Discussion on Linocuts - Techniques and Value

Published 19 July 2022 in Media Blogs

Viewing Room Conversations

Following the successful opening of our exhibition, We Are All In This Together, with John Moore and Hannelie Coetzee, and John Moore's demonstration on printmaking last weekend, we discussed the various opinions of the art of lino cutting and printing.

While initially and presently criticised for being simplistic, lino is still popular among amateur artists and experts. The ease of the medium, and the printing itself allows for complex and detailed creations - its 'simplicity' and ease means artists can possibly, 'more easily' create than they might with other media or techniques.

Where the discussion on the skill of lino printing is rather simple, that of determining the value of prints is more complicated. With original creations, artist prints, editions (limited or open), the value of prints are heavily debated and questioned. One must remember however, that although prints can exist in multiples, they are originals!

Firstly, these prints can reach any value, though they are mainly cheaper than an artist's painting, sketch, or other work. As such, prints are seen as collection-completers, and good artworks for young collectors to begin their own art collections.

Secondly, the value does change depending on whether the print is of a limited or open edition, if it's an Artist's Proof or Printer's Proof etc. Limiting the series or edition retains its exclusivity, while an open edition is often cheaper for there are more available and accessible to buyers.

Thirdly, even in editions, prints are originals since the artist created their cut (woodcut, linocut, etching etc) within the possibilities and limitations of the cutting and printing techniques. A print's value may even be determined by its cut: whether linoleum, wood cut, wood engraving, or wood etching, The difference in difficulty and pure skill can determine the difference in value of the produced prints.

So, for this week's post, we've introduced you to appreciating lino printing and cutting. The value of a print is not lesser than any other form of 'elite' art technique because some may deem it 'too simplistic'; rather, they have a value and significance apart from the traditional paintings or drawings - and is also now considered a 'traditional' art technique, with a long history of development and creation.

- Cassandra Comins

Update cookies preferences