Purchasing Fine Art

Purchasing fine art for your home or office is a challenging decision. There are many factors to consider, and I’d like to provide you with some information to help you through the process. These decisions are always highly personal, and I can answer any questions.

Many people choose fine art because of a personal connection to the location, e.g., a place they used to live, a place they would like to visit, or a place with special significance. Others purchase artwork because they feel it will be a striking addition to their home or office or simply because they find the colors attractive. Art is always subjective; if you like it, you like it.

What is the Difference between a Photographic Print and a Fine Art Print

What differentiates a photographic print from a fine art print is the paper and ink used to produce the image. Photographic papers contain acid, which can fade, crack, and become brittle over time. Fine art papers must meet specific quality criteria for fine art or archival paper status. The ink used to print the image must also be pigment-based instead of dye-based.

Fine art prints made with archival pigment-based ink on acid-free fine art papers using a high-resolution large format printer have a lifespan of over two hundred years. They won’t fade, crack, or turn yellow. Fine art prints are highly sought after by photographers and artists.

Understanding the Importance of Ink in Fine Art Printing

Many buzzwords used in the printing business need to be understood in their proper context to appreciate their significance. Overall, there are three types of ink or colorants used in fine art printing: water-based dyes, water-based pigments, and solvent-based pigments. Each has its unique benefits and drawbacks.

  • Water-Based Dyes have the highest range of color saturation and vibrance; therefore, you only need the primary CMYK colors to achieve excellence. Dyes are outstanding for photographic prints laminated to acrylic or cotton paper under glass but a poor choice for an unprotected canvas.
  • Water-Based Pigments last much longer but require many more colors to achieve the range of colors that dyes can. The added advantage of the extra colors is that tonal gradations in greyscale images are smoother, making it ideal for black and white prints. Most water-based pigment printers utilize around a dozen ink colors.
  • Solvent-Based Pigments are much like the oil paints an artist would use. They have the most longevity and can incorporate exotic metals like chromium, generating vibrant colors. Artists know the advantages of using Cobalt Blue, Chromium Yellow, and Cadmium Red. Solvent-Based Pigment printers typically use around eight colors.

Giclée Printing

Giclée (pronounced gee-clay) printing is a fine-art printing process that combines digital images, high-end printers, and archival-grade pigment-based inks with archival-grade fine art papers and canvas to produce superior-quality print and canvas products. Giclée printing incorporates modern technology to help create the highest-quality and most detailed prints for photographic and fine art markets. My fine art photographic prints, acrylic prints, and canvas wraps are produced to this standard using this printing process.

What is Limited Edition vs Open Edition

One question often asked is, “What is the difference between a limited edition print and an open edition print?” The two types of prints are more alike than they are different.

Both types of prints are usually original artworks that an artist has developed in a medium like photography. Both editions are often produced and distributed by the artists themselves or with the assistance of a seller portal. Both editions are high-quality and can combine meticulous detail with quality materials such as museum-grade archival papers and pigment-based inks.

Limited edition prints are always limited to a specific number of copies (e.g., 25 images per size) signed by the artist. An open edition print has no limit on the number of copies printed. As a rule, limited edition prints are collectible; open edition prints are not. As a result, limited edition prints tend to be priced substantially higher than open edition prints, and collectors will seek to create a collection of the same. Open edition prints are often purchased as decorative artwork for homes or offices. Many photographers issue a signed and dated Certificate of Authenticity for their limited and open edition prints.

Do Limited Edition Prints have more Value?

Open edition prints typically cost between $80 and $500 depending on various factors such as size and finishing, and they can be purchased at a variety of locations, websites, and retailers. Limited edition prints, on the other hand, cost substantially more, ranging from $500 to $5,000. They are purchased from collectors, specific art galleries, estate sales, auction houses, art dealers, and of course, from the artist.

Comparing Gallery Wraps, Museum Wraps, and Stretched Canvas

When it comes to photography, many people prefer the look of canvas prints because they feel canvas offers a richer art gallery look than framed paper prints. They see the canvas as a more straightforward, cleaner production in a ready-to-hang format. Canvases using archival fade-resistant inks are non-reflective and look great from any angle. 

Canvas wraps are produced in one of two ways: (1) your fine art photo is printed onto silver-based paper and then bonded onto museum-quality canvas, or (2) your fine art photo is printed directly onto museum-quality canvas material using fine art printing processes. Regardless of the technique, your canvas is stretched and wrapped around an artist’s stretcher frame and finished with your choice of frame or hanging hardware.

  • A Gallery Wrap extends and folds your artwork around the sides of the wood frame so that your artwork completely covers the wood frame. It has a protective backing completed in a decorator’s finish. You can hang a Gallery Wrap either with or without a frame.
  • A Museum Wrap also covers the wood frame; however, instead of extending your artwork around the edges of the canvas, your artwork covers just the front. You choose between white or black wrapping to cover the sides of the frame. You can also hang a Museum Wrap either with or without a frame. Some artists and collectors prefer how the art looks framed, and others prefer an unframed look.
  • A Stretched Canvas will still have visible staples or nails holding the fabric to the wooden stretcher bars. A stretched canvas is not a ready-to-hang piece of work and will need some framing.

My Giclée Canvas Prints use archival pigment-based inks with high-end printers on superior quality canvas materials.