Limited Edition Fine Art Prints

Printmaking
Introduction to Giclée Printing
The Media/Longevity
Acid Free Paper
Pigment-Based Inks
"Print on Demand"
Limited Editions
Original Limited Editions
AP= Artist's Proof
Value and Collectability

Certificate of Authenticity
Printing Services


Printmaking

Traditionally the making of limited edition prints is a time-consuming and demanding commitment between the artist, a printer and a publisher. The choice of image/images for the edition, choice of paper/canvas, accurate colour correction, the size of the edition, the consistent quality of each print, are all critical to the success of the edition whether you measure that success aesthetically or commercially. At Mima we work closely with the artists to ensure that there is no compromise on quality… our reputations depend upon it.

Introduction to Giclée Printing

Giclée (pronounced "ghee-clay") is a French word meaning, "to spray”. Giclée printing made its debut in 1985 and incorporates the technology of digital printing, whereby microscopic droplets of ink (approximately the size of a red blood cell) varying in size and density are precisely positioned onto the media surface producing a near continuous tone image, smoother gradation between tones and a more finely differentiated color palette. Giclée prints offer incredible saturation, depth of color and sharpness, altogether a beautifully finished print that captures the essence of the artist’s intent. Many contemporary and influential artists have adopted this new, high-quality printing technique because it has been perfected to a level of sophistication, quality, permanence, and affordability that no other print process can match. Giclées have the highest apparent resolution available today with the exception of Laserjet prints, greater than that of lithographs and a color range that exceeds that of serigraphy (also known as silkscreen printing).

We utilize the Epson 9800 Stylus Pro inkjet printer (with a 9600 for backup) with K3 UltraChrome pigmented inks, the best archival papers and canvases (up to a width of 44” by any length) and give individual attention to every image to produce giclée prints worthy of museum walls. Large format and panoramic printing are our specialty.  

Giclée prints on paper can be completed traditionally by mounting and framing, we also offer flush and float mounting on medium density fibre board. Canvases are always coated with a liquid laminate, then you can choose to have it/them shipped to you, rolled, for stretching locally, or we can stretch your canvases for you.

During the summer of 2012 we have developed a new presentation for canvas, in the style of Chinese Scrolls, which are being very well received. But it doesn't end there, we also now offer laserjet printing on aluminum which gives your work startling clarity, depth and saturation.

Working with digital photographs on the computer using Adobe PhotoShop and "plug-ins" that increase it's capabilities, Mark Prior employs 36 years of experience as a fine art photographer, manipulating images to the most exacting degree to arrive at the most expressive print. Once achieved, the greatest satisfaction is in knowing that this is precisely reproducible as many times as required, whenever required.

The Media/Longevity


The choice of paper/canvas best suited to an image is crucial to the final effect, but it’s not just a question of looks. It also determines the longevity of the print that the media be archival, i.e. that the pH is neutral, commonly referred to as “acid free”. Preliminary data from Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. indicates that for the combination of K3 pigmented inks on acid-free pH neutral media, the light-fastness will be rated up to 100 years under glass, and for black and white up to 200 years. These time periods can effectively be doubled by the use of UV glass. This is, therefore, the only printing process to rival and exceed archivally processed silver-gelatin photographic prints for archival stability. 

Acid Free Paper is usually made using the basic raw materials of cotton and/or linen rags. The surface coating of Epson's archival watercolor papers and canvas are optimized for Epson UltraChrome Ink, increasing the beauty, definition and clarity over many other papers, whilst maximizing the potential longevity of the print. (Paper processed with wood chips and wood fiber should not be used for fine art prints because lignin from the grain of the wood is acidic, causing brown stains on paper over time, known as “foxing”. Wooden picture frames must therefore be sealed from the artwork.)

Pigment Based Inks are much more resistant to UV light than dye-based inks. They were originally developed for outdoor use and will keep their original colors considerably longer. They are also less likely to run if they come into contact with water.

"Print on Demand"

For many technical and practical reasons traditional printmaking methods usually dictate that a print run of the entire edition be made right from the get-go. i.e. If the artist decides on an edition of 100, all 100 of them would be printed one after the other, numbered in the order that they come off the press and then signed by the artist. Clearly this involves a substantial investment of time and money which may be wasted if the edition doesn't sell and the prints end up sitting on a shelf. 

This is a drawback that has been overcome by digital printing because the digital file, stored on a hard drive, will not change or deteriorate over time and prints can be made when they are needed. The industry calls this "print on demand".

Limited Editions.

A limited edition print is an image reproduced to a predetermined, i.e. limited print quantity, to guarantee the rarity and future value of the print. Traditionally the artist making his own prints, as well as signing each print, will individually number them in the order they are printed. For example, 3/200 is the 3rd print in a series of 200. 

In traditional printmaking, each print in an edition is the same size because they are all made from the same plate or screen. Clearly because of the nature of digital printing this restriction does not apply to giclée editions, so it is entirely the artist's choice as to whether or not the prints are consistently sized. There is no 'accepted practice' in this regard, but most artists/photographers choose not to restrict themselves, making each print the size required to suit the purpose at the time, perhaps at the request of a client to suit a specific space or perhaps to work within a budget. This makes sound economic and marketing sense and so as long as the edition number is adhered to all the prints in that edition could be of different sizes.

An 'open' edition theoretically has no limit to the number that may be printed.

Original Prints / Original Limited Editions.

The term "Original Limited Edition" indicates that the prints are not reproductions/copies of an image created in another medium. This is the only form in which the image is created and available. Giclée prints from digital photographs are an example of this.

AP= Artist's Proof

There is a highly respected tradition in the art world that the artist may, in addition to the edition, release another 10% (more is frowned upon) of the total number of prints in the edition, known as “artist’s proofs”. So, for an edition of 200, up to 20 artist’s proofs may be expected to eventually be in circulation, i.e. 220 prints in total. Traditionally they would mostly be the prints made by the artist to determine how the print should look before the print run is started. These are what we would call the ‘true’ Artist’s Proofs. It is accepted that then the artist may use up the rest of the allowable number with prints made after the edition is finished.

Although to the artist, artist’s proofs, being made in preparation for the edition, are inherently imperfect and inferior, curiously they are worth more on the art market and therefore of more interest to many serious collectors. There is, of course, a certain logic to this: Firstly, by their very nature, they are more likely to be unique and secondly, seen in context, they demonstrate the creative process, showing the artist’s mind at work.

Artist's Proofs are less common with digital printing because the artist/photographer goes through the creative process on-screen rather than having to physically make prints to arrive at the image they want. But it does happen if an initial print is considered to be too good to scrap, whilst not quite the final interpretation that the artist is looking for.

Value and Collectability

The higher price of limited editions over other prints is a combination of the limited supply of each piece and the exceptionally high quality of these prints (as opposed to offset-lithography for example, as used to make posters etc.). Each print is often made as well as always signed by the artist. Typically, the more manually intensive the process is, the fewer there will be and the more each print will cost.

Being limited in number, demand for certain limited edition prints can be greater than the number printed, causing an increase in value so there is an advantage to keeping the edition numbers small. Once an edition is sold out from the publisher, it may still be available from an authorized dealer, then the prints are considered to be on the Secondary Market. This means that the print can be bought and sold by any dealer or individual at whatever price the market will bear, but often above issue price, depending on supply and demand. Much satisfaction as a collector is to be gained through exercising a little ‘talent spotting’ by buying the work of a young artist who later becomes well-known, commanding much higher prices for the same work.

Regardless if whether the print is "traditional" or digital, the most important factor to influence the resale value is the reputation of the artist and so the demand for their work in general. So our advise is always that people should buy art because they love it, it lifts their spirits and they want to live with it. If it turns out to be a good investment, that's "cream on the cake". The affordability of giclée printing today has brought an unprecedented variety of art within the budget of many more people and we encourage artists to embrace this democratization of art, giving us all the chance of a wider audience to buy and enjoy our creations.


Benefits For The Collector: Private collectors can acquire an ‘original limited edition giclée print’ (explained here) which signifies that these are not reproductions of a piece of art in another medium, this being the medium of choice, at a fraction of the cost of one-off originals. Further, a print that has been signed and numbered by the artist is always a unique addition to anyone's private collection.

Benefits For Corporations: Because giclée prints are a fraction of the cost of one-off originals, interior decorators and corporate art buyers are using them increasingly, to really make an impact within a limited budget without sacrificing aesthetic quality. (Mima has a diverse portfolio for clients to select from that can be purchased as suites of work, in various sizes and quantities, or as stand-alone images. Please click here to find out more.)

Benefits For Galleries: Since establishing Mima in 2005 we have been working with Canadian galleries and a variety of other outlets and have come to a real understanding of what works, what doesn't and why. Galleries often buy the giclée prints that we publish ourselves or we place work on consignment. We provide extensive support to stockists, including display stands, point-of-sale material; Certificates of Authenticity; Jpegs for internet use, images for printing in brochures etc, and other supporting information including artists biographies, statements, etc. and will be happy to help you to produce similar material to promote your own work.


Certificate of Authenticity

A Certificate of Authenticity accompanies all limited edition Giclée prints that leave the MiMa studio with very few exceptions - details are given on the product page for each item. In most cases the publisher's, sometimes the artist's, signature on this document attests to the authenticity of the print and that we have personally inspected and numbered it. This also certifies that only the finest archival paper and inks were used. The certificate should be kept with the receipt for insurance purposes. Additionally, prints on paper are embossed with the studio stamp.

We (Mitra Ghaffari and Mark Prior) sign our own prints, but because most artists that we represent are located some distance from us it is not practical to have them sign their prints. Hence the importance of the accompanying certificate.


Printing Services

At MiMa we provide archival quality fine art reproduction/printing services to fine artists, interior designers, architects, art agents, corporate art companies, galleries & museums requiring high quality giclée prints. For a growing number of digital artists and photographers, giclée is the medium of choice for printing their originals.

To learn more, click here.

Questions? Call 1-877-335-8111 or email contact@mimagallery.com.      © Copyright MIMA Fine Art Publishers, Inc., 2005.