The LITO Editions Difference and why you should collect now

Why should you collect a LITO Edition? People go into collecting for different reasons — there are those who are passionate about art, the speculators who are only in it for investment purposes and to make money off of the artists, and others who care about the art and its investment value. The first actually love art and are eager to visit new gallery and museum exhibitions, while the latter pays close attention to those coming out of art school, preferring to buy low when the artist is emerging, only to flip the work on the secondary market with the hope of making a profit off of their initial purchase. Then, there are people who care about the art they’re acquiring as well as its worth. Certain things about collecting have remained the same, but external circumstances always cause the market to fluctuate. With each major societal shift, a change in spending habits happens; before Covid-19, it was robust, during the pandemic collectors shifted to online purchasing more than ever, and after with an expected global economic turndown on the horizon, spending will be more conservative.

Luxury is supposed to be exclusive — coveted by many, but available to only the select individuals who can afford it. With mass production, labels can produce more items at a faster pace than ever, and some do, but others, like Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Hermès use the scarcity model, meaning that they produce products in smaller quantities that are actually less than the demand, causing the prices to go up. Art is similar in a way, except that the scarcity is not enforced by a company or brand, the supply is based on the artist’s ability to produce work. Brands create an artificial scarcity but with art, the limited supply is real. Oftentimes, creating a work of art can be tedious and laborious and depending on the nature of the piece, could take a significant amount of time to create. 

Look at how LITO is defining a new milestone in the history of printmaking. A LITO edition is always produced with the artist who created the original work. It also operates on a scarcity model, but the amount of LITO editions produced is always proportional to the actual supply that an artist is able to make. 

Usually, collecting art takes millions of dollars, status, and strong connections to acquire work by blue-chip artists. Even if you do have the connections, the most prized artists often come with long waitlists as collectors vy to add a new piece of art to their collection. LITO enables art enthusiasts to become closer to the work and feel the joy of collecting at a lower price point without the common barriers to purchasing a work by a coveted artist. 

Now you may ask, 'What makes a LITO edition different from other editions on the market at the moment'? Traditional editions come with limitations; they fail to give viewers the same experience as the initial piece... They rarely achieve the same look, feel, and depth of the original artwork, and are simplified into two-dimensional artworks that appear flat, similar to what you would achieve with a poster. A LITO edition may be a derivative of the original piece, but it looks just like the real thing because of the proprietary technology used to produce each LITO capsule collection. 

In order to acquire the best product possible, the LITO team explored the latest innovations of the art tech world, carefully monitoring everything as it searched for the best technology in the world to create multiples of an original work. LITO’s first attempt at acquiring this type of technology was unsuccessful. Back in 2013 a Japanese conglomerate released a product after seven years of research and development that was able to reproduce works by a legendary artist from a major museum. Although the works were significantly more affordable than an original, at the time, they were priced at $34,000 — a significant amount of money comparable to what a collector would pay for a middle-tier painting. But — the technology was cast aside as the company pivoted in a new direction — health care — so the deal didn’t happen.

So what is the proprietary technology that LITO acquired? The next technology the LITO team discovered consists of a process that entails a similar process using 3D scanners and flatbed printers. Developed over 15 years by an English inventor, a leading figure in the world of art reproduction technology. The world’s major institutions — the V&A in London — call him when they need to reproduce an artwork that’s as good as the original. Venice’s Giorgio Cini Foundation tapped them to create an exact copy of the Veronese masterpiece, “The Wedding at Cana,” which was originally looted by Napoleon in 1797, displayed in the Louvre to this day, and never returned to Italy despite the post-Waterloo reparations. To mark the 210th anniversary of Napoleon stealing the works, Factum Arte made a facsimile of the first. The foundation hung it in its original home, Palladio’s Refectory on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Even though it was a copy, visitors could experience the painting in its original setting. 

Located at the LITO factory in Bregenz and led by their Austrian co-founder Joachim Marte, Austria, LITO’s technology is essential to produce an edition that captures the layers, brush strokes, scorch marks, reflective surfaces, and more to offer a new milestone and dimensionality of the print. The result is an edition that highlights the depth, feel, and texture of the original. Each one is framed and ready to hang. LITO’s CTO, Austrian engineer Marcel Summer, has worked with major tech companies, creating patented tech under his name. For LITO, he patented a high-rendering technology named Hi-Rnd©.

LITO LAB works in collaboration with each artist, and because of its vertical supply chain — LITO owns the factories that make its editions — the company is able to pay artists more on average than your traditional art publishing company. LITO also works closely with the artists, from conceptualizing the capsule collection to closely overseeing the production of the works, and finally signing and numbering each custom backplate themselves. 

LITO’s vertical supply chain also ensures that there are no publishing delays that publishers experience if there are too many orders at a specific printer, or if supplies are running low. The high-quality stainless steel frames are made in-house. Additionally, the back is covered in an aluminium plate, the same durable material used to make Apple computers. Even the eco-friendly packaging and boxes made from recycled paper are produced by LITO. The model promises no supply chain delays, letting LITO carefully monitor production and quality control with the promise of a collectible that has the same high quality as the primary artwork, and shipped on time in a package that keeps the LITO safe and secure as it's shipped to the buyer in most places around the world. LITO’s full control also allows collectors to purchase an edition at a price that looks just as good as the original, but at a fraction of the cost, opening up the market for art collectors who would like to purchase work by a blue-chip artist but can’t afford it.

Take the opportunity to look at a LITO when you have the chance; you’ll be impressed by the quality and 3-dimensional nature of the work. It may not be unique, but it is also created by the artist, meaning you can acquire blue-chip artists for a tiny fraction of the price that they sell for at a traditional gallery. Once you acquire a LITO Edition, you can’t go back.

By John Dodelande