Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Posters

Even though response to my posters have been positive overall, I do stumble upon comments and discussions where people have expressed some negative/cynical opinions as some netizens are wont to do.  I feel like I have to/want to talk about some of the criticisms that have been made about the posters since I've started doing them and I think these are also applicable to what my friends and colleagues do as well. Some of the complaints I come across have to do with the kind of paper the posters are printed on, the printing quality, and the price of the posters.

The posters are supposed to be casual, every day pieces of art for your home. Though the ideas, concepts and imagery might come from a fine art place, I don't consider the posters themselves to be objects you have to handle with white gloves. I never intended them to be framed and  never thought that anyone would when I first made them, though I think its awesome that people have and feel honored that they do. I actually think they look the best when hung up with clips, multi-colored tacks or even some neon masking tape. This is one reason why I differentiate between the name 'poster' and 'print'. I can definitely make you a fine art print --  an archival image on heavyweight photographic paper. There is a whole section in my shop dedicated to them and the price reflects the cost of making them as does the price of the posters reflect the cost of printing them. The posters aren't supposed to be throw-away pieces but I know tastes change and if after a few years of having the poster, you don't like it anymore, that is fine!

What I love so much about the poster is that it is a really egalitarian way of bringing art to your space. $50 is not pocket change but its definitely not the price of a some other works at this size and the price is accessible to many. I know its no secret by now how to go about making your own DIY plotter print at your local office copy center but you can also take your own picture of a mountain and go to a photo shop and have a print made. Anyone can make almost anything themselves these days and thats awesome. I am all for that and I feel like thats what is fueling the handmade movement. But to see someone write off my or anyone else's work simply because they could make it themselves (believe me, a lot of this goes on especially at the craft fairs I work), is a dumb, invalid and boring argument. Because they didn't have the idea to do it, and didn't follow through and make it. If seeing an object gives you inspiration to make your own, thats great. But I hate that people take the opportunity to put down something someone worked hard on.

So yes, you can make your own poster but I actually work with a local printing company, a small business that has excellent quality control, and has their printers serviced regularly. In the end, I do pay more to produce a poster than I would at an office copy center but I know the prints that come out will look exactly the way I want them to look. If they don't, I  can work together with my printer to get them to where they need to be.

Another criticism people make about the posters as with many other handmade items is the cost of my posters versus other posters. The thing I think a few people don't understand, and I find that these people are the most cynical of critics, is that when you buy something from a maker or a designer is that you are not simply buying the materials that went into making it. You are paying for the time and labor that goes into making it and sending it to you. You buy handmade because its a special item, to support the artist, so they can sustain a business and be able to afford shelter, bills, and food. Maybe you can get a cheaper 24x36" poster out there but it won't be any of my images. I can't afford to hire a factory to produce a million copies of Antlers, even though it would be cheaper per unit. I just don't have the capital or the space. But after much trial and error, I've found a good system so we can keep our operation small and the pieces affordable.

It is my whole hearted belief that moving towards a more handmade economy will make everyone richer. You pay more, but you buy less overall. You will take care of what you buy, your life will be more beautiful, and meaningful.

Sorry to go off on such a long rant. Its something I feel like I wanted to get off my chest. There will be something really special I will post tomorrow that says the exact same thing but in a much shorter, more concise and less complain-y way than what I've typed above.

Thanks for reading, being my friend, and for your support.



  1. i liked that you addressed this and you articulated what you wanted to say very well. that being said, it shouldn't even need to be addressed, people are crazy and if they don't understand 'hand made', etc..then it's almost not worth it. then they shouldn't spend the money on your posters or any other thing. keep on keeping on!

  2. As someone who appreciates art but often can't afford to purchase any, I really appreciate you providing affordable art in your Etsy story. It allows me to directly support an artist whose work I enjoy and believe in. Don't let the negativity get to you. You do you. :)

  3. " You will take care of what you buy, your life will be more beautiful, and meaningful." - this kind of thinking has become my personal mantra in the last few years. I couldn't agree with this post more. xx

  4. I've been feeling this lately too…mostly in regard to all my knits. At craft shows, there's always people who complain about the price even though I can list a bunch of similar vendors who use the same materials & similar technique who charge double or triple what I do. They don't consider how many hours it takes to knit something. Or they think they can just learn how to knit and then make it themselves, which they never do. I've been knitting since I was 8. I've had nearly two decades to hone my craft but some people treat it like the free scarf you get from your aunt. And then there's the acquaintances who think this is your hobby and can get anything for free. And that I run an online shop "for fun". And when they ask how long it takes for me to make something, their response is always "That's sooo much work!" They think it's more work than they would ever invest in it, yet they don't want to pay someone who has already invested their time. So what do you do…

    I think it's just hard for some people to comprehend that this *is* our job and this is how we make a living. And they don't understand the value of something handmade by one person locally vs. by a machine somewhere in Asia.

    But we keep doing what we do because we love it and we see the value in it and that's what really matters! :)

  5. Everything you typed here is soooo true and really well written by the way. Some people don't get to understand what things "cost" in every sense. Just keep on with the hard work and the beautiful things for those who understand and appreciate the kind of beloved and handmade work you do.