ARTtrust Online Helps Photographers and Artists Protect the Value of Their Prints

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.

Guide to Preservation Framing and Display of Photographs

If you want to provide expert advice to customers who buy your framed prints, check out the wealth of information available in a free publication entitled A Consumer Guide to Materials for Preservation Framing and the Display of Photographic Images.

The guide was published in January 2010 by the Image Permanence Institute at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with support from True Vue.

FBI Studios Hosts Gratitude 4: Giclée Print Art Show

To express their appreciation to the artists who hire Fine Balance Imaging Studios (FBI Studios) to reproduce their work, co-owners Joe Menth and Nancy MacFarland hosted the Gratitude 4: Giclée Print Art Show in February.  More than two dozen artists and photographers were featured in the show which was held at the Bayview Cash Store Hub from Feb 1-Feb 27 and from Feb 19-26 at the Open Door Community Gallery in Bayview Corner on Whidbey Island, Washington.

According to Joe, the show is unique for three reasons:

  • The artists get to be in a gallery show, without the usual gallery fees. 100% of the sales go directly to the artists.
  • All of the art on display are giclée fine-art reproductions, produced by Fine Balance Imaging.
  • The featured artists represent all skill levels and different kinds of original mediums, including acrylics, watercolors, photographs, oil paintings, and mixed-media collages. Some of the artists are internationally famous and some are just beginning their career. The artists featured in this year’s show ranged in age from 10 to 80.

Fine Balance Imaging hosts the shows, handles the marketing, and advises the artists on how to finish and price their work.  They also throw a big reception party for the artists.

In The Canopy by Gaylen Whiteman

FBI Studios uses the show as an opportunity to demonstrate that high-quality giclée printing can have the same visual quality as original art. On his blog post about this year’s Gratitude show, Menth pointed out that, “Works shown at the Seattle Art Museum for many exhibits (including reproductions of some paintings in the recent Michaelangelo exhibit) were created using the same process FBI Studios uses for local Whidbey artists. Many galleries offer these prints as viable alternatives to high-priced original works of art.”

He added that correctly produced giclée prints on certain types of papers will resist fading for over 200 years, which is decades longer than prints created with offset lithography: “In fact, most giclée prints will outlast original watercolor paintings and traditionally printed photographs.”

In addition to showcasing a variety of artists, the Gratitude show demonstrates how different types of print materials can enhance the look of different types of art. Eyescapes 6 by Ellen Martorelli was output on LexJet Sunset Photo Semimatte paper and Koi Attack by Chris Spencer  was printed on Moab Moenkopi Washi Unryu kozo/mulberry paper.

For the Gratitude show, the piece entitled In The Canopy by Gaylen Whiteman was output on Ellie Poo paper a 100% recycled paper that contains elephant dung. Reprints were available on Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art or Epson Somerset Velvet.

This is the fourth year FBI Studios has sponsored the Gratitude show. They do it because they both feel so fortunate to be working with artists. As Menth puts it, “We love talking with incredible artists, being inspired by the conversations and friendships, and getting the chance to make a living doing something we’re really passionate about.”

Koi Attack by Chris Spencer

At LexJet, we like hearing stories about how our customers are helping their customers market their work. If you have stories you’d like to share, call your LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.

Eyescapes 6 by Ellen Martorelli

Photo Book and Exhibit on Ferrari Testarossa

Photographic artist Duane Conliffe, who was profiled in Vol. 3, No. 5 of LexJet’s In Focus newsletter, is proud to report he is  one of the featured artists at The Art of Living Black Exhibition at The Richmond Art Center in Richmond, CA from Jan. 26-March 13.

The first major public exposure of the exhibition will take place Saturday, Feb. 20 during an artist’s reception.  Conliffe’s portion of the exhibition is built around Redhead—The Ferrari Testarossa Art Photography Book that he produced earlier this year.

“The Redhead project began when a San Francisco car collector asked me to create a very special, high-quality book about one of his prized vehicles, the 1988 Ferrari Testarossa,” explains Conliffe. “He was looking for something unique to express his appreciation for the extreme levels of craftsmanship throughout this car as well as the superb quality of the driving experience.”

 Conliffe believes he was approached to create the one-of-a-kind book, because of his combination of experience photographing motorsports, auto and motorcycle events and expertise in bookmaking. He was honored to accept the project.

 “The Ferrari Testarossa was named after the Testa Rossa sports racing car series from the late 1950s,” says Conliffe.”And in fact, Testarossa means Redhead in Italian. This ‘redhead’ in the sports car refers to the red painted camshaft covers on the 12 cylinder engine.”

 Conliffe photographed the Testarossa in four sessions over a nine-month time span. He shot the exotic sports car at various locations in San Francisco and Alameda, CA, with the intention of telling the story of the car through purely visual means.

 “The handcrafted details of the Testarossa are great subjects for any photographer,” notes Conliffe,“but I also wanted to portray the driving experience through my photography because that is what an extreme sports car like this is made for.”

 After all the images had been captured, Conliffe spent several weeks in editing, post processing and book design. He paid a lot of attention to the sequence of images on the pages in order to create the right visual flow for the viewer.

  He also wanted full control over how the final images looked, so he printed all 75 color plates for the book himself, using his Epson Stylus Pro 9800 with Epson UltraChrome K3 inkset.

 “In my opinion, the ultimate expression of the photographer is the fine art photographic print. So one of the goals of this project was to use my digital-printing skills to create unique high-end artwork,” says Conliffe. The book pages were printed on Moab Entrada 190 gsm, 100% cotton, double-sided, bright paper. The finished pages were mounted into the Moab Chinle Digital Book black leather cover.“This makes a first-class presentation when finished off with the black slip-case that is provided with the book cover.” notes Conliffe.

 Judging from the reactions he got from his colleagues in photography and art, he realized that the book project was really something special.

 “So, I decided to expand the scope of this project,” said Conliffe. “I decided to present the book as part of an annual fine-art exhibition that I have participated in for the last seven years.”

 Visitors to the exhibit at The Richmond Art Center will see the one-of-a-kind book on display, but they won’t be able to thumb through its pages. Instead, Conliffe has set up an HP Dreamscreen 100 digital display to run a continuous slideshow of all 75 images featured in the Redhead book. In addition, he converted five of the best images from the book into 26 x 40 in. black-and-white prints. He output the prints on LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas, then coated and stretched them himself.

In keeping with the Art Center gallery hours, the HP Dreamscreen 100 is programmed to turn itself on at 11 am each day and shut itself off at 5 pm.

 “It tends to draw viewers in because it is a dynamic display with a very sleek design,” says Conliffe. “It readily complements the quality of the “Redhead” photography and the ultra-stylish nature of the subject matter.”

 Conliffe reports that the black-and white canvas prints have also drawn serious interest: “Black-and-white imaging has universal appeal,” he says. “Photographers, artists and the general public all seem to have a great affinity for this work. I noticed the same phenomenon last year when I presented a large-format black-and-white portrait photographic exhibition on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth.”

The canvases are protected with Golden Archival Varnish with UVLS (Gloss). “I sprayed the varnish in two cross-directional coats, let the coats dry for 20 minutes, and then sprayed with two more cross directional coats,” explains Conliffe. “Then, I let the coated canvas dry overnight. After the canvases were dry, I stretched and mounted them to heavyweight stretcher bars and installed hanging hardware. This presentation is very clean and has a lot of impact.”

 On Saturday, Feb. 20, Conliffe is participating in the Artist Talks from 1 to 2:30 pm before the Artist Reception is held from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. More information can be found at The Richmond Art Center website.

 Conliffe is also participating in a satellite exhibition that features 13 of the 53 artists showcased at The Art of Living Black exhibition. This show will be held at Mills College in Oakland on Feb. 27 and 28.

He wouldn’t mind at all if this exposure resulted in other art-book commissions from other car collectors. He can reached through his website:

John Caponigro’s New DVD Explains Fine Art Digital Printing

By Eileen Fritsch

At PhotoPlus Expo last October, I sat in on an Epson-sponsored session in which John Paul Caponigro attempted to explain everything you need to know about inkjet printing in an intense, two-hour session. He covered an awful lot of valuable information, including the importance of printing your work and why digital printing is more than simply a replacement for historical processes.

So, I am pleased to learn that Caponigro has released a DVD entitled Fine Art Digital Printing in which he expands upon the topics he discussed in his session at PhotoPlus.

He emphasizes that in order to achieve the best possible print, you must understand all of the components involved in making a good fine art print, including the substrate, ink, printer, driver/RIP, profile, ink limit, print speed, viewing light, environment, and presentation. He discusses all these topics on the DVD, as well as the importance of scale, resolution, color management and proofing, output sharpening, and protective coatings.

Plus, he discusses potential problems that can affect the final look of your print, including bronzing, metamerism, gloss differential, and outgassing. Other topics covered include how to solve common challenges, and how to choose a printer.

I haven’t yet viewed this  DVD, but I was impressed with the thoroughness of Caponigro’s down-to-earth presentation at PhotoPlus Expo in which he previewed some of the DVD contents.   

Caponigro’s advice isn’t meant for photographers who want to learn how to efficiently print higher vollumes of photos for their wedding or portrait customers. Rather, it is focused primarily on printing finely detailed, long-lasting, exhibition-quality prints that lovers of fine photography will value.   

One thing I enjoyed about Caponigro’s style is that he presented the information in a way that can help you get the best possible prints from your current equipment, while also giving you a better appreciation of  what specific advantages new print technologies might offer as the equipment, inksets, and software continue to evolve.

The DVD can be ordered for $69.95 from Acme Educational, a site that promises “Industrial Strength Knowledge for the Creative Mind.”

John Paul Caponigro also offers small-group, hands-on digital-printing workshops in his studio in Maine as well as a collection of low-cost, dowloadable articles about specific aspects of printing including the aesthetics of printing, evaluating substrates, navigating the Epson Driver in Photoshop CS3, and a preflight checklist that can help you avoid common mistakes.

Qoro Fine Art Services Offers a Unique Guarantee

When the founder of Qoro Fine Art Services in New Castle, Delaware named his new business, he combined the letter “Q” for quality with the Spanish word for gold. But according to one satisfied client, the name Qoro could also be an acronym for “Quality of Reproduction-Outstanding!”  And while Qoro does have the equipment and skill  to make great reproductions of original oil paintings and other art, the firm offers much more than gold-quality printmaking.

Having been in the business for more than 10 years, they have interacted with galleries, museum curators, art publishers, and art schools and gained insights that can help artists with every facet of their careers. They freely share some of these insights online and through consultations with each artist they work with.

Advised Pigment Ink Developers:  One distinctive chapter of Qoro’s history is that staff members provided insights to some of the chemists and researchers who were developing some of the pigment ink technology that has enabled inkjet printing to gain widespread acceptance in fine-art publishing.

Qoro’s founder Bill Jensen was a frame-shop owner, whose friends included chemists who were working with inkjet printer manufacturers on pigment inksets that would provide both the wide color gamuts and long print life that art publishers, galleries, and collectors would expect.

So Jensen started Qoro as a printing business in the late 1990s and began exploring how inkjet printing could be used to reproduce paintings and fulfill orders for art sold online.

Although Jensen has since retired, Davis and Griffith have both been with Qoro since 2000. They recall talking at length with ink chemists and color scientists about how inkjet-printing technology could be improved to meet the expectations of potential producers and buyers of art prints. During these consulting sessions, Davis and Griffith gained extensive firsthand knowledge about some of the chemistry and color science behind print permanence and image quality.

Today, Griffith and Davis are so confident in the quality of the inks, substrates, and protective coatings that they use in printmaking, that they offer Qoro customers a full replacement guarantee. Because they know that most artists don’t really want to delve into the complexities of ink and coating chemistry and print-permanence testing, Griffith and Davis decided to make Qoro’s guarantee as simple and as straightforward as possible.

As stated on their website: “If you damage a Qoro Replica™ we will replace it at no charge. Simply return the damaged product to Qoro and we will send you a new one.”  The word “damage” in their replacement guarantee doesn’t just apply to fading or water damage. It includes damage of any kind.

According to Griffith, the purpose of this guarantee is to make buyers comfortable enough to hang their art anywhere they want with the confidence that it will always remain as beautiful as it was the day they purchased it. Because most artists and art buyers traditionally handle artwork with great care, Qoro has only had to replace a few prints. For example, they replaced one Qoro Replica that had been displayed outdoors for five years on the deck of yacht, where it was routinely exposed to bright sunlight and salty, humid air.  And, they have replaced a few prints that were damaged during stretching or accidentally gashed by an artist preparing for a show.

Qoro’s production manager Frank Davis is an artist himself. Clients are impressed to see how accurately his reproductions match his original paintings, such as this one entitled “Cursed Cauliflower.”

Personalized Marketing Advice: Davis and Griffith have worked with enough artists to understand that no two artists are alike, and each has different goals, aspirations, and levels of knowledge and experience. Qoro gladly provides personalized, high-quality of printmaking services to all artists—whether they are just starting out after graduation, pursuing an art career after retiring from another job, or are already selling originals for thousands of dollars each.

“I care about every piece of art that comes through our doors,” says Davis, who is an artist himself.

Qoro has made prints for hundreds of artists, including masters such as N.C. Wyeth. They also help institutions such as the Delaware Art Museum and Delaware Historical Society supplement their revenues by offering reproductions of selected works of painters such as Edward Hopper and illustrator Howard Pyle.  Qoro has also reproduced paintings so that each heir of an estate can have a high-quality replica of a treasured family heirloom art.

High-Quality Equipment and Materials: For image capture, Davis uses a PhaseOne large-format camera. It has enough resolution to give printed reproductions the illusion of a three-dimensional surface. For printing, he currently uses a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF 8100 printer with Onyx software.

Many of the canvases and art papers Qoro uses come from LexJet. “LexJet has been a godsend for us,” says Davis. “As a company they have the same idea that we have—that the customer comes first. When I call my salesperson Dustin Flowers, he treats me as if I’m the biggest account out there.

Along with the Sunset Select Matte Canvas, Davis uses either Sunset Gloss or Matte coatings, depending on which look a client prefers.

What to Look for When Hiring a Printmaker: Thanks to the advances in pigment-ink technology that Davis and Griffith saw being developed, almost anyone can afford to buy a wide-format inkjet printer and promote themselves as being capable of being in the “fine-art reproduction business.”

Davis  says artists should spend more time investigating how the services and capabilities of one printmaker differ from others.  According to Davis, artists should pay attention to these three things:

  1. the quality of the equipment used in the image capture;
  2. what services are included in the price and which services cost extra; and
  3. any clauses in the contract that may grant the printmaker permission to use your art in ways you didn’t intend.

Davis advises artists to “Learn as much as you can before you commit and always protect your work by reading the fine print in a contract.”

To learn more about Qoro, you can follow them on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or read Frank Davis’ blog (“Frank Discussions”). You can also visit their online gallery, through which they sell prints and originals from clients, artists and museums directly to interested customers. ( and

Through Qoro’s online art shop (, customers can purchase reproductions of works by individual artists or art included the archives of the Delaware Art Museum and Delaware Historical Society. This painting,“The Pirate” by N.C. Wyeth, is available in three different sizes of limited-edition canvas prints or as an open edition of 24 x 12-in. prints on art paper.