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The Nature of Fine-Art Printing

(March 2007) posted on Thu Mar 15, 2007

Five print providers share their experiences working with fine art and artists.

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By Clare Baker

Respess primarily outputs fine-art reproductions, such as oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels, but he also does printing for photographers and digital artists as well. He draws almost all of his clients from southern California-from San Diego up to Los Angeles-but continues to take on some work for clients even after they’ve moved away from the area.

He scans most of the artwork in-house with a Microtek Scanmaker 9800XL and outputs on his Epson 9600 and 9800 onto a variety of media, including papers and canvases from Hahnemuhle, Epson, and Tara Materials. While he doesn’t do any of the finishing himself, Respess provides a tip sheet on finishing or recommends his clients to framers he trusts. "I used to [provide that service], but as business has progressed, I stick to what I do best."

Similar to Respess, before New Mexico-based artists JD Jarvis and his wife, Myriam Lozada, began printing their own images, they were consistently disappointed with the results of outsourcing their work. Due to the lack of large-format printers in the area, they had to send their work to resellers or even vendors of wide-format printers. In 1997, they invested in an HP Designjet 2500CP and decided to open their own studio, Dunking Bird Productions ( They began printing their own work and soon, the work of other digital artists as well, picking up "whatever we could do to pay for our art habit," says Jarvis. Working out of their house, their clients are mostly local, although they have made numerous contacts outside of the area as a result of a book and several articles and essays JD has written on the topic of digital art.

For the most part, they print original digital art, although they also print some fine-art reproductions in addition to a few commercial photo retouching jobs. They have an Epson Expression scanner, but outsource large scanning jobs to a contact in town. "We have a file made from there, and then I print," says Jarvis. The HP Designjet 2500CP, using HP UV pigmented inks, is still their printer of choice.

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