On July 26th there was a panel discussion in Auckland at the Gus Fisher Gallery timed to co-incide with the opening of “Printmaking: Beyond the Frame”. Billed as “The Future of Printmaking in NZ” the discussion was led by the former Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland (and practising printmaker since 1975) Dr Carole Shepheard and Steve Lovett of the Manakau Institute of Technology Diploma of Visual Arts programme.
I was intrigued to read the useful summary of the discussion by Delwyn Archer, I was unable to hear the discussion first hand so I am grateful for her comprehensive notes.
What caught my attention was what seemed to be missing from the discussion - one obvious way to continue to strengthen printmaking in NZ is simply to grow the number of collectors.
Professional development and support are important issues, collaboration and comparison spur progress, but these are internally focussed within the printmaking community. I could only find one reference that wasn’t inwardly focused, when Dr Shepheard says printmakers should be making “amazing work that cannot be ignored”.
I think the printmaking community in NZ should have a much greater focus on the print collector and propose the modest goal of increasing the number of serious print buyers in NZ by 100 each year - a relatively small number which is surely achievable. After a decade that is an extra 1000 people purchasing say 10 prints a year, at $200 per print that's an extra $2m going to support printmakers.
The place to start on the path to achieving this goal is working through the media to educate the NZ public about the delights of collecting original prints.
NZ Fine Prints would be happy to financially support a campaign for greater awareness of original printmaking as a collectable artform to help achieve this goal of 100 new serious collectors in NZ each year. In return we need original printmakers to support our goal to offer a wider range of original prints to our customers (the first step is get in touch with me, I manage our catalogue of prints).
Encouraging more collectors of original prints will be a key factor in the future of printmaking in NZ looking back from 2024 and we are here to help.
NZ Fine Prints have a proven sales channel in place to support artists financially so they can get on with their practice. The internet has changed the way art is sold and NZ Fine Prints uniquely has nearly 50 years of print selling expertise in addition to 15 years experience of online selling. We are not shy about the commercial opportunities we can see for prints and printmaking and think it is ok to mention the financial benefits of print collecting - and we are print collectors ourselves.