How LITO Editions Will Change the Market

The art market is big business. It’s valued at $67.8 billion according to The Art Market 2023, an annual report by Art Basel and UBS. Although the market took a hit during the pandemic, it’s returned to pre-pandemic levels, and it’s only going to grow, especially the market for published editions. “In the last 10 years we’ve seen year-on-year growth, to the point where London is now the market leader,” said Robert Kenan, head of editions, Europe for Phillips auction house on the ArtTactic podcast. Art Basel even has a sector dedicated specifically to editions. 

But, there are limitations to the art market. 

It’s exclusive. The barriers to entry are high. Not everybody has the wealth to be an art collector, and an artwork by a blue-chip artist can go anywhere from $50,000 or more on the primary market. Once the artwork reaches auction, its value could increase even more, but anyone who has the money is welcome to purchase the work.

Galleries hold the power. Even if you do have the wealth to acquire a piece by a blue-chip artist, it’s the galleries who decide whether or not an individual will be able to purchase a work. If they don’t know who you are and you don’t fit the collector profile they want for the artist, you’re automatically out of the running for a piece by the artist; it doesn’t matter how much money you have. In the fast-paced digital world, galleries still have to cultivate human relationships, and with rosters that reach as high as 100 or more artists, there is not enough time dedicated to support each individual artist’s vision.

The supply is based on the artist’s ability to produce. An artist’s supply is based on how much they can produce, so if there’s a high demand for an artist’s work, their market will immediately go up, increasing the price because of the low supply and high demand. Oftentimes artists can’t meet their demand. Sometimes, galleries place pressure on their artists to produce, resulting in rushed, less inspiring works created strictly to meet the demand. Some artists may produce one painting a month or less, which equals about 12 paintings a year. If there are more than a dozen collectors competing for the works, that automatically boosts their market. Galleries create wait lists that may never result in an acquisition.

LITO has the ability to transform the art market in a number of ways, but let’s start with the history of the collectible edition. The printing press was first introduced in 1450 by German inventor Johannes Gutenberg in France. It would be nearly four centuries later, in 1796 that German author and actor Alois Senefelder invented lithography, which relies on the artist drawing on a flat stone or metal plate, and the immiscibility of oil and water — ink only stays on the areas touched by the artist — in order to create prints. The method remains popular for creating fine art editions. With the digital age came the invention of the giclée, a digital edition printed on an inkjet printer, by printmaker Jack Duganne in 1991. Additionally, there are screenprints, which use an ink blocking stencil that’s placed on the screen as a barrier. The ink passing through the screen onto the stencil allows the ink to only penetrate specific areas. Woodcut and linocut printing are when the negative spaces of an illustration are removed from a block of wood or linoleum, leaving the image to be stamped onto paper.

How is LITO different from the traditional printed edition? LITO is in a class all its own. Unlike traditional two-dimensional prints, LITO editions are three-dimensional. 

LITO reduces the barriers to entry that come with collecting. There are no more wait lists, no more galleries shutting out collectors — simply pay attention to LITO releases and purchase the work online once it is released. 

LITO enables collectors to acquire blue-chip artists. If you’ve had your eye on a specific blue-chip artist, LITO takes away the barriers to entry that traditional galleries follow. If you couldn’t afford to pay five figures to purchase a work, LITO’s lower price points may allow you to spend significantly less while acquiring a work created, signed, and numbered by a bold-named artist that was previously beyond your means. “The price point, the value is such that it allows people to get involved in collecting for the first time,” said Kenan.

Anybody can buy a LITO. Unlike galleries, anybody who wants a LITO can purchase one. Once the edition is sold out, that’s it. 

A LITO is an authentic work. A LITO may be an edition, but it’s authentic, created in collaboration with the contemporary artist’s studio. If they’re no longer alive, LITO works with the artist’s estate or a reputable institution that exhibits the work. 

Every LITO is hand-signed and numbered. The artist signs and numbers each LITO Dibond backplate by hand, guaranteeing its authenticity.

A LITO edition has the look and feel of the original unique. Collectible multiples often fall flat – literally and figuratively. They were limited to two-dimensions, losing the texture and feel of the original work. LITO is able to achieve the look of the original artwork through its proprietary HI-RND© technology. It’s printed on paper or alu dibond, so you see the same appearance, depth, and surfaces of the original unique artwork. When it hangs on a wall, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

A LITO lets you live with the work. When you display a LITO on your wall, you’ll know very well that you have an authentic work by a leading artist, not a poster, digital print, or two-dimensional edition. 

The number of LITO editions produced reflects the artist’s supply on the primary market, thanks to the LITO algorithm. LITO aligns with the artist’s supply in that the number of editions created is a reflection of what is available on the primary market. 

LITO has a vertical supply chain. LITO owns all the factories that go into making one. The trademarked and patented technology that creates a LITO, the material that it’s framed with, and the packaging that it gets shipped in are all created and controlled exclusively by LITO.

Every LITO comes with authentication technology. Every LITO includes a certificate of authenticity that gives collectors the ability to trace each edition’s provenance.

A LITO is a good investment. Blue-chip artists are labeled that for a reason; they’re a reliable investment. A LITO is still an asset that could be appreciated over time. 

LITO will open up the art market, allowing more art enthusiasts to acquire works by artists they previously couldn’t dream of collecting.

By John Dodelande