World Printmakers’ Print Workshop Central

Online resources for fine-art printmaking workshops

Giclee Fraud Circles the Globe – What Can Be Done?

with 94 comments

The News from Vancouver

Yesterday Andy MacDougall, longtime professional screen printer and Print Workshop Central‘s correspondent/sleuth in Royston, Vancouver Island, B.C., in Canada sent us a link to an article published a couple of weeks ago in the Vancouver Sun on one of our favorite subjects: giclee fraud. The author, David Baines, says, “I think I have found the perfect fraud. Perfect because, even though there is a mound of circumstantial evidence suggesting it is a fraud, I can’t prove it.”

Baines is referring to giclee (inkjet) copies being passed off as original paintings in the Vancouver area. “It involves a form of digital imaging called giclee,” he says,  “which is basically a sophisticated ink-jet printing process. If you take a high-resolution digital photograph of a bowl of fruit, for example, then download it to a giclee machine, it will produce an exact replica…”

It turns out this giclee fraud is not limited to Vancouver. In a follow-up article published in the same newspaper on November 26, Baines recounts the case of Ottowa artist, Sheryl Luxenburg, who last April was awarded a gold medal and a $4,000 cash prize for one of her paintings by the American Watercolor Society. Now, after more careful scrutiny, there is some question as to whether the winning “watercolor” was an inkjet print of a mashup of two photographs she acquired from a stock photo agency. Baines concludes his article, “The American Watercolor Society, meanwhile, has withdrawn Luxenburg’s painting from its travelling exhibit and from its website. It has also commenced an investigation.”

These false Canadian paintings, if the allegations prove correct, represent clear-cut cases of what we shall refer to as “hard” giclee fraud: passing off inkjet reproductions of photographs as paintings. But what about the softer versions of this same fraud, those which affect the printmaking community? I’m referring to zig-zag businessmen offering for sale, “signed and numbered giclee prints” or “fine-art giclee prints.” This co-opting of the terminology of the fine-art print tradition to sell glorified photocopies is dishonest and damaging to the interests of authentic printmakers.

Digital Metastasis

And the trend is metastasizing into printmaking’s vital organs. Let me give you a couple of examples from our experience in recent months. The first one is a commentary which surfaced right here in a comment on Print Workshop Central. It’s from the deputy editor of Britain’s printmaking magazine of record. In the midst of a formidable display of smoke and mirrors, he makes a couple of points clearly:

There are indeed many dealers and publishers marketing expensive, limited edition digital reproductions – in other capacity, I run a magazine through which these are promoted. In some sense these prints are competing for the same pounds that might otherwise be spent on fine art prints; in many ways, they do not. They are often cheerfully undemanding in terms of imagery and often produced to co-ordinate with current decor trends. Few fine art printmakers would wish to work under such constraints so you have to ask yourselves: is this a market you would wish to be in?

Such prints do aspire or ape aspects of fine art prints. They purport to be the artist’s inspiration and to be made with care. Many are indeed limited editions. In the UK edition sizes for reproduction giclees have come down dramatically in recent years (95 and 195 are now the norm; several years ago editions sizes were 495). So there is a market and, I’m told, it is doing okay.

So, the deputy editor of one of world printmaking’s prime specialist information sources comes down clearly in favor of mixing “expensive, limited-edition digital reproductions” with authentic fine-art prints in the pages of the magazine.  I am prompted to ask, “How did that happen? What logic does it correspond to?  What possible place do reproductions of paintings have in a fine-art-print advocacy magazine?”

Shall We Sign and Number It?

“Many are indeed limited editions.” Indeed. Doesn’t our printmaking-specialist editor notice that the operative question here is: limited editions of what?  He knows, as we know, that they’re inkjet copies of photographs of paintings. Isn’t this detail relevant to the discussion? I’m reminded of the story (possibly apocryphal) of the Mexican village which got rich making ceramic reproductions of piles of dog excrement and selling them to American tourists. Mercifully, they had the good taste not to number them.

So much for standards at the top of the printmaking food chain in the U.K. Earlier this month we attended the Estampa International Print and Contemporary Art Editions Fair in Madrid. Who do you suppose was the principal sponsor of the fair, with their stickers stuck all over the hall? The world’s pre-eminent inkjet print manufacturer, Epson. And very proud foxes they were in one of international printmaking’s premier henhouses. After looking at the work exhibited on the stands of their collaborators, their mission seemed clear: to blur once and for all the difference between fine-art prints and digital reproductions.

Framed works on the walls of the stands bore monikers like:

  • “Digital art on canvas. Print run of 5 copies.”
  • “Giclée print.”
  • “Digital print, Dibond. Print run of 5 copies + 1 AP” (These guys are really sophisticated!)
  • “Digital print on Kodak Duraclear paper”
  • “Infinity Endura metallic paper with methacrylate and Dibond” (Um, OK…)
  • “Inkjet paper”

In all of these images hung on the walls at Estampa, there was no distinguishing between the copies and the original work. The emphasis was rather on “methacrylate and Dibond…” I’ve been in the fine-art printmaking communications business for more than eight years now, and I’ve done my homework.  I had trouble understanding what was what on the Epson-associate stands. Imagine the plight of your average casual visitor to the fair. What’s she supposed to make of it? She doesnt’ know a mezzotint from a mezzosoprano. She’s confused, and a prime victim for these bigtime purveyors of “limited-editon giclée prints.” (Please don’t forget the accent ague.)

Some Questions

Some questions inevitably arise:

  • Should something be done to combat this “soft” print fraud which is doing so much damage to legitimate printmakers, both traditional and digital?
  • Can anything be done?
  • If so, what?
  • Who should do it?
  • What media should they use?
  • When should they start?

Though I have some ideas, I don’t have the answers to these questions. I was hoping you might. You could start by clicking on the “Comments” link and sharing your thoughts on the subject with all of us.

Thanks to Andy MacDougall
(www.squeegeeville.com) for
opening up this rich vein.

Written by Michael Booth

November 27, 2008 at 2:59 pm

94 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Mike, Andy and everyone else who is interested:

    This is really getting to be a very serious problem for fine art printmakers. It is getting to the point where it is driving serious
    printmakers out of business. The bottom line IS the fact that
    the customer who is not knowledgeable ends up buying a print that has been marketed for something which it is not. And believe me, the customer often times is quite intelligent, but does
    not have the information at hand to make an informed decision.
    I sat around at table with three very astute gentlemen last week as we tried to iron out a PRocurement Art program for the regional airport authority and the discussion turned to prints and whether or not they should be able to procure “offset reproductions”. They did not have a clue as to the difference between a giclee /offset reproduction and a genuine
    print. They were stunned when they were told. All of them have what they thought were “fine collections of original art”.
    One said, “I am going to go home, put my feet up with a cup
    of coffee, look at my art and cry.”

    I really feel that the answer to this, as it is to other areas in
    commercial marketing, is legislation. When one goes in to buy
    a used car, the used car dealer has to post certain types of information, or at least make it easily available to the purchaser. What is so different about buying art? I believe that the terminology traditionally used in fine art printmaking
    should be legally out of bounds for offset reproductions and
    giclee printing. They should not be legally able to use the
    terms limited print, remarque, archival print, etc. People producing these prints should have to come up with a completely different vocabulary which would distinquish their
    product from that of fine art printmakers. And there should be
    a HEAVY fine if they market it otherwise. It wouldn’t take long
    and the general public would get the message.

    As to the comment about whether or not fine art printmakers
    want to compete with the offset reproduction crowd because
    of subject matter……well, I know of many artists making offset reproductions of work that is really not kitsch. I know of a
    university fine art professor who teaches painting who is into
    making giclee prints of his works and believe me they are not
    kitsch and he is selling them and making a tidy amount of money. Because of his profession people assume that they must be worth something.

    That’s my rant for today. Thanks for your time.

    Audrey Feltham
    ATELIER WEST STUDIOS
    DEER LAKE, NL.

    Audrey Feltham

    December 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm

  2. I would say you hit a good point re the prof and his giclee prints.

    I’ve been doing screenprinted Limited Edtion printing since the mid 1980’s and have learned more and more about production methods and the wider market of prints in that time. I don’t know it all, but I know more than when I started.

    When I started, there were printmakers in various disciplines, most did their own work/printing, and there were artists who made Ltd Ed prints I came in contact with, galleries who had artists where they wanted prints made.

    In many cases, either the subject matter/style precluded making a screenprint (couldn’t reproduce the look/technique) or they balked at the cost. I had many artists haughtily declare they never did prints or even art cards, because that cheapened their artwork to legitimate collectors/patrons.

    Now at the time, there was a whole cadre of artists who did what I would call realistic art, nature art, fanatsy etc, who were shunned by the ‘fine art’ crowd, but enjoyed popularity. And those people jumped all over offset lithograph limited edition prints because they got the reproduction of detail of their original, and the cheapness (production unit cost) of the printed product. Art for the masses. One of the art print’s first characteristics.

    Marketing and art & frame shops helped them sell lots, and it wasn’t uncommon to see runs in the thousands. And generally people bought it – they knew through rumour and sidestory that a ‘limited Edtion print’ was more valuable, and it had a signature, and a certificate, and was a ‘lithograph’so it was OK.

    I’m sorry I’m rambling, I’ll get to the point- there were still a lot of artists who recognized the ‘offset litho’ ltd edition as a poster with a signature and wouldn’t go there, or those who did, spent a lot of money, and ended up with a pile of prints on shitty paper nobody wanted.

    They still wouldn’t put the time or the effort or the compromise into screenprinting or another print type, and they backed away from the offset repros. But just like kids at Christmas, they went to bed each night dreaming of the day they could somehow reach the masses with their art and score big bucks in the process.

    Then along comes giclee.

    -it looks exactly like the painting style.
    -the artist doesn’t have to compromise their style with the medium
    -it prints on fine art paper or canvas
    -it can be done and paid for one at a time
    -it’s got a fancy name that isn’t offset litho
    -anybody with a few bucks can get into it.
    -the skill set required/time investment to learn is nothing compared to traditional printmaking
    -the artist can do it themselves at home without setting up a toxic work area and potential hazmat site -or use a printer

    Now many of these same artists who wouldn’t stoop to ‘prints’ are all over giclee.
    and just like in the counterfeiting world, where digital print technology has allowed massive fraud to exist where it used to be limited by the engraver’s skill, we see the same thing happening.

    Now don’t get me wrong, digital print isn’t the Antichrist. But fraud on the art buying public is fraud. And if you look around, the main fraud in art is being funnelled through digital printing.
    Not screen printing or traditional methods.
    Not forgeries or theft

    So, it gets back to 3 things.

    Full disclosure – any print or artwork should say exactly how it was produced, by who, in what quantities, where, when, and all should be verifiable.

    Education – maybe fine art printmakers need to get into the schools, local papers, rec centres, art shows, art galleries, etc. and do straight ahead demonstrations and lectures on the different print methods, so that people (not just students or artists) know more about the reproduction methods out there and how to spot them. I tried to do something like this here at the college years ago becuase I was constantly being called and shown repro work passed off as prints but was blocked by the admin because, well because I wasn’t ‘qualified’. Maybe I should go back and try again.

    Marketing – As more fraud around giclee is exposed, traditional print art becomes the bastion of legitimacy. Exploit this. Don’t be afraid to introduce the fear of fraud and deception to your efforts – Maybe that’s a bit strong, but if there was a universal ‘no Giclee’ symbol out there, and we all started using it, it would get people talking, and put the giclee people on the defensive. Right now, they are rolling over us.

    Ok enough! I’ve got some printing needs printing. Yesterday I pulled the first print on my new press in my new studio. It wasn’t fine art, but it was fine.

    Andy MacDougall

    December 4, 2008 at 8:27 pm

  3. In these comments Audrey has pointed up just how grave the giclee-fraud problem is, with even officials responsible for public art policy being duped. And Andy has laid down his no-nonsense three-point strategy for combating the problem: Full Disclosure, Education and Marketing. That makes four points if we include Audrey’s Legislation approach.

    Clearly both Audrey and Andy are on the right track. Something should be done on all these fronts. In fact, a lot of honest fine-print studios have been working in these fields for years. And they have made progress both in promoting standards for print disclosure and in educating the public. Unfortunately their efforts are local and they are up against two formidable foes: big bucks digital interests and easy-money artists and promoters. And we must admit these latter have been the winners in the marketing department, even though most of it is fradulent.

    I would like to hear more opinions on this subject before reaching any conclusions. For now I just want to register three personal opinions:
    1/ To be effective any counter giclee-fraud program has to be universal, not just at your local art school or gallery.
    2/ The most effective place for “demos and lectures on the different print methods” is the World Wide Web, and there are about a zillion free platforms out there for presenting them.
    3/ We should open up an immediate call for submissions for Andy’s “universal No Giclee symbol” and, once we’ve agreed upon it, start turning it into coffee mugs, bumper stickers, T-shirts, posters…

    Mike Booth

    December 6, 2008 at 8:38 pm

  4. This could get interesting.

    The logo could be included/provided via download to any local artists who want to use it in their marketing materials and produce documentation to certify their work is ‘giclee free’.

    Locally produced signage/stickers/etc sourced and distributed by……workshop central printers = instant worldwide introduction of the program to regional art circles…a couple of press releases when it is ready to launch and you’ve got a coordinated 15 minutes of fame for the idea.

    But does it say No Giclee, or is it Inkjet or is it Digital Reproduction, or is it just a pictogram? That last one might be good if it was tagged with something in the local language, or we had a bunch of funny sayings that would make good prints.

    Where do contestants send their entries Mike?

    Andy MacDougall

    December 6, 2008 at 10:08 pm

  5. I am all for the “No giclee” symbol, and yes, would use it in my gallery and encouraged my group of printmakers to use it also. I’ll leave the design of the logo up to others!

    Cecilia Lieder

    December 7, 2008 at 9:32 am

  6. I agree that it’s past time to take action and a “no giclee” symbol is something I, and all my printmaking friends, would gladly use. It disgusts me how the public has been defrauded for so long – how buying a “limited edition print” may be nothing more than a good xerox copy.

    Sara Youngman

    December 8, 2008 at 4:34 am

  7. Hi Mike,

    I’d support a No Giclee symbol for sure. I’d gladly put it on my website, and on the documentation sheets we do for every print. I will give some thought to a catchy design, although nothing springs instantly to mind.

    Mark Attwood.
    The Artists’ Press
    South Africa

    Mark Attwood

    December 8, 2008 at 3:13 pm

  8. Torben Soeborg wrote:
    Torben Soeborg, Denmark

    Response to “Gliclée Fraud”

    It is sometimes funny or odd how one and the same issue pops up at the same time at different places. When I read the Gliclée discussion on World Printmaker’s Print Workshop Central I had just finished writing the piece attached below about Terminology: Giclée Print – Ink Jet Print to our next Print Studio Newsletter.

    I am all for a “No giclée” symbol and using the term Ink Jet Print for the original fine art print. Of course this is not and can not be a guarantee against fraud. As you can read in the article published in Vancouver Sun some of the artists even sold their works with a certificate of authenticity, but the symbol might – at its best –get people to somehow understand, that there is an important difference.

    Anyway you will see dishonest “artists” misusing the “No gliclée” symbol and as pointed out in some of the responses it can be very difficult to discover the fraud. As I write in the piece to our Newsletter we had the problem with some of the contributions to our Naestved International Exhibition of Mini Prints (www.grafisk-kunst.dk ). Although I myself had all the 1.500 mini prints through my hands I can’t (and will not) guarantee that some more prints were reproductions.

    The “success” of a “No giclée” symbol is depending on the universal acceptance of the symbol, not only by the printmakers but also by the art dealers, galleries, museums etc. I think we should work for this universal acceptance.

    Torben Soeborg, grafisk vaerksted\NAESTVED – Print Studio for Artists

    (Newsletter 28)

    Terminology: Giclée Print ~ Ink Jet Print

    In connection with computer-based prints you sometimes come across the expression Givlée Print instead of Ink Jet Print

    It sounds extravagant and expensive. The word is created by the American Jack Duganne in 1991, when he worked for Nash Edition Fine Art Digital Printmakers in California. Harold Johnson writes about it in his Mastering Digital Printing:

    “He wanted to stay away from words like “computer” or “digital” because of the negative connotations the art world attached to the new medium. Taking cue from the French word for inkjet (jet d’encre), Duganne opened his pocket Larousse and searched for a word that was generic enough to cover most inkjet technologies at the time and hopefully into the future”.

    Duganne’s main purpose was to distinguish between original prints created by artists from prints created for commercial use – reproductions.

    In museum and gallery circles – at least in USA and England – it is a common agreement only to use the term Ink Jet Print about original prints by artists. Nash Edition also states that:

    “We do not support the use of the term ”giclée” to represent anything other than reproductions created for the “decorative” art market. Most credible museums utilise the term “digital ink-jet”

    … and one of the most prominent American artists working with computer-based prints, Dorothy Simpson Krause defines Gliclée as

    ” … reproductions of work done originally in another medium. I make inkjet prints of original digital art”, she adds.

    Graham Nash and Mac Holbert suggested using the term digigraph on line with terms like serigraph and photograph but this idea was never accepted.

    Fraud: Reproductions and not original prints

    Among the prints we got to our Naestved International Exhibition of Mini Prints in the spring 2008 there were some marked as gliclée prints from a German artist. Somehow we got suspicious. At her website we found the same “prints” as big size oil paintings. When we told her we could not accept her prints because they were reproductions in very small scale of her big paintings she could not understand why. We had one more contribution which we suspected for fraud but we could not prove that the prints were not original prints but just reproductions.

    I strongly suggest that all our print studio members working with computer-based printing use the term Inkjet Print to describe their original prints and not gliclée print or other “fancy”, “expensive looking” terms.

    Torben Soeborg

    Grafisk vaerksted\NAESTVED

    Denmark

    http://www.grafsk-kunst.dk

    torben.soeborg@stofanet.dk

    Torben Soeborg

    December 8, 2008 at 8:27 pm

  9. I like the idea of a “no giclée” symbol. One that doesn’t depend on language. How to ‘market’ it and get it accepted by galleries etc is a good question.

    Raymond

    Raymond Sander-Regier

    December 9, 2008 at 7:36 pm

  10. Dear Mike

    I agree with most of the concerns with regard to the rise and rise of Giclee prints. It is a shame as I rather liked the Giclee name and used it on a few early digital prints that I made over ten years ago before the reproduction market caught on. We now have a confusion of names for digital prints made by printmakers working legitimately using this technique. We have, digital, original digital, inkjet, pigment print and so on.

    However it is the comments of Keith Howard that annoyed me in to making a response.

    It is this kind of attitude, an attitude that I have called “printmakers disease” that has held back the artform for generations. That attitude that the technique is somehow more important than the image, the concept, the quality, the creativity. It is time to enter the 21st century and realise what is important. Imagine a painter being told to write “Oil on canvas” at the bottom of the painting – oh and it must be vermillion. Sounds ridiculous – doesn’t it?

    John Mackechnie

    Director
    Glasgow Print Studio

    John Mackechnie

    December 12, 2008 at 2:14 am

  11. Welcome to the debate, John. I couldn’t agree with you more that part of the problem is the terminology. Nobody’s against people making inkjet reproductions of oil paintings, water colors, drawings, etc. That’s a noble calling, as long as when it comes time to sell them they have the decency to call them what they are: reproductions. What offends most printmakers is when these inkjet-repro people misleadingly call their reproductions “limited-edition giclee prints.”

    As for Keith Howard recommending additional information at the bottom of a print, that doesn’t bother me. Printmakers have been writing stuff on the bottom of their prints for centuries. To compare this practice with the admittedly ridiculous suggestion that painters should write technical information on the front of their paintings seems to me unfair.

    Note: My painter wife informs me that she writes the technical info on the back of her oil paintings.

    Mike Booth

    December 12, 2008 at 11:45 am

  12. I print at BIP in Brighton UK, and we have all been expressing the same concerns.. especially that the general public have absolutely no idea what they are looking at or buying.The french word, gives a sense of art and glamour.
    Yes the image is important but so is the technique. Images made by hand have a certain quality . Printing by hand allows space for serendipity , those quirky mistakes ,squidges….use of different pressure…processes in etching, cutting woodblocks…all techniques that contribute to the individuality of a print. All these things that no computer print out could do.
    The public need to know this.
    We all work jolly hard at our art and technique….a Giclee print of a print is the sure sign of a lazy artist.

    I understood that it was a french word for SQUIRT which brought to my mind the word ejaculation …..which means , {apologises for being so crude} ,that Giclee prints are a whole lot of W***.

    I would love a no Giclee symbol …I know alot of other printers who would too.

    amy douglas

    December 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

  13. I’m posting this for Sheila Spence, who wrote:

    Hi all,

    Here at Martha Street Studio situated in Winnipeg, Canada, we house a 44” digital printer for members’ use. I am a photographer myself so this piece of equipment is of particular interest to me and it has served to bring in other photographers interested in large format printing. Printmakers have been using this printer for editions which incorporate combinations of techniques, for example a digital print with a wood block over-print or a digital print with blind emboss.

    While I understand the concern about the reproduction of work digitally such as editions of watercolours, I am reluctant to support a no giclee policy. There are many legitimate applications for digital printing in an art practice.

    Sheila Spence

    Martha Street Studio

    Mike Booth

    December 12, 2008 at 11:07 pm

  14. […] interesting and very pertinent discussion for artists. Not Just […]

  15. There’s a discussion here about the delineating of giclées versus hand-made prints, but isn’t it also therefore also important for printmakers to distinguish between hand-made serigraphs versus serigraphs made using automatic and semi-automatic serigraph printing machines?

    What about have a no-machine-made serigraph logo?

    Tony Clark

    Tony White

    December 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm

  16. This is an intriguing subject and fraught with problems. I have been trying to get some sort of recognition of original versus reproduction off the ground here, but as you might expect it is not easy to define what is original and what isn’t. Also it relies on the artists being upfront about it too.

    Like Shelia says there are any number of artists who produce genuine original prints using Giclée/digital printers, of which we can not have any complaint.

    The solution I suggested was to number the edition with the addition of ’O’ for original or ‘R’ for reproduction. Using Mike’s proposed system wouldn’t work as the means of printing has to be as open as possible to allow artists to experiment. For example we use offset litho presses, but they are miles away from what Mike has termed in his original email as offset litho, I think meaning reproductions produced on such presses. We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary this year and are able to do things with the lithographic process today that we would never have been able to in 1958: that is one of the reasons why we are still going strong, because we can adapt and use new products in a more creative way then they were evolved for.

    The main problem we face is the terminology – technically a digital print isn’t actually a print as there is no impression, in the same way that a digital photograph isn’t a photograph, as we would first think of them. This is what makes life so interesting for creative people, the new and exciting ways in which they can develop their work. Printmaking would be awfully dull if we didn’t try and push the boundaries. But what the solution is, is another matter: do we have to be extra good at marketing, which of course all the makers of digital printers have large budgets and funds at their disposal, hence the fact that we are emailing each other, they have been very successful.

    I think that most pepole buy works of art because they like them, not because of how they were made. I have never managed to sell someone a print on the process. Of course to us it makes a huge difference, beacuse we know what has gone into the work, but I really do feel that we a fighting a losing battle with buyers of prints, as such a small proportion of them will have any understanding of process. We can all do our bit in educating the custoemrs that come to us, but as far as getting to masses is concerned – almost impossible.

    I hope to be kept in the loop and look forward to more discussion on the subject.

    Jenny Roland

    December 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm

  17. Thanks for posting these observations, Jenny, as I think they will be helpful in clearing up the issues. I’d like to comment on some of them myself, and I’m sure other people would, too, but before doing so I want to ask a few questions. Please bear with me.

    1/ You say, “Using Mike’s proposed system wouldn’t work as the means of printing has to be as open as possible to allow artists to experiment.” What are you referring to as “Mike’s proposed system”? How do you think it would preclude openness and experimentation among artists?

    2/ You say “… we can adapt and use new products in a more creative way…” Could you give us some examples?

    3/ You say, “…technically a digital isn’t actually a digital print as there is no impression…” I thought there was an impression as soon as you output the digital file through a printer. Could you please explain why you feel otherwise?

    4/ Your “…people buy works of art because they like them, not because of how they were made…” Is that to say that the differences between a hand-pulled print and an offset litho reproduction are irrelevant?

    If you could elucidate these questions, I think we could communicate more clearly. Thanks a lot for this.

    Regards,

    Mike

    P.S. I couldn’t agree with you more that a great part of the solution to these issues lies in the terminology, which we should all get together and fix!

    Mike Booth

    December 15, 2008 at 7:05 pm

  18. I think this “no giclee” is a non starter I’m afraid. Any truly explorative artist or printmaker delights in the alchemy of printmaking and give them any machine or process they will enjoy using it as another tool in the toolbox, be it a potato or an inkjet. There have also always been non-printmakers using ‘print’ as a ditto ‘device’ since the very first days of printing. Long live the printmaker as the alchemist of print.
    We cannot be intimidated by the ‘danse macabre’ that haunts the printmakers shop, with the arrival of the first of many digital devices.

    Chris Mercier

    December 16, 2008 at 12:34 pm

  19. Dear Mike,
    This is an interesting debate indid. In place of a “giclee fraud Symbol” why not a “printmaking fraud Symbol” ? I mean that the point is allways the same. To make an artist print you need an ARTIST creating a MATRIX and printing with that matrix a series of prints called a MULTIPLE. Lots af artists “printmakers” today are still doing and signing prints from an image engraved or lithographed by a specialist… and this sort of FRAUDS comes to the market as “originals”! I parfectly agree with John Makechnie. The important thing is the meaning of an ORIGINAL. The artist is absolutly responsable of his signature on the multiple as well as the numbers concerning his LIMITED EDITION.
    The inkjetprint technique is only a new tool for artists with specyfic hyperpigmented inks quality. As a new tool the technique is suspicious and not totaly accepted as a possible process to artistes to create originals (and here is again a symptom of these “printmakers diseases”). I’m an artist coming from lithograpy for 30 ears. Now i’m printing original imagerie with inkjetprint techniques and doing allways lithography and teaching it as well. Remember this: When lithography apeared in the nineteenth century, engravers and printmakers had a brutal reaction to the new tool considering it just as a “copy process” without anny interest for original artistic creation. And what about silkscreen ? This technique is now accepted, but in the 1980’s it was still considered by “experts” as a technique outside the printmaking original world market…
    So what ? Instead of criticising systematicaly new techniques, let artist do now new original works with.

    Jörge de Sousa Noronha
    Point&Marge Editions Paris

    Jörge de Sousa Noronha

    December 16, 2008 at 4:19 pm

  20. Tony White’s idea scares me a bit. Where do you draw the line?
    – Is a one arm too automated? How about a one arm with air assist lift?
    -but if you use other bits that are automated or mechanical, how do you deal with that? (i.e. exposing system vs handcut or hand painted stencil? Light integrator vs timer? and what if you use an inkjet printer to make your positives?)

    Of course, I’m not sure I should even be commenting here – I print for artists.

    There’s always a distinct barnyard odour coming from the printmaking section. Smells like an animal farm sometimes.

    Andy MacDougall

    December 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm

  21. Here are some comments which were emailed to me yesterday. I’m posting them here so everybody can see them and comment if you like:
    .

    Mike,

    Let’s face the music!Nobody will not be able to eliminate reproductions. They are here to stay, and will get “better” at fooling the public as their printers get more sophisticated and artists decide to cross the line. We can only change it in some way that will help with the fine art print industry to survive. As far as I am concerned let them make as many repros as they want. As long as they DON’T edition them, or pencil sign them, and label them as lithographs, etc., to misrepresent what they are to blur the truth.
    The best line of defense is to try to educate your public. I have in my studio a sign with a red circle around the word “reproductions” and a red line through it, indicating that they are hazardous to your fine art collection. I also have on my web site a clear description of the difference between a hand build print and a reproduction. I also try to use the word “print” when I am referring to my work, and “reproduction” when I am talking about giclee, or any other process that uses the computer to reproduce a painting.
    Mitch Lyons
    http://www.mitchlyons.com
    Clay Monoprints
    .

    OK, What shall we do? Barbara Elam
    .

    Dear Mike,
    Very interesting.
    Keep me in the circuit.
    I’ll get a membership together in the New Year
    Best for Christmas

    Brian Gilkes
    Pharos Editions
    .

    Giclee prints look like reproductions of art work. Giclees are a non event in my mind. They are commercial and often look trashy. They are the result of wonderful developments in commercial printing and in this sense should be marvelled at. A discerning buyer would not want one. All but the most ignorant artists and clients shun Giclees in this country. In Australia we have a more alarming type of reproduction/limited edition print problem. A cashed up dealer goes to a prominent and old artist and picks the best of their work from old photographs and books. The artist then gives permission for a print workshop to make a plate using relief, collagraph, or etching techniques based on this highly recognisable and desirable painting. Once the colourful print is produced in an edition the artist signs it as a limited edition print which is, of course, what it is. These prints are marketed at a high price to satisfy the many small galleries who would otherwise not be able to handle the work of such a prominent artist. These prints are large and colourful and by famous people and they have successfully ruined the marketing of works by printmakers who make their own work as artists and sell their work in small galleries. The works by prominent painters turn up in top name galleries as well.

    Artists with web sites like mine, http://www.pamelagriffith.com, get frequent e-mails asking them to make Giclees. We usually decline by ignoring these offers. Fortunately the Australian education system seems to have given the buying public some idea of what is really meant by limited edition print. I think we should be targeting the words “limited edition” as everything from a potato scoop to a motor car is coming out in limited editions. I think we need to educate the world on the techniques of printmaking and the old traditions of print making and the hands on involvement of the skilled artist and artisan in producing limited editions. We need to show how a plate, or screen or block is cancelled and damaged after the edition has been pulled. We need to explain what is meant by a cancellation print. It would also be helpful if not too many proofs were pulled and sold in the marketing of limited edition prints.

    There was a period where computer programmers borrowed art terms and worked out ways of allowing us to produce art work on the computer. The software available now is breathtaking and is having a major effect on design and art. Modern printers are expensive but remarkable in what they turn out. The tide has turned and artists are being influenced by computer generated art. Young commercial artists often cannot work with real art materials. When I go to exhibitions these days I can detect the borrowing of symbols by artists that have grown out of computer generated art. Some of the graphic tools available are stunning. I think we could have a dialogue about these influences. I think Giclee prints could be used well by artists designing with a computer as a tool.

    Giclees are not going to have the impact on art that the camera and photography had back in the 1860’s and onwards. Artists found this a challenge and survived. I am sure that we can survive Giclees. In some ways having ones work reproduced this way and sold as a reproduction, not a limited edition work, could bring ones reputation to a larger audience and eventually more sales. For example a really good image by an excellent artist could be sold in a department store to young hopefuls. Eventually they would have the means to buy the real thing. The important issue is that the public is not deceived. The labelling should describe this reproduction technique and not claim exclusivity.

    Printmakers and artists generally do not advertise their wares enough nor do they successfully seek to reach a broad public. They seem not to have the resources that the electronic or fashion industry and other industries have to place their product before the public. Galleries are frequently poorer than the image that they project and they do not put adequate funds into advertising. Artists cannot complete with other luxury goods that are marketed very well. The arts administrators and educationalists have a lot to answer for as they frequently do not serve the artist well. We have possibly lost at least two generations of potential art supporters as they were fed stories about mad artists or crazy art when they went to school and they dropped their interest in art. If you look across the press over the last forty years you will see that artists have been mostly ridiculed. Few articles are educative. I think we have many big issues to overcome in order to deliver good art to a public that needs this stimulus to make a healthy society. Forget about the minor threat of Giclees and concentrate on delivering information to the public setting out why limited edition prints are desirable.
    Pamela Griffith

    Griffith Studio and Graphic Workshop. Sydney, Australia

    Mike Booth

    December 17, 2008 at 9:18 am

  22. This is a really interesting debate. As a printmaker I can understand why some artists don’t like Giclee prints, however I would not object to them being used as a learning tool for exhibitions, going from digital prints right through to hand made prints. I only say this as I am partaking in an exhibition myself where Giclee prints are being used as well as hand made prints. As for me, I think I will stick to printmaking.

    Natalie. uk

    natalie

    December 19, 2008 at 7:32 pm

  23. I used to be a screen-printer. My work was never a reproduction of anything which is more than can be said for some limited edition screeprints. I now use an Epson (fantastic!) injet printer, and my prints are never reproductions. They are designed using a graphics pad and far from lazy (Amy Douglas), they take as much proofing, revision, and thought as any other form of printmaking. This giclee business is a difficult one, I have myself gone up to stallholders at big print exhibitions and simply accused them of selling reproductions. They look shifty but do nothing. Even lithographs these days can be drawings photographically deposited onto plates. They were showing how it is done at Curwens small exhibition at Tate Britain, recently. I don’t like the look of that either. It seems to me the point is…does this print exist in any other form…is it a reproduction?
    My prints are NOT reproductions; they are achieved by hard work and the printer eventually puts on paper what I want. In fact my ‘giclee’ prints which you might disparagingly call them, look like smaller versions of what I produced with big screens when I was a lot younger. I think the words ‘not a reproduction’ are nearer what is required! I am afraid printing has become so amazingly good that it really is a case sometimes of if you can’t beat it, join it. And in anycae a lot of top printers for famous artists are set up with digital equipment which they use in part. How can you stop that? And in the end, WHY should you? Having to put ‘Not a reproduction’ would really test some publishers using techniques that a lot of people posting here would think consider legitimate! Intereting debate. Will follow comments.

    Julia Matcham

    December 20, 2008 at 8:19 pm

  24. I am a master giclée printmaker who creates archival, limited edition fine art giclees and I strongly object to the hateful lies that are perpetrated on this site about my wonderful craft.

    The real fraudsters are the original printmakers. We giclée printmakers are innocent victims of a smear campaign.

    We giclée printmakers are producing wonderful, archival art, to the delight of the art-buying public.

    It’s clear from the ignorant pillorying here that the critics of giclée printmaking have no concept of how much technical and creative skill, time and effort goes into making our art.

    Or maybe the hatred comes from the fact that original printmakers feel besieged because giclée printmaking continues to revolutionize the art print world.

    Check out my Web site (http://www.tonymax.net and follow the link for “Artist’s Statement”, and then click on the link called “Giclées versus ‘original’ prints”, and learn the truth: giclées are actually superior to original prints!

    Tony M.

    December 20, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    • Dear Tony,

      Anyone who says: “I am an internationally renowned Canadian artist.” probably ain’t.

      You are, in any case, free to work your twisted ticket.

      Live and be well,

      Mike

      Mike Booth

      September 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

  25. Irrespective iof whether you like his work or not, Tony is obviously extremely good at what he does (I have looked at and read pretty well all on his very efficient site) and he is very coherent in making his arguments. Nevertheless his prints are reproductions (enhanced maybe) but reproductions of his paintings. I am unclear whether he also sells the original artwork for his prints as well, or whether the originals he DOES sell are one-offs. I am also uncertain as to whether his buyers realise they are reproductions although his web-site is clear enough. When he talks about giclees being better than screenprints, he is talking about it in terms of how it REPRODUCES his paintings. Screenprinting is just as reprehensible (in my opinion) as giclee printing is in respect of reproducing crayon drawings for example and calling them prints. They are achieved using many colour separations and may be fractionally better than the originals, but personally I think this is a dodgy use of the medium if you are going to call them original screen prints.
    While I appreciate ‘how much technical and creative skill, time and effort goes into making’ Tony’s giclee prints, really they still are are a limited edition of copies.
    A print should be an original, not a copy of an original. Slightly enhanced (in my opinion) doesn’t turn it into an original.
    Tony’s argument about giclee prints being cheaper as well as facimile is true and indeed has tempted publishers to make a killing paying artists little in return for running off bulk numbered and signed copies at a price that puts many artists out of business. Artists are notoriously bad at defending their own interests and refusing bad deals. And one bad deal is quoted to the next artist as being the reason they can’t be offered more…and so on. I know! Not many could be as efficient as Tony in marketing their work.
    I think there IS a genuine problem regarding signed reproductions. It does not lie in the METHODS of printing, eg etching, screenprinting, lithography; these methods are already ‘corrupted’ by the use of photostencils and any number of ways of cutting the story short if that’s what you want. The problem lies in how to clearly differentiate between a reproduction and an original print. When I go to print fairs and see editions of reproduced watercolours all signed and numbered and very pricey I see some smart alec robbing the public and probably the artist too, and making it hard for people who are doing truly original work to make a living, because the art market is flooded with this stuff.

    Julia Matcham

    December 21, 2008 at 11:42 pm

  26. Julia, you wrote that, “A print should be an original, not a copy of an original.” Why is this so – other than the fact that you want to believe that original prints are better than non-original prints? My Web site clearly explains that making copies of an original can be just as demanding – both technically and creatively – as assembling and printing stencils or stone drawings or woodblock images.

    Limited edition books are copies. No one makes an issue of whether or not they’re copies of an original or copied from a manuscript, because that’s trivial. The same principle applies to limited edition music albums, films, cars, etcetera. It’s only in the art field where some obsessive people make the distinction.

    You’ve also ignored the vital point that I made at length on my Web site, with is that original printing is inferior technically (as well as impractical because of cost) at capturing the nuances of highly realistic, colour landscape art such as mine. This point alone makes giclée printing vastly superior to original printing. Original printing doesn’t give my art the look I want. Your argument is like saying that if I were a musician, I should be willing to compromise on quality of my music by using an inferior sound recording method that wouldn’t give me the sound I would want to have in my music.

    Tony M.

    December 22, 2008 at 1:02 am

  27. Julia, as as an argument against giclée publishing. you wrote that, “Artists are notoriously bad at defending their own interests and refusing bad deals” because of being cheated by giclée publishers, and that the unfair deals offered by giclée publishers are what “puts many artists out of business”.

    But if artists are not savvy business people, that’s largely their own fault, and the technology and the publishing opportunities that are out there should not be blamed for the artist’s shortcomings.

    Artists can be offered bad deals when it comes to publishing original prints, too. That doesn’t mean that original printmaking should be discontinued to stop any deceit.

    You argue is “the baby should be thrown out with the dirty bath water”.

    If every industry that has a lot of bad deals offered were to stop, all of the world’s commerce would grind to a halt.

    Tony Max

    December 22, 2008 at 6:53 pm

  28. Julia, you wrote that, “A print should be an original, not a copy of an original.”

    Why?

    Suppose that a car manufacturing company built a car, and then built a limited edition of 500 cars, using the original car as a template.

    No rational car collector would care whether the limited edition of 500 cars was modeled after the first car, or was developed from blueprints, because there’s no logical reason why it SHOULD be important.

    That’s why Jenny Roland wrote earlier in this thread that “I have never managed to sell someone a print on the process.” People don’t care, and there’s no logical reason why they SHOULD care whether prints are based on an existing model as opposed to a blueprint or set of blueprints (Screenprinting stencils are my analogy of an example printmakers’ blueprints.)

    But original printmakers are trying to MAKE consumers of art prints care, while simultaneously putting down non-original prints, and that’s misleading because of the faulty logic employed.

    It’s also fraudulent, which is not surprising considering that many of the original printmakers’ incomes are at stake.

    It’s also hypocritical of the original printmakers, because THEY – not bona fide giclée printmakers like me – are the artists who are trying to fool people.

    It’s difficult enough already to make a living as an artist. We also have to contend with the self-righteous original printmaking crowd of fools and knaves, creating and exacerbating this unnecessary schism in our industry, and confusing the art-buying public in the process with its warped, egocentric logic. It’s outrageous.

    Tony Max

    December 22, 2008 at 7:21 pm

  29. Continuing with my analogy of limited edition cars: Imagine an Internet forum for makers of ‘original’, limited edition cars, in which the car makers scheme about devising a logo to distinguish their ‘original’, limited edition cars from non-original’, limited edition cars, and plan educational missions to schools, car collector clubs and car dealerships, to educate people that limited edition cars designed after an existing master model car are frauds, and that their own, limited edition cars are the genuine article because they’re designed from blueprints rather than an existing master model?

    Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

    Why don’t the limited edition car makers, limited edition music publishers, book publishers, film makers, etcetera, take up such a cause with the zeal of crusaders? Why is it that it’s only the artists who are so stupid?

    Tony Max

    December 22, 2008 at 7:55 pm

  30. Please don’t call us “stupid,” Tony. Less truculence, please, or–as much as we respect freedom of expression–we’ll cut you out of this debate.

    Mike Booth

    December 22, 2008 at 9:03 pm

  31. I look forward to continuing the debate when I have more time …assuming I survive Xmas! So many interesting angles to explore.
    Best wishes and Happy Xmas all. If you can’t beat it, join it! Julia

    Julia Matcham

    December 23, 2008 at 7:48 pm

  32. […] rankings are due to the recent flurry of debate on Print Workshop Central on the subject of Giclee Fraud.  Search engines give a lot of weight to site participation. We’re delighted to receive such […]

  33. Mike, you wrote, “Please don’t call us “stupid”. If you’re not stupid, then you’re conniving – conniving in this thread to mount a public relations campaign to put us legitimate artists out of business.

    Other appropriate adjectives that can be applied to you conniving original printmakers include: inaccurate, careless (careless because your belief is inaccurate), hateful, prejudiced, dishonest, hypocritical, truculent, illogical, self-centered, stubborn, unrealistic and old-fashioned.

    And on top of all those bad traits, you threatened to cut me out of the debate because you’re angered about me pointing out those bad traits, and that indicates that you’re intolerant. (You wrote about me, “as much as we respect freedom of expression–we’ll cut you out of this debate” for calling you stupid”.) You’re angered because I pointed out the truth and turned the tables on you – pointing the finger at you and away from us.

    I noticed that no one has rebutted my arguments here. It’s because there ARE no good rebuttals to my arguments; the logic of my arguments is unassailable.

    If original printmakers go out of business because of giclee printmakers, that’s unfortunate, but fair. We’re using modern technology – the best technology available and most appropriate technology available – to create our art.

    You, on the other hand, are using technologies that old-fashioned, inefficient, labour-intensive, toxic to health and environment, expensive and therefore inferior. But instead of recognizing this and adapting, you’re trying to destroy the competition by fabricating lies about our technology and processes. You’re trying to turn back the hands of time by discrediting our art, in part using the flimsy criticism that our prints are reproductions – a criticism that I have roundly defeated in this thread.

    You even had the illogic and audacity in this thread to try to discredit our art by saying that it mustn’t be called “limited editions”. I’ve clearly demonstrated via analogies in this thread and on my Web site that art prints copied from a master image are just as legitimate as your prints, which are copied from stencils or blocks of stone or metal plates. Our limited editions are just as legitimate as yours.

    Tony Max

    December 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm

  34. Tony, as I have said previously, in my opinion, the methods of producing truly original prints, prints which could not have been achieved by other means, have now been corrupted or diluted as methods by the use of photography, colour separations, fancy digital and other ways of depositing images, that might, like yours, more truly be said to exist in another medium, in your case – painting. Other examples are screen-printed crayon drawings and water colours, photo lithographic images copied onto plates etc. The only way I can see of distinguishing what I would call an original print is in that it does not exist in another more appropriate form. It is not a copy.
    It doesn’t matter that you use as you say ‘best technology available and most appropriate technology available’ You haven’t as you say you have ‘clearly demonstrated via analogies in this thread and on my Web site that art prints copied from a master image are just as legitimate as your prints, which are copied from stencils or blocks of stone or metal plates. Our limited editions are just as legitimate as yours’. What you have demonstrated is that you are very good at what you do which is effectively reproducing paintings and making a good living by exploiting an image to its maximum.
    What is wrong with that? Well, as I say, nothing that isn’t also wrong with many so-called original prints using so-called but, no longer, truly original methods.
    I don’t think the methods matter because as you say, Tony, why should one not use any means one wants to create an image. I am creating giclee prints myself so self-evidently my argument is not with the method. Indeed, I love it and my only sadness is that I lose some of the juicy density of laid paint that one enjoys in a true screen print, but my work is via a graphics pad and exists in no other form. It is not a copy.
    What is wrong with signed copies, when as you say ‘copies of an original can be just as demanding – both technically and creatively – as assembling and printing stencils or stone drawings or woodblock images’ …which I believe to be true.
    I think you are right in that the distinctions are very blurred. I have a small lino print with three ‘plates’ that is really hard to print and comes out differently every time. I can choose the best copy and reproduce it, maybe alter the colour a bit, and I swear you cannot tell the difference between the copy and the original. Why should anyone care…it is an identical image (and as it happens I am damned if I am going to waste my life printing it the hard way!). BUT, in the event, I will certainly not sell it as anything other than a reproduction. I can see the temptation, why should it matter? Well, maybe we should let the public decide by making it clear when prints are reproductions of a painting or drawing. As you say mostly they don’t care, and can’t be made to care. But some do, and I think they are entitled to know what is truly going on.
    It would be nice if a few other printmakers would join in?

    Julia Matcham

    December 27, 2008 at 10:06 pm

  35. Julia, I like that you wrote that you’ll be damned if you’re going to do it the hard way; I think we should all look for the easiest ways to make art Isn’t being an artist hard enough already? I should rephrase and say the least difficult way, because I have yet to find anything easy about making art.

    I find your last letter to be contradictory, though, because you wrote, “I don’t think the methods matter” but then you contradict that by writing that you feel that you need to make it clear to the recipients of your art “when prints are reproductions of a painting or drawing”. If the methods don’t matter, you don’t need to explain to people that the prints are reproductions.

    I don’t think it matters if you make a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of your art – each time in a different medium. It’s still your art, your creativity, your printmaking skills, your handiwork, your originality that went into the lino prints, and therefore you don’t need to apologize to the recipients of your prints. You don’t need to explain how they’re made, unless they ask.

    When I was a graphic designer, illustrator, photographer and writer I made copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of my work – sometimes in different media. (For example, first a pencil sketch and then a computer layout and then an acrylic painting, and then a photo of the painting and then a scan of the photo and then a Web image of the scan, with the image changing and developing and being refined with every step, just as my paintings art developed and refined when I transmute them into prints), but it was still all original work, because I was the creator and the originator and the inspiration and the spark of creativity, without which the creative works would not have come into existence.

    The only legitimate complaint that the original printmakers might have is if we giclée makers were to copy other artists’ art prints without the permission of the artists or copyright owner, but that’s not the case.

    But the notion expressed in this forum and in other parts of the art community that it’s fraudulent to copy one’s own creative works strikes me as crazy.

    Tony Max

    December 28, 2008 at 6:08 am

  36. ‘If the methods don’t matter, you don’t need to explain to people that the prints are reproductions’.

    I don’t see the logic of your criticism. HOW you produce a print is one thing. WHAT you produce or REPRODUCE is another. An edition of prints of a watercolour for example (and there are plenty about) owes nothing to the art of print-making (except in the sense of the technical excellence of its reproduction). It is a reproduction, and signing and numbering, and limiting the edition will not change that.
    It is only a ‘print’ in the most general sense. It owes nothing to the art of print-making.

    But certainly the situation is very blurred and I doubt there is any way of turning back the tide, plus, to fog the issues further, there are plenty of bad prints around that would answer my criteria for a print ( is not a reproduction of something existing in other media) but are total rubbish. Nevertheless, I think purchasers of ‘art’ should know if they are buying a reproduction.

    Julia Matcham

    December 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm

  37. Julia, you wrote, “Well, maybe we should let the public decide by making it clear when prints are reproductions of a painting or drawing. But some do, and I think they are entitled to know what is truly going on.”

    No; we mustn’t make it clear when prints are reproductions, because it can be just be just as demanding creatively and technically to make reproductions as original prints.

    For heaven’s sakes, how many times do I have to explain this? Please go back and reread what I wrote in this thread and on my Web site. You still don’t get it.

    Reproductions should NOT be identified as such; it makes them sound like they’re of less value than original prints, when they might not be of less value. I’m explaining this for the umpteenth time now.

    It doesn’t matter one bit if prints are derived from a finished version of the image or parts of the image; there’s just as much effort and skill required to make both.

    You’re also dismissive of the art of giclée printmaking by claiming that non-original prints ‘owe nothing to the art of printmaking”. As I’ve explained at length in this forum and on my Web site, giclée printmaking is also an art (and a technical skill.)

    In effect, all reproductions are originals, because the creativity to make them originated with the artist, and all original prints are reproductions because they were reproduced from something (i.e. copied from serigraphy stencils or woodblock images) so you’re just confusing people and demeaning the reproductions in the minds of the public by distinguishing between the two types of prints.

    It wouldn’t matter is a limited edition of music c.d.s were reproduced from a finished master c.d. or made by assembling a set of music tracks of the song(s) on the c.d.; in either case, the music c.d.s would be of equal value and it’s the music on the c.d.s that’s important – not whether the c.d.s are reproductions or not.

    Whether or not the art itself is good is a separate matter and irrelevant to this discussion.

    Tony Max

    December 29, 2008 at 7:05 pm

  38. It is all getting a wee bit heated is it not…Tony ” the lady doth protest too much …”
    I think simply its not a discussion about reproduction ….but about an artists integrity. I am sure the giclees you some times put paint on, you do not sell as paintings.
    In the uk some artists are selling their watercolours, prints drawings as so…when they are just giclees. Which as fab as the technology is does not have the same quality.They are not watercolours or screenprints or wood or lino they are simply giclee.
    Yes we do have a right to market and distribute our image as we wish , but the public have a right to know what it is they are buying.
    Working the old fashioned way or with the newest technology …we are all print /image makers / artists. But we should be more honest with what we produce when we sell to the public.
    Some buy to invest , some because they like it….but we must not decorate our images with terminology that just becomes a marketing ploy.
    It all just becomes a bit like the Emperors new clothes….

    amy douglas

    December 31, 2008 at 12:24 am

  39. Tony – lets go back to the beginning. What are your comments regarding using a giclee print as an underbase, over painting, then selling it as an original painting and hiding the production method from the buyers.

    …and, as much as I respect the technical abilities of artists who use a computer and then inkjet printer to print out repros of their work, you just can’t compare that technical skill to the string of artistic skill steps one has to master in making a print using other print methods. The whole point of the digital ink jet printer is to eliminate skills and reduce it to command buttons.
    When any dolt with a computer background can then become a giclee printmaker takes it out of the artistic realm and puts it squarely into the world of commerce.
    That’s OK if it is just printing as opposed to Limited Edition Printmaking. Are we producing art or commodity?

    Anyway, happy new year to everyone.

    Andy MacDougall

    January 2, 2009 at 8:33 pm

  40. I believe that machine rendered production in general is the issue. I have some Walt Disney POSTERS someone gave me that are sold as limited edition lithograph prints! I did a demonstration for a class and had one kid argue with me that my hand pulled wood block print was the same as what he could get out of his printer at home. He did not understand the difference and neither does most of the public.

    I like the idea of a symbol but I think we need to turn it around. Rather than a “no giclee” symbol we should have a world recognized “Hand Pulled Print” Symbol. A brand recognition technique that says, this is quality, this is art. In doing so we make it into a positive affirmation of our work.

    There is merit in reproductions in bringing beautiful art to the public, but a poster of a Van Gogh, no matter how well done, and an actual Van Gogh are worlds apart! I can take my hand-pulled prints to Kinko’s and have copies made on very nice paper but it is NOT the SAME. The quality is not the same, the layering of the inks and the subtlety of the coloring is lost. In art it is not just the image that makes it art, its why it was done and how that make the difference. I would never sell those copies as hand pulled prints, neither should anyone else.

    Angela Hayes

    January 3, 2009 at 6:11 am

  41. *Reproductions* of work originally produced in one media remain reproductions, no matter what name they are given and what substrate and technology is used to product them.

    I despise the practice of calling paintings that are reproduced as prints as an original of any kind. Period.

    My own work mixes traditional and digital techniques. It is mixed in computer and the original matrix exists as a digital file. It is hard enough to gain acceptance for work that is a digital original without having to compete with copies of work
    done as paintings, etc.

    We need to work a multi-pronged approach to make it clear that these reproductions are NOT originals. Period.

    Diana Nicholette Jeon

    January 3, 2009 at 9:10 am

  42. ‘The whole point of the digital ink jet printer is to eliminate skills and reduce it to command buttons’ (Andy Mac Dougall).

    The computer doesn’t THINK for you…doesn’t have ideas…concepts…has no sense of the poetry of colour. All those things are what the artist can dictate. The computer/injet printing is just another tool, a servant, in the armoury of artists. It can be used for printmaking and it can be used for reproducing (sometimes so well that the original and the copy are indistinguishable). Of course, commercial interests exploit that situation to make easy money…and so do some artists. Certainly it would be good to educate the public…as Diana (above) says succinctly in her last sentence.

    matcham1

    January 3, 2009 at 5:10 pm

  43. I have been a printmakers for over 30 years. One point that should be stressed is the difference between a Print and a Reproduction. Using the word “print” to refer to a reproduction has degraded the term, leading to the idea that a printmaker is a technician running a xerox machine. Also, the term “limited edition” has been likewise abused…just how “limited” is an edition of 1000?!

    Instead of a negative “no giclee” symbol, I would prefer a more positive and descriptive “chop” that all original printmakers could use, something to indicate the art is a Hand-pulled Original Print. Giclees are not going away. But Original Prints aren’t either. Meanwhile it is up to every printmaker to educate the public at any and every opportunity.

    Janet Best Badger

    January 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

  44. Angela nails it.

    “I like the idea of a symbol but I think we need to turn it around. Rather than a “no giclee” symbol we should have a world recognized “Hand Pulled Print” Symbol. A brand recognition technique that says, this is quality, this is art. In doing so we make it into a positive affirmation of our work.”

    I was thinking about exactly this (while printing BY HAND, a very meditative state), as fun as it would be to have an anti-giclee symbol, a ‘by hand’ symbol on documentation that comes with your print and is carried in your marketing materials would further the cause much more effectively.

    As far as the comments by the digital practitioners (Diana above, and others) about acceptance of their digital printmaking efforts as original prints, mixing their acceptance issues/problems with those of ‘traditional by hand’ printmakers muddies the whole situation, and puts us back on the same road that is the norm now – a confused public. I would submit that in general, people using digital print technology have an overwhelming support network in the form of magazines, gallery organizations, and sheer mass of product in front of the public. All these promote the print technique, and give it legitimacy.

    On the other hand, she does have a valid point – Original vs Reproduction.

    It’s all so damn confusing!

    Andy MacDougall

    January 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm

  45. In my mind I would say that an image that was created for one medium and (disseminated and sold as such) which is then recreated in another medium, it is a reproduction.

    Many people sketch out ideas and designs before turning it into a print but those sketches are never intended as a finished work. Working out design ideas in one medium for the purpose of turning it into a print is not the same as taking a completed work and recreating it as a print.

    So I think here we have two distinctions.
    Original work vs. Reproduction
    Hand-pulled Prints vs. Machine Rendered Prints

    I believe there is value in machine rendered prints and reproductions. I have no desire to de-value the artists who work through such mediums. However, I do not want my own work to be de-valued either. Anyone who compares my 11 layer, year long labor of creativity to something an inkjet popped out has done just that.

    So we need a logo that stands for Original Hand-Pulled Print and a criteria that we agree on about what that stands for.

    1. To be Original an image was created for and disseminated as a print. If it was originally created for or disseminated as a painting, watercolor or any other medium it is a reproduction and does not qualify.

    2. Hand-Pulled – Here is a problem, how much mechanical help can you use and still be considered hand-pulled? What about those who use both digital rendering and traditional mediums on top of that?

    3. Print – What constitutes a print?

    Thoughts?

    Angela Hayes

    January 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm

  46. […] leave a comment » An Attempt to Summarize the Opinions Voiced in the No-Giclee Debate […]

  47. It is quite a debate generated by the contribution about ”Gliclee Fraud …”. A debate that sometimes has difficulties keeping to the problem. And a debate that shows quite a few misunderstandings and ignorance of digital inkjet printing.

    Let us keep to the subject: Glclee fraud – and let us remember that the expression / term gliclée was created to distinguish reproductions from original fine-art prints – both (please mark this) using the same type of printer, an inkjet printer.

    In short: Gliclée Print = reproduction.

    It is of course OK and legitimate to make reproductions. With the technical advanced inkjet printers, the right kind of ink and paper – and of course the skill that Tony Max no doubt have – it is today possible to make the reproductions so close to the original that it becomes difficult for “common” people to asses if the print is a reproduction or a genuine, original print.

    And here comes the fraud. The fraud that the reproduction is sold as an original – that most people (and even artists) don’t know that the “fine” and “exotic” term gliclée is another word for reproduction – that printmakers like Tony Max ape the serous printmaking by using limited editions etc. – that the gliclée prints sometimes a sold with a “Certicate of Authenticity” (giving the impression that they are original prints).

    The Tony Max case is complicated. Tony knows that his gliclée prints are not original prints but – to quote from his website – “reproduced from completed paintings”. What he – as far as I can read – doesn’t understand is that a reproduction never can equal the original. A reproduction is a copy of a work done originally in another medium. An original fine-art print is not a copy of a work done originally in another medium, and even if you print it more times it can’t be classified as reproductions or copies.

    It doesn’t help that he tries to introduce a new name – archival art – and argues that his gliclée reproductions “will last for generations” (quote from his website) and that “original printing is inferior technically” and “makes giglée printing vastly superior to original printing” (quote from contribution no. 26)

    What can I say? To be straight: Bullshit! I make original inkjet prints using the very advanced inkjet printers, very special inks and paper and capturing the perfect nuances of colour. It might even be the same printers, inks and paper as Tony use. My inkjet prints will also last for generations and I think my inkjet prints are superior to Tony Max’s if only because they are not reproductions – they are not copies of work done originally in another medium.

    Well – I think Tony Max should go on making his very fine and skilled gliclée reproductions and even sell them with a Certificate of Authenticity as long as he open and honest say and write that the prints are indeed reproductions, just as he does at his website. Then he is not guilty in Gliclée Fraud.

    Torben Soeborg
    grafisk vaerksted\Naestved, Denmark
    torben.soeborg@stofanet.dk

    Torben Soeborg

    January 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

  48. I agree with Torben (above). If a work is created in one medium and output in another medium, then it is a reproduction. If it is created and produced in the same medium, then it is original. Reproductions are only fraudulent if they are passed off as originals.

    I disagree with the position taken at the top of this discussion that it is fraudulent to take a digital photograph of a bowl of fruit, print it out digitally, and call it an original work. Digital photography is a perfectly valid and widely-accepted medium and meets the above description of an original work.

    I do digital drawings used Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet and stylus. The work is entirely hand-drawn, and when it is completed, I print it in small editions on my Epson 4000. I regard this process as being identical in validity to drawing on a litho stone and using a litho press to print the edition; it is simply a different technology.

    Martha Jane Bradford

    January 8, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    • “I do digital drawings used Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet and stylus.”

      And you say it is accepted as an original work (when printed on paper by inkjet printer). That means u have intention to use a printer to churn out original work and that is why you are working.

      OK can we now accept that inkjet printers can churn out original work?

      OK? Yes? Good.

      Now the only difference between your process and mine is that i have to scan my image with a scanner and you don’t.

      What you did: Draw in Wacom then print original work.

      What i did: Draw on paper, Scan paper, print original work.

      So the question is if the process of drawing on paper & scanning disqualify a work as original?

      I treat the drawings on paper as plates. I treat the inkjet prints as the originals.

      The drawings on papers are plates, the scanner is the etching, the printer is the ink, the nozzle is the physical labor. The printer ink on paper is my intended art.

      And since we agreed above that inkjet printers can churn out original work of art, that makes my drawings original work of art.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 1:14 am

  49. Torben, you wrote: “It is…a debate that shows quite a few misunderstandings and ignorance of digital inkjet printing.”

    “…and let us remember that the expression / term gliclée was created to distinguish reproductions from original fine-art prints – both…using the same type of printer, an inkjet printer.

    “In short: Gliclée Print = reproduction.”

    “…gliclée is another word for reproduction…”

    That is all absolutely false, and you don’t have a clue about the facts, Torben.

    You are only adding to the misunderstandings and displaying your own ignorance about giclées by what you have written. The term “giclée” was NOT created to distinguish between reproductions and original prints; giclées created from computer drawings and paintings ARE original prints (as Martha and others pointed out).

    The term “giclee” was coined to distinguish fine art prints made on inkjet printers from fine art prints made with other media, just as the term “serigraph” denotes fine art screen printing as opposed to non-fine art screenprinting or screenprinting in general.

    “…that printmakers like Tony Max ape the serous printmaking by using limited editions etc. – that the gliclée prints sometimes a sold with a “Certicate of Authenticity” (giving the impression that they are original prints).”

    Torben, you haven’t learned a thing from this forum and my Web site. I’ve carefully and exhaustively detailed in this forum and on my Web site that my printmaking is just as serious as anyone else’s, but you and Julia just don’t get it. I’m a master giclée printmaker and the quality of my prints is as good as any original prints, because 100 percent of the work, creativity, skill and labour originated with me. To make high quality reproductions takes just as much artistic and technical skill and effort as making original prints.

    Few certificates of authenticity that accompany giclées claim that the giclées are original prints when they’re not original prints. In the print bins of many art galleries, I’ve seen many certificates of authenticity that accompany other artists’ giclées and none of the certificates made such a false claim.

    “What he – as far as I can read – doesn’t understand is that a reproduction never can equal the original. …An original fine-art print is not a copy of a work done originally in another medium, and even if you print it more times it can’t be classified as reproductions or copies.”

    “It doesn’t help that he tries to introduce a new name – archival art – and argues that his giclée reproductions “will last for generations” (quote from his website) and that “original printing is inferior technically” and “makes giglée printing vastly superior to original printing”.

    “Bullshit! I think my inkjet prints are superior to Tony Max’s if only because they are not reproductions – they are not copies of work done originally in another medium.”

    And I say “bullshit” to that!

    If a car manufacturing company makes a limited car edition of 100 cars, would you claim that the 100 cars were not genuine limited edition cars – that they were fraudulent – because they’re copies of the original car? To do so would be extremely illogical.

    The 100 cars are just as valid and valuable if they’re modeled after an original car, or modeled after a set of blueprints. Whether or not an initial model exists, there’s a tremendous amount of creativity and technical skill involved in designing and making that limited edition. The 100 cars (or 101 if there is an initial model) owe their existence entirely to the creativity and technical skills of the designers and engineers and laborers, whether or not the initial model is designed, engineered and built first.

    Also, I didn’t invent the term “archival art”.

    Additionally, you still don’t understand why I wrote that original printing is inferior to giclée printing. Again, I repeat that serigraphy, computer painting, stone lithography, mezzotints, drypoint, and other froms of original printmaking don’t give me the look I want in my art, are toxic (except for computer painting) inefficient, labour-intensive and expensive and that’s why they’re inferior to giclee printing.

    Tony

    Tony Max

    January 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    • Tony, i don’t think any method is inferior. Its just what people dig y’know?

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 1:19 am

  50. Our concern is that digital printing/reproductions and the use of traditional printmaking terms in the marketing of said works are de-valuing our work, those of us who are hand-pulled printers working from a physical matrix rather than a digital one.

    In an age of mass production, the love, care and labor of hand-created items is gaining in value. We should focus on how to capitalize on the public’s value of our hand-pulled prints.

    We can argue the value of digital printing methods vs. traditional until pigs fly and still reach no agreement. Honestly, it wouldn’t matter if we did. These new methods are here to stay as long as the public is buying them.

    The question I still believe is how to separate traditional prints in the public mind now that our terminology has been hijacked. We may rue the fact that inkjet and Epson decided to call their facsimile machines printers but it will not change anything.

    Let this discussion be respectful of each other, productive and mature or let it end. Are we not professional adults?

    Angela Hayes
    Women Printmakers of Austin

    Angela Hayes

    January 10, 2009 at 4:21 am

    • You are saying: producing art by physical means should be valued more than art produced by digital means.

      Why? Because its harder and takes more skill than using a printer.

      Ok. Lets say yes it is. It is harder and takes more skill to produce art by physical means rather than art produced by digital means.

      Now does the harder process increases the value of our work?

      Yes. It does. So the artist producing by physical means should get a better sales price.

      But they are not because work by digital means are devaluing works by physical means.

      How does work by digital means devalue work by physical means?

      Work by digital means devalues work of physical means in that while both of them are prints, buyers prefers art by digital means.

      I assume buyers know the hardship & the exact processes by which the work was done by physical means and still chose work by digital means.

      If it is true digital printing is devaluing physical printing.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 1:38 am

  51. Well – I shall not make comments to Tony Max. For sure he does not understand or does not want to see the main issue in the debate.

    In my entry (No. 47) I said that the debate shows quite a few misunderstandings and ignorance of digital inkjet printing.

    One example is when Jenny Roland (entry 16) writes that “technically a digital print isn’t actually a print as there is no impression”. How come? When I “hand-pull” on my inkjet printer I get an impression – a print. And like when I print an etching I can take the matrix with me and use it in another place, another Print Studio (see Diana Nicholette’s comment on this (entry 41)).
    In his entry (18) Jörge de Sousa Noronha says that the inkjetprint technique is only a new tool for artists with specyfic hyperpigmented inks quality. He rightly points to the fact that As a new tool the technique is suspicious and not totaly accepted as a possible process to artists to create originals (and here is again a symptom of these “printmakers diseases”), and he goes on: When lithography appeared in the nineteenth century, engravers and printmakers had a brutal reaction to the new tool considering it just as a “copy process” without any interest for original artistic creation. And what about silkscreen ? This technique is now accepted, but in the 1980’s it was still considered by “experts” as a technique outside the printmaking original world market.
    And , I am sorry, I have to admit that Tony Max is right when he on his website to the question You mean the computer did that? replies: No I did that – using a computer! Computers don’t do work of there own: they are only artits’s tools, just like the squeegee and polyester screen are tools for original screen printmakers.
    This also brings me to the suggesstion of a hand-pulled-original-print sign. I think that Tony f.ex. would happily use such a sign, because – as he writes on his website – he’s prints are very a much hands-on, hand made production, and I think he would be right to do so (like I would use it on my “hand-pulled” inkjet prints).
    When an artist in Denmark makes his own prints, he would sign the prints E.T. – in Danish short for Eget Tryk, indicating that the artist has done all the printing processes himself. As a common, accepted sign we find it quite good and usefull. I don’t know, if something like this is used in other countries – if not it might be worth to consider (with an internationally accepted translation) instead of “hand-pulled”.
    Torben Soeborg
    grafisk vaerksted\NAESTVED – Print Studio for Artists
    http://www.grafisk-kunst.dk
    torben.soeborg@stofanet.dk

    Torben Soeborg

    January 10, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    • There is of course an impression. The ink squirting out of the nozzle onto paper is the impression. Instead of a pen a nozzle.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 1:40 am

  52. Well Torben, I think you make an excellent and eloquent point.

    I struggle with it though. When I do a block or silk screen print it is hard work and I have a difficult time with the idea that a print out from a machine has equivalent value.

    On the other hand value, like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder. If there is value in it to you then it has value.

    I recently did a demonstration with a class discussing block printing and showed them two different examples, one where the designer did the carving and printing and one where the designer sketched and someone else did the arm work. I posed the question: does it make a difference? I think it does. Not that both works were not beautiful and creative, but one was a wood block print and the other was a copy of a sketch made with a wood block. One used the medium as a tool of expression and the other did not.

    Perhaps your right and a symbol meaning its the artist own work is the right direction.

    Angela Hayes

    January 11, 2009 at 7:36 am

    • People who produce a print out from a machine do not think their work has any other value but than their own judgment on the value of their work.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 1:48 am

  53. Some commercial printers for artists contribute as much…sometimes more than the artists themselves!
    Screen printing can be used for reproductive purposes with colour separations of eg. crayon drawings, and still historically have been called ‘original’ prints.
    Drawings done elsewhere can be applied to a lithographic plate. Nothing is sacred any more.
    The only safe criterian is ‘does this image exist in some other medium?’ If not it is an original print. Hard to think of a symbol for that!
    Angela, I know screen printing is hard work, I spent half my life doing it, and I won’t pretend that the way screen ink goes onto paper with a juicy quality did not give me a now lost joy. I am too old to handle that now, and printing with an ink-jet printer has it’s own joys. I used to spend perhaps 3 days getting a colour right, mixing, proofing drying…again and again. To say nothing of the printing of an entire edition of 160.
    Now I can think as I see a proof from my miraculous Epson printer…OK, perhaps 2% crimson to take the edge off that green. It still takes a long time to get the whole image to be what I want. And a lot of proofing because what you see on screen is not what you get. But as I said before, the computer doesn’t do the thinking. Has no feelings. It is not an easy way out. Julia

    Julia Matcham

    January 11, 2009 at 11:55 pm

  54. Thanks Julia.

    It is just another medium, with its own skill set, joys and hardships. I think I can respect it as such and stop comparing.

    For a symbol how about a stylized O with a P sticking out of it to hint at a Q, meaning Original Print = Quality

    Angela Hayes

    January 12, 2009 at 1:18 am

  55. Andy McDougall wrote, “Tony – lets go back to the beginning. What are your comments regarding using a giclee print as an underbase, over painting, then selling it as an original painting and hiding the production method from the buyers.”

    I’m against that because it would be deceptive. I agree that artists shouldn’t claim that their prints are paintings. I never tell people that my prints are paintings. (A funny thing about that, though, is that many people continue to call my prints “paintings” – even after I explain the difference. It’s because they have no clue about what the difference is.)

    Andy also wrote: “…and, as much as I respect the technical abilities of artists who use a computer and then inkjet printer to print out repros of their work, you just can’t compare that technical skill to the string of artistic skill steps one has to master in making a print using other print methods. The whole point of the digital ink jet printer is to eliminate skills and reduce it to command buttons.”

    That’s absolutely false. It’s obvious from the slight, Andy, that you DO NOT ‘respect the technical abilities of artists who use a computer and then inkjet printer to print out repros of their work’.

    I just got a batch of my paintings scanned. Despite using a graphics company with top-of-the-line scanning equipment that costs about $165,000 and (the the same scanner equipment used by the Vatican and major museums) and despite the staff being scanning specialists, it still – as always – takes me at least a day or two to correct each scan and print test prints before the printed images meet my rigorous standards.

    “When any dolt with a computer background can then become a giclee printmaker takes it out of the artistic realm and puts it squarely into the world of commerce.
    That’s OK if it is just printing as opposed to Limited Edition Printmaking. ”

    You shouldn’t denigrate the skills required to be a master giclée printmaker, as I’ve repeadely pointed out on my Web site and in this forum. It’s like saying “any artist with an art background can become an original printmaker.” I’ve clearly and emphatically explained on my Web site and in this forum that giclée printmaking requires great skills and creativity.

    It took me years of struggle to learn how to use computers, Photoshop and the Internet, so you’re also dismissive of all of those significant skills required to be a giclée printmaker, Andy.

    An easy litmus test of what is the truth here is this: All those here who smugly claim that giclée printmaking is is just a matter of pushing buttons are ignorant armchair critics.

    Anyone who is a serious, professional giclée printmaker knows this because they’ve “walked the walk” while artists like Andy only “talk the talk”.

    It’s the same type of ignorant criticism that art buyers say when they claim that picture framers are ripping them off by charging too much for picture framing. Picture framing is also an endeavour that requires significant skills and creativity, but people who have never tried to frame pictures to professional standards have no understanding of what’s required.

    It’s the same type of ignorant criticism that I’ve heard people make about Web site creation. “Anybody can make a Web site,” pooh-hooed an ignoramus to me.

    It’s the same type of ignorant criticism that I heard about graphic designers when desktop publishing was in its infancy. “Anybody can be a desktop publisher” the fools claimed to me.

    It’s the same type of ignorant criticism that I heard about photographers. “Anybody can be a photographer” the fools claim.

    Every time when you hear ignorant put-downs like those, you can tell it’s from people who have failed to do those jobs professionally and have only dabbled in the pursuit – if even that.

    I know about this because I’ve worked professionally as a photographer, Web site creator, a graphic artist/designer/desktop publisher, and giclée printmaker, and have tried to frame my art to professional standards (but failed on that last one) but I know from experience that all of those pursuits are very difficult to reach high standards in.

    It’s easy to sit on the sidelines as an armchair critic and put down those in the field who are struggling.

    Sure, anybody can be a giclée printmaker – if one’s standards are low and if one is an amateur, but the same can be said of any form of endeavour. If one’s standards are low, anybody can also be an original printmaker.

    But tell me, Andy, if giclée printmaking is just a matter of pushing buttons, how much money have you make from it?

    I can tell you from your ignorant insults about pushing buttons that you haven’t made any serious money from it.

    I make my living partly from my giclées, and I can tell report to you accurately from my personal experience that it’s tough to do so and takes a lot of skill and creativity.

    More evidence of the falseness of your claim is that if giclée printmaking were easy, there would be lots of rich giclée artists around. I don’t know of any giclée artists who are rich.

    “Are we producing art or commodity?” Andy continued. In instances such as mine, it’s both art and a commodity. You’re obviously one of those artists who holds the stupid view that art and commerce shouldn’t mix. (That’s another one of my peeves about artists, but it’s off-topic and should be dealt with in a separate thread.) But my points about this is that there’s no conflict of having art as a commodity, and the fact that I had to struggle to meet the challenges of the marketplace significantly improved the quality of my art. Your comment that non-original giclées shouldn’t be commodities is also illogical because a lot of original prints are commodities as well as being art, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Tony Max

    January 13, 2009 at 7:27 pm

  56. Anglea Hayes wrote, “Anyone who compares my 11 layer, year long labor of creativity to something an inkjet popped out has done just that.”

    Angela, you’re another ignorant, cynical, insulting armchair critic.

    What’s the value of the giclées that you’ve sold? I can tell from your ignorant insults that it’s zero – or close to zero.

    I challenge you to create and sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of giclées – as I have – and then come back here and tell me that giclée printmaking is just a matter of ‘popping out inkjst prints’.

    After failing, you’ll come back here with your ‘tail between your legs’ because your insult is just ignorant, rude, pea-brained malarkey.

    Tony Max

    January 13, 2009 at 7:45 pm

  57. Tony, as moderator of this debate, I’ve been tempted to cut you out of it many times, because of your insults, half truths, ignorance and arrogance. But I’m not going to do it. I’m leaving you in for now, thanks to something that one of the participants in this dialogue reminded me of recently: “Mike, a good debate needs the bottom feeders, as well.”

    Mike Booth

    January 13, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  58. Angela, Trouble with the 0… is just imagine the possible debate over the word ‘original’…Tony Max for one would claim it for his own. What about a zero with a bar through it (like no entry signs) with an R underneath it. Meaning Not a reproduction.
    Truth is I think anything other than educating the public is a lost cause. I guess if we were activist enough over it we could have placards outside any print fairs that showed signed reproductions (and most of them do on some stand or other!) We could give leaflets out to the entering public with a detailed explanations of the many ways of being original and the many abuses which they may not realise about. We could take out advertisements in the various Art Magazines. All of that would probably do more good than having an obscure symbol at the bottom of a print.
    And even if we had a symbol are we going to sue people who abuse it?
    We could construct a leaflet on this site…what we would include and what we wouldn’t and we could refer people to it.
    Mike Booth perhaps could create a situation where we could all add to a list of suspect practices. LIST I mean, not argue about it until we see a complete list and then vote to see where the areas of agreement are.
    Just a suggestion. Julia

    Julia Matcham

    January 13, 2009 at 8:32 pm

  59. Janet Badger wrote:

    “I have been a printmaker for over 30 years. One point that should be stressed is the difference between a Print and a Reproduction. Using the word “print” to refer to a reproduction has degraded the term, leading to the idea that a printmaker is a technician running a xerox machine. Also, the term “limited edition” has been likewise abused…just how “limited” is an edition of 1000?!

    Reproductions ARE prints; they are copies that are produced via a printing device. How could you not know this, after working for 30 years as a prinmaker? This is one of the basics of art; even most beginners know this.

    And given the fact that the potential art-buying market is hundreds of millions of people, a limited edition of 1,000 prints is miniscule.

    Imagine if musicians like Elton John or The Beatles had limited their records to only 1,000 copies of each of their songs. How successful would they be today?. This is another one of my peeves about artists: that they think it’s cheating to have a limited edition as big as 500 or 1,000.

    Limited editions of such tiny sizes limits as 500 or 1,000 severely limits the potential suceess of the artists.

    It’s no wonder that with such limited thinking – even among artists – that visual artists have the lowest incomes of all of the creative professions.

    The creative professions are at the low end of the pay scales, and visual artists’ incomes are at the lowest end of the incomes among the creative workers.

    But this is off-topic and should be dealt with in another thread.

    Tony Max

    January 13, 2009 at 8:32 pm

  60. Angela Hayes wrote, “We may rue the fact that inkjet and Epson decided to call their facsimile machines printers but it will not change anything.

    “Let this discussion be respectful of each other, productive and mature or let it end. Are we not professional adults?”

    You’re hypocritical, Angela; calling my Epson printers ‘facsimilie machines’ is not respectful.

    It’s like somebody calling your screen and squeegee ‘facsimilie machines’. The screen and squeegee depend entirely on the technical skills and creativity of the operator to produce quality art, and the same applies equally to my Epson printers.

    Extrapolating, you could insult professional photographers by calling their cameras ‘facsimilie machines’. But by doing so, you would draw the ire of the photographers, and rightly so, because it would be a dumb insult.

    Also, a device that prints images obviously IS a printer and Epson and the other printer manufacturers did not hijack the term “printer”.

    Tony Max

    January 13, 2009 at 9:25 pm

  61. Angela wrote: “Rather than a “no giclee” symbol we should have a world recognized “Hand Pulled Print” Symbol. A brand recognition technique that says, this is quality, this is art.”

    That’s not a good idea because it would confuse people. There’s a considerable degree of hands-on work involved in producing giclées as well, so that mustn’t be overlooked.

    I think what’s more important than ‘hand-pulled’ is ‘mind-pulled’; how much thought went into the work is just as important – more important, even – than whether or not the print was hand-pulled.

    A lot of people would think it’s terrific to own a Madonna c.d. that had been assembled by hand by Madonna herself in a c.d. factory, but the quality of the original music on the c.d. would be identical if the c.d. were made by machine.

    Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar, was wrong; the medium is NOT the message. The message is the message, and the medium is merely the vessel by which the message is conveyed.

    A lot of printmakers try to hijack the artistic message by trying to convince people that the medium is more important than the message.

    Tony Max

    January 13, 2009 at 9:45 pm

  62. I wrote: “I think what’s more important than ‘hand-pulled’ is ‘mind-pulled’.

    Building on that thought, I suggest that artists could write, “M.P.” in the bottom of their prints, like this: “Tony Max 1/750 M.P.

    The M.P. would signify that a lot of quality thought was pulled out of the mind of the artist in order to design and execute the print. ; – )

    Tony Max

    Tony Max

    January 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm

  63. Wow Tony, me thinks thee protest to much.

    An Epson printer is by definition a facsimile machine, the fact that you can make original art on such a machine is great but irrelevant in that definition.

    I was not trying to insult you or anyone else. In fact if you were actually reading what I wrote you might note that I was being swayed by Julia’s argument for art produced that way. But she was giving me a polite, reasonable argument and not calling me names.

    Tony, if you insist on name calling, crapping on everyone else’s point of view and being disrespectful;try NOT to be surprised when no one hears you.

    Also I think your comparison to the music industry is faulty. It’s more like going to a Madonna concert vs. going to a Madonna impersonator concert. It might look like Madonna but it’s not. The Madonna impersonator might have worked really hard to look and sound just like her but ITS STILL NOT HER. A reproduction no matter how well done and how much work it takes you is still a reproduction.

    I am not even saying a reproduction is a bad thing. It brings art to the masses that would other wise be inaccessible. I am all for having reproductions on the market but that does not change the fact that they are NOT original works of art.

    But please, try NOT to understand my point of view and call me a hypocritical idiot a few more times. I am sure it will really help your argument.

    Angela Hayes

    January 14, 2009 at 12:15 am

  64. @ Angela…LMAO at your last paragraph. Very well put and thank you for doing so.

    As far as a definition of “facsimile machine” goes, I’ll stick with the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fax. It seems apparent to me at least that a high end printer is NOT a “facsimile machine” in the true definition of the word. Your point would be appropriate however if you just removed the word “machine”. lol

    Oh Lord here we go…@ Tony…Dude take a few deep breaths and calm down. The testosterone in the air is becoming overpowering. Angela is right again…you’re protesting way too much. Your “arguments” make no logical sense and are just self-justification for your belief system. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that aspect of things…Christ you certainly are one obnoxious prick. And go on and on forever over absolutely nothing. Get a life and give it a break.

    I am a _Certified_ Master printer on high-end digital printers. Are you _Certified_…as opposed to “certifiable”? If not then you’re not a “master printer” and are misrepresenting yourself. As part of the certification process one is introduced to the short history of digital printing. The term “Giclée” was indeed coined by an employee of the Graham Nash Studios. The original (and only) giclée printer was the Iris printer. It was, at the time, sold for well over $100,000 and was used _exclusively_ as a proofing printer for lithographs, etc. The term, as used today, has become a “catch-all” for any reproduction made on any inkjet printer. Including desktop printers. Also, it would make your argument a little more convincing if you’d learn to spell the word correctly.

    Keeping this in mind, what you’re saying then is that you print out reproductions of, hopefully, your own work, utilizing digital means to do so. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. But don’t use the flimsy comparisons to automobiles, music, film, books or any of the other equally bizarre “examples” you’ve used above. There’s no _logical_ connection between those and this discussion. You’re simply trying to confuse the issue and pursue your own agenda. Stop wasting band-width with your tripe. Start _contributing_ to the discussion at hand. Maybe you’ll mercifully lose your connection and stop writing your hysterical posts. PLEASE!

    With that said, I’d like to comment on a few of the observations by other, contributing, posters. I find it difficult to believe that even an “amateur” art collector would be unable to tell the difference between an actual water-color and a reproduction of one. While the digital technology is amazing and produces gorgeous reproductions, they are none-the-less _reproductions_ and easily recognizable as such. The differences are even more obvious between an oil painting and a _reproduction_ of one. The point I’m making is that it has always been a case of “buyer beware” and will continue to be so into the far future. It is the _buyer’s_ responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the seller’s claims. This isn’t to suggest that it’s morally proper to sell a digital reproduction of a piece of art as “original” however. We need to police ourselves as much as we need to be policed by others.

    I’d also like to point out that it’s individuals such as our dearly beloved Tony who give fine art print makers a bad name by passing off these reproductions as “valuable”.

    I know it was pointed out that “value” is a relative term. But _perception_ is 99% of the truth as well. I personally won’t give a “plugged nickle” for a print from an “edition” of 1000. For one thing, the “artist” is too damned egotistical for my taste. I would personally prefer to make my money from a truly limited number of prints rather than flooding the marketplace with 1000 cheap copies of something.

    And yes Tony, I _do_ make my living from my art. But I do so by offering my clients a true piece of art which is available in extremely limited quantities. Thus insuring they have made a good investment for the future.

    I must say I find some of the other comments a little disturbing. Specifically those putting down anything created that employs a digital matrix rather than an analog matrix. It takes the same amount of _artistic_ talent to create excellent, expressive art on a computer as it does using oils for example. It takes considerably more talent to master the computer based techniques in addition to the traditional art techniques. So the digital artist has to work twice as hard to bring their vision to fruition as the analog artist looking at it from this perspective. Once again it’s not the technique that matters but the talent and the statement a piece of art makes.

    Resistance to new technology has always been a problem. I started screening in ’73 when prints pulled from screen printing weren’t considered “art”. I also encounter this same kind of resistance with digital photography. When I show a print made in my darkroom, it’s almost universally accepted as “art”. But if I show a print made from one of my digital cameras…a few eyebrows arch and a few noses get out of joint. Whether I use a film camera or a digital camera, I put the same heart and soul into each shot. I don’t compose it differently. I don’t choose different subject matter based solely on the technology. So why should it matter what instrument was used to create the image?

    I also have a much larger creative base to work from using digital. With film, I’m limited to the substrates I can print on. With digital I have an unlimited selection from which to choose, thus enabling me to tailor the substrate to the image content and thereby enhance the viewer’s experience.

    @ Angela again. I couldn’t agree more…making a print using the silk screening medium is physically much more demanding than sending something to a digital printer. Making a darkroom print is much more time consuming than making a print from my Z3100. Does that mean I should stick with silk screening and the darkroom just because a physical impulse is being fulfilled? Is that all art is about? Physical gratification? (I know that’s not what you were saying. But I’m afraid that some people might equate what you said to just that thought.) The technique, the means of realizing one’s artistic vision or the technology used to do so shouldn’t have a thing to do with the creation of art. The cave men sprayed pigments on cave walls to create some the most amazing art still in existence. But I can assure you they’d have used whatever means were available to them at the time to create their art and to give honor to that impulse. Even if it had been the use of a digital printer.

    I’m certainly not trying to “pick on you”. You’ve made some very cogent points and I’ve enjoyed reading them. I also easily agree with 99% of them. 🙂

    Ok, finished using band-width to front my own agenda. lol

    Eugene Bradford

    January 14, 2009 at 11:13 am

  65. I think one of the most important aspects of this discussion to consider is not necessarily having a “No Giclee” symbol/chop on our work but the educational aspects of it. Various means have been suggested above on how best to do this. My suggestion would be to create a lexicon of terms which apply specifically to fine art printmaking. If we have agreement on what a specific word or term means, then we can communicate more freely with less misunderstandings. Once the viewing/buying public have been introduced to this proposed lexicon, they’ll be better prepared to make an educated, informed decision on what type of art they want to purchase and if it’s an _original_ work of art in the first place.

    We can also easily avoid this “giclee” controversy by relegating “giclee” to it’s rightful place…that of a printer’s proof used to make sure lithographs have the proper tonal graduations.

    I started work on a lexicon some time ago, for my own edification. After speaking with Mike and briefly talking it over, he has suggested that I post this “lexicon of art terms” in a new “call for definitions” on the front page here. Great idea Mike and I’ll be doing just that.

    Before I do so however, I’d like to point out that these are definitions that I was taught by printmakers in a good many cases and others are “generally accepted” definitions. _None_ of the terms or their associated definitions are set in stone though. I find they work for me and that’s why I use them in the context I use them in. Mike’s call for definitions is intended to not only add terms I have undoubtedly left out but to clarify and codify the definitions to these words and terms.

    I’m really looking forward to the outcome of this!

    Eugene Bradford

    January 16, 2009 at 11:01 pm

  66. Eugene Bradford wrote about me:

    “…you’re protesting way too much. Your “arguments” make no logical sense and are just self-justification for your belief system…Christ you certainly are one obnoxious prick. And go on and on forever over absolutely nothing. Get a life and give it a break.”

    Thanks, Eugene. I have a life, as a leading, international artist. My art (giclées) have been collected by art lovers in at least 17 countries and continues to enrich the lives of more and more people. A million dollars worth of my art and accompanying framing has been sold, so I think I can write with a measure of authority. I have a solid track record as an artist, which is more than can be said of some of the contributors here.

    “I am a _Certified_ Master printer on high-end digital printers. Are you _Certified_…as opposed to “certifiable”? If not then you’re not a “master printer” and are misrepresenting yourself.

    I didn’t write that I’m certified. I’m not certified by I’m a master, and it’s the mastery that counts. I suggest you consult a dictionary. Mine states that a master is ‘a skilled practitioner of a particular art or activity’. It doesn’t say anything about certification being required to be a master.

    “But don’t use the flimsy comparisons to automobiles, music, film, books or any of the other equally bizarre “examples” you’ve used above. There’s no _logical_ connection between those and this discussion.”

    Of course there is a logical connectiona nd they’re not flimsy or bizarre comparisons. Some writers here have written that repro giclées are fraudulent. That’s how Mike started the debate. That’s like saying that only theatre acting is viable, because it’s the original, but if a movie is made of the acting, then the movie is fraudulent because the movie is a reproduction of the original.

    The original print/repro issue is also like saying that only live music performances are legitimate, while music recording are fraudulent, because the recording is a reproduction of the original performance.

    Those are perfect analogies. What’s flimsy about them?

    And the writers here HAVE called reproductions fraudulent – even making insinuations about them being like piles of dog excrement – so naturally some artists are going to be upset about such insults.

    Go back and read the way Mike opened the argument with the following lies and insults:

    Mike wrote: “But what about the softer versions of this same fraud, those which affect the printmaking community? I’m referring to zig-zag businessmen offering for sale, “signed and numbered giclee prints” or “fine-art giclee prints.” This co-opting of the terminology of the fine-art print tradition to sell glorified photocopies is dishonest and damaging to the interests of authentic printmakers. The operative question here is: limited editions of what? He knows, as we know, that they’re inkjet copies of photographs of paintings. Isn’t this detail relevant to the discussion? I’m reminded of the story (possibly apocryphal) of the Mexican village which got rich making ceramic reproductions of piles of dog excrement and selling them to American tourists. Mercifully, they had the good taste not to number them. She’s confused, and a prime victim for these bigtime purveyors of “limited-editon giclée prints.” (Please don’t forget the accent ague.)”

    Eugene wrote, “And go on and on forever over absolutely nothing.”

    I wasn’t ‘going on about nothing’. I was going on about scoundels like you Mike denigrating our art medium and trying to put us legitimate artists out of business by scheming to implement a public relations campaign of propaganda (by giving lectures at schools, art classes, etcetera). That’s a serious matter – not ‘going on about nothing’.

    You’re interfering with other artists lives and livelihoods, and you have no right to do that. Recently i almost lost a client because of the bullshit lies and propaganda you people put out. The gallery owner was contemptuous of my repro giclées because they’re repros and not ‘original’ prints, and I had to educate her on the legitimacy of repro giclées to get her as a client.

    Eugene continued, “I’d also like to point out that it’s individuals such as our dearly beloved Tony who give fine art print makers a bad name by passing off these reproductions as “valuable”.

    On the contrary; it is rogues like you who are trying to convince people that our art is not valuable. (It’s like saying that only live performances are legitimate, but movies and c.d.s are illegitimate.

    Unlike you knaves, I’m not trying to put other artists out of business; I’m just taking advantage of the best art printing medium that’s available today to express my artistic creativity.

    I’m not trying to give original prints a bad name, but YOU ARE trying to give repro giclées a bad name.

    You’re the one being offensive and hypocritical. I’m being defensive and I’m not hypocritical. Remember how this argument started: It was an attack by an original printmaker against us repro artists; it didn’t start as an attack by a repro artist against original printmakers, so you have confused the issue.

    Eugune: “I personally won’t give a “plugged nickle” for a print from an “edition” of 1000. For one thing, the “artist” is too damned egotistical for my taste. I would personally prefer to make my money from a truly limited number of prints rather than flooding the marketplace with 1000 cheap copies of something.

    Considering that the marketplace for art prints consists of a few hundred million potential customers, and considering that the top-selling music singles have sold about 10 million copies each, a print edition limited to 1,000 prints is extremely small.

    Eugene continued, “And yes Tony, I _do_ make my living from my art.”

    My question wasn’t, “Do you make your living from your art?” It was, “Do you make a living from your giclée art?” My point was that those who don’t make their living from giclée art have no business claiming that it’s just a matter of ‘popping out some inkjet prints’, because those of you who haven’t done it for a living haven’t a clue of what’s involved and the comment is offensive and disrespectul. Imagine if this were a forum for surgeons, and someone who’s never performed real-life surgery joined in and wrote, “Anybody can be a surgeon,” and insisted on how easy it is, even after detailed explications about how demanding it is. Don’t you think some of the surgeons would be angry?

    Eugene wrote, “We can also easily avoid this “giclee” controversy by relegating “giclee” to it’s rightful place…that of a printer’s proof used to make sure lithographs have the proper tonal graduations.”

    To that comment, I can quote one of your own criticism of me: “Your ‘arguments’ make no logical sense and are just self-justification for your belief system…Your “arguments” make no logical sense and are just self-justification for your belief system…And go on and on forever over absolutely nothing. Get a life and give it a break.”

    But I won’t stoop to your level; I’ll refrain from calling YOU a prick, which is what you called me.

    Tony

    Tony Max

    January 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm

  67. ‘Painting is an original. A giclée of the painting is a reproduction in a different format from the original’.

    Tony, you said it! it is a reproduction.

    I for one do not seek to stop you doing it, just to educate the public about what they are buying. Why are you so worried that we might succeed in doing that? That surely is an honest enough objective?
    You are not an advocate of artists rights (otherwise everyone would be agreeing with you), you are an advocate of what you think are YOUR rights.

    Julia Matcham

    January 17, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    • Julia, you are absolutely right.

      But i think buyers now are swayed by the quality and effort giclee makers put into their work.

      Its just that you think its cheap. Its their money right?

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 2:15 am

  68. Hey Tony

    You know nothing about me, so don’t go making assumptions. I’m not an ‘artist’. I am a screenprinter. I print editions with/for artists, I also design/sell equipment (www.tmiscreenprinting.com) and I am fairly active in the commercial side of imaging (Academy of Screen Print Technology member, SGIA member). I even wrote a book, which is gaining wider acceptance as a fairly good teaching tool.

    Our machines are in not only print studios (just installed one at Serieproject.org plus a number of universities) but also in commercial installations – Mercury Aircraft (metal panels for mainframe computers) Anthony International (glass cooler doors) etc etc.
    I have made my living at graphics, printing, marketing, and selling art – I’m not rich, but I cover my bills, have raised a family, own a nice home, and have enough $$ to play around doing things I like…art prints, rock posters, helping people learn to print, writing about stuff and instigating shit.

    I have a number of friends of various abilities who use digital printers to produce artprints or customers who use large format flatbeds or roll fed units (some up to 20 ft wide) so I know a bit about the digital side.

    With any print process, there is a wide degree of ability of the operator. Just as there are shitty screenprinters (lots of them!) there are quite a few digital printers who haven’t a clue. Some of them have half a clue. Some like yourself, are amazingly gifted and know everything about everything.

    Me, I continue to learn, and continue to marvel at the creative spark. I have no desire to learn much more than i have about digital printing (commercial or artistic) just as I have no desire to take up etching or lithography. After 30 years I’m still working on figuring out how that squeegee does what it does, and helping others make it work for them.

    What I do know, is for every legitimate ‘original’ digital artprinter, there are 500 clowns out there banging off prints on an Epson or Mimaki or HP or Gandinnovations or Oce or Scitex, or 50 other brands of digital inkjet machines, signing them and selling them as limited edition prints or originals to an unsuspecting and ignorant buying public. I don’t see too many of the ‘hand process’ printers producing limited editions pulling the same kind of scams.

    andy macdougall

    January 17, 2009 at 9:50 pm

  69. And you seem to be unclear about what the word
    R E P R O D U C T I O N as oposed to O R I G I N A L P R I N T means.

    You are the only one in step Tony!

    You say: ‘I wrote more than once previously in this debate that non-original giclées are reproductions. As has been pointed out several times, that is not the issue’.

    According to YOU, it is not the issue, it IS to everyone else. Don’t let your sense of superiority you mislead you! The fact you believe something doesn’t automatically make it right.

    Julia Matcham

    January 18, 2009 at 12:10 am

  70. But Angela, it gives us a good idea of the mind of the giclee printer. We need to understand our ‘enemy’ in order to battle with him in the fields of art commerce.

    We are lucky to have such an intelligent and skilled and eloquent guy like Tony telling us how it is, how it should be, and why we are all so stupid to defend/promote/practice our archaic print practices.

    Although he called me an artist. I don’t know if I can forgive him that.

    andy macdougall

    January 18, 2009 at 1:11 am

  71. Quotations

    “An original print is a work of art on paper which has been conceived by the artist to be realized as a print, rather than as a photographic reproduction of a work in another medium”
    (Ifpda – International Fine Print Dealers Association)

    “The impression or print is made directly from the original material by the artist or pursuant of his or her directions; the image does not exist unless it is printed”
    (The Print Council of America’s definition of printmaking)

    “The distinction as to whether a digital print is an “original print” is determined by wheter the work was created by the artist to be realized as a print. A digital print of a work that originated as a painting or drawing is a reproduction and therefore is not an original print”
    (ifpda – International Fine Print Dealers Association)

    “giclée (zhee-clay) n 1. A type of digital fine-art print. 2. Most often associated with reproductions; a gliclée is a multiple print or exact copy of an original work of art that was created by conventional means (painting, drawing, and so on) and then reproduced digitally, typically via inkjet printing. First use in this context by Jack Dugane in 1991, Los Angeles, California”
    Harold Johnson: Mastering Digital Printing)

    “We do not support the use of the term ”giclée” to represent anything other than reproductions created for the “decorative” art market. Most credible museums utilise the term “digital ink-jet””
    (Nash Editions)

    Giclée prints are “reproductions of work done originally in another medium. I make inkjet prints of original digital art”
    (Artist Dorothy Simpson Krause)

    GPA – Gliclée Printers Association Standards no. 1:
    “1. The ability to exactly reproduce original artwork”

    “… giclée is the term used to describe a digital, inkjet, reproduction print made from a work created in another medium”
    (Harold Johnson: Mastering Digital Printing)

    “… gliclées are a superior method or reproduction of my paintings”
    (Tone Max: Artist’s Statement / http://www.tonymax.net)

    “A digital reproduction is a multiple print or exact copy of an original work of art that was created by conventional means (painting, drawing, etc,) and then reproduced by using any of the digital pint technologies … a giclée print of an original oil painting, for example, is a digital reproduction”
    (Harold Johnson)

    Torben Soeborg

    Torben Soeborg

    January 29, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    • “An original print is a work of art on paper which has been conceived by the artist to be realized as a print, rather than as a photographic reproduction of a work in another medium”
      (Ifpda – International Fine Print Dealers Association)

      What if i intended the giclee to be realized as a print? and the art to be scanned just a tool? Like a stencil? to be inked by machine printers.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 2:19 am

    • “The distinction as to whether a digital print is an “original print” is determined by wheter the work was created by the artist to be realized as a print. A digital print of a work that originated as a painting or drawing is a reproduction and therefore is not an original print”
      (ifpda – International Fine Print Dealers Association)

      WOW i am excited that IFDPA could get this wrong. If the distinction as to whether a digital print is an “original print” is determined by whether the work was created by the artist to be realized as a print, then the artist may use the painting or drawing to realize the digital print as the original print. The painting or drawing wasn’t to be realized as the print to begin with.

      If the painting or drawing was intended as the original print then of course a digital print of that work is a reproduction.

      Its all intention guys! And IFPDA got it right at the top half but got it wrong on the bottom half when it claims method determines originality, when it clearly contradicts itself when it also says its determined by the intention of the artist.

      How can digital print origination from a painting or drawing be not original when that was its intended form to begin with?

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 2:33 am

    • GPA – Gliclée Printers Association Standards no. 1:
      “1. The ability to exactly reproduce original artwork”

      WOW not if the artwork wasn’t intended to be the realized print the artist have in mind.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 2:37 am

  72. Well, that has told us!
    And I think that is exactly what most of us have been trying to say. I will print all of it off incase I need to explain.
    “The impression or print is made directly from the original material by the artist or pursuant of his or her directions; the image does not exist unless it is printed”
    (The Print Council of America’s definition of printmaking)
    Perfect.
    Also
    “We do not support the use of the term ”giclée” to represent anything other than reproductions created for the “decorative” art market. Most credible museums utilise the term “digital ink-jet””
    (Nash Editions)
    In future that is what I will call my prints; Digital Ink Jet prints.
    Thanks Torben, a brilliant list of definitions.

    Julia Matcham

    January 29, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    • But Julia thats what giclee has come to mean for us; Digital Ink Jet Prints.

      The original intent for the word giclee was for the word giclee to mean fine art prints created on Iris printers. But the meaning of the name giclee changed into meaning an artist’s care for the process of using a computer and scanner and a printer and paper to produce art.

      Its just that giclee’s can be intended to be reproductions and also as originals.

      And i am guessing probably as in other printmaking methods there are poor giclee printers and excellent giclee printers.

      Buyers have to learn to differentiate between poor giclee printers and excellent ones.

      Just like good lithographers and bad lithographers, theree are good giclee printers and bad giclee printers.

      Cavin

      May 29, 2010 at 2:52 am

      • I think the factor which distinguishes digital-fine-art prints from giclee copies is the intention of the artist. Did he or she set out to create a fine-art print? If they did it’s a print. Did they simply photograph an image created in another medium (oils, water colors, etc.) and output it on an inkjet printer (no matter how high-tech the printer)? Then it’s a digital reproduction, a “giclee reproduction,” not a “giclee print.”

        Obviously, anyone with a substantial economic interest in calling photographic reproductions “fine art prints” will argue the point till the cows come home, but that doesn’t alter the reality. And I’m not only referring here to painters who want to sell copies of their paintings, but the big-bucks large-format printer and ink interests.

        Mike Booth

        June 2, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  73. Second thoughts, I am not quite sure what the last sentence intends: “Most credible museums utilise the term “digital ink-jet”…do they mean they use digital ink jet meaning the same as giclee?

    I mean my prints are in this category: “The impression or print is made directly from the original material by the artist or pursuant of his or her directions; the image does not exist unless it is printed”
    WHAT can I call them Torben? They are ink jet prints but I dont’t want them to be confused with reproductions.

    Julia Matcham

    January 29, 2009 at 8:59 pm

  74. I second the appreciation of Torben’s definitions. I know you were asking for Torben’s opinion on the 2nd post but I’m going to take the liberty of jumping in here with my own answer. I stopped using the term giclee a while back when a friend and fellow artist pointed out that it was frowned on. At his suggestion I started using “digital pigment fine-art print”. In my opinion, it clearly states how it was created without giving it the unwanted negative attention that the word “giclee” gives the very same print. It also clearly states that it’s a fine-art print and NOT a reproduction. I use a digital “matrix” and create my own ORIGINAL art in that manner just as you…so I want to be very careful about how it’s perceived by perspective clients.

    Eugene Bradford

    January 30, 2009 at 7:33 am

  75. Thanks …but…
    Do you think eg. The Royal Academy will understand what that means?
    “digital pigment fine-art print”. still sounds a bit like it could be a euphemism for reproduction.
    Fine-art …could mean anything.
    What about ‘Ink Jet Original Print, not a reproduction’. Bit long! Oh dear!
    Obviously ‘Giclee’ is best left off the list. I am glad to have at least got that sorted.

    Julia Matcham

    January 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm

  76. What a discussion. Whew! A similar discussion was being fought out on another forum and someone posted a link to this thread.

    I’m a relatively new full time artist that offers giclee prints of my original oil paintings. I find this thread very informative and disturbing at the same time. I have been struggling to find the best method to market my art. Offering reproductions of my original art only seemed logical if I wanted to keep money coming in after the originals are sold. For me, after doing research into various methods of printmaking, Giclees were the best option because cost and availability. They can be very high quality if done correctly.

    What I’m finding hard to accept in this forum discussion is that my use of marketing terms (i.e. limited edition, certificates of authenticity, giclee print vs giclee reproduction) are viewed by many as terms that should be used exclusively reserved for those who make prints outside of the giclee method.

    (I would like to point out one thing with regard to my offering limited edition giclee prints. This came about after some difficulties with galleries. I originally offered open edition giclee prints but this almost cost me entry into some galleries. After strong recoomendations from other artists and pressure from the galleries I switched from open edition to limited edition. I call it art politics and trying to do business.)

    I agree with much of what Tony has said but I also hear what the others are trying to say. I’m trying to find the best way to market my Giclees without looking like I’m up to something dishonest. How would you suggest I do this so that I can maxamize my reputation and bank account?

    John

    John

    March 14, 2009 at 9:43 pm

  77. Hi Mike…I am too confused by the dates of contributions to be able to work out what is new and old…but I don’t think I have left anything unsaid from my point of view. There is no simple solution…even if you say that an original print is defined by the fact that it’doesn’t exist in another form’ it would lend doubt to many prints that are absolutely considered original by most people…eg Peter Blake uses collages (and only supervises the printing)…lithographs can be transfered from drawing to plate (and by a technician)…complex crayon or pastel drawings are sometimes colour separated mechanically and then sold as original screen prints …David Hockney has produced ink-jet prints which could be run off infinitely; does that invalidate them?
    I have been looking through various publishers sites…and they are very unclear about exactly how their products are printed. I fear my original ink-jet prints will be called giclees whether I protest or not…because as long as work sells and has numbers and signatures no-one except the artist gives and the odd punter damn.

    Julia Matcham

    June 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    • Yes, it’s complicated. But look on the bright side. It gives you a subject for conversation when people are considering buying your prints.

      Mike Booth

      June 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm

  78. Last night, my buddy Neil and I spent hours and a few beers pulling approximately 85 screenprints on the old Jaguar one arm. These were the backgrounds of a new print we are working on. We used a technique called split fountain, where we dump in various inks of different colors and let them mix a bit randomly, but also drip them or push them with ink knives to make wild streaks and patterns, the idea being to create a westcoast looking sunset sky, shafts of light falling in the forest, with each one having a different look or feature. And instead of going for a more or less consistent look, we tried to make everywone different, lots of experimental combos and some surprising and beautiful results.

    The other 8 colours will be consistent print to print in the edition.

    Although this is all done using screenprinting, after reading Tony’s and Cavin’s arguments on how there should be no distinctions between anything in the art world because we can use pretzel logic and definitions and personal opinions to make anything be anything, all to the greater good of selling art to innocents, I’ve decided these are no longer screenprints.

    We are using waterbased acrylic inks. We are using nice thick Somerset Satin rag paper. So, seeing there is not much difference between the materials used in this and the materials used by watercolor painters, and because each background is different and original, and watercolor paintings sell for way more than our shitty screenprints, and the art buying public doesn’t care or doesn’t know any better, and we ran out of money to buy more beer….

    I’ve decided we are going to call them watercolours.

    Is that OK with everybody? We won’t say ‘paintings’ although we were painting with the squeegee.

    We should make piles more money this way.

    Andy macdougall

    June 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    • Everybody knows I’m a stickler for “authenticity.” But anything Andy MacDougall does, and anything he wants to call it, is OK by me.

      Have you considered call them “everlasting syllabubs?”

      Mike Booth

      June 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    • sounds like they are effectively mono-prints…

      For the record I was a screen printer…meaning I used to print my own work as you do…the hard way! But I am too old for all that now and the equipment remains sadly unused in my studio, and the squeegees are as hard as nails … and my ink-jet prints look like my screen prints but smaller and are designed and proofed just as carefully. More so than many so called ‘original’ screen-prints, my ink-jet prints do not exist in any other form.
      I can’t see that hard manual labour is a necessary attribute in the production of a print…and if it is, one might remark that most well-known printmakers don’t do the hard work themselves!

      Julia Matcham

      June 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: