Let’s face it, there is nothing more annoying that the “DO NOT TOUCH” signs we see all over. And even if you aren’t some kind of crazy art fetishist, you probably did wonder a couple of times how it would feel to stroke a famous painting, just to add an additional sense to the experience. Guess what? Now that’s possible, kind of.
Last summer the Australian-American model, philanthropist, and actress Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres, retired from the screen to launch a project called General Public, which lets you experience art like never before. Instead of printing art on a flat canvas like it’s normally done, the company uses a new type of 3D-printing technique, called synograph, that prints the artwork as it is, with all the tiniest brushstrokes, multiple layers and texture oddities. For now, only works by modern artists are available for purchase (all of them get commission on sales) but who knows, maybe the time of da Vinchis and Van Goghs will come too.
Interestingly, synograph is a new and trendy made-up word which means “synergy of art and technology”, while the technology itself is a trademarked 3D printing process developed in collaboration with Fujifilm. Consumers can expect to pay between $500 and $4,000 for a synograph, with an average price of $1,000. Pricing depends in part on any individual work’s edition run, which can be either limited or unlimited.
De Rossi says: “Our motto is, ‘Support Artists, not Art’. As an artist myself, I have watched every other creative medium use technology to cut out the middle man, democratize art and empower the artist. And yet, a painter’s career is still controlled by the Gallery. With General Public, we not only allow painters the ability to maximize their profitability as an artist, but we are able to better provide the people who appreciate these artists the opportunity to own and enjoy their works, not just the wealthy few.”