WHAT IS GICLEE
Let me tell you where the word "Giclee" comes from. One story has it that It was first suggested by a master printer in a fine art print shop on the west coast of the US in the 1990's. He was creating a portfolio of prints for an artist client on his Iris printer (the best and most high end fine art printer at that time) and was asked by his client what to call them when offering them for sale. To her it seemed too ordinary to refer to them as "ink jet" prints as they wer printed on such a. The printer thought for a moment and then suggested the client return after he did some research. Knowing that many printmaking terms have been derived from the French language he searched a dictionary for something he could use. Finally he came across the French term "gicleur" which among other things translates to "nozzle" or "to squirt" in English. From that he made up the term "Giclee" to describe his high quality fine art prints. His client was delighted and began to refer to her high quality Iris prints as Giclee's.
But then others began to hear this term and decided to use it also to describe their high quality prints made on this new generation of high end printers. From there the use of the term expanded until today when many artists, galleries and museums commonly refer to "Giclee" when speaking of their digitally produced high quality prints. Giclee prints are intended to be the highest quality ink jet prints available. The term Giclee(pronounced"Zhee-clay") had in the 1990's become synonymous with the "Iris" printing process, but the Iris fine art printer is no longer made. Other printers have taken its place at the top end of fine art printing like Canon, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland. Canon is the printer that we use because it produces such high quality superb prints.
Lithography and similar traditional printmaking processes depend upon printing from a stone or burning a metal plate from which an edition of prints are created. In the Giclee ink jet process an original piece of artwork can be scanned or photographed to create a high resolution digital image, and this image is then printed on a high end ink jet printer using a high quality acid free paper and UV resistant inks. The beauty of this process is that unlike in traditional printmaking an edition of multiple prints made in one run is no longer necessary, as with a stored digital image new prints can be made at any time.
SHOULD YOU MAKE GICLEE PRINTS OF YOUR ORIGINAL WORKS….YES OR NO?
If you are an artist and are just starting out you may have seen other artists who are making and selling giclee prints of their works at art shows or in their studio. Now perhaps you have already created a body of original works, perhaps paintings and drawings, and maybe have participated in a few art shows yourself. However you may have discovered that it is not easy to sell an original work. Your prices may be modest as compared to other similar media artists in a show but you still find that visitors to your booth seem to hold back from making a purchase because the prices seem daunting to them. And if you are able to sell one or two original works at a show then consider yourself lucky.
However at the end of a show you may just cover your expenses or sometimes not even that. So is there an alternative? Many artists these days who participate in art shows or fairs realize the dilemma of selling original works and have invested in creating giclee prints of their work that will sell at more modest prices. So a visitor to your booth who just loves your work but is reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on a painting or drawing may find an alternative in giclee prints.
The thing is that the quality of giclee prints have blossomed in the last ten years and a good print can be quite spectacular and appealing, perhaps even as much as the original. So artists are creating small runs of what they have found are their more popular works and are offering these along with their originals.
And there are other things to consider. Suppose at some art show or at your studio you sell an original work. Now the satisfaction is great but then when the work is sold it is gone. However if you have made giclee prints of it then you can continue to sell and get income off the original. Or perhaps you are not ready to part with an original even though many people have seen and admired it. If you have gone the route of making giclee prints then you can then offer these to admirers and make some sales while still retaining the original. In that way you have the best of both worlds.
So if you are considering making giclee prints, and you should give it some thought if you are an artist. That is where Stan and Perfect Art Prints can come in. We are always willing to discuss printing with anyone as well as make suggestions that will be the best fit for you and your printing needs.