Printing - Page 1
In amongst the paint brushes, the cast iron screw press, my hand made paper pulping machine, the paint spattered easels and sculpted forms of my paintings, standing there incongruently, is a large format, digital printer with its plastic, streamlined shapes of modernity.
It’s an Epson 7600 and uses the latest kind of light fast, pigmented inks, which make it good enough for art output. Besides printing big enough for my needs, it will produce an extremely, wickedly good image that is hard to discern from the original- if that original is a work on paper. Ironically, my work has recently taken a turn towards the third dimension and this is an interesting challenge for me print wise - Watch this space!
Printing - Page 2
You might think that an artist who prefers such old practices as painting with eggs and using gesso in printmaking, would not go for such a piece of high tech gear.
However, I’m interested in the ‘democracy’ of printing. Now what does that mean? Not votes, at least I think not. Printing makes the artist’s product more available, because there are editions rather than one offs and prices can be more affordable. The trouble is art is still a rarity, even though there are thousands of artists out there working away hoping that a big gallery is going to sell their work for big prices.
It has always struck me that after the big party at the private view in your average contemporary gallery, there are not many visitors milling around. In many galleries today you will have to ring the doorbell to get inside, where often an inhospitable, hallowed hall of art, experience awaits you.
If people went to studios to buy paintings like they go to a department store to buy furniture, then artists would be doing ok and the price of art, in theory, should come down – but people don’t and in any case the art world is geared to rarity. That’s why a Damien Hurst will sell for millions. The artist’s print, in theory, should cut through that rarity value thing.
Printing - Page 3
In a way printmaking is my rebellion
but since there’s nobody out there to care, it is reduced to a
statement. Interestingly, some people will spend a thousand pounds
plus on an original painting. In my case that is still too cheap because
the painting takes so very long to make. As a scenic artist, when I could get
the work, a grand was fairly easy to earn, compared to selling a painting.
My political interest in printing goes back to student days. However, it’s never that straight forward because printing is an art form in its own right – even digital printing.
Unlike Castprinting the digital print is not haptic, it’s almost virtual, the deposit of ink is necessarily extremely thin. It has to be to get the resolution for such amazing reproduction - there I’ve used that dirty word- ‘reproduction.’ One of my gallery friends once told me in hushed but emphatic tones – ‘They are digital prints, Jon.’
Printing - Page 4
To tell the truth my interest in digital printing, at this moment, is its power to reproduce. They are better than half-tone prints. There are no dots; this is due to the scatter technology it uses in micro spraying. I’m in love with its velvety reproductive beauty. And like the way the colours can be slightly beef up to almost match the original. Though that’s where reproduction falls short, it cannot!
We come back to that old, old principle that printing, even this sort, is its own art form and must be conceived as such. And that is where you come in dear member of public. It’s a new art form; they are not a substitute for the real thing. They are a different kind of real thing. My friend was right after all. They are Digital Prints.