Crackpot or Jackpot

News from the UK… In what has to be one of the more printeresting publicity stunts in recent times, Turner-prize winner Keith Tyson did a limited edition print giveaway two days ago.


Tyson allowed the first 5,000! Guardian readers who visited his website on December 9th to download a randomly generated image consisting of red, green and black vertical stripes- one download per IP address. Each visitor was expected to supply their own photo glossy paper.

The print images are based on one of his previous series, History Paintings. Tyson used a roulette wheel to generate the paintings but the prints are generated digitally. From The Guardian

“The server will generate a sequence of the numbers one to 32 which relates to the roulette wheel,” he said. “Each number has an assigned colour. If you hit the jackpot, you’ll come away with an entirely green work. But the chances of that happening are 1 in 37 x 37 x 37, 49 times.”

Tyson’s piece brings up some interesting issues in regards to distribution and promotion. The Guardian article brings up a valid point when it mentions the degree to which the internet is underutilized as a vehicle for original artwork. Tyson himself acknowledges that this give-away, his first foray into printwork, is a fairly standard approach to interactivity…

His website – – is, at the moment, primarily an information resource. But he hopes to exploit its possibilities more fully, by creating communities and open forums for discussions. “The print offer is one of the more conventional things I have planned,” he said. “I am always trying to bring the outside world into my work, rather than it’s being about the operation of an artist’s ‘unique eye’. This is just the first stage.”

So far he’s done a good job demonstrating the power a Turner Prize winner has to increase site traffic when coordinating a print giveaway with a major newspaper. People do love free stuff, after all. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here. 

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Categories: Artists, Interesting Printmaking, Technology

2 Responses to “Crackpot or Jackpot”

  1. Hey there

    Not sure if you got a print yourself, but if you or any of your readers did then you might be interested in keithtyson5000

    Keith Tyson 5000 is a project that grows out of the DNA of Keith Tyson’s History Paintings.

    We hope to create a piece of collaborative Internet art with the community of winners that we can gift back to Keith Tyson.

    the curators

  2. amze says:

    Maybe Mister Tyson could some of his Turner Prize monies to redesign his website. Three clicks in and I wasn’t sure if I just through a seizure or if I’d just made it to the 2nd level of Galaga