What is a gicle’e?
A gicle’e (pronounced zhee-klay) fine art print is a high quality digital fine reproduction print. It is a French term meaning “to spray or spit ink”. The contemporary inks or dyes used today are extremely durable and highly resistant to fading from ultraviolet light. The high resolution ink spray printers are able to print on various archival materials such as heavy rag printmaking or watercolor papers, heavy archival photography paper and primed archival painting canvas. This allows superior reproduction quality because of the heavy duty archival materials (paper or canvas) and sometimes textural surfaces are similar to the original surfaces.
Utilizing offset lithographic printing processes, artists have to print hundreds or thousands of each image, all at once, in order to produce a limited edition reproduction print. The digital gicle’e process allows artists to print a few images as they want, at a time. They have even more control over the product with a much smaller upfront investment. The results are consistent and repeatable high quality reproductions of original works of art. The artist is very involved every decision concerning the finished product.
The original image or a high quality large-format photograph is usually scanned through a high resolution scanner. The image is usually the most faithful of reproductions. Because the print can be printed on the most appropriate surface, such as a watercolor painting printed on watercolor paper; the results are the most representational and impressive.
The prints are usually done in a limited number and signed and numbered by the artist. The limited edition creates a more affordable image for collectors who sometimes do not have the option of purchasing the original.
What is archival?
“Archival” refers to a material that will not disintegrate under its own power. It would have to be contaminated with something that would break down it’s fibers or structural substance. A newspaper is not archival. Because of the acidic content of the economic wood pulp paper it is made from, the newspaper yellows and becomes brittle with age. This harmful affect is intensified with exposure to ultraviolet light. A newspaper left outside on a lawn one day can look quite old and antique. Archival material such as rag printmaking paper or watercolor paper can be contaminated but exposure to materials such as cardboard or masking tape which has a high acid-content in them. The archival material must be protected with archival materials (acid-free backings, mats and mounting materials.
Used by permission: Douglas E. Taylor copyright 2003, 2005, 2006