Whether you print fine-art photographs and art reproductions for yourself or as a service to other photographers or artists, you might want to check out ARTtrust Online. It’s a high-tech, print-authentication system designed to protect the value of photographic and art prints by assuring buyers that each print in an edition is unique and authentic and isn’t an unauthorized copy.
ARTtrust registration reduces risks for buyers of high-value art prints and better protects the rights of photographers and artists. Auction houses, galleries, museums, and collectors can use ARTtrust to trace the ownership of each print over time.
ARTtrust fills a real need in the market for fine-art photography and art prints because the same digital imaging and printing technology that makes it possible to create consistently color-accurate, long-lasting reproductions of fine art and photographs can just as easily be used to make counterfeit prints.
In addition, ARTtrust enables art buyers to verify that the photographer and artist played a role in either creating or approving the print. According to an article on collecting fine-art photography by Daniel Grant in Barron’s Penta publication for wealthy individuals, “In general, the further away a photo is from the moment of creation, and the less directly the artist was involved, the more the price declines.”
Open to All Printers and Printing Methods: The ARTtrust system was incubated by HP in partnership with Wilhelm Imaging Research and the French company Prooftag. ARTtrust Online can be used not only with digital prints produced on HP Designjet Z printers, but also with prints produced on other makes and models of pigment-ink printers as well as with traditional silver photography, lithographs, serigraphs, and other printed imagery.
Based on Proven Anti-Counterfeiting Technology: The ARTtrust system is built around the ARTtrust Bubble Tag™, a label in which a random set of air bubbles is encapsulated in a translucent polymer film. The tridimensional code in each Bubble Tag™ can’t be reproduced and the tag itself can’t be tampered with without altering the look of the film. The label uses a non-removable, pH-neutral, non-acidic adhesive that won’t affect the archival properties of the print. It is based on a technology developed and patented by Prooftag that helps producers of luxury goods and valuable documents protect their work from forgery or counterfeiting.
For each print, the artist or photographer obtains a set of gold, silver, and blue Bubble Tags. The silver Bubble Tag goes on the back of the print and the gold Bubble Tag is attached to the customer’s certificate of authenticity. The creator of the art keeps the blue Bubble Tag on file and registers the tag set’s number to his or her personal space on ARTtrust Online.
Sellers or buyers can verify the authenticity of a tagged print on the ARTtrust Online website or with the free i-ARTtrust application for the Apple iPhone. The online records for each tag number will show an image of the print and an enlarged view of the print’s unique Bubble Tag configuration. The records also provide information about the artist, printing method, and materials used.
Users of HP’s Designjet Z Professional Photo Printers with HP Vivera Pigment inks who want to provide an additional layer of assurance to collectors will discover that details about the longevity and durability of prints on popular media is automatically attached to the information that accompanies each ARTtrust Bubble-Tagged print. This life-expectancy data is drawn from testing conducted by Wilhelm Imaging Research.
Artists and photographers can purchase the Bubble Tags and ARTtrust membership cards directly through ARTtrust Online or from printmakers, print-service providers, or galleries. There is a nominal membership fee ($90) to set up a personal space for each photographer or artist who wants to use the ARTtrust system.
Promoted as a Worldwide Standard: ARTtrust was announced at PhotoPlus Expo and ParisPhoto last October and went live at PMA in February. “We recently launched ARTtrust Online in China and will continue promoting it worldwide with the goal of establishing ARTtrust as a global standard,” said Philippe Serenon, CEO of The ARTtrust Company in Paris, France.
Some of the famous photographers in North America and Europe who are using ARTtrust Online include Joel Meyerowitz, Albert Watson, Douglas Kirkland, Daniel Cox, and Magnum photographers Elliott Erwitt, Thomas Hoepker and Martin Parr. Photographers in China who are using ARTtrust include Rong Rong and Mao Tong Qiang. PAE Art has adopted ARTtrust for their collection of Chinese photography. Magnum photographer Elliot Erwitt is using ARTtrust with the new edition of platinum prints that he will be presenting in July at the international photography festival Recontres d’Arles in France and the ArtHamptons international fine art fair in Bridgehampton, NY.
If you have questions about ARTtrust, contact the U.S. Business Development Manager Tom Hubbard at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tom has a deep understanding of the needs of photographers, artists, and digital printmakers. His career includes work in photojournalism and portrait, commercial, architectural, and fine-art photography and experience in camera stores, photo studios and professional labs. He has also served as Director of the Time-Life Photo and Digital Imaging Lab and Business Development and Marketing Manager for HP. Most recently, Tom created the Portland Metro Photographic News and three other educational sites for beginning photographers.