Q: I’ve been in a lot of poster shops and these prints seem expensive. Why?
A: Posters are made by offset printing at 300 dots per inch with four ink colors. An offset print, like a page in a magazine, will begin to fade almost immediately if exposed to light. FANM prints are printed with the ink jet process (giclée is French for ink jet) using seven or eight ink colors at up to 2,880 dots per inch. The archival inks are made with actual color pigments, rather than exclusively dyes, so that the prints will maintain their brilliance for generations. Because the inks are archival quality, we only print on the finest papers and canvases in the world. All FANM paper prints are on 100% cotton papers and our cotton poly canvases are the most technically advanced and beautiful in the print industry.
Q: Does that mean I can hang the print in direct sunlight?
A: No. Even pigments fade when exposed to the damaging UV rays in sunlight. But when properly displayed, the fading process can be delayed by many decades. Oil paint is by far the most durable medium, while giclées are similar to the durability of many fine watercolors.
Q: What is the proper way to display a giclée?
A: As with all fine art on paper, it should be framed using all archival materials and covered with a UV protective glass. Even with that level of protection, art should never be displayed in direct sunlight. Following these simple guidelines, your art will maintain its beauty and vibrance for your great great grandchildren to enjoy. FANM giclées on canvas are protected from UV rays with a liquid laminate that is applied to the canvas after the print has cured for forty-eight hours. Once the laminate has cured for twenty-four hours we stretch the canvas around the finest heavy stretcher bars and the canvas is ready to hang using the same guidelines as a framed paper print.
Q: Are all giclées equal?
A: No. Giclée has no qualitative meaning. Technically, a print made with a consumer printer using dye inks may be called a giclée because it was produced using the ink jet process. If you are considering purchasing a giclée, be sure that the gallery can assure you that it was produced by a reputable printer using all archival materials. But papers and inks are just the beginning of the differences. Because the equipment used in giclée printing is relatively accessible, there has been a proliferation of studios offering the process without the skill set to make truly fine prints. The primary skill in preparing an image for print is a mastery of Photoshop, the industry standard for image development. While there are millions of Photoshop users, almost all of them would acknowledge that they only use a small fraction of the programs phenomenal power.
Q: Can I see the difference between a good and a bad giclée?
A: Yes. Take a look at any FANM print and you will see very precise detail, accurate color, and absolutely no flaws. Every one of our prints has to meet these standards. Next time you are in a gallery that carries giclées, scrutinize the prints up close and you will see a range of quality that will surprise you.
Q: Are your prints really better than most?
A: Absolutely! Your eyes aren’t lying.
Q: So, why are your prints better?
A: Experience. In the early 1990s working as a film director in Hollywood, Jack Leustig developed companies that were at the leading edge of the digital revolution in film. His Photoshop work was not only in textbooks and on the covers of magazines, but it was honored throughout the world of professional digital artwork. In the mid-nineties he heard that Graeme Nash (of Crosby, Stills and Nash) had built a company, Nash Editions, to print his fine art photography using an Iris printer (very old ink jet technology). Jack was soon printing his own work with Graeme's partner, R. Mac Holbert, at their studio in Manhattan Beach, California. Today the Iris printer that Jack started working on is in the Smithsonian because it is credited as the printer that started the entire giclée industry. When Epson saw what Nash Editions was doing (their U.S. headquarters is in nearby Long Beach), they partnered up to create a printer capable of reproducing fine art at a quality never previously imagined. It took several years for all the necessary breakthroughs but Epson is now the world leader in fine art printing, and Jack Leustig was one of the dreamers who believed in and helped build the giclée industry from its very inception.