PRINTING ON CANVAS

Dr. Seuss art on canvasWhen we were in Laguna Beach, California about 12 years ago, we stumbled upon a Dr. Seuss collection in a fine art gallery. Bob said they were just selling inkjet prints. But “No,” said the salesman, “it’s a Giclee.”

“Giclee” is French, the verb form means “to squirt,” which is what inkjet printers do. (They put it in French to spray the buyers.) So we can “Giclee” a lot of copies of any print, but if you want it on canvas and wide, the inkjet printer that can do that costs about $5,000.

That was the price for a Hewlett Packard inkjet printer we first saw in Pasadena a dozen years ago. You could print on paper or canvas and go about four-feet wide. The prints quality was terrific and looked as good as the originals to us. The price was attractive. For the same money you could open your own art gallery and tell people the paintings on the walls weren’t copies, they were “Giclee.”

This is not just fantasy. An artist named Wade Guyton is getting a big rep from using an inkjet to print giant canvases. His work is on display at the Whitney Museum in New York and part of the permanent collection at MOMA (New York’s Museum of Modern Art). Guyton says he sometimes rips something out of a book and scans it, then prints it out large. He says he’s always thought learning to draw was too much work. He uses an Epson Stylus Pro 11880, a $10,000 printer, to print his floor-to-ceiling canvases. (We wonder if anyone else could do this too.)

Epson is into this art print business pretty heavy now: They have “Signature Worthy” canvases that come in gloss, satin and matte finish, and claim to be of gallery quality.  They come in widths from 13 to 44 inches, but in December, they’ll come out five-feet-wide rolls and large cut sheets.

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