwart poster selection published by Craig Potton Publishing a very long time ago.

Street art went mainstream in 2014, the market for Banksy prints and posters was by the end of the year a free-for-all, even the Warehouse imported some particularly grainy posters to flog through their daily deals site using our high quality offset prints (at the not exactly exorbitant $39.95) as the "why pay this much" tag.  The answer is of course that you get what you pay for, good quality paper stock, long life ink and perfect colour fidelity.  And in the case of some prints we saw, no pixelation either!  Over the Xmas holidays this writer even spotted an already discarded derivative canvas graffiti art style print in a provincial second hand shop, cast off with the speed of a poster of last year's boy band.  Great for business if people turn over their artworks so quickly, but we genuinely think the best value is purchasing an artwork that you will love for decades, the cost per view is quite high even if it's a cheap print if you buy something that can't sustain your interest much beyond the initial viewing.

What's in Store for 2015?

We think one of the artists to watch in 2015 will be Glenn Jones, he's pushing kiwiana in new directions and has quickly built up good distribution for his artwork through stores.  Jason Kelly is now on the same production train as Dick Frizzell, it would be great to see his previous success revisited as his "Kiwi As" series struck a chord with nearly everyone without looking like "made for tourists" kiwiana.

Propaganda Poster
The 100th Anzac day could be the catalyst for sales of vintage war posters, recruitment posters and propaganda posters.  But whether they should be promoted beyond the walls of the social studies department is an interesting debate.

Custom printing of reproduction prints will be on the rise in 2015 but still faces issues around copyright, royalties, unit costs and complexity at the customer end. The expectation we hear from some of our customers is that the print retailer can simply print images off the internet, asking could they buy, for example Banksy's "Girl with Balloons" with the background wall on canvas one metre square. Although technically possible to print reproductions of art works on demand like this publishers still carry stock in standard sizes as the work involved in printing a single image still makes a print run of 10 more economically feasible because the set up times are averaged across more than one print.  In the case of the Banksy prints and posters we are still ordering physical stock from publishers in the UK that is air freighted to NZ at a price lower than custom printing here in NZ.

Large print runs done offset will continue to be a better value proposition than bespoke printing for reproductions for popular artists and famous paintings.  Local publishers using giclee or inkjet printing still backorder retail orders until they can print a batch of the same image and size if possible.

What we'd love to see in 2015? Some great new prints featuring NZ's favourite sports!  Like finding the perfect view of Christchurch (unlike Auckland with Rangitoto or Wellington's hillsides of wooden houses) this has been attempted a few times (for instance David John's "Changing Room" series of Julia Drake's "not quite the All Blacks" prints around the time of the 2008 World Cup).  But for a country passionate about sport we have pretty much had to make do with just alcohol sponsored free posters of rugby teams or those framed jerseys that end up in the back of the wardrobe after the school fundraiser for too long.   Our art should reflect what we care about and although sport resonates with New Zealanders there are simply not enough artworks that celebrate our sporting traditions to meet demand.