Running any art gallery is a passion and it starts with the passion for art.
Now if you noticed I didn’t say fine art gallery. The argument on what is fine art is for another blog or multiple blogs. Here I just want to talk about art, actual art made by artists. What I really want to talk about is Reproductions of art or “Giclee Prints”, (Gee-Clay).
Today in the art world the idea that any reproduction can be called a Print is very misleading. If you walk into a gallery and you see a signed numbered print your first thought is, oh this was made by an artist. But that is not always the case in fact these days most “prints” are made by machines. Oh no! Now why is it in this art gallery? That too is an upcoming blog or two.
Now we are all familiar with posters, some of which are collectible for various reasons. Posters
at one time were created and hand and pulled by an artist from a block or plate. Today posters
are made by machines and you can buy them, as well as decorative prints, at any big box store. The difference between machine printing and artist hand pulled printing is bigger than big. An artist print, pulled by hand, means the artist created an image by hand on a surface such as paper then transferred that image onto a plate. The plate could be a number of surface types and the image is transferred in a number of ways most common is direct carving or etching. Picasso used to invite ladies up to his studio “to see his”etchings,” so I’ve read.
Well these plates then are hand colored by the artist, again there are a number of ways to do this but the primary point is that the artist does it by hand. The artist can also add color to the finished print but we haven’t got there yet. Once the plate is “inked”, one of the methods, it is
then covered with paper or some surface to receive the image and then placed on a press and hand pulled through the press which applies pressure (press) and the image is transferred to the surface via the ink or color that was placed on the plate. Now this process can be repeated
with different colors to the same image until the artist is happy with the results. The image must dry, usually overnight or longer, between runs through the press.
This is a very involved process and all done by hand. It can take days or weeks to create a run of 100 numbered prints. Out of the 100 the artist will reject those that didn’t come out well enough.
So back to the gallery selling Giclee prints.
A Giclee Print is a marketing ploy coined in 1991. A fancy name given to a reproduction made by pushing the print key on a computer. The image was scanned into the computer usually from a photo or simply entered via a pdf file. The word Giclee is French and means to spray. ( It also means something naughty.) The printers used are ink jet printers which actually spray ink through the jets.
So along with a fancy name comes fancy ink and paper. Now ink and paper are important, there is a difference which is used. But the difference per print is less than the cost of a Kombucha.
So don’t be fooled. A Giclee is not an artist print, it is a reproduction an inexpensive copy.
Some “art galleries” will give you all kinds of reasons why you should buy one. What they won’t tell you is that it’s an inexpensive copy. Remember it was printed by an ink jet printer. It is basically a high priced poster.
Original artist hand pulled prints usually sell from $25.00- $1000’s of dollars. You can buy an original hand pulled artist print from a well collected artist right now framed for under $100.00.
Just so ya know.
Ron Piercy is a sculptor, painter, printmaker, jeweler & gallery owner.
You can reach him by responding to this blog.