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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

Many of its clients come to The LightRoom seeking an identical replica of their artwork, says shop owner Robert Reiter. The artists often have the intention of continuing to work on the final print – the end result being a mixed- media piece, he points out. For example, artist Arthur Stern takes the printed version of his work and adds abstract pencil and pastel drawings, and even pieces of dichroic glass from his stained-glass studio. Other clients commonly add brushstrokes to canvas prints for added depth, or emboss the original pieces with metallic foils.

The LightRoom takes pride in providing artists with a multitude of media solutions, stocking more than 17 media options. “I show them samples, discuss things like the effect of texture vs. smooth; matte vs. reflective surfaces, particularly in terms of color gamuts and saturation; the choices in paper color, and the addition of optical brighteners
– their benefits and drawbacks,” says Reiter.

Once the media has been agreed upon, the shop uses its Canon imageProGraf iPF8300 to hard proof as well as to create the final print. The shop also offers LightJet printing on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, but this option is rarely utilized, says Reiter.

Along with changes in printer choice, by the way, LightRoom is also steering away from the term “giclée,” says Reiter. “The word is not descriptive of the process and still has negative connotations to some galleries and museums who were burned by the poor archival properties of early giclée printing when it was done with dye-based ink. And, no one pronounces it right!”

For digital capture, the shop outsources its work to a local photographer who uses a Canon EOS 5d Mark II digital SLR and stitches multiple frames into ultra-high resolution files using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. All subsequent file adjustments are then done in-house using Photoshop on an NEC 3090 WQXi monitor, which is also used for soft proofing. For film scanning, the shop uses its Imacon Flextight 848 scanner (the brand is now produced by Hasselblad).

Hanson Digital: immediately closer go the goal
San Francisco-based print provider Hanson Digital opened in 2003 to serve as a support system for the stressful reproduction process artists face because of the subjective nature of fine-art digital printing, says shop owner Mark Hanson.