2013 - NZ Art Print Market Review

During the gift buying season that marks the end of another year all publishing and cataloguing of new prints screeches to a halt while we focus on simply getting the artworks out the door and delivered in time for Christmas.  So just before we descend into the busiest time of the year our catalogue manager takes a look back at 2013.  In this post Antony Ellis reviews the NZ art print market in 2013 from a trends and sales perspective to highlight the significant milestones of the year from our position as NZ’s largest art print retailer.

Art Print Trends during 2013

The best selling print for 2013 in NZ will either be Frizzell's  Mickey to Tiki (yet again) or the wonderful new “Native Birds of NZ” Poster based on the illustrations of J G Keulemans (the artist who illustrated Buller’s Birds of NZ).  The most popular categories of prints overall were Kiwiana and vintage posters but the street art collection is showing the steepest rise in traffic (it was a big year for Banksy with his unofficial New York residency - we also have finally secured a reliable supplier of Banksy prints direct from the UK so had a lot more street art prints to choose from by the end of the year).  The Native birds poster also boosted the popularity of native NZ birds as a theme (it’s a toss up between tikis and birds as the favourite subject of 2013), alongside perennial favourites, the NZ landscape and Coastal & Sea Views.

We have noticed one surprising drop in sales - that of prints on canvas.  Even though we include the value of both unstretched and stretched (mounted) canvases in this sales category (framing of prints on paper we measure as separate line item) sales of prints on canvas are down by nearly twenty percent on 2012.  It’s definitely not the end of the canvas trend full stop but it does point to canvas prints being part of the wall art mix rather than a replacement for reproductions on paper that some people in the industry were predicting.  Picture framers will be relieved if the trend for frameless (gallery wrap) canvas prints starts to abate.  At the lower end of the market (in art industry parlance, non “brand name” artists) the unexpected competition with hand painted canvas prints at rock bottom prices from China being may have hastened the end of generic designs on canvas that were stocked in vast numbers at new outlets for prints such as furniture shops and the bubble like profusion of “design” and “gift” stores that popped up throughout NZ over the last decade.

Publishing News: Prints, posters & limited editions new in 2013

New prints during the year started with us rounding out the range of reproductions of paintings from “gallery” or “fine art” artists not from NZ.  The strength of the NZ dollar against the US dollar and the Euro has made purchasing from overseas art publishers a much more pleasant experience.  We listed many more large art posters (usually the standard US 3 foot by 2 foot size) at prices between $NZ24.95 - $NZ29.95, by famous artists like Klimt, Monet, Mucha, Dali and Kandinsky as well as a good selection of new prints in various formats (such as the Whaam! diptych from pop artist Roy Lichtenstein).  After a few years building up our range of indigenous NZ vintage posters we also filled out the vintage range with new titles focussed around our food and drink category (NZ designers of the vintage period did concentrate on travel and tourism, if you want vintage wine and beer advertisements these tend to be French or Italian).  The top selling print by a non-NZ artist is still the “Holiday on Wheels” print by Boulanger but easily the most popular artist by total sales was street artist Banksy.

Also added were new reproduction prints by significant NZ artists like C F Goldie, Michael Illingworth, Colin McCahon and Bill Hammond.  Our photography selection extended with a large series of large format panoramic posters by photographer Richard Hume.  The biggest collective launch of NZ prints came right at the end of the year with the series of reasonably priced Dick Frizzell reproductions of some of his most well-known silkscreen prints and paintings, images such as Popduck, Grocer with Moko and Big Kiss.

NZ original printmakers like Michael Smither, Tony Ogle were busy during 2013 and limited edition prints from contemporary artists (and now also increasingly from designers/illustrators) such as Greg Straight, Jane Puckey, Susan Haywood Smith and Alec Tayler were listed for the first time.

New NZ Fine Prints Catalogue

The launch of our 2014 catalogue of “Fine Art Prints, Posters & Limited Editions” was a huge effort behind the scenes. Due to the earthquake disruption we skipped an update in 2011.  We must have been a bit rusty as there were more than the usual array of problems (colour matching, making the captions fit underneath every image and checking for typos) publishing this year’s catalogue (the entire first printing was recycled after the complete run was printed without the proof being signed off) so it was relief to see the pallet of brand new catalogues arrive at our warehouse even if they were six weeks late.  The way the auction houses manage to produce their beautiful catalogues of paintings every few weeks throughout the year (especially the dizzy array of designs from Art & Object) is astonishing to contemplate.

NZ Art Print Market Predictions for 2014

  1. We will see prints becoming a little less pop and a bit more street.  
  2. NZ vintage will no longer be seen as hot "trend" (the increase in supply of titles was responsible for the rise in profile of this category more than it simply being in fashion) but will become an enduring part of the market like it is in other countries. 
  3. There will be more “modern vintage”, contemporary prints in a retro style hopefully more representative of modern NZ society than the increasingly simplistic “Kiwiana” style images that are too often simply watered down copies of more and more obscure nostalgic objects from our collective past. 
  4. Dick Frizzell will continue to be the top selling NZ artist by overall print sales and by value, with a new and enthusiastic publisher by his side planning to print dozens of new prints alongside new silkscreen editions we’d be foolish to call the end of his reign as NZ’s most commercially successful artist and printmaker. 
  5. Due to overwhelming demand we’ll be selling more prints pre-framed in our standard timeless framing styles as we slowly roll this out across all of Prints.co.nz but we still support the role of the custom picture framer as being a vital partnership in the enduring story of a business such as NZ Fine Prints.

Gifts for Christmas 2013 - Mailing Dates

As always pre-Christmas is an especially busy time for us here at NZ Fine Prints, art prints are perennially popular Xmas gifts and making sure we deliver on time for Xmas is vitally important. Please call us on 0800 800 278 if you have any questions about delivery of your prints in the lead up to Xmas.

NZ Fine Prints Christmas Mailing Dates for 2013 are as follows:

Delivery worldwide at our standard rate of just $NZ15 (for any number of prints).

UK & Europe, East Asia and North America

Please order your gifts by Wednesday 4 December 2013

Australia & South Pacific

Please place your order by 9 December 2013

Rest of World

Order prints by 2 December 2013

Xmas Delivery to NZ Addresses

Standard Delivery for $NZ6 (for any number of prints)

We need to have your orders for prints being delivered as gifts for Xmas by 3pm Friday 20th December

Deadline for next day courier delivery via CourierPost with guaranteed delivery for Xmas day is 3pm Monday 23 December

Framed Prints - please order 10 working days before these mailing dates to ensure we can deliver by Christmas.

Gift Vouchers

NZ Prints also deliver gift vouchers by mail to NZ addresses if ordered by 23 December - and email gift vouchers are even being purchased on Xmas day itself and delivered instantly around the world. Now that is last minute Christmas shopping!

Shipping & Delivery Updates

As we get closer to Xmas we will update any delays or known issues with Xmas delivery on our shipping & delivery page.