The Methodology of Art Show Juries

By Nancy Bryant

Having been coordinator of a significant regional art show for a few years, I am often asked why a certain piece is picked by the jurors and other pieces are declined. The query is usually phrased “How could they have chosen that over my work?” To which I usually reply, “Because art is subjective and those were the pieces that spoke to them”. But I have noticed certain things are important if you want your piece to have a stronger chance of being accepted.

1. Originality:Your work may be the most proficient in style and technique but if it’s another lighthouse don’t be surprised if it is declined. Some jurors will bypass any piece that looks as if it were painted from a photograph, particularly a famous photograph. Trite themes or popular fads may sell but it might not get into a juried show.

2. Presentation:Your frame matters. If the frame does not complement your work, you are doing yourself a disservice. The frame does not have to be the most expensive, although sometime a nice frame can set your piece apart. But it should never over-power the art. The frame should not be the first thing someone notices.

Your work should be clean and the mat well cut. It should give definition to your work and be of a color that enhances the art. The mat should not be distracting, by overwhelming your art. Smudged or coffee spills will not get your work into the show so be careful of how you treat your original art work and don’t use the least expensive substrate to work on. If your work is worthy of your time and effort to make, it is worthy of quality materials to create it.

Clean the glass. Jurors notice the dust and think it is an old piece that you are trying to submit as new. They want to see the work you are currently creating, not what you were doing ten years ago. They want the serious practicing artists to get into the show. Dirty glass also indicates you do not think highly of your own work.

3. Results:Try not to take the jurors’ decisions badly. Just because your piece was declined does not mean it is not worthy. Art really is subjective and some art speaks to someone and another piece may not. If your art is accepted don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to keep being creative. Next year’s jurors will likely have an entirely new agenda and prize winners this year could be declined the next year.

How to Purchase a Giclée Fine Art Print

By Nancy Bryant

Beautifully decorated homes are not complete until there is art on the walls. In the past, homeowners had just a few options. One could purchase original works of art, often at very high prices. For some this was an investment and for others it was for the satisfaction of having something of beauty in their homes. The alternative was to buy a reproduction or art print. The cost of a print was usually considerably less than an original work but the quality and appearance of the print just did not look like “real art”.

Beginning in the early 1990’s new technology created a third alternative. The giclée (pronounced ghee-clay) print was developed. Giclée is a derivative of the French word meaning to spray. The digital process to print giclées uses fine nozzles to spray thousands of dots per square inch onto the media. Most printers use 7 or more ink colors to achieve the closest possible match to the original artwork.

This new reproduction method was quickly embraced by the art community. Now artists can market their work in a new way. Reproductions done in the giclée process are very like the original work of art and have the promise of 100 years or more of longevity. A further advantage is the ability to match the media of the original work of art. Paintings done on canvas are printed onto canvas, watercolors are printed on watercolor paper. With the new technology came the capacity to match colors more closely than ever before. Now a reproduction looks just like the original and fine art is affordable.

Unfortunately, as with many new products, not all prints sold as giclées are the quality one might expect. The savvy art buyer will ask questions before making a purchase. Although giclées are less costly than originals they are not inexpensive. A buyer should be sure of what he or she is getting.

  • Was the image capture done by a professional photographer who specializes in photographing art or by a giclée printer who does image scans? This is an important part of the process, and close examination of the print will show if this was done or not.
  • Does the print have the detail and texture of the original? Does it have the subtle gradations of color? Are brush strokes visible?
  • Do the colors match the original as closely as possible? Due to variations in media there might be slight color differences but they should be minimal.
  • What digital printer and ink sets were used to create the giclée? If the reply is a desktop printer, it is unlikely that the print will meet the longevity standards for a true giclée. Unless archival inks like ultrachromes are used the print could possibly fade in a short period of time.
  • Does the seller of the print have the legal right to sell the art? If one buys art from someone other than the original artist, copyright issues should not be overlooked. Be sure the seller is an agent for the original artist unless the artwork is old enough to be in the public domain.

If an artist is looking for a giclée printer to reproduce his or her work the same questions should be asked. Additionally the artist should ask :

  • Does the printer have references?
  • Does he or she guarantee your satisfaction?
  • Is the printer accessible?
  • Are you given proofs? Do they meet your standards?
  • Are you able to be part of the proofing process?
  • Can the printer meet your deadlines?
  • Does the printer help market your work?
  • Does the printer offer full service from printing to framing to shipping if necessary?

Giclée reproduction is also a great way to share family heirlooms. Many families have art work produced by a family member. The value of such artwork is immeasurable to the family but is often a source of discourse as several family members may want the same piece. A giclée reproduction may be the answer.

Photographers and digital artists are also using the giclée process for digital output. High quality digital prints can be made in nearly any size up to 44 inches wide. The longevity and high quality of giclée printing makes it an ideal way to produce fine art photography.

As with many new technologies, giclée printing offers exciting new products but knowledgeable buying will ensure satisfaction with your purchase.

How to tips:

  • 1. Ask questions when buying a giclée print to be sure you know what you are getting, and you are getting what you want.
  • 2. Examine the print closely. Look for details. Blurry details, harsh outlines around objects, and flat colors are some signs of a poor quality print.
  • 3. Giclées can be a good investment. If buying for investment, look for limited editions and Certificates of Authenticity. An artist with an impressive resume of acceptance into juried shows and awards is apt to be more collectible than a lesser known artist. But do not let that be your guide. Buy art that speaks to you, is well executed and is properly reproduced. You may be the first to discover the next big artistic star and have a very valuable print.
  • 4. Buy art you like and want to live with. Because giclées are more affordable than original artwork, you can stretch your budget to fill your home with wonderful art.

What is Giclée?

Giclée (pronounced ghee-clay) is a french term meaning “to spray forcefully”. Developed in the early 1990’s by Nash Editions, the term is still controversial. A Giclée print is much more than a reproduction of art sprayed with ink, however. In fact, if this were true, a “Giclée Print” could be produced by any desktop printer. What makes a Giclée print unique, is that it is printed on archival paper and uses archival inks. A system of color management throughout the process is implemented to achieve the closest reproduction possible. Giclée prints have a high resolution and are printed at a very fine dot per inch, which makes the clarity and precision of the print nearly like the original. Giclée prints also use more ink colors (seven or eight) than traditional offset printers (four colors). The additional colors increase the color gamut and create a print that matches the original very closely.

At Giclée of New England, Inc. we use state of the art methods and materials to produce the finest giclée prints possible. We print with the Epson 9800 stylus pro using K3 ultrachome inks. We use the highest quality archival media available. Our media of choice is Breathing Color, a product of the highest quality.

Giclée printing offers a large variety of media including; watercolor, canvas, semi-gloss and glossy photo, enhanced matte, and others. This wide spectrum of available media ensures the ability to reproduce a work of art as close to the original as possible.

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.
Pablo Picasso

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