Giclee or Inkjet? Or, what do you call your fine art prints off an Epson

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by joe_mcinerney, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. I have been asked to display my digital images in a group show. Until
    now, I have only displayed traditional silver gelatin prints but have
    been amassing a few portfolios of digital images printed on an Epson
    9600 through Imageprint 5.6. Printed onto Somerset Photo Enhanced
    Velvet. So, what is accepted in terms of do I call the print a Giclee,
    fine art injket, pigmented inkjet, etc...What are your feelings? One
    image is grayscale using Imageprint gray profiles. The other two are
    color images. All using Matte black ink.
    Thanks.
     
  2. If you're actually using pigmented inks that's what you should emphasize. You might also emphasize the quality of the paper used. Artists and art buyers who are fairly knowledgeable about the properties of various media will understand that pigmented inks are generally more archival than dyes. These same folks will probably be a bit skeptical of the term "giclee" since it really doesn't mean anything (altho' the connotations in French are amusing).

    Ditto attaching the term "fine art" to anything. It's an open invitation to disagreement. I'd rather see the viewer consider something to be fine art than listen to the creator describe something as fine art. It's pretentious and presumptuous and invites others to disagree with one's self assessment.

    However, many folks won't know or care. And the world is full of successful self promoters, so maybe there's nothing wrong with describing one's process and materials as "fine art."
     
  3. Gicl饠is the use of the ink-jet printing process for making fine art large format digital images. The term � from the French verb gicler meaning "to squirt, to spray" � first applied to "Iris prints" created in the early 1990s on the Scitex "Iris Model Four" colour drum piezo-head inkjet proofer, a commercial printer designed to preview what a print will look like before mass production begins.

    The term, sometimes anglicized as giclee, is used to describe any high-resolution, large-format ink-jet printer output with fade-resistant dye- or pigment-based inks. It is common for these printers to use between six and twelve colour inks. The use of dye based inks requires special coating to avoid fading.

    Though originally intended for proofing, many artists and photographers use ink-jet printers as an alternative to lithography for limited editions or reproductions. The cost of producing limited edition runs is much reduced compared to the alternative.

    Gicl饠is pronounced zhee-clay.
     
  4. "Pigmented ink on fine art paper" is accurate and the fine art cognoscenti will know what you mean. It's an unwieldy term, though. It would be nice to have a single word that was understood to mean all that, but there really isn't yet.

    For my portrait clients, I use the term "giclee" with an explanation of what I mean by it ("pigmented ink on fine art paper") because I have to educate my audience in the difference between their home inkjet printers and what they're getting from me. That's a bit easier if I give them a unique (in their usage) word to attach to the new meaning. My American portrait audience isn't using "giclee" with any other connotation or denotation, so it works for them.
     
  5. Avoid the term of Giclee' for one thing, or deal with chuckles from audience members who know what the term means in French slang :) Seriously, it's an outdated term. I also find terms like 'fine art' too pretentious and high nosed.

    This is really not an exact science, but terms like 'ink-jet', 'digital print', 'Epson 9600 print', etc, will all work. Avoid redundancies like 'digital ink-jet print' because you likely won't be making analog ink-jet prints, ok?

    I'm seeing more usage of terms like 'Epson 2200 print', 'Epson 9800 print', 'LightJet print', etc., and I'm steering my own display stuff in this direction. But, it's a personal preference.

    Saw one guy use the term 'digital laser chromogenic' which was creative at least.
     
  6. One local photographer here who uses wide format Epson in b&w terms his "Carbon prints". Technically correct, yet to me a bit misleading. On the other hand within the realm of truth and relativity, I guess you can call it whatever you want as long as you're not pulling terms out of the air based on nothing.
     
  7. jtk

    jtk

    "Giclee" is (I think) a licensed marketing label that is mostly used by frame shop galleries to sell their own reproductions (eg of paintings), rarely by photographers. Almost a franchise.

    If you use the term and have not explored its implications, you're inadvertantly attaching yourself to something that is IMO a little deceptive.
     
  8. ** Archival Pigment Print **
     
  9. If you want to follow the print conventions of conservators and museums, you name the process by which the print was made:

    Lithograph (self explanatory)
    Etching (self explanatory)
    Woodblock print (self explanatory)

    While all of these fall under the intaglio process, the word "intaglio" is not specific enough to identify the exact print process.

    Likewise, in photography, there are numerous photographic print processes which is why you see:

    Platinum print
    Silver gelatin print
    Chromogenic print
    Dye destruction print

    Following standard print process naming conventions - a print from an Epson 9600 would be:

    Pigment inkjet print

    A print from a Hewlett Packard DJ130 would be:

    Dye inkjet print

    This tells the buyer the exact ink material (pigment or dye) and the printing process (inkjet).

    The word "giclee" was made up by Jack Duganne at Nash Editions for a show they were printing for the artist Diane Bartz. He named it "giclee" to stay away from words like "computer," and "digital" in the show announcements.

    This is thoroughly documented, and the story can be found in Harald Johnson's book, "Mastering Digital Printing, Second Edition," in a sidebar in Chapter 1, entitled, "What's in a Name: The Story of Giclee."

    Make it simple, call a print exactly what it is: "pigment inkjet print."
     
  10. And then on the back of the framed print, I use a 4 x 2 1/4 label attached to the dust cover.
     
  11. SCOTT EATON says Avoid the term of Giclee' for one thing, or deal with chuckles from audience members who know what the term means in French slang :) Seriously, it's an outdated term. I also find terms like 'fine art' too pretentious and high nosed.
    This may be true in whatever idealized world Scott inhabits but in the real world of art galleries "Giclee" is still the term of choice. I would say that 80-90% of all the inkjet prints I see framed and on the walls in galleries are called "Giclee".
    JOHN KELLY says "Giclee" is (I think) a licensed marketing label
    They wish. There is a trademarked term "TruGiclée" that was an attempt by a group of printers to capitalize on the popularity of high-quality inkjet prints. Otherwise it's up for grabs and everybody and his brother uses it however they like.
    It would certainly be nice if there was a simple term that meant "pigmented-ink print on archival paper" but there isn't so almost everybody uses "giclee" even though no agrees on what it means.
     
  12. I have seen "Giclee" used a lot at street fairs. And only once in awhile at commercial
    galleries. And never at museums, for special exhibits, such as at San Francisco MoMA.
     
  13. STEVE SWINEART says If you want to follow the print conventions of conservators and museums, you name the process by which the print was made
    Unless you REALLY want to "follow the print conventions of conservators and museums" in which case you call it giclee. The Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts both have "Giclee" prints. The ones the MFA sells in their shop are printed on an Epson 9600 using Ultrachrome inks, a fact which Epson likes to remind of us in their marketing.
     
  14. To the subject in general:

    Many of this sevices can be found in any major metro...because of support for trade shows and local advertising displays.

    But the A&I web site is a good reference source and they say that Giclee is an interpretive creative process ? And then the other options are Lightjet and Lambda...
     
  15. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    At least online, the MFA makes no mention of "giclee." They do describe the prints in the terms that Scott references. I haven't seen the term "giclee" in years. The Aperture 50th anniversary traveling exhibition didn't use the term, which is probably an indication.
     
  16. if you look at tate online, they list Andreas Gursky pieces as "print on paper", which always
    amuses me. I would imagine they could also be described as "digital lightjet print on fuji
    crystal archive paper reverse mounted on perspex with aluminium backing using the
    Diasec(c) process"

    I must say I kind of like the aloofness of "print on paper" though.

    :eek:)
     
  17. I'd call it a "Fine Art Print" and let it go at that. "Giclee" doesn't mean anything to people that don't know what it is, doesn't impress those who do.
     
  18. Further to what Jeff said, if you go to Nash Editions' website, the preeminent large size fine-
    arts digital printer (for David Hockney, Sally Mann, Pedro Meyer and a bunch of other artists),
    you will not find the word "Giclee" used anywhere. Nash and Holbert have been in this
    business for 15 years. I only see Giclee used at craft fairs.
     
  19. >>** Archival Pigment Print **<<

    I second this, and I'll start using it. Of course, there isn't an "official" meaning for "archival," either.
     
  20. To Peter Nelson:

    There is another usage of the word giclee. It is often applied to denote a COPY of an original piece of art. That is the problem with calling original art (pieces conceived to be inkjet prints) giclee.

    The mass merchandising "art print" market has swamped galleries (of all kinds, including museum gift shops) with "giclee prints," that are really copies of original works (mostly paintings).

    This used to be the provence of the word "poster" and reproduced on an offset press. The digital reproduction of the piece on an inkjet printer has, apparently, changed the copy into a form of art (pig's ear / silk purse comes to mind), because the print is no longer "mass produced" by photographing, screening, and the use of a printing press.

    Today, high end devices like the Cruse Synchron Table Scanner, or Lumiere Technology Jumboscan are used by the Louvre, National Gallery in London, etc. to make very high quality digital copies of the works owned by the museums.

    The digital files are reproduced by inkjet and called "giclees." They're still copies, not original art - but, the term giclee gives them a cachet that the cheap word "poster" does not have.

    Having worked in the fine art print industry and having worked with museum conservators, I can tell you that with an original piece of art, they would rather the print be named for the process so there is no mistake as to what it is.

    For Joe, as stated, the problem with giclee is that it now has a double connotation. It was initially conceived to be a name for an original art work. The term has been co-opted and applied to copies of original art work.

    I would not call my work "giclee" because of the confusion as to whether it is an original piece of art; or a COPY of an original piece of art.
     
  21. At least online, the MFA makes no mention of "giclee."
    Sure they do. Go to the link for the MFA's museum store: http://www.mfashop.com
     
  22. I simply call mine "pigment prints". It has a short bite and reminds art buyers of pigments
    they know from oil paintings. The addition "archival" only throws up a subject that hasn't
    crossed the minds of most buyers and which should not be the main subject when buying
    from you. When they ask you can always give a further explanation.
     
  23. "Sure they do. Go to the link for the MFA's museum store: http://www.mfashop.com"

    As I've stated, they're SELLING copies of original works in the museum store. However, should you see an original piece of art displayed in a museum gallery (Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Joel Sternfeld...whomever) - the work will be labeled by the museum's conservators as a "digital print," "inkjet print," or "pigment (or dye) inkjet print."

    What the museum sells in its store, and what is put on display as original art will not be called the same thing.
     
  24. There is another usage of the word giclee. It is often applied to denote a COPY of an original piece of art. That is the problem with calling original art (pieces conceived to be inkjet prints) giclee.
    I've never seen it used that way when the reproduction wasn't made with an inkjet process. For example I've never seen a haftone/screen print reproduction of a painting called a "giclee".
    But in any case, an inkjet print, regardless of whether we call it a giclee, or "pigmented ink on archival paper" ISN'T an original. It's a hardcopy of something that exists in the computer as a file and so you can make as many copies as you want.
    For Joe, as stated, the problem with giclee is that it now has a double connotation. It was initially conceived to be a name for an original art work. The term has been co-opted and applied to copies of original art work.
    My understanding was that it was NOT first conceived of as a way to make original art - Graham Nash was looking for a way to reproduce his photography.
    There is a website for artists not unlike Photo.Net, called WetCanvas.com where this topic comes up all the time, and the consensus in the artist community is that "giclee" is the way to go because there is no good alternative that doesn't sound totally geeky. I've actually seen people post there wondering if, in order to preserve the value of the prints, they should delete the file after they've printed number 50/50 (or whatever).
    I would not call my work "giclee" because of the confusion as to whether it is an original piece of art; or a COPY of an original piece of art.
    Just out of curiosity, what would constitute an "original" inkjet print, regardless of what label we use? Do you use some sort of inkjet process that involves some kind of manual manipulation of the print so that each print really is original?
     
  25. ERIK says, I simply call mine "pigment prints".
    That doesn't work either. I have a collection on my walls of original stone-plate lithographs from 1900-1925 or so. Lithography is a type of printing and they used pigments (not dyes) so they are "Pigment Prints" - as are a zillion other processes that do not involve inkjet printers. So you need to rethink that term.
    I go to galleries around here (New England) all the time - Newbury Street, Cape Cod, Rockport, Lowell, etc, and I guarantee that among works-for-sale (as opposed to museum display) you will see the term "Giclee" used more than all the alternatives combined.
     
  26. I could be wrong but I remember researching giclee when I firts saw the term a few years ago. My understanding is that it was first coined by a french family that was the first and only to start producing them (I think with an iris printer). The term, if I remember correctly, meant "spray of ink", though I'm not sure if there's a slang meaning for it also. To my knowledge Nash never laid claim to the term, though his quality was the bar that others tried to meet (he may still be the best, who knows).
     
  27. There's been discussions of this before, and when it comes to denoting artwork, there doesn't seem to be any true standards. As a regular reader of art magazines, being a painter myself, I do note that different artists tend to denote their work differently.
    To make an example of what is one of the most traditional mediums, an oil painting os most commonly referred to as "oil on canvas", but some artists will occasionally call it "oil on linen" - in this case to emphasize they are using what's considered the best quality canvas for the job. When it comes to "oil on board" or "oil on panel", som would still call it "oil on oak", for instance - again to emphasize a use of materials they consider to be top notch or that adds particular properties to the work - so even there, after hundreds of years, there's still no absolute standard.
    Perhaps gradually, the terms used for inkjet prints will gravitate into becoming relatively standardised - there's at least quite a possibility that such prints, or from a further development of the same technology, will be the dominant kind of art print on the market for any forseeable future.
    At present it's not an absolute given that an inkjet print is pigment-based, although I for one would not even consider selling something that wasn't, - knowing how fast dye-based prints fade, regardless of what printer producers might tell you and what kind of laminating or varnishing you'll add to protect them.
    Assuming that no artist in their right mind would try to push a dye-based print on some hapless customer, the term "inkjet print" should suffice. For those worried that someone might think their pigment prints were dye-based, "pigment inkjet print" should cut it.
    When I hear the term Giclée, regardless of what it is originally meant to mean - or to its more humourous slang connotations in French - I immediately think of limited edition art reproduction prints, and at the same time it's a term that seems like it's invented to disguise the word "inkjet", as if it's a dirty one, and back when all inkjet prints were dye-based, it certainly was a dirty word. I think a new term should be introduced, though, and my vote is for jetograph, along the same lines as serigraph, lithograph, xylograph and photograph, and which should mean a pigment-based inkjet print, and once I get myself a pigment printer soon (although the arrival of the new Canon Pixma Pro 9500 suddenly has me postponing my purchase to see the reviews of it before choosing between that and the Epson R2400), I'll be pushing that term to all my customers.
    Hakon Soreide
    Bergen, Norway
    www.hakonsoreide.com
     
  28. ...or "pigmented ink on archival paper" ISN'T an original. It's a hardcopy of something that exists in the computer as a file and so you can make as many copies as you want...
    Just out of curiosity, what would constitute an "original" inkjet print, regardless of what label we use?

    Well, what would constitute a print made from a negative? You can make as many copies as you want from that as well.
    As I said, go Nash's website, you will not find Giclee Print used to describe what they produce...
     
  29. Just out of curiosity, what would constitute an "original" inkjet print, regardless of what label we use?

    Well, what would constitute a print made from a negative? You can make as many copies as you want from that as well.<<

    No, a copy of a negative is also a negative.

    A print from a negative is an original print, and may in fact be unique if the printer deems it so. In fact, it makes a difference WHO made the print, even if from the same negative.

    An print from a digital image is also an original--there is no "image" per se otherwise in existance...a data file is NOT an image, it's a description to an output or display device on how to build an image.
     
  30. Well, what would constitute a print made from a negative? You can make as many copies as you want from that as well.
    Pardon me, I thought it was clear I was talking about prints. That's what you hang on the wall.
     
  31. "Just out of curiosity, what would constitute an "original" inkjet print, regardless of what label we use?"
    Well, what would constitute a print made from a negative? You can make as many copies as you want from that as well.

    EXACTLY, and the same issues have been raised about photographic prints. I certainly would not regard a mechanically-produced photographic print as an "original", although I might regard a print that required extensive burning, dodging, or other manipulation as original.
    Anything that can be produced from materials that are themselves consistent and uniform (e.g., developing chemicals, inkjet paper, etc) via a consistent mechanical process cannot reasonably be called an "original". For something to be called "original" it has to be unique and one-of-a-kind.
    Even the "limited edition" method of numbering prints 1/50, 2/50, 3/50, etc, is silly when applied to photographic or inkjet prints. It made sense for engraving and other printing processes that relied on mechanical pressure and rolled-on inks and paints, because there were noticable differences in quality between 2/50 and 49/50. But for photographic and inkjet prints it's just an affectation because you can make as many as you want without any degradation in quality.
    As I said, way up above, when it comes to art-for-sale "giclee" is the only widely-used term and at least in this part of the country it's more common than all the alternatives combined. My best guess about #2 is simply "inkjet print". You can come up with a more detailed description involving the type of inks and paper you used but it will only be understood by a few cognoscenti and it will scare-off everyone else.
     
  32. A print from a negative is an original print, and may in fact be unique if the printer deems it so. In fact, it makes a difference WHO made the print, even if from the same negative.
    This is only true if the printing process requires a lot of manual intervention.
    An print from a digital image is also an original--there is no "image" per se otherwise in existance...a data file is NOT an image, it's a description to an output or display device on how to build an image.
    But whether it's original depends on the forbearance of the owner of the file. It is not intrinsically original, it's only original depending on whether he decides not to make more than one print. But an oil painting, or a drawing or pastel sketch, stone carving, etc, are all natural originals - even the most skilled artist would not be able to create two completely identical non-trivial paintings.
     
  33. when it comes down to it, a print is a print and depends who made it, no matter if its
    digital or done with an enlarger. A friend of mine does exhibition prints in the UK at a
    pretty high standard, all digital, and he says "I just press buttons", but as I always say back
    "yes, but you know which buttons to press".....

    The important thing is to make sure your buyers are aware of the quality of the process -
    [i mean that the inks/pigments/paper or whatever are of a guaranteed longevity]

    But then again, saying that, Turner used paints that faded within months and was roundly
    slated by his contemporaries for doing so, but his work still hangs in art museums
    worldwide.

    r,x
     
  34. Brooks Jensen (the LensWork guy) argues that pigment inkjet prints should be called "pigment on paper" to be consistent with other forms. Personally, I don't care as long as the terms used mean something about the print. Then again, I once got a couple prints into a show just labeling the submissions "Color Photography" (I hadn't decided whether to make inkjet or Lightjet prints yet).
    Also, and again this is just my opinion, I happen to think Giclee sounds silly, but I do know what it means and do see it, so I'm perfectly happy to see it as the description. At this point, I just assume it means Epson Ultrachrome, though in some cases it still does mean Iris prints.
     
  35. I've been printing mainly digital the last few years, and I just call my digital prints "injket prints". I think I've adopted that description after saying "gelatin silver print" and "Albumen print" and "Van Dyke Brown print" for so long over the years. It just makes the most sense to me. Gelatin, Albumen, Inkjet.

    I do archival fine art printing for people, and I usually call it "archival injket printing". For some reason I've become very snobby when it comes to poo-poo'ing the term "Giclee". It makes me think of Thomas Kinkade and all the middle american's that his work falls catagory too. They like the term Giclee because it sounds upscale, and french. I've had clients ask me if I do Giclee printing, and usually I educate them that Giclee and Archival Injket printing are one in the same.

    Perhaps I should start calling it "Spray Squirt Printing". That might catch on ;)
     
  36. In my area artists have moved away from the term "giclee". Even the rural galleries near me have stopped using that term. As Steve said, most artists now are describing the media in terms of the process.
     
  37. Well....if the print was a photo of a naked woman, you could always call it a....

    "Coloured Ejaculation on Paper"

    Unless of course it was in B&W.
     
  38. photograph / archival print
     
  39. Along the line of Hakon's suggestion, "I think a new term should be introduced, though, and my vote is for jetograph, along the same lines as serigraph, lithograph, xylograph and photograph, and which should mean a pigment-based inkjet print".

    What about...

    "Digigraph"? It's descriptive, compact, has a nice sound to it, keeps with the traditional "...graph" nomenclature format, and isn't particularly pretentious.

    The print could further be described as a "carbon-ink digigraph" or a "pigment-ink digigraph".
     
  40. At one time Giclee carried more meaning: a fine quality inkjet print, as opposed to something one did on a cheap printer on paper from OfficeMax, and hung on a bulletin board. But with the availability of fine quality inkjet printers that we are using to make long lasting prints, Giclee really doesn't carry the same weight it once did. Though its seems many fine art artist fine comfort in it.

    I recently took a class with a fairly well known painter and printmaker who mentioned Giclee almost sarcastically, as if to say "it may be Giclee, but its still a copy."

    I'm leaning towards "archival inkjet print" because it denotes both the method and quality (archival inks and paper). "Pigment inkjet" denotes the ink type but it may or may not be archival, depending on the paper, printer, and post-printing treatment.

    I guess I could say "inkjet print produced using archival quality pigment inks and 100% cotton rag paper," but in that case, I'd just as soon say "giclee."

    David.
     
  41. I'm noticing a lot of resistance in pubart orgs and even photo galleries to giclee, or inkjet, and I doubt calling it anything different is going to change someone's mind. Maybe cibachrome or a classic b&w fiber print might be acceptable, but it's only about 1 in 15 purchases that are inkjets, vs paintings, other forms of printing, media like fabric, metal etc. The inkjet print in any form is a pariah except in cheesy tourist galleries at resorts, etc.
     

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