This month has seen Widewalls exploring the theme of editions in art, a generic term for a series of artworks. Through a series of articles such as Editions in Photography, Editions in the Art Market and Editions – A Good Way to Start a Collection, we have attempted to give some guidance through the maze that is editions. Here we turn out attention to the world of urban art and street art, which by its very definition belongs on the street, but with its increased popularity and a host of galleries opening the doors to contemporary urban art, the scene has become a fertile area for developing various editions. With the urban art scene showing no signs of abating and a great number of urban and street artists now running successful studio careers, the chance of picking up an original canvas artwork for a reasonable price is decreasing and beyond the average person. However, urban and street artists have been quick to realise that there is a great demand for their works and have been perfectly placed to use the idea of editions for maximum impact. Here we explore some of the urban art editions that are available and a reasonable way to get some street art into your home.
Print releases and posters have become the perfect vehicle for urban and street artists to produce editions of their work for reasonable prices, but of course one must define the difference between the two formats. Print releases have become a popular format for urban artists to make work available, lying somewhere between an original work of art and the cheaper poster option. Print releases come as limited editions, usually numbered and signed in person by the artist and completed with a certificate of authenticity, making them a perfect investment opportunity. Exploring companies like Lazarides Editions and Print Them All are a good place to start to see what is on offer, while you can see examples of print releases in Joseph Loughborough Print Release, Steel Blue by Smash137 and Faile: New Print Releases.
Posters offer an excellent way into owning some art at a cheap price, as can be seen in Posters: The Cool Collectable. One only has to look at some of the iconic rock and film posters from the 1960’s and 1970’s, along with the prices those original posters now fetch at auction, to realise that you could be picking up a bargain. In terms of urban art, Shepard Fairey has perhaps been the most successful at realising the benefits of making artworks widely available, often producing limited runs of posters. IKEA even got involved with street art, producing a series of high quality posters with 12 artists, limited in number and for sale at a very low price, read more in IKEA Loves Street Art. Poster editions are a very cheap way collect art and with a little care, they could become the collectables of the future.
The world of urban art and graffiti is widely covered when it comes to books, with many being readily and cheaply available. However, when it comes to picking a book to add as part of your art collection, it pays to keep an eye open for the often limited artist’s art book editions. Excellent examples include Paranoia on Paper, the book by Sickboy and Word to Mother, which came as a collector’s box set, limited to just 50 copies and each book being individual with the artists customising a page in each copy on the day of release. British artist Xenz released his Art of Xenz book in 2013, the collector’s box edition including an original piece of artwork, while Borondo released his first art book earlier in 2015, Memento Mori, the limited edition of 100 with a silk screen print and signed by the artist selling out instantly. While the limited art book editions are not cheap, they represent a good investment as they are often signed and include original artworks.
Xenz book image courtesy of Xenz / Paranoia on Paper - Sickboy & Word to Mother Book. Fluorescent Smogg via lazinc
Clothing has always had some link with urban art and graffiti, perhaps because of the associations with music, particularly hip-hop, and skateboarding, both of which have their own fashion style. Whether editions of urban art clothing offer a good investment is open to debate, one would assume that with wear and tear the items would lose value unless kept in mint condition, but keep an eye out for very limited runs on designs by artists. None the less, clothing editions offer another cheap option to own designs by your favourite urban and street artists, Shepard Fairey again leading the way with his OBEY Clothing line. OBEY Clothing was started way back in 2001 as an extension of the work created by Fairey, working with a number of designers and artists, such as can be seen with the OBEY and Keith Haring Foundation collaboration. Check out the list of 10 Fashion Collaborations for further examples, including sneakers from BÄST and the limited edition scarf by Damien Hirst with Alexander McQueen. Other examples include Ecko Unltd by Marc Ecko, Digital Threads and From Walls to Tees with Authority Clothing.
Images courtesy of OBEY Clothing.
Now to have some fun with your urban art editions, by venturing into the world of toys and skateboards to see what is available. The area of toys in general has, for a long time, been an area for good investment, kept in good condition with the packaging and you can have an item that will increase in value. Toys have become popular within the realms of urban and street art in recent years with the names you need to be looking out for being Designer Toys and Urban Vinyl. Take a look through the Hottest Designer and Art Toys article for some good examples, including toys by KAWS with Medicom Toys, Ron English, Shepard Fairey & OBEY and also take a read of This is Not a Toy which has further examples. Designer toys are usually produced by artists and designers in collectable editions, while Urban Vinyl was made popular by Michael Lau and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, usually featuring action figures created in vinyl and designed by illustrators, musicians and graffiti artists. Designer toys and Urban Vinyl are definitely areas worth exploring if you are looking at investing in urban art related editions.
Urban art and skateboarding cultures have long been intertwined, with many an artist designing skate deck graphics. Plenty of examples can be seen in our article 10 Best Street Art Skate Decks, with designs by Nick Walker, ROA and D*Face included. Ones to look out for are the limited edition decks which often come signed and numbered by the artist and sometimes even with hand finished artwork. If you are looking for something even more original then keep an eye out for artists such as My Dog Sighs, who occasionally offer unique hand painted skate decks, the price may be a bit higher but you are getting an original piece of urban art.
ROA skate decks via arrested motion / OBEY skate deck courtesy of OBEY
There are many other places to look for urban art editions, such as limited sculptures and you may even want to eat your dinner off of some collectable porcelain plates that Nick Walker and Pure Evil produced for Royal Doulton. You may even find some urban art on some limited edition products in your house, such as an energy drink or bottle of water, the list is probably endless. Of course, not all editions are worth investing in and one should enjoy what they collect. So while you sit and look at your urban art prints and posters, browsing the art book which lies open on the coffee table, admiring the skateboard and urban clothes, why not enjoy a cigar from the Zino Platinum urban art themed Collector’s Series, designed by various urban artists and limited to just 750 boxes of each design!
Urban art cigar images via half wheel.
For all the latest news on urban art editions sign up to My Widewalls today!