For too long the photocopy has been side-lined by the art establishment as either a business tool – unrelated to the craft conscious gallery environment, or if taken on board as a pseudo avant-garde tool for the conceptual arena. It is time that the photocopy as a reproductive art tool was brought alongside other established ‘fine’ art tools.
The celebration of the woodcut and the etching was their opening of the art marketplace’s affordability; but the market stall holders have closed ranks again. A limited edition, in any one of the many accepted fine art formats, particularly if produced by a resident of the accepted art canon, can far outstrip in price a single piece painting or drawing by a ‘lesser’ artist.
The engraving was originally a reproductive tool of commercial use so it has no reason to rate hierarchically above the photocopy.
Accusations of the crudity of black and white photocopying are elsewhere held up as the singularly aesthetic beauty and reason of the woodcut print.
And when Polaroid photography has entered the commercial gallery streets how can we accuse photocopying of the impersonality of its mechanistic detachment from its creator.
The reason why the photocopy has not been accepted as these and other forms of reproduction is because of its absolute opposition to the elitism of the fine art gallery world.
If I can sell a limited edition print, using a photocopier, for less than the price of a pint of beer then that’s progress.
“Bristol Life” photocopy print edition