Main featured image is the Tiger-A screen print by Elsabe Milandri, on sale now.
Despite ongoing discourse around making high-quality art more accessible to regular people, there’s still a huge gap between original pieces that only the very well-heeled can afford and cheap mass-produced prints that every average Joe and his cousins own. 50ty/50ty is the latest of a few independent ventures that have popped up in recent times with the aim of filling this void.
This exciting initiative creates limited edition screen prints in collaboration with high-calibre artists and sells them exclusively via its online platform at doable prices. The concept first launched in February 2016 and the collection of works available has been constantly growing since then, with the release of two new pieces set for 18 April 2016, one by Daniella Mooney and the other by Michael Taylor (see images here).
Artist duo Wim and Jeanne Legrand, the pair behind 50ty/50ty, opened the production space Black River Studio in 2015 to offer creatives a venue and the necessary facilities to do screen printing, but when they saw the need for a marketing platform from which to sell the resulting prints, they decided to establish the 50ty/50ty concept alongside this.
Wim, who’s a master printmaker himself, works very closely with each artist and designer throughout the labour-intensive process of print production to help them create an edition of 50 pieces, each hand-printed, numbered and signed by the creative themselves. The lower overheads involved in the online shop and the fact that there are 50 of each work helps to keep prices more affordable.
‘The screen prints have everything an original piece of art has but are within reach of a bigger audience,’ explains Jeanne, who’s keen to give a younger generation of art enthusiasts easy access to the works of the artists they admire.
The initiative also has great benefits for the artists involved. As Jeanne notes, there are many acclaimed illustrators and painters out there who are keen to try out screen printing as an extra-disciplinary adventure and 50ty/50ty gives them the chance to do so with expert guidance from Wim.
‘A venture into another medium affords a break from the usual studio routine,’ says Jeanne. ‘In turn, stepping out of one’s comfort zone leads to new ideas that feed back into the artist’s studio work’.
So far, the company has collaborated with Mia Chaplin, Norman O’Flynn, Michael Taylor and Elsabe Milandri, and the idea is to release at least one new limited edition by a different artist every month (with a maximum of 24 available online at any given time). As mentioned above, 18 April sees a new piece by Daniella Mooney and a bonus work by Michael Taylor appearing on the virtual marketplace, and we can look forward to prints by the likes of Swain Hoogervorst, Siwa Mgoboza, Julia Rosa Clark, Gerhard Human and Jeanne Gaigher going on sale in the future too.
In other words, if you want to lay claim to original creations made by some of the country’s foremost art visionaries without breaking the bank, keep an eye on this online shop and its Facebook page. We know we will.