Purchasing Fine Art

The purchase of any artwork for your home or office is never an easy 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 am available to answer any questions you may have.

Many people choose a fine art print because of a personal connection to a location, e.g., a place they used to live, a place they would like to visit, or a place with special significance that they want something to remember it by. 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 and 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 print. Photographic papers contain acid which can make prints fade, crack, and become brittle over time. Fine art papers have to meet certain quality criteria in order to be designated a fine art or archival paper. The ink used to print the image must also be pigment-based as opposed to dye-based.

Fine art prints made with archival pigment-based inks on acid-free fine art papers using a high-resolution large format printer have a lifespan of over two hundred years and 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

There are a lot of buzzwords used in the printing business that need to be understood in their proper context in order 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 that are 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 color that dyes are capable of. 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 greatest longevity and can incorporate exotic metals like chromium generating very vibrant colors. Artists know the advantages of using Cobalt Blue, Chromium Yellow and Cadmium Red. Solvent-Based Pigment printers typically use around 8 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 produce the highest-quality and most detailed prints for photographic and fine art markets. All of 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 actually 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.

While limited edition prints are always numbered (e.g., 25 prints per size) and signed by the artist, an open edition print has no limit to the number of copies that can be printed. Some artists do, however, sign their open edition prints. As a rule, limited edition prints are collectible, which is not the case for open edition prints. 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 usually purchased as decorative artwork for homes or offices. Many photographers issue a signed and dated Certificate of Authenticity for their limited edition 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 in a variety of locations, websites, and retailers. Limited edition prints on the other hand cost substantially more ranging from $500 to $5,000 or more, and they are obtainable only from collectors, specific art galleries, estate sales, auction houses, art dealers, and of course from the artist themselves.

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 as opposed to paper prints which require a matte and glass cover with a frame. They see canvas as a simpler, cleaner production in a ready-to-hang format. Using archival fade-resistant inks, canvases are non-reflective and look great from any angle. My Giclée Canvas Prints are created using archival pigment-based inks with high-end printers on superior quality canvas materials.

Canvas wraps are generally produced in one of two ways: (1) your fine art photo is printed onto a professional silver-based photo paper which is then bonded using high pressure and heat onto museum-quality canvas, or (2) your fine art photo is printed directly onto museum-quality canvas material using a fine art printing process and high-quality archival inks. Regardless of which technique has been used, your canvas is then 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 all the way around the sides of the wood frame so that your artwork completely covers the wood frame. It has a protective backing that’s completed in a decorator’s finish. A Gallery Wrap can be hung either with or without a frame.
  • A Museum Wrap also covers the wood frame but instead of extending your artwork around the edges of the canvas, your artwork is limited to just the front of the canvas. You choose between a white or black wrapping to cover the sides of the frame. A Museum Wrap can also be hung either with or without a frame. Neither a gallery wrap nor a traditional stretched canvas is better than the other. Some artists and collectors prefer the way 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 it will need to be framed in some manner.