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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

Now, in 2011, fine-art reproduction constitutes 70 to 80 percent of the shop’s business. Within the fine-art clientele, about 60 percent are photographers, while the others tend to be more traditional fine-art clients including painters. Additional Hanson work comprises commercial clients such as design firms, advertising agencies, architectural firms, and larger companies looking to enhance and/or reproduce photographs and artwork. Along with capture and printing services, the shop offers image preparation – including color work, sharpening, and creating printer-specific profiles. The shop has also ventured into Web design and custom-designed Web portfolios for its artistic clients.

To attract fine-art clientele, Hanson advertises through various artist organizations and depends on word-of-mouth marketing and online search engines. Attracting clients, however, is only half the battle when offering fine-art printing. Fine-art clients, Hanson admits, can often require more work and attention than, say, your typical banner or vehicle-graphics clients.

“Artists, of course, know their work very intimately and are usually very attached to certain aspects of their artwork. It’s important for us to listen and ask questions to not only prevent excessive rounds of work and proofing, but to get closer to their goal right out of the gate.”

To ensure the highest-quality capture, the shop uses a Screen 1045ai drum scanner, which can accommodate original transparencies or reflective art up to 11 x 17 inches, and fluid mounts all film for protection during the scanning. For larger and rigid-media jobs, Hanson shoots a 4 x 5-inch reproduction-grade transparency and then proceeds to drum scan.

The difficult and sometimes tedious proofing process requires patience and honesty, admits Hanson, who provides clients with 7- to 8-inch swatch detail proofs. If one swatch isn’t adequate, the shop will create several.

Hanson utilizes the 8-color Epson Stylus Pro 11880 printer with Epson UltraChrome inks for all fine-art output for prints up to 64-inches wide. The shop also houses an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 that has been converted to a carbon-based black-and-white printer.

Beyond printing, the shop offers laminating and mounting services. In-house laminating options include the addition of brush strokes to create a look more similar to the original; the shop first coats the piece with a liquid laminate, and then adds brushstrokes within the laminate.