home resources "The Independent Artist" Issue 6, pg 6

"The Independent Artist"
Issue VI, November 2009

by Tom Crozier

Tom Crozier
Tom Crozier owns and operates Picture Salon, a gicle printing service, with his wife who is also a partner in the business. They have been working with artists since 2002. He can be reached at [email protected] or you can visit PictureSalon.com.

No one knows exactly when the first gicle print was made. But as far as I can tell after Googling the term, it has been close to twenty years.

Over the last twenty years, gicle prints have become the de facto standard for many artists and photographers who want to offer high quality, archival prints on a variety of paper and canvas substrates.

We thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at these last twenty years and see how gicle prints have changed the way artists approach their work and what, if any, improvements have been made to this new medium.

For starters, a few comments from some art fair artists:

Jeff Hagen Jeff Hagen, who is a watercolor artist and does art fairs mainly in the Midwest:

Jeff Hagen

I have found that there is a niche market for gicle prints of my work. Clients who canot afford the original paintings gravitate to the prints. People who purchase my prints often are amazed as to the color authenticity to the original paintingwhich is another selling point for the print. Years ago, Frank Lloyd Wright pointed out that the print allowed the common citizen to own great art. I believe his observation of the artistic power of the print to be a noble truth.

Hillary Berg Hilary Berg, a watercolor and mixed-media artist:

Hillary Berg

To be an independent artist also means running a small business. After doing some research, I discovered gicle prints as an affordable way to reproduce my art. In addition, for the vital first years of my business, gicles gave me a way to reach a wider customer base. Not everyone who felt a connection with my work was able to afford a framed original, but almost anyone was able to afford a small print.

The process itself is not too expensive, allowing me to mark up my prints to a point that is consistent in pricing between sales from my studio or at an art fair and a consignment gallery that takes 30-40% of the retail pricewithout losing money.

Jon Walton Jon Walton, a photographer who does art fairs nationwide and year-round has these points to make about his big canvas gicles:

Jon Walton

1. Their impact brings art fair patrons into the booth.
2. Compared to framed work theyre very lightweight.
3. Theyre more durableno scratched, dinged and dented frames to replace.
4. No glarevery important at outdoor shows and homes with a lot of windows.
5. They convey a sense of immediacy because theres nothing between the viewer and the image. You feel you could reach out and touch it, which you can because its varnished.
6. Many patrons are not familiar with the process of gicle prints on canvas so it affords an opportunity to interact with them.
7. My production effort is decreased by not have to handle huge sheets of glass or acrylic.
8. Their impact brings art fair patrons into the booth. (I know I said that twice - its twice as important as the other reasons)!

Earlier this year, I made a presentation to a local group of artists. After the presentation, one of the artists made the comment that she liked the idea of making gicles because once you sell your original, it is gone. There is no getting it back. So why not at least get it scanned and ready? Point well taken.

Gicles Going Green
These days it seems like everyone is jumping on the green bandwagonus included.

There are some green alternative papers that have been attracting some attention out there. For example, Hahnemuhle now offers two environmentally friendly paperstheir smooth Bamboo (290 gsm) and their textured Sugar Cane (300 gsm).

The Bamboo paper is composed of 90% bamboo fibers and 10% cotton. The Sugar Cane is made from 75% sugar cane fibers (a by-product of sugar cane processing) and 25% recycled cotton fibers. Hahnemuhle ran a program last year whereby $106,000 of proceeds from the sale of their Sugar Cane paper was contributed to four earth-friendly projects that were determined by the public. I suspect that this is the beginning of a trend and it is a welcome one.

Other Notable Recent Improvements
The gicle printing industry has been busy over the last twenty years improving everything from the papers and canvas coatings to the inks and print head technologies. Here are some recent improvements.

More scratch-resistant inksa welcome improvement for anyone who has handled gicle prints for framing or loading into glassine sleeves.
More eco-friendly, water-based coatings for canvas thus eliminating the need for noxious and toxic lacquer coatings.
Metamerism has been largely eliminated. It is a bronzing effect that shows under different lighting conditions in color but more often in black & white prints.

I hope you have found this update informative. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected] We would love to hear from you.



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