By Darren Vena
Finding the right company to reproduce your art can be a challenge, partly because so many different types and sizes of businesses now offer fine-art reproduction services. Each business seems to offer a different mix of services, capabilities and expertise.
So, at Studio LexJet, we’d like to introduce you to some of the many LexJet customers across the US that offer giclée-printing services. We will also pass along some of their insights that can help artists and art buyers who are trying to make sense of the ongoing digital revolution in art reproduction.
Here, let me tell you about Mike Damico who runs MindYourPrints.com. Mike Damico is a trained and talented artist, who sells his works through the small gallery he operates as part of the Frame & Art Gallery custom frame shop he owns in Fort Myers, FL.
His giclee-printing business, MindYourPrints.com, offers high-quality large-format printing services to individual artists and photographers as well as other gallery owners. Damico uses an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 and typically recommends either LexJet’s Sunset Matte Canvas, Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper, Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g, or LexJet Premium Archival Matte Paper.
In addition to printing, Damico offers high-quality scanning of 4 x 5 transparencies, dry mounting of prints and canvas, spray-coating of printed canvases, canvas stretching, and custom matting and framing.
For jobs that require original paintings to be digitized, Damico has partnered with the Nautilus Photograpic Studio, also in Fort Myers. The studio is equipped with the controlled lighting and a 32-megapixel Hasselblad camera for capturing all of the details necessary for a good reproduction.
Here are five tips from Mike Damico for finding the right printmaker for your work: . The initial digitization of an image will make or break a final product.
1. Work with professionals who understand the value of a quality image capture. The initial digitization of an image will make or break a final product.
2. Ask who the printer’s primary customer is. If the answer is photographers and/or artists, then the printmaker should have a good handle on how to produce a quality image.
3. Try to find someone locally, so you can get a better understanding of the process and have more control over quality. Find someone you work well with and who can meet your needs. Doing business with someone you have a good relationship with can have a huge difference in the overall quality of your prints.
4. Expect to pay more for a high quality art reproduction (giclee) than you would pay for a photo enlargement on canvas. Compared to busy lab that is simply outputting digital photographs, the giclee printmaker uses only top-quality materials and is likely to spend far more time attaining the best possible color match to your original, compared to a lab that is simply outputting a digital photograph.
Color matching can be very challenging because the surface texture, depth of light penetration, light absorption rates, and even the chemistry of a surface or pigment can affect how light reflects back to the eye. As Mike puts it: “To take an image that was painted on canvas and convert it to millions of little dots of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks is a feat in itself. Getting the millions of ink dots to look like the original can be mind-blowing.” Plus, different types of display lighting can play funny tricks on your eye—especially when the final print isn’t produced from the same compounds as the original art.
5. Find someone you trust to keep up with the most important advances in digital printmaking. A lot of information has been published about digital fine-art reproduction. It’s OK if you don’t absorb and understand all of the intricacies. The key is to work with someone you trust—someone who has proven that they can deliver the type of quality you need.
Other Words of Advice for Artists and Art Buyers: Once the work has been printed and sold, make sure your customers understand what they’re buying, advises Damico. When selling a reproduction of an original painting, your buyers should understand that it’s a reproduction. If it’s a print that’s been hand-embellished, they should know that, too.
Damico believes it’s important for everyone in the art community to adapt to changing times and accept that digital imaging is a legitimate method of creating and reproducing art. The time has also come to recognize that digital tools can be a bona fide means of expressing an artistic vision, and not something that inherently requires less skill. Even so, Damico emphasizes, “We must never forget the foundations and evolution of art.”
The next time you’re in the Ft. Myers area, we encourage you to stop by and visit Mike Damico’s Frame & Art Gallery. Or visit his website: www.mindyourprints.com.
If you aren’t sure where to find good digital printmakers in your part of the country, contact me or one of the account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538. We would be happy to refer you to printmakers in your area who can provide the types of digital art-reproduction and post-printing services you need.