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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

Even in the best client/printmaker relationship, however, artists will sometimes ask for the impossible. JD Jarvis admits that although you may have the most advanced equipment and are very knowledgeable about your work, a print will not always turn out exactly how an artist imagines it to be. On working with original digital art, he says, "No matter how fine a RIP you have or how wide the gamut of your printer...a lot of the time, artists will come to you with colors that look great on the screen, but are way out of the gamut of paper and ink. You need to work with them so they understand that the work on paper is almost a totally different thing [than the digital file]. The file is more or less a tool that you can use toward getting the best print that you possibly can."

Echoing Jarvis, Duganne maintains that "there’s no color management that will dial in the piece the way the artist visualizes what the print is supposed to look like." But Duganne capitalizes on this fact, urging the artist to think about his or her work differently. "You’re creating a new piece of art," he tells them, "Here’s your opportunity to do something you wanted to do in the original, but you didn’t get to do because of [certain] limitations...You’re not making other originals of your painting, you’re creating original prints here."

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