Lithography is an ideal medium for creating multiples of high-quality original art, requiring a technically complex process. The premise is quite simple: oil and water do not mix. Drawings are done directly on a treated surface called a plate. Each plate is assigned a single color and is treated chemically so that the ink will adhere only to the drawn surface. Paper is laid over the plate and under great pressure, the ink is transferred from the plate to the paper. This is repeated for each color in a carefully specified sequence until all the plates have been printed, accumulating to form the finished lithograph.
The number of limited-edition lithographs varies, often between 100 to 200 impressions. The work is “pulled” (printed) by hand, one at a time. After printing, each piece is inspected for quality, signed and numbered, and then the plates are destroyed. This ensures that no more pieces can be printed. Part of the value of any lithograph is the guarantee that it cannot be identically repeated in the future.
Giclée is a new-ish word* for prints produced digitally. It is based on the French word gicleur, which means “nozzle”, or more casually, to spray. Inexpensive versions are produced on domestic ink-jet printers and fine art, high resolution prints are usually made on IRIS inkjet printers. Other giclee variants include fade-resistant, pigment-based archival inks as well as archival paper and/or paper coatings produced primarily for large-format printers.
Because “Giclee” is an increasingly popular form of mechanical reproduction the word is often abused to refer to any digital print. In most cases, there is no consistent standard of print quality. However my giclees are produced at MetroOrangeArt Studios in Freeport, Long Island with rag based archival paper and certified archival inks. Kept out of the sun, under Ph Neutral glass or Plexiglas and with Ph Neutral matting, I guarantee my giclees for a minimum of 60 years.
*Unintended consequence: in modern French slang, it also refers to male ejaculation.