Huh, Giclee?

Many of the folks who have seen my work, enjoyed this website and/or have inquired about the purchase of a piece, have asked the same question, “What is a giclee?” You are not alone. I asked the same question several years ago when I began this journey into the world art production. Last week as I was visiting Evolv where my giclees are created, I finally asked for a definitive explanation of the term. The owner of Evolv, Rob Caswell provided the following description.

Most basically, giclee is a term for a specific print reproduction process. There are three factors that make the production of giclees unique. These three factors led to the creation of a term that would distinguish this reproduction process from other forms of art reproduction printing. The first factor is giclees are printed using a very sophisticated inkjet printer. It is a printer designed to handle the reproduction of fine art. The second factor involves the materials used in the reproductive process. Archival quality inks and archival quality papers/canvases are critical to the accuracy and fidelity of each giclee print. And, the third factor is the talent and experience of the “imager”. The imager takes the digitized images to be reproduced and creates proofs that are then matched to the original work of art. Color matching is critical to the successful outcome of the printing process. An expert imager relies on natural light and excellent “color judgment”. I surmise that this talent is similar to that of sommelier’s talents in delineating taste nuances. The subtleties of shades, tones and textures become evident to only the most experienced eye and compare similarly to the hypersensitive taste buds of the wine connoisseur. Imagers with this talent are hard to come by and I’m fortunate to be working with one who not only has this talent but has been highly collaborative with me in my endeavors.

The combination of these three factors produces amazingly accurate color values, intricate detailing and almost an unbelievably valid reproduction. As I have mentioned in a previous blog I have experienced a giclee that had actually more visual impact than my original piece.

But, what about the word “giclee”? It was coined in the early 1990’s to replace, “large format, high resolution, computer generated, ink jet printing” which is a mouthful to begin with and doesn’t begin to describe the production properties involved in this process. Rest assured that when you experience a giclee you are getting great value for your investment.

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