They’re Everywhere, They’re Everywhere!
It seems like wherever you look, there is someone claiming to be a Giclee printer. How do you separate the experienced providers of high quality Fine Art prints from the bus driver who works part time out in his garage? And does it make a difference? Well, naturally, I think it makes a huge difference- and every digital atelier worth his salt, does too! Let’s take an honest look at what it takes to be a top notch digital printmaker and uncover some of the questions you should be asking.
What experience does the printer have? Of course the longer the better, but what constitutes experience? Is it the experience of actually working with ink on paper? Often an artist or photographer will take up printmaking as a sideline; the idea being, because he or she has worked with paint or a camera, it makes them an expert on printing. This is nonsense. Here’s an analogy: we all drive at least one vehicle with tires. We certainly know whether the tire is flat or adequately inflated, we can tell if there is enough tread, we can change a tire if need be, we may even be able to tell the fellow at the tire store what brand and specifications we need. But I dare say, none of us could actually make a tire! Fine Art Giclee printing is akin to making the tire. Now certainly, given the quality of the equipment available today, even the most incompetent printer can produce a pleasing picture at least some of the time, but to capture the finesse and true beauty of a piece, to present it’s spirit, to really achieve the greatness that a work of art calls out for, requires a team of skilled craftspeople experienced in the nuances of Fine Art Reproduction. After all, you want your Giclee to be a work of art, too!
What equipment do they use? Is it top quality? Are the results Archival and fade resistant for a lifetime? Can they print large enough to fill even your most sizable orders? Do they have the ability to do the sundry services such as coating and stretching canvases, provide reasonably priced promotional pieces like postcards, business cards, flyers, and greeting cards, or even do mailing and fulfillment for you?
Is this a full time job for them? Will they be there the next time you need something printed? Or in tough times do they concentrate on their “Day Jobs” and leave you swinging in the wind? If something goes wrong, do they know how to fix it and are they willing to do what it takes to get it right? Or do they send you on your way, vaguely implying it was somehow your fault?
What do they actually know about color and matching your art? Do they know about profiles and color Gamuts? Can they achieve a great result even when some color in your painting presents a challenge? Can they suggest a paper or canvas that might do a better job? Do they even have a choice of media? Do they know what part different lighting plays in the perception of color? Can they explain why certain colors look very different under one set of lights than under another?
Ongoing Service and Continuity
Are they able to assist you beyond the actual print job? Can they help you market your work? Will they keep you informed of upcoming shows and open calls for artists? Do they use their Social Media platforms to promote their clients work and shows? Do they blog about you and things that interest you? Do they keep up on the best places to find materials, where to find interesting classes, even who’s got studio space to share?
And finally, will they spend the time to get to know you and your work? Do they see their success as being dependent on yours? A truly great Giclee printer, whether located in Portland, Oregon or New York City, understands that success is not a one sided thing. Both parties to the transaction must thrive in order to achieve their individual goals.
Truthfully, we think we fit these criteria pretty well, and we are constantly working on improving the clients experience with us. We also know, that for some who read this, it may be impractical to use us for one or another reason. We hope this post will help you find a Giclee printer that you can rely on and who will work hard to help you be a success at bringing your art to the world!
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