General copies


Dear Artist,

Last week, a successful actor who collects original art launched a new venture. Having studied art in college and being a lifelong art lover, Portia de Rossi started a business she believes will help artists make a better living. Based on improving the giclée with a new, trademarked 3D printing process, her online retailer “General Public” aims to sell art to the masses. With “all the texture and articulation that’s in an original painting” says de Rossi, a “synograph,” will make it nearly impossible to tell the difference between a reproduction and an actual work of art.


“Inkberry Holly”
painting/synograph by Sarah Bird

On the General Public website, artists are invited to submit work for consideration via email. If accepted, the company will pay to have the original shipped to headquarters where it’s photographed and the publishing rights are claimed. The painting is never acquired nor paid for by General Public but, instead, is sent back to the artist’s studio at the artist’s expense, at which time the artist can do whatever she likes with it — except make her own editions. Synographs (in limited and open editions) are then put up for sale for between $500 and $4000 — either through a collaboration with furniture retailer Restoration Hardware or directly through the General Public website. For every synograph sold, the artist receives a 5% royalty. De Rossi enthuses that it’s all in the spirit of helping artists: “Technology has finally caught up with the current trend of cutting out the middleman, allowing painters to follow authors, musicians and actors.”


“Makeba I”
painting/synograph by Seb Sweatman

But digitizing music has decimated the livelihood of songwriters by scaling accessibility and therefore diluting the value of recordings, with artist royalties annihilated to fractions-of-pennies-per-stream — about 5% net — via services like Spotify, virtually the de facto method for buying music today.

Thankfully, fine art is a niche market, which grinds away globally in echelons big and small, unscalable due to the very nature of its intrinsic, physical originality. Music, books and other published items are a mass market, now imploding under the shortsighted deals made by middlemen who squandered the economic safety of their creative work force. In the art world, any artist, anywhere, can still control her own supply and thrive with the help of a handful of caring collectors who value a unique and magical universe — what de Rossi calls, “archaic.” Instead, by diluting quality, rarity and authenticity, she risks altering how consumers perceive and value creative work, endangers makers and their professional allies and confuses her general public.


painting/synograph by Kali Sanders



PS: “My motto is; support artists, not art.” (Portia de Rossi, from the General Public website)

Esoterica: With de Rossi as the new middleman, an artist’s synograph retailing for $1000 on the General Public website would earn a royalty of $50, less GP’s expenses. If sold wholesale to Restoration Hardware, the royalty would clock in closer to $25 or less. That’s a lot of synographs to sell, Walmart-style — maybe without much difficulty given de Rossi’s public reach and collaboration with a major furniture retailer. However, ours is an industry that relies on cherishing the singular. In our archaic world, open to everyone, what can one buy with a grand? It buys authenticity and something made by hand, with provenance, intimacy and a connection to the maker, an investment with infinite future possibilities, standing out in a world full of copies. This item is available at a local business called a gallery, or at an art fair, from an art group or artist’s open studio in any town, anywhere, or on an online collective, a hub like Artsy or SaatchiArt or from the artist directly, on Etsy or Instagram. This art world, now online, stirring already with disruption in the direction of truly empowering artists, invites all to participate in the real and rare.


The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, are now available for download on Amazon, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys.

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” (Thomas Paine)




    • Roy is right. This is just another place where the useful digital world moves into troublemaking. Lots of that around.

    • One thing we can do to try to kill this monstrous plan is contact Restoration Hardware and register a protest. Tell them that if they carry this, we will never shop there again, and we’re telling everyone we know to drop them as well. I’m starting by broadcasting this on social media. This is just screwing over the artists who are “accepted.” 5% is a joke; an insult.

      • The new middleman (woman) enthuses about ‘cutting out the middleman’ without a trace of irony. She deserves an Oscar for this performance.

          • They can duplicate a painting that the artist agrees to sell them the copyright to but they can’t duplicate originality. Buying a painting does not give the new owner the right to reproduce it. This right remains with the creator of the artwork unless they give up copyright privliges. This is why keeping your intellectual property rights is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. personally, I would not give up the IP on a work of mine for only 5% of the profits. I would need compensation for the low pay as in advertised credit/celebrity endorsement for my work and a referral to my own art studio.

      • But remember, Mitch, broadcasting this on social media gives General Public a lot of free advertising. Be careful. Even bad promo can assist the promoted in their quest. Especially in this case.

      • I guess some of us still respond to the clarion (rip-off) cry of “exposure!” This is horrifying – that some non-artist would/could sell copies of work s/he hasn’t the talent to create, and keep 95% or the sale – even deducting the cost of the copy from the artist’s measly 5%!!!!! Lordy, I hope NO artists participate in this gigantic fraud! Yikes!!

    • A while ago, I was contacted by a woman who saw my art in a gallery.
      To make a looooooooong story short, she wanted the right to duplicate a few of my pieces saying that it would raise the value of my original which I would keep.
      I would receive about 5 cents per sale..
      They would be in such places as Bed, Bath and Beyond…
      (Every artist on your site has seen this kind of inexpensive art.)
      I said that I would like to see the place where the art is duplicated.
      It’s a HUGE factory just outside of Toronto… about a city block long.
      There were dozens of people actually painting right on a photographed version of an original piece or simply copying it. Manually adding texture too.
      There were rows and rows of crated art.
      I asked if the name of the artist appeared on the painting.
      She said no… but a mini-bio would be stuck on the back.
      This was not true.
      I must admit that I felt sick about this whole thing and said thanks but no thanks.
      As I was driving home, I wondered about famous artists from Van Gogh to Kenojuak’s whose art has been copied a thousand different ways>>>> prints, posters, cards, scarfs, bags, jewelry….. and I scratched my head in wonder…..

    • I really love the title to this article. Very appropriate! I think “General Copies” is what Portia should have named her company.

    • I think the bottom line is that no true art collector want’s to buy one of a million copies of the same work. A copy no matter how exactly replicated will always be a copy and the more duplicates their are the less valuable it will be. Personally I would not want to sell my intellectual copyright of a piece for 5% or any value as that would be like selling your soul to me.

    • Artists have already cut out the “middleman” by marketing their own art online and have been for some time now. Not all art is highly textured and needs to be reproduced with 3D technology. There are a lot of other art forms out there aside from painting…
      “Technology has finally caught up with the current trend of cutting out the middleman, allowing painters to follow authors, musicians and actors.”

  1. Amen. As both author & painter, I know what this ‘technological revolution’ has done to authors’ incomes – sent them into nosedive. de Rossi’s comments are quite comical – transparent as the usual self-serving tactics of a middleman marketter enthralled with her narrowed view. This whole proposal is a horrible idea, and I trust you’ve convinced many not to parttake. 5% might look great if you hit a certain popularity with those who don’t care if something’s original, but is it worth giving away economic control of your work? ON THE OTHER HAND, there’s a point to be made here: in a few cases, people buy reproductions because that’s literally all they can afford. I know – I used to be one of them. Or, they buy repro’s because they have never been educated on the difference. I think there’s an opening here for artists to offer buying options for those on strict budgets, and for artists’ associations to work with schools and school art courses at all grade levels to educate the generations on the realities of artmaking and the joys of owning art straight from the artist’s hand. Thanks for a cogent discussion of a timely topic.

    • I think she is probably the least “Gullible” person on the planet!!! I think any artist that sells the intellectual property rights to their work to her company for 5% of the profits *IS GULLIBLE”!! She is very smart. How else do you think she got to be worth $22 million?!!!

      In her own words from their submission page: “I like to think of the originals like sculpture molds, and that THE PRINTS ARE AS VALUABLE AS THE ORIGINAL PAINTING” I strongly disagree with this statement. A print, no matter how accurately reproduced is never as valuable as an original piece of art.

      • Here’s the link to the page with the quote below:

        In her own words from their submission page: “I like to think of the originals like sculpture molds, and that THE PRINTS ARE AS VALUABLE AS THE ORIGINAL PAINTING” I strongly disagree with this statement. A print, no matter how accurately reproduced is never as valuable as an original piece of art.

  2. This might make sense if the royalty was 50-60%. At 5% or less it is hard to describe how one would categorize this process. One might as well continue with the giclée process and sell prints on ETSY.

    Have a Happy day on Sunday.

    • Most artists nowadays self promote on social media. I don’t think real art collectors want to buy a duplicate of a million copies of the same painting. They want to own a unique original one of a kind authentic piece of art. The company she is partnered with RH Restoration Hardware is a furniture/interior design company! I don’t think the wall hangings they sell are “fine art”. Mass produced Artwork like this ha a been sold by the Dafen Oil Painting village in China for years for interior decoration. Painting s printed on canvas with texture is also nothing new although the totally accurate Synogaphy is new it is simply an improvement on previous reproduction methods. I don’t think these reproductions are as valuable as the original art. To sell intellectual property rights to one’s original artwork for only a 5% profit is a rip off and I would question the ethics of it.

  3. Good Grief….a continuation of the “make it cheaper”mentality. With this arrangement, even the forgers will go bankrupt! Go Portia….another celeb for the masses to slather over. Any so -called artist who swallows this deserves 5%!

    • I read one article about 3d printing that said if you look closely at the copies you can see pixilation and that is how you can tell it from the original. Since I’ve never seen a”Synographic” I don’t know if this is true or not.

  4. And if it’s chosen it has to be shipped [artist packs it up] and dragged around their headquarters to be photographed, then if you want it back you have to pay for the shipping! How could ANYONE want to do this??

      • P.S. many very talented and technically proficient artists I have seen have said outright that they didn’t learn how to draw and paint in art school! It takes years of practice to hoan those skills over a lifetime.

  5. I didn’t think Rossi was so ignorant but she has proved me wrong, this is exploitation under the guise of so gooder mantel. I’m proud to be archaic .

    • Right on Cheryl! i.e. my comment above: I really didn’t want to bring politics into this but I think this is a very good example of the hypocrisy of the “Liberal” 1% >:o(

  6. Perfectly understood Sara, and perfectly expressed. Hopefully, all of the collectors who value having something no one else has, something that just belongs to them alone, like a true love, will continue to hear when an original work of art calls their name; to cherish what is made by the hand of an artist, for all time.

  7. Can’t believe it! 5%!!!!! That is such an insult. Hopefully she can’t get away with that kind of “bright” idea. She is fallowing the trend of famous people trying to deceive to make money for themselves making her so similar to a called a career politician.

    Hopefully authenticity and originality will prevail together with honesty over fast money strategies.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if her next move would be to run as the democratic candidate for president. Can naturalized citizens do that?

  8. A very well written and timely article! Another example of celebrity rich padding their pockets on the backs of the hardworking poor. In this case, people who strive to create a tangible and enduring product with creative and authentic passion and talent.

  9. Once again, control of an artist’s own work; the artist creates the piece out of his/her imagination, does all the work, and then gets a small portion of the sale.

    But first you must get through the right obstacles in order to be “chosen.” Got to have this, got to have that, do you have a PhD in Fine Art? No? Sorry then.

    She’s not supporting other artists, she’s taking their power away and sucking away their income so that she can add more money to her millions while the artist lives on a pittance.

    Screw these so called “people in power.” It’s a load to f garbage and half the time they don’t even know what a good piece of art is. An artist doesn’t need to be told how to paint, what to paint and what their going to make or be told they’re not enough or enough. Work for yourself, get it ou there yourself, then you decide who you want, if you want some one to represent you. Power to the artist, back where it belongs.

    • Most Art schools don’t teach the bones of drawing and painting any longer and haven’t for a long time. They actually discourage it and teach students that it’s the idea that matters not the execution of the artwork. That’s why a lot of people coming out of art schools can’t actually draw or paint! I see a backlash against this on YouTube where you can actually learn more about classical drawing and painting than in “Art school”.

  10. This Rossi plan is so criminal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She says she’s supporting the artist! HA! She is supporting a very suppressive business plan against the artist.

    Shame on you Portia!!!!!!!!!!

  11. There is plenty of precedent for this business model, with companies like icanvas, where you can pay $100 for a 37×37 canvas, and countless other companies that reproduce artists’ originals and pay them a fraction of the price. I am not understanding what is supposed to set this company apart if not the pure hubris of claiming to cut out the middle-person when in fact there are two, de Rossi herself AND Restoration Hardware.

    Two things wrong with this model:
    The low price to the artist
    The degradation of the value of the work via mass production, saturating the market.

    There are important degrees in reproduction of artwork. Limited editions at lower cost than originals, where the artist has agency, makes at least 50% of the cost, and is building a following for their own work is one thing. But offering art to the public as a commodity in a furniture store at the same price as a nice dishtowel does nothing except encourage the public to think it “deserves” art at a “good deal.” Thank you Sara for bringing this one to light.

    • Thank you Sara for being a voice for artists who are committed to original expressions of art that tell a story of their personal life journey . As an emerging artist who uses texture as a dominant element within my work, I was concerned some day, with the advances of 3 D printing technology, even my unique touch to a canvas could be copied. Since it is true passion to continually grow my style and quality of work, this will not stop me. It does, however, further deepen my gratitude to each person, who expresses they love my work, chooses to buy one of my paintings, and in doing so, invests in my future.

  12. We live in a celebrity, product driven culture that undervalues art and artist’s contributions. In an age where museum focus has shifted to entertainment, General Public’s mission is not one of empowering artists or educating the public. Purchasing art from stores that sell all other decorative items for the home, eliminates visiting galleries, studios, community art centers, art fairs and festivals, where artist’s sell their work. In this case, there is not even an illusion of “exposure” to benefit the artist. Artists’ names do not appear in General Public’s postings on social media.

  13. Jamuna Snitkin on

    yes cheers to Thomas Paine but going a step further what we feel in an original is the consciousness of the artist. That can not be reproduced .Remember when you stood in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre . it was alive! Prints are only memories.

  14. David GELLATLY on

    Shame on you Sara!

    What would your father say to a 5% commission on a piece “virtually indistinguishable” from the original???

    What crap!

  15. Steve Clement on

    Sara, this newsletter has helped so many of us for years, and now that the world has lost your dear father, your work continues to bless us. Thank you so much for bringing up yet another situation I never would have known about had it not been for you. This kind of malfeasance is disgusting, and we as the creators of original art need to be more aware than we often are.

  16. Bryan Dunleavy on

    My grandfather bought what he thought was an old oil painting in a sale from the local baronial estate in the 1930s. It was contained in a magnificent gilded frame and had pride of place in his dining room. When I was in my late teens he asked me if I could find out who the painter was. It didn’t take me long. It was a reproduction of a Murillo painting and to the untutored eye looked very much like an oil painting. It was in fact a 19th century oleograph, made by a complex lithographic process to imitate the appearance of an oil painting.
    So, in a way, we have been here before. Engravings were much used in the 19th century to popularise art, and we should not forget that it was once forecast that photography would put painters out of business.
    Frankly, I wouldn’t worry about it. Thirty years ago the market was flooded with assembly-line “original” oil paintings – most of which are probably now in storage. Cream rises! Quality always wins in the end! The ticket print changed the print market but I would venture to say that it may have changed nothing as far as original art work is concerned. I know that some popular artists have been encouraged to “enhance” or “embellish” a girlie to make it look more like a “real” painting, but little value is added.
    This particular con will probably work for a limited time, but once it dawns on people that they have purchased nothing of permanent value the secondary market will die.

    • I wish what you say was true. But cream can become indistinguishable from 2% milk if the relentless forces of the market have their way. Standards in all fields have been dumbed downward by digitally enabled versions. I have lost track of the times people (friends!) have said to me that they used a template or clipart or ____ insert mass produced substitute, because they “couldn’t afford” the alternative. The idea of what one can afford is reconfigured when an almost-as-good option is available at a tiny fraction of the price.

      The other problem of the crean-meritocracy is that it leaves no room for the common or medium level work, which is where most artists are. Do we assume it’s ok to sacrifice the middle i the interests of market forces, convenience, and the consumer?

      • Bryan Dunleavy on

        The phrase, “It was ever thus!” comes to mind. All fields in the arts, whether creative or performing, have been and are crowded. Entry is very easy; staying in the game is incredibly difficult. In our world there are amateurs who will sell a competent painting for the price of a frame, teachers and art professors who make occasional forays into the art market, forgers and charlatans, artists who are lucky enough to catch the zeitgeist with a gimmick for about 5 minutes, knock-off artists and copyists.
        I agree that most of us are mediocre (and I would certainly include myself in that group), but hey, I do what I do, and I strive always to do my best work. And I have found after a long life that there have always been people out there who have been willing to part with their money for my work. I will never be a household name nd I doubt if any of my work will have some residual value, but I have survived, and I am content.
        The celebrity noise and hypocrisy of the venture that Sara described is of course outrageous, but it will pass. I guarantee it. And long after this celebrity has passed into oblivion, there will be artists, musicians and writers continuing to respond to their creative instincts and helping to make the world a slightly better place.

  17. One thing we can do to try to kill this monstrous plan is contact Restoration Hardware and register a protest. Tell them that if they carry this, we will never shop there again, and we’re telling everyone we know to drop them as well. I’m starting by broadcasting this on social media. This is just screwing over the artists who are “accepted.” 5% is a joke; an insult.

  18. Laughing my gorgeous little head off here. If ever there was a lead balloon of an Idea it’s this one. Every artist on here is reacting as though personally slapped in the face and rightly so. I am amazed by the confidence of it, that it is a Moses of an idea! Artists are to be actually grateful, to be chosen, saved. Hand picked to be ridden like a pony! HARD! A no. Are you sure she isn’t messing? An Andy Kaufman kinda prank, and she at home now, rolling around on the floor of one of her 16 Italian marble bathroom floors, tears running down her face, holding her tummy in peals of laughter, only her and Ellen sharing the joke, that they have managed to piss every artist right off. Just before the weekend too. Perhaps it’s a conceptual piece and she will arrive out on the wife’s show next week, wink at us, say “gottcha”, take a bow and we will all gosh darn it and smile and say, “Ah that good old Portia really had us going there for a minute, she isn’t out of her cotton pickin mind as it happens” and think, ah we love Portia sure she’s great craic altogether. (PSSST. Portia! I’d run with this idea if I were you, and I will only charge you 5 billion bucks for the use of it. I will hold onto the copy right though if that’s alright with yourself. Kisses sweetie, Hugs, Catherine X)

    • Stephanie Nadolski on

      I hope this goes viral. This is a travesty for artists who are the creators of their work. In the digital age we are all at risk. Copyright your work

    • You only get 5% per copy. Now if Synogaphy printing technology becomes available to the general public then you could make copies of your own work and sell them keeping All of the profits. I think there would be a huge artist’s market for that

  19. Valerie Henschel on

    What is truly sad is that this is actually a duplicate business model to so many others already out there and succeeding very well. Make an offer look tempting and draw in the suckers who don’t read the fine print, who have no marketing experience, and who would like a little extra money. They skim off the best submissions, and pay only pennies for high quality, and prevent the artist from still profiting from their own efforts. Sigh.

  20. Robert terrell on

    Ditto everyone that posted. I first heard this on Ellen’s show the other day. Iwas intrigued, so I checked out the website and yes, it is for real. Bombastic I say. What a crock of s__t. I wonder how a person who works in the arts can be so callus. How can she sleep at night knowing that she and RH are ripping off fellow artist’s and calling it good? Disappointed! !!

  21. Coralie Swaney on

    I saw Portia DeRossi promoting this business (for free) on her wife, Ellen De Generes’s talk show and could believe what I was hearing. The blatant hypocrisy in her words was appalling and her actions, in my opinion, are vile. She is leeching the “original” out of original art works. Let’s hope that our fellow artists do not succumb to her celebrity status!

  22. Jill Ogilvy on

    I am heartened to see that no-one here is taken in by this. Hand over the copyright to this crook? Creating hundreds of copies does nothing but devalue the original artwork, the original creator and the making of original handmade prints by artist-printmakers. Ahh Portia – she takes not her name in vain…..’tis not Shylock but herself to whom she awards the pound of flesh without thought or consideration, or justice to the artist or the original artwork. How appropriate is her name!!! I rest my case.

  23. I would like to know if a public gallery which owns collections of paintings and their copyrights would enter into a contractual agreement with this company.

  24. I cannot believe that someone as intelligent as de Rossi thinks that this rip off of 5% supports artists. A work sells for $4000 and the artists sees only $200. and we have to pay to get our art back. I cannot understand why even the most desperate artist would participate in this sham.

    • This only works if they buy 300 images of said artwork upfront and pay for them in advance. Plus they need to INSURE your painting and pay for shipping both ways. Personally, I would only submit a painting that was specifically for RH. This is standard interior decorator stuff where they buy in bulk and pay the artist about 10% of the eventual retail price, but that was back in the bad old days of monotypes in the eighties, before giclees sank the printmaking market and the Recession put all the little frame shops out of business. It’s been so long since I’ve been involved in the interior decorator market for art buying that I have no idea what horrible scams are being pulled on the unsuspecting artist. Just know this: if your paintings aren’t selling like hot cakes, don’t start making giclees of them!

    • She’s crying all the way to the bank. :’0( (and probably having a good laugh with Ellen about it at the same time).

  25. Raymond Mosier on

    Another example of business encroaching on an area where business has no business being in. Business should be about making money by making something or providing a service. In this case they are not making anything, they are taking and in reproducing it, while the artist made made it. Business is in healthcare where it is no longer about health but about profits for stockholders. Other areas abound besides these two. Education, prisons. Opportunities for turning a profit are the search engines of business.

  26. Kate Beetle on

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the F-word or its substitutes used so readily in this otherwise polite column; beat me to it. So this is Ellen’s wife? Like they don’t have enough God-d**d $$$$??? I’m sending this on to my licensing agent, I’m sure it will appall her. NICE CATCH SARA!

  27. Barb Griffin on

    This is a very common practice for distribution /printing companies. The royalties are usually about 5-15% of the retail price of the print. There is often an advance against royalties to guarantee some money such as $300. The 5% royalty is after the cost of framing the art has been deducted which is usually very expensive. So if the framed print sells for $1000 and the cost of framing is $400 you only receive 5% of $600. If your artwork is very popular then you could make a fair bit of money because of the large volume in sales. Everything adds up, but it is a gamble. Most prints do not sell for that much ($1000). The framers and printers make the most money, if it sells well. They are gambling too that it will sell.
    Usually artists who do this are wanting to get into licensing or to get as much exposure as they can but not necessarily make a lot of money from the sale of prints.
    Some artists have made a lot of money from licensing their artwork in which they got a percentage (royalties) of the sales of those items such as cups, notebooks, stationary, etc. that their artwork was used. The royalties are usually 3% to 10% of each item sold depending on the product. There are several artists who have made a lot of money doing this ( Mary Englebert, Ken Done, )but you do need a style which is suitable (decorative) and has a mass appeal. If you do use a licensing agent to show your work, who makes deals with companies on your behalf, then they get half of the royalties. You can license your artwork yourself but you do need to know a lot about it and the current royalty rate for each product.
    There are also printers who act as licensing agents too. Wild Apple Graphics for example.
    For more information look up licensing art and design. There are several books and websites on this subject.

    • The thing I take umbriage with is that she thinks the copies are as valuable as the original. That is where the undermining and devaluation of art comes in.

    • Take a look at YouTube. Nowadays artists do most of this for themselves. Im just hoping that her Synogaphy printing becomes commercially available one day. If there was a Synographic print shop out there I’d make copies of my own artwork, retaining the copyright and 100% of the profits from the sale of MY ART. Of course I would personally sign All the copies I sold.

    • Get real. Artist will only make $25 off each print sold. GP would need to sell an awful lot of prints before this would be profitable to the artist and I doubt they’d sell that many of each individual artwork. I think you’re better off selling your own work and keeping the profits.

  28. Beside the obvious, latest rip-off you’ve outlined, I can’t help feeling that everything digital is just an escape from the challenge of manually filling the picture-plane with one’s inspired craft. Call me old-fashioned but … where is the sport in letting a bot do it for you? Its like being dropped on Everest by helicopter just to take the ultimate selfie. Pffft

  29. Gwen Moncriegg on

    di Rossi’s quote seems to me to be a perfect example of Orwellian double speak! Theft is more like it!

  30. Ann Beringer on

    I am in total agreement with all of the comments here. Unfortunately, technology has taken us in many good directions but has also created many moral and ethical dilemmas. I am an artist and my husband and I are fortunate enough to be collectors as well. Any time we buy a piece of original art I always ask if there are giclees of the piece. Several years ago we bought an original oil painting at an art show only to come back the next year and see an identical giclee reproduction that was pretty indistinguishable from the original. We felt cheated and definitely value the painting less.
    The closer we get to “cloning” an original the less valuable the original becomes. So, as far as paying for your original to be shipped back to you, you might tell them to burn it and save the shipping cost!!

  31. Susan Ashbrook on

    Thank you Sara for a very insightful letter. Something to give some serious thought to. I have found, in many industries, that when a company says they are “helping” artists, students or whomever, it’s usually code for “taking advantage of” them while making the general public feel good about purchasing the product.

  32. thankful for this analysis, I have never been tempted by the “glice” or any other reproductive process. I feel that the texture/touch of a painting can never be reproduced, the image is not the painting. I appreciate the comments on this thread and Sara’s warning.

  33. So let Miss de Rossi create the paintings, copy the paintings, and sell the paintings and see how she likes getting 5% of the price. Once she understands what goes into the creation making a painting, she might change her tune.

  34. I want to tell you the arrangement I have made with Hawaiians who I have been photographing doing cultural ceremonies. I recently published a book with my Native Hawaiian friend Kimo Pihana “Celebrating the Hawaiian Culture” that contains around 220 color photographs. My deal is that I will split any money I make from the photographs 50:50 after the cost of making the prints is paid. Not 5%; but 50%! I have not come up with anyone who has objected to this, except fellow photographers who feel it is too high.

  35. I didn’t know who Rossi was – so I googled her. She used to play “cold and calculating” characters. Apparently she also plays one in real life….

    Thank you, Sara, for bringing this to our attention.

  36. I recently checked out Charish’s website. They are advertising that they will photograph paintings consigned to them to produce giclée prints. I was flabbergasted. Now, your newsletter spotlights another egregious business endeavor. I am glad you blew the whistle on Portia’s project, it stinks.

  37. Might as well rail against the passage of time as complain about the effects of technology on art. It will be what it is best for, and that will be either the walls of collectors or the stacks at Wal-Mart. What an art-oriented person can do, whether it is an educated amateur or a maker, is to keep on making stuff. What happens with technology will happen. Maybe that means that fewer artists can be self sustaining professional artists, but that will be as it will be. Keep on making, because if you don’t you probably were not meant to be an artist anyway.

  38. If this is viable, how long before someone goes trolling art shows, buying art, and submitting it to GP? Then the artist unknowingly has sold the publishing rights as well.

    • Actually, no. The sale of any piece of artwork does not include the reproduction rights; copyright remains with the artist unless specifically signed away. Those rights can also be limited as to what the product is, can be given a time limit, and so on. That’s why having a licensing agent who knows her business and can handle multi-page contracts is helpful.

    • There will always be a Portia around every corner. She has the right to promote her business. WE HAVE THE RIGHT to voice our opinions and defend what we do. So let’s do it. Not all of us are artists nor do we all appreciate “original” art. These folks are the ones who buy Portia’s prints. It is up to us to continue to educate those who come to our shows, who we meet at artist’s gatherings, those in different workplaces, etc. Never stop talking about this subject.

  39. Trash begets trash. There is no end to it. Long live the humble artist who creates from the impulses of the mind and
    heart and lives to see the joy in the buyer’s eyes.

  40. Isnt a synograph just a modern tech invention advancement of a lithograph? If so, whats the difference between a signed and numbered lithograph vs the synograph which is a reproduction of the original and is numbered and limited as pre agreed by the artist. In both cases, the artist makes peanuts on the litho knowingly as they are aware that they they are reproducing the original in prints of 50 / 100 prints or more. The Signature on the litho is what carries the value not so much the print itself. Id Like to hear some comment on this. For example you can by a Marc Chagall Litho signed, for 3000 USD. The original will fetch 250,000 USD or more for example. So i dont see much of a difference. The gallery will get the profits on this, not the artists, and perhaps the buyer will when going to resell it, if the artist is even worth anything at that point in time.

Reply To Paula Cancel Reply

Featured Workshop

Art Retreat: Killarney/La Cloche Mountains, Ontario, Canada with Keith Thirgood
September 1, 2018 to September 6, 2018


Killarney is a special place to paint. Huge granite cliffs, sparkling lakes, near North forests. There are no roads. We take a stable pontoon boat to all painting locations.


Keith is a post-impressionist painter and teaches compositional fundamentals, how to bring order out of the chaos of a live scene when painting en plein air, plus how modern colour theory can make colour mixing easy.




For more information, visit:
Oil on Canvas
48 x 48 in.

Featured Artist

Gardens are my enduring inspiration, and getting to the heart of the flower, my passion.


Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

Subscribe and receive the Twice-Weekly letter on art. You’ll be joining a worldwide community of artists.
Subscription is free.