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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

For final output, Bellevue strictly uses the Epson line of printers (Stylus Pro 4880, 9800, and 9900 models), along with Epson UltraChrome K3 and UltraChrome HDR inks. “We would rather not mix printer manufacturers, for better or worse. Consistency is key, and we have consistent, predictable color workflow.”

As for finishing, Bellevue services include canvas stretching and lamination with Clearstar Clearshield Gloss, Breathing Color Glamour II Gloss, and Neschen UltraCoat Gloss for extended protection.

Moore admits that in the end, there are always limitations to what the shop can produce: “We get some artists that insist on absolute perfection that is beyond the technology or human ability. Sometimes we do have to insist that we just can’t do better, or we can’t put in more time for something that will realistically only be printed a few times.”

Avalon Color: targeting artists as clients
During the mid 1990s, Dennis Johnson, owner of Avalon Color (, realized his knack for fine-art printing while exploring reproductions of his own work. To develop an initial client base, Johnson offered to create giclées of local painters’ work in a one-time-only, free-of-charge deal. These prints then served as samples for other clients. “I used the experience and copies of the work to show artists what I could really do – it opened a lot of doors to new clients.” Today, fine-art printing constitutes 30 per¬cent of the New Hampshire-based company’s revenue.

Another factor in attracting fine-art clientele, John¬son says, was his shop’s presence at local art shows. By attending the shows, he was able to target artists whose work would reproduce well. “I’d mainly go after watercolor paintings and avoid anything too weird, like fluorescent oil colors that are often impossible to accurately duplicate. In a way, I shopped for clients.”

To capture artwork, Avalon utilizes a Nikon D2x digital SLR camera and a 5000K lighting setup customized to realize every detail of the projects. Once the shots are taken, GretagMacbeth ColorChecker custom color profiles are created for each to provide the client with several options. All paper is profiled using an X-rite i1io automated scanning table.