One of the more popular purchases of art buyers is limited edition fine art prints. These high quality prints provide the artistic brilliance of the original work at a fraction of the cost. Modern printing techniques used today produce remarkable reproductions of original art.
You may wonder what the difference is between original artwork and limited edition prints. Original artwork is a work produced directly by the artist as opposed to being a reproduction. What does “limited edition” mean? This means that the artist or publisher has committed to producing only a limited number of prints.
There are three primary printing techniques used:
1. Lithography – Lithography is a printing process that uses a chemical process to create an image. 21st century lithography can produce high volumes of books, posters, maps and packaging.
2. Serigraph – Serigraph, also known as silkscreening or screenprinting, produces a print using a screening process where color ink is forced through a screen. This printmaking technique creates a sharp-edged image using a stencil.
3. Giclee – using high tech inkjet printing produces Giclees, with 6 colors of ink. Giclees are produced from digital images so they don’t require negatives. This process offers superior color accuracy with the first giclee prints appearing in the early 1990’s.
A special high quality printing technique used is called serilith. Serilith provides mixed media original art prints created by an artist using both the serigraph and lithograph process. This technique is found primarily in the creation of limited edition fine art prints.
Once you have purchased your limited edition fine art print, the next step is to care for it correctly. Light, temperature and general environment play a huge role in the longevity of your print. The first thing to do is to have the print properly framed. Without proper framing, your print can be damaged by ultraviolet light, humidity, dust and the acidity of the framing materials.
These enemies that can damage your print:
· Light – UV light can fade, discolor or deteriorate art prints. Paper is made from plant fiber so high exposure to light causes oxidation that results in changing the appearance of the paper. High light exposure also can lead to color fading and fiber weakness. Regular glass will filter less than 50% of the damaging light while UV glass and acrylic filters over 95% of the light.
· Humidity – Moisture can destroy artwork whether it’s in a glass frame or not. Limited edition fine art prints stored in damp, humid locations can invite not only water stains, but mold spores and termites also. Do not store artwork in plastic bags as they can trap moisture.
· Acidity – Anytime prints come into contact with acidic paper pulp (acidic mat or cardboard backing) they are susceptible to damage. Acid transferring to the print will cause staining to occur. The best way to combat this problem is by using 100% acid-free archival quality paper or materials.
Finally, if you are not going to display your limited edition fine art print, store it carefully. If possible, store your artwork in a climate-controlled space to avoid damage. Do not store artwork in your basement, attic or garage as the temperature extremes and humidity may cause serious and irreparable damage.