Sunday, January 8, 2017

How Tech Developments Impact Our Definitions, Our Curricula, Our Knowledge

Yesterday I delivered a work for the the 37th Valley Visual Art Show. While there, a printmaker arrived to deliver her work and what ensued was a discussion about giclee and inkjet prints, and whether they constitute reproductions of an original piece of art.  I went home to do some more research to better understand the effect of digital methods on the print continuum. As an educator, I am also interested in how developments in a field impact knowledge, practice, and in this case, definition.

And in addition to giclee and inkjet, a term relevant to this discussion is digital art, which is “art made or presented with digital technology”(

Both giclee and inkjet are methods for reproducing/ making a copy of a previously existing work of art. Giclee typically is printed on archival papers (or canvas) and inkjet can even be produced by desktop and the inks are of much lesser quality. Both giclee and inkjet prints differ from printmaking methods that are the means of creating the original artwork itself (seriograph, lithography, monoprint, woodcut, silkscreen), since the artist is creating the work on the plates/surfaces.

In contrast to giclee and inket copy methods for reproductions is digital art. Digital art is the use of technology to actually create an original work.

A prime example of 2D visual art is the use of a table and drawing program by David Hockney. He creates/draws the image using the screen as substrate, then prints the final work with a printer. His artist’s statement also says, These prints “are not reproductions” ( (See also:

All of the above methods are different from collage or mixed media, as collage and mixed media might incorporate images. A distinguishing feature of collage and mixed media is that these works ultimately create new works with the images they bring together.

That said, galleries might want to clarify whether copies (reproductions) or original works only will be accepted for exhibit. And artists might consider how the varying productions and reproductions invoke different responses from viewers. #art


  1. Hi Alice!!! it's Pam here. What an interesting article. It's become such a fine line of producing art and reproducing when the reproduction includes add-on or alteration. I have a friend who is retired now and has spent all his time either fishing or producing artwork. He's become very involved in the community art center where they now have several presses. This is where the ambiguity comes in. He creates different prints with alterations - having a string in place and pulling as the press rolls through, having leaves or squished paper on the plate and creating an image as it prints. It's been fun to watch his progress, but sometimes I wonder if he's just reproducing. Maybe the reproduction is an exercise to get his brain sparked as he then manipulates and adjusts the image.
    Are you creating giblee images?
    Is the piece above one of your works?
    Would love to see more of your work.
    11 months and 2 weeks before we retire!
    ps how do I subscribe to your blog?

    1. Hi Pam, Thanks for taking the time to look at this post. It sounds like your friend is creating art in the category known as digital prints. I am not making giclee (copies of original art). I am using some digital source material as part of my mixed media works. I'm happy to send you some files too.Let me know. Also, I added "Follow me in email" to the upper right column. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Onward to retirement!

    2. Yes, the work at the top is one of mine, a mixed media--it combines digital print on canvas with painting.