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Are fine art prints really better than cheap posters as wall art décor?

Updated on October 17, 2011

Vintage Posters and Print reproductions

Print shows a man, with a bicycle to which a rifle is fastened, standing on a mountain path, watching a stagecoach on a lower trail; waterfalls in background.
Print shows a man, with a bicycle to which a rifle is fastened, standing on a mountain path, watching a stagecoach on a lower trail; waterfalls in background.
TITLE:  Amandines de Provence. Biscuits H. Lalo Poster showing a woman eating almond cookies. Made c1900 by Leonetto Cappiello.
TITLE: Amandines de Provence. Biscuits H. Lalo Poster showing a woman eating almond cookies. Made c1900 by Leonetto Cappiello.
Illustration shows actress Katharine Hepburn as a stage struck youngster in profile facing right, wearing a black cape and gloves, and a yellow hairpiece, perhaps made of ribbon.
Illustration shows actress Katharine Hepburn as a stage struck youngster in profile facing right, wearing a black cape and gloves, and a yellow hairpiece, perhaps made of ribbon.

Is it really "art"?

Affordable, high quality photos and drawings can be printed a larger scale because of digital media capabilities. Individual artists can afford to do limited printings or mass printings at a comparable cost, which means they can also afford to sell them at a reduced rate. Wide format printing is also available to amateurs, photographers, collage artists, comic book authors and just plain doodlers. There is something about seeing your work reproduced large that makes it look different, in some way special.

Better printers mean more creativity and wall art

This opens the floodgates for all types of creative people to make amazing wall art. Everything from cheap art posters to fine art prints can be printed framed and hung, just like "real "art. Because the quality of printing has improved with recent wide format lazar printers, it is now possible to produce fine art prints for cheap wall poster prices.

Is there any difference between cheap prints and fine art reproductions? The answer in a word is yes. However to the layperson, it is not always obvious. A fine art print reproduction is often printed on a heavy, specially coated acid free paper. This adds to the clarity and longevity of the piece. The media files are very large and often exceed 800 dpi. These files come from high resolution scans or digital photos. This is what produces the detail and clarity. Lazar printers are very precise and literally print what is there. If there is a hair on the image, or crease it will print out, that is how detailed these scans can be.

Print quality is often a matter of how much a person likes the image

Quality of the art print is measured by the quality of the paper and media file, rather than the printer or ink. Some other issues to look for are paper weight and light fastness or non fading dye inks. However, many people really consider the true worth of art prints has to do with how much you love looking at it.

On the other hand, the traditional cheap poster is often printed on thin paper with a glossy coating. The focus there is graphic quality and the coating. These cheap wall art posters are not meant to last 100 years. However, they can be perfectly suitable for many decorating situations and the life can be prolonged with good mounting and framing.

Paper, ink , canvas and laser printers make creating cheap wall art easier

Several other alternatives have entered the scene that are becoming very popular and with good reason. One is the use of wide format lazar printed to produce art prints and posters, one at a time, with a mat finish. They might not be printed on acid free paper with and ink dyes, but the average person would not be able to tell the difference. These sell online and off for anywhere form $5 to $50 and can be a very valid alternative for decorating any area of a home. They frame up great and the variety of sizes styles and creativity is nearly endless.

Another is the use of printed canvas, sometimes called giclee. Giclee is a French term for a sprayed printing process on canvas. Once again lazer printed and this time coated canvas can create an incredible wall art painting. The laser printer sprays a fine and precise mist of ink onto a specially coated canvas that is designed to absorb and hold the ink.

These canvases can be incredible realistic. The ability to print one at a time, or in mass, gives artists and sellers the flexibility to have a large number of prints to sell without the overhead of a huge inventory. Consumers get the benefit of a wide assortment of wall art styles and products to choose form, while entrepreneurial artists gain a new outlet for creative expression.

But is it really "art"?

This article may not have answered the age old question of what makes something "real art" but I hope it encourages you to explore the creative possibilities that these new technologies offer the next time you want fill that space behind the couch. So does this mean that fine art prints are better to decorate than cheap art posters? Only you can decide what works as wall art.. But it may mean that you will never look at cheap posters or fine art prints the same way again.

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    • Fine Art Photo profile image

      Fine Art Photo 

      8 years ago from Boulder County, Colorado

      Great Hub. I love the Top Poster with the man with the bicycle and rifle. Great information Thanks!

    • profile image

      Buy Posters 

      9 years ago

      That’s a great collection of posters to get inspired by.The variety ensures that some way or another, you will get necessary inspiration for any job that has to be done.Do you keep them in a swipe file?

    • TrophyMan profile image

      TrophyMan 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Hi,

      I made a HubPage on Giclee printing and why it is better than regular poster prints. Thought your readers may find this a good resource as well:

      http://hubpages.com/hub/Framed-Art-Prints

    • profile image

      Fiona Ahern 

      10 years ago

      Great article. I have to agree with your question

    • Todd Harris profile image

      Todd Harris 

      10 years ago

      great hub, nice info!

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