prints should be unique.
Print. Somewhere along the line, the word ceased to have meaning. Value in the art market yes, meaning, no.
For most artist this is true, Picasso for example has approximately 110,000 authorized prints circulating (if you include prints of the 1200 works reported stolen, this number escalates exponentially).
That is why for the last 16 years, Ashley Collins refused to create Prints. “If the print does not bring something different to the world, then its value is lost…. A mere copy holds no interest for me…To create a print that is its own original art…unavailable in other forms.. that would be interesting..”
Enter Izumi Kato, 4th generation Japanese printmaker, and considered by many to be one of the top living printmakers in the world. Over a series of long phone conversations, Kato convinced Collins to come to Japan, to work together to create something new. Something brilliant. “My Father, My Grandfather, and my great Grandfather, all believed that the art of creating a print was as important as the underlying art itself….. it is both an honor and a gigantic undertaking to create something that is different from the original, something that can stand on its own…”
Over a three-week period they surveyed Collins 30 years of paintings… choosing those paintings that translated to print…that were embraced by the paper and the archival ink (in part due to his family history and his own global reputation, Izumi is the sole printer in all of Japan licensed to make Archival Prints). Collins incorporated historical photos, that for her referenced not only feelings of the work, but her own family history… their struggles and their triumphs.
Like all aspects of Collins art, creating that which would last has a price – countless of draft ideas thrown away…draft prints that would never see the light of day… draft ideas whose inception was more persuasive than the actual creation.
Then once the ideas grew to fruition and the images were found, began the search for paper… the underlying foundation of the print which is as important as the art itself Collins and Kato tested paper after paper… bringing the touch-feel of Japan as important as bringing the history to the page. They found it in an expensive rare bamboo paper unique to Japan – a texture that would emit history and absorb and portray the fullness of the image.
Test printing with this paper went on for some time as coloration, feel, and texture were tuned, separated, re-balanced, and re-created into something that was truly new.
At the end of three weeks, out of hundreds, only five new combine images met the standard of archival – these five each bringing a new form of Ashley’s art to the table, a new story, a new media.
We hope they hold your heart as much as they do ours. Each are limited to 75 in number, and only a portion will be released each year – all hand worked by Collins.