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Drawing a Fine-Art Crowd

(February 2011) posted on Thu Feb 03, 2011

Tips from six shops on working with fine artists and their art.

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By Britney Grimmelsman

To combat the loss of other sales as he focuses shop services on the fine-art market, Moore forges mutually beneficial relationships with local print shops – by passing on sales leads to local shops; those print providers, in return, pass on giclée printing and scanning jobs to Bellevue.

Bellevue also markets to fine artists directly, as well as to galleries and publishing companies. As another marketing initiative, it has developed an online gallery, which will soon offer a Web-to-print capability. And, in conjunction with the Web-to-print pilot program, Moore selectively chooses artists to “sponsor” by undertaking the scanning and publishing of their work at no charge.

“The more successful our artists are, the more successful we will be, and so we try and foster that relationship and work with artists to create value from their investment,” explains Moore.

To ensure the clients receive the best results possible, Moore has invested in some high-end technologies. For instance, the shop uses a Betterlight Super 8K scanning back: “The Betterlight scanning system is second to none, and we’ve spent a lot of time learning to use it well, includ¬ing attending their training,” says Moore.

For the scanning of photographs, the shop uses an Epson 4870 Photo Scanner; it also offers image-editing services along with photo restoration.

Hard proofing of every piece is done onto LexJet archival matte or semi-matte paper; the final 8 x 10-inch proof also serves as a portfolio piece for many artists. Moore attributes successful proofing to working closely with the artists themselves. “Sometimes it’s not just a formality, it’s a joint effort, and it’s their art, not ours. We want their input.It’s especially helpful when the artist knows their pigments and what went into the painting,” he says.

Along with print proofing, the shop also offers screen¬match (aka “soft”) proofing, a more affordable option that can be used when exact color matching isn’t critical or if the original is not available. The soft proof is done on the shop’s Sony Artisan monitor under controlled lighting conditions. Although some clients may request to proof from their home monitors, the shop strongly advises against it. “We can’t assume that people will have calibrated monitors, so sending PDFs isn’t helpful except for the layout review and graphics that contain text.”