High quality art fortunately does not always go hand in hand with high prices and elitism. This is something Limited Works has demonstrated us. Art can be inclusive; it can be close to us and be a part of our everyday life. Handpicked and handprinted silk screens, lithographies, linoleums, etchings and several other techniques by both established and emerging artists from around the world can be found in this small temple of ink and paper.
How was Limited Works born and what was its purpose?
It may sound a bit cliché, but I wanted art that was accessible to people that do not necessarily belong to the high art world. I enjoy going to art galleries and looking at artwork. I follow many artists and collect pieces, but I can’t help feeling that many galleries can be very intimidating for many people. I wanted to create a place where one could come in without knowing about art, where we could talk about what excites you, what motivates you, whether it’s abstract work or street art. Places like Limited Works were needed because when I started there were several interior design places and galleries that sold digital prints. The problem was that there was nothing in between these places and I wanted to fill that void.
I come from the world of graffiti and spent most of my youth doing it. This helped me meet a large network of people from that scene, from street art. A common step for many of them was to move that talent over to the interior, to the art gallery. So what I did was to start to work with a group of around 12 artists that I knew. Some of them had very professional careers while others had never even studied art, but they were all very talented. After contacting them, I asked for a bank loan to start editing 12 editions to begin with. I threw a big launch party, and later worked on promoting their work on Facebook and other platforms (at this stage, the project only existed online). Interest grew, and I started publishing more editions by new artists that I didn’t know personally, but whose work I admired.
After 3 years I decided to take the next step and open a physical store. I understood that while my clients liked the digital platform, a place to visit, see, touch and smell the printings was missing. My first idea was to create a showroom in the backyard and to organize programmed visits, but I found a very good place and decided to try out with the store. We’ve been at the store for a year and a half now, and four years and a half since the project itself started.
What is the relationship with the artists that you work with? Do you participate and help direct them with their projects, or do you mostly select what you want to sell?
When I started I used to get involved with the projects up close. I’d contact an artist and propose they make a printed edition at a fabulous printing studio in Berlin. Other times artists would present me their work, I’d like it, and we’d produce it. So in some cases I’ll invite an artist over to create a project that I’ll pay for, and we split the edition, while in other cases I’ll accept finished works. Half of the artists I work with print their own works; artists like Palefroi (who are very active) and Susan Poenisch. All of them come to me with new works every three months and what I do is select the pieces that I like and to prepare the edition.
Are you looking for a specific style, or are you looking for more variety from everyone?
I have around thirty artists at the moment, and while their style can vary by a lot, I can see that they do have much in common at an aesthetic level. The selection I make reflects my personal artistic taste, but it varies, so I think there’s something for everyone. I don’t have anything established or really thought out in determining the general style going one way or another. I simply notice when work gets to me or piques my interest.
What’s most important to me about my work is working with people that are involved with their work. There are many people that write to me daily from all over the world, so for me to take the time to look at their projects they have to be artists that are really dedicated to their artistic production in an integral way. This allows me to talk to them, to build something with someone who is living the process intensely.
How do you see Limited Works in the future? Do you think manual printing is only a current fad, or do you think it will grow increasingly important? Will it become an alternative form of high art?
I lived through through a big rise in popularity, a decrease, and a recent rise in interest again. When the economic crisis started in 2007, many collectors stopped purchasing very expensive paintings but wanted to continue collecting and purchasing new artworks. Back then was a great time for graphic editions. In the past, collectors have looked at these editions as something that was not as interesting as an original piece. Back in 2007, having less money for purchases, these editions started to grow due to their low price. But then digital printing gained popularity and this gave a bad rep to manual printing. We had to explain the big difference with digital work, where a copy is available at the push of a button, and manual printing like lithography and serigraphy, that involves very hard work, a lot of knowledge, and many hours of work.
I think that currently many people are growing tired of the large sets produced in digital printing and love the idea of purchasing something unique and more limited. Something that has a story, that is handmade, etc. These are pieces that have value, a history, a longer process, and that survive over time.
You have an online platform as well as a physical store. What relevance do they have? Do you consider either more important? How do they work?
It’s perfect for me to have both platforms and I think that my clients from Denmark and elsewhere benefit a lot from having both options. If you walk down the street, decide to visit Limited Works, and fall in love with two or three prints, you may not make up your mind about which one to take at that moment. I can give you my card and once you’re calmly at home you can view the prints through our website and make an order. This works viceversa. If you visit our site, you may find something interesting, but be unsure if it’s worth it or you may even be undecided about the colors. You can come by our store and see it in person. This is why I think there’s a very good synergy between both platforms. I’m very happy about the decisión I made of having it this way.