Prints with Aura

I am reading Walter Benjamin. He seems to think that in the age of mechanical reproduction art looses its AURA.

Aside: We are not in that mechanical age, so much creativity is virtual.

My images are open source, and I think that if others print them then there is less “aura” than in the signed limited editions? Is there?

We are flooded with images and even art, does that degrade aura? It is a time of some art having something, due to the millions it is sold for. Is that aura? Is celebrity status aura? (Benjamin thinks we hype the celebrity thing up because auras are on the decline) (He also thinks the loss of aura is a good thing as the masses can have more art – strange essay).


What happens as you comment or link to an image? Copy it to your blog? Does the communal context build new aura? I like some of the work other bloggers do and have it on my wall! Is there aura there? They are not signed works, would that help?



I make images (by hand on a Tablet PC) & then I make prints with a printer and sign them in graphite. The mechanical and the hand-made intertwine in one object. I have acquired the tools and the skills to do that and have a sense of pride with each successful print. It is not re-production, but production. There is no original. I like that they are in limited editions of 25. A also like that the name, say “#1000 Departing Force” is enough of an identifier to lead you via google to the virtual image, and to the write up on the blog, and the comments. I like it that there can be an ever growing conversation about the image, by people who experience it I diverse ways. The conversation is part of the art work. My prints are interactive art!!

So I think aura is alive and well in this post-mechanical age, and I think it is a good thing. And I like it that auras are a totally indefinable thing!


That seemed like a good note to finish on, but another idea jumped up.

Do my prints have aura because I say so? No way. Maybe that helps, but to have aura I there is a list of things that go on, and they are all needed, and there are some I can’t even name, but here is a list:

Innovation, skill, relevance, presentation, networking, beauty, authenticity, context, fashion, luck, and promotion.

To have another go at a conclusion:

The Thousand Sketches aura is growing!


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0 Replies to “Prints with Aura”

  1. Dearest Thousand Sketches,
    My word! One thousand sketches? Then your citation of my landmark piece “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” is ever-necessary!

    I will confide. I am conflicted…
    Being faced with the realities of modern society, and most ostensibly “The Internet” and “Internet Profiles”; I am deeply troubled about the degradation of personal aura vis-a-vis “The Internet”. Can aura be communicated through The World Wide Web effectively, or is “The Internet” the modern antithesis to aura…the digital embodiment of cult value merely transmutated into “pixels” and “filename extensions”? Can aura still survive after a tumultuous series of degradative mediations?

    Please investigate my meanderings at


  2. Welcome Walter Benjamin.

    The arrival of your ghost here Walter B is evidence of auras, and your presence here and comment on my work builds the aura of the sketches, thank you!

    But I am confused… I thought you were all for the withering of aura. I thought you saw the lingering after the centuries of aura was a reactive thing, the crisis in art is a good thing, like the crisis of capitalism, it means revolution is possible.

    What do you think?

  3. I think a better translation is meant to be ‘technical’ rather than ‘mechanical,’ the main point being the loss of the original and the mystique around it. Now I want to re-read the article – but I don’t think that WB was arguing against the mysterious in art, or the subtle – but rather the cult. I think he was saying that there is a continuum in Art between the cult value – and the exhibition value.

    The cult:
    “It is significant that the existence of the work of art with reference to its aura is never entirely separated from its ritual function. In other words, the unique value of the “authentic” work of art has its basis in ritual, the location of its original use value. This ritualistic basis, however remote, is still recognizable as secularized ritual even in the most profane forms of the cult of beauty.”

    The exhibition:
    “In the same way today, by the absolute emphasis on its exhibition value the work of art becomes a creation with entirely new functions, among which the one we are conscious of, the artistic function, later may be recognized as incidental. This much is certain: today photography and the film are the most serviceable exemplifications of this new function”

    I think WB was ambiguous about which way these new possibilities for art would take us. He warns of fascism – aestheticisng destruction. And talks of politicizing art instead.

    I think we should distinguish between a false mystique attached to works through restricting views – and sentimentality etc etc. Aura is still created through hype to be capitalized on. There is a ot to be sceptical of there. I woud agree that it has evaded demise despite the onset of reproduction. But I don’t think that is an entirely good thing. Does your work have Aura – I hope not. I hope it has meaning, and I am glad that you are exhibiting it!

  4. hi
    i wanted 2 get some celebs or landscape sketchs if possibl
    pls reply 2 ma email id
    i am interested in maing sketches
    n i ma in class eleventh n made 15 sketchs of potraits in a mont
    very fond of sketching
    plz help me

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