Sourcing printers for your artwork
This was so difficult! It all started when people were enquiring about some “nice” prints of my artwork. One friend was requesting a reproduction on canvas (I was not prepared to sell the original). Of course, what they were asking for were giclee prints (until recently, I had never heard that term, giclee). As I am new and inexperienced to this, a great deal of research was undertaken. Google and YouTube are brilliant for this! So, what is a giclee print?
“Giclée is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers The name originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine art, most of the times archival, printed by inkjet. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops to suggest high quality printing, but since it is an unregulated word it has no associated warranty of quality”. Reference Wikipedia
Next, is the hunt for a printer who can provide good quality giclee prints. If you search for “giclee printers” on the internet, it will return many suggestions of websites. But this is where the difficulty starts. Who are these people? How much will it cost? They mention high resolution images that would be required for scanning (that is another piece of research). Some of the reproductions are quite expensive, how will I know that they will provide value for money? Personally, I find dealing with companies on the interest a little impersonal and there are so many questions that I would like to ask. Remember, I am inexperienced in this vast new world of art! Buying products and services on the internet is ok if they are standard items, but once you go bespoke, it can become very different situation. I need to talk to someone!
Right, back to basics. I always try to go local wherever possible, so who is available who can provide the advice, guidance, and services I am looking for? Back to the internet which returned a printer in my local town. Went down to have a chat but they did not want to know (attitude was a bit offhand), their product quality was a bit iffy and prices seem high.
Back to the drawing board and internet search. Then I found Pollittbureau of Christchurch which is quite close to where we live. Made an appointment with Barry and went down to see him. Barry was brilliant. We went through his various processes, products, samples, showed me examples of artwork from other artists, came up with some excellent ideas. He also explained why it was so important to get good quality scans for reproduction. He is really experienced and works with artists across the UK. After our meeting, my head was exploding with new ideas! We now have a lovely relationship where he keeps me in the loop with new technology and products.
Through Barry I also found Olly of Artist Gift Printing in Poole, Dorset who produce products such as key, tea towels and a range of other products using your artwork. Two excellent local printers on my doorstep but they were difficult to find. So, persevere. From the above experience, I have learned that finding a good local printer is so important, as this relationship enables you to discuss ideas and processes, which ultimately inform how your approach your future artwork. And, they make your artwork look amazing!