(There will be a header here at some point, I swear.)
Welcome one and all to NeoGAF’s all-encompassing poster and print thread, colloquially known as Fancy-PosterGAF. Here you’ll find a small, but ever growing community of collectors, connoisseurs, and insane people devoted to the hoarding and, sometimes, display of a wide variety of printed art, ranging from the cheap and mundane to the absurd and absurdly expensive. If you’re returning, welcome back to the treadmill. If this is your first time here, we have some info for you to help you get started.
Section 1: $100.00 for a poster?
Well, yes. No doubt you’ve been putting those glossy, mass-produced posters on your walls. Shiny images of a sick, cherry red Lamborghini Countach or maybe a Dragon Ball Z wall scroll. No more! You’re an adult now, time to start collecting and paying like one. The prints we’re usually talking about are a step above in both quality and, perhaps more importantly, exclusivity. That is to say: while there are endless copies of that DBZ wall scroll, there may only be five hundred copies of the DBZ screen print you’re looking to buy (and, oftentimes, far fewer than that). You are also now, in effect, partaking in the world of collecting art, a world that can be both extremely volatile and extremely competitive. As such, you’re not just dealing with the popularity of an image, but that of the person who made it. Who’s hot this month can affect price and availability as much as anything else. As for production, you'll most likely be looking at three different types of prints: seriagraphs (screenprints), giclees, and lithographs. For more info on the various methods of printing, see here.
I would say that the majority of the art that you’ll find in this thread will be of the screen printed variety, but there are more and more artists coming up whose work is too difficult to produce adequately in this fashion and are releasing giclee prints (artists whose work is closer to traditional painting tend to favor giclees).
Along with varied methods of printing you will find a vast array of subjects. Pop culture art has exploded over the last few years, and you may have already seen some of the tidal wave of movie and video game art that has been produced. But there’s also art from street and graffiti artists, concert posters (a market that has existed for decades now), and fine art prints. There is a staggering amount of print art out there, catering to most anything one might be interested in. Let’s take a look at where you can go to get your fix.
FINE, where do I buy these things?
- Mondo: The Behemoth. Regardless of what you think of there output as of late, I think it cannot be disputed that they are the biggest name in pop culture posters, if only for the time being. If this is your first time here, there is a good chance that what brought you here was a Mondo print. Make an account, log in before the drop, and keep your fingers crossed while you hammer the F5 button on drop day.
- Bottleneck: They started out small, but in the past year their output has grown by leaps and bounds in both quality and quantity. Want something besides movie poster? Hit up sister galleries Arcadium and UTBNYC for non-pop culture prints from a wide range of artists.
- Black Dragon Press: BDP's portfolio of prints has been steadily on the rise, producing work for films from directors like Tarkovsky and Herzog, as well as prints for literary works such as Watership Down and a small but impressive collection of art prints. Keep an eye on these guys.
- Gallery1988: Two galleries in LA with a regular new shows covering a spectrum of pop culture subjects. Some big names really blew up courtesy of these guys.
- Dark Hall Mansion: Despite a limited pool of artists and properties, Dark Hall has put out consistently good work, even if they lean heavily on that Peanuts license.
- Hero Complex Gallery: Leaning more towards the video game end of the spectrum, but plenty of tv and movie work in there as well.
- Postersandtoys: Headed by Mitch Putnam of Mondo, you’ll often find smaller releases and Artist Proof’s from Mondo talent sold here. Tougher to get a drop here and prices are marked up based on aftermarket value. Mitch also runs Pwints, for kid-friendly art.
- Grey Matter: Leaning more towards horror, Grey Matter has slowly been building a catalog of great prints.
- The Vacvvm: One of the newest players, The Vacvvm is artist commune also headed by Mitch Putnam, and headlined by Aaron Horkey, that releases art prints by some of the the hottest up and coming artists.
Section 2: Storage and Display.
So now that you have a glut of paper taking up room in your house, what do you do with it. Well, there are a few options:
Before you even get into storing these prints, make sure they are flat! I think it’s safe to say that many of us keep them rolled up in their delivery tubes when we are first starting out. While this is convenient, the longer they stay rolled up, the harder they will be to flatten out. Do yourself a favor and get your prints out of the tube as quickly as possible. I like to let them relax for a few days before I start flattening them out. You can use use anything (books, for example) that doesn’t damaged the paper to weight down the corners or use the the foam board method mentioned below. You can even buy poster weights to help with the flattening process.
Acid free foam board and glassine sheets: Here’s the most basic setup you can get. Grab some big sheets of acid free foamboard from an art supply store and separate prints with acid-free glassine sheets. Clamp down the edges with binder clips and your print sandwich is done and you can hide it under a couch or bed so that no one can see your shame. As previously mentioned, helpful for flattening prints even if you don’t ultimately store them this way.
(This is fine. Everything’s fine.)
Display portfolio: Here’s where many start to get serious. A display portfolio is great if you don’t have room for a flatfile, and it’s also easily hidden away. Sizes can range from 8.5” x 11” to up to and beyond 24” x 36”. Stein deSign makes a great case, and can be found at a number of online art stores like AWS Express and Jerry’s Artarama. (Keep an eye out for coupons.) The biggest downside to a presentation case is that the pages can be expensive and a bit fragile.
(My girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband is leaving me, but at least I have these prints.)
Flatfile: If you are really serious about hoarding paper, and you have the room, you’ll want a flatfile. Made from a variety of materials in a variety of styles, these multi-drawered pieces of furniture are the made to store large pieces of paper. Best bet for finding one is to check Craigslist. People have done some really interesting things with them as well, like putting a glass window in the top and using them as a coffee table.
Believe it or not, some people actually buy prints to display, as in hang them up so that other people can look at them. I know, it’s crazy. There are a number of things to take into account when framing art. The biggest concerns when framing prints are going to be light exposure, humidity, and chemical degradation. These are the archiving concerns, and are completely separate from those of aesthetics. I could probably fill up an entire page’s worth of posts regarding the ins and outs. Thankfully, much of this work has been done already by more committed and experienced people, so get ready for some links.
Frame Destination’s in-depth framing information.
Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute: Housing and Environment Options for Display of Documents
Frankly, you can get crazed with this stuff. The short version is this:
- Make sure to use spacers or a mat to keep the paper from touching the glass, unless you will be rotating prints in the frame.
- Make sure to protect the print from direct sunlight. Use glass with UV protection or rotate images to avoid fading.
- Make sure the print has room to expand and contract within the frame.
- Make sure the print can be easily removed from the mat/frame. Hinges should not use strong adhesives and NO DRYMOUNTING.
- Make sure mat, hinges, and backing boards are acid free (This goes for any storage, including the presentation cases I mentioned above. Just like mushrooms, the only paper acids you should be working with are the ones that let you see the face of god.)
Lastly, here's a great article for beginners ordering a frame online from places like Frame Destination or American Frame.
Section 3: Further References and Worthwhile Websites
Expresso Beans The premiere poster collecting website on the internet. Well, maybe not, but one of the more popular places to buy, sell, and argue about poster art.
OMG Posters! Print blog run by Mitch Putnam (that dude really gets around). Good source of upcoming releases.
Inside the Rock Poster Frame Like it says on the box, this mostly deals with concert (or gig) posters but they also update on gig-poster artists’ releases as well.
Cult Collective Good news section for releases. They also have a small store of their own.
The original Off-Topic thread.
(Big thanks to sushigod7, fallengorn, FilthySlug, Blingaling, and Dreweyes for their help with the new OP and of course an enormous thanks to Mockingbird, without whom this thread might not exist.)