When you find an attractive image in a gallery, and they tell you it’s a “print”, there’s something you should know.
You may want to ask, “Is it a print or reproduction?” Because, odds are, it’s a reproduction. A reproduction is an image produced by printing a digital photograph of an original work. Most “prints” currently on the market are reproductions, and for good reason. They can be produced cheaply and in abundance. Unfortunately, to call them “prints” (or, in some cases “giclee prints”) is misleading, and unfair to the consumer.
On the other hand, a true artist’s print is an original work.
A print is more authentic, durable, and valuable than a reproduction. The artist has produced it by hand, using one of a number of techniques, some traditional and some modern. He or she (sometimes assisted by a master printer) will usually print a limited edition, using high quality materials that can last for centuries with careful handling.
Most artist’s prints are printed on a press. However, designs carved in linoleum and wood can be printed by simply burnishing, or rubbing the paper against the inked surface. To do so, the artist uses a flat tool, such as the back of a spoon, or a disk called a “baren.” Wood and linoleum blocks can also be printed on a press.
Here is a woodblock print from my college days.
I carved, pounded, and scratched the wood to create the design. Then I inked it and printed it on a press.
Later still, I got interested in etching.
Most etchings go through several “states” before the artist declares them finished. For example, I developed this little etching by means of several revisions. For each revision, I re-immersed the plate in the bath of etching chemicals.
A state midway along the process, after a few trips back to the acid bath and the press
Finally, here is the plate.
(The dark spot at upper left is my shadow, its ‘s hard to take a photo of such a reflective material.) I love working with copper.
I have written more about etching in other posts.
Here are some links for more examples and explanations:
Being a working artist has its joys and challenges, but, through it all, your support and encouragement sustain me. Thank you so much for being my audience.