Nov 132013
 

There are so many puns I could have used for the title of this blog post but I’ve been a good boy and refrained.

What you are about to read has been a long time coming. During my digital printing career, the best part of fourteen years now, there’s been one issue that’s bugged me throughout and just doesn’t want to go away.

In fact, it only seems to become more prevalent.

It occurred to me that the best thing to do in this situation would be to empower you, the art world, with the appropriate information and let you decide for yourselves.

So, here’s what’s been bugging me, along with what I know about it:

The word Giclée.

In the art world, Giclée has become a widely adopted term to describe inkjet printing of the highest quality — so much so that it’s even in my computer’s dictionary.

In galleries, websites and portfolios around the globe you’ll see it misspelled and mispronounced like no other as people try to get comfortable with this tricky word.

Even Photogravure and Daguerrotype (names for other processes) seem easier to say than Giclée.

Paul Kenny, O Hanami edition prints for Chris Beetles Fine Photographs

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — ‘O Hanami’ by Paul Kenny

A Little Bit of History…

The original intentions behind the use of giclée are totally innocent and honest.

Back in the Nineties, a famous established American printer called Jack Duganne was at the bleeding edge of digital inkjet printing technology.

In making his beautiful prints, Jack was among the very first people to offer inkjet printing commercially to the discerning fine art world.

But he needed a name for his process, a name that would sound elegant and really pop

“The French language sounds good”, thought Jack (who told me this himself many years ago), so he picked up an English-French dictionary and looked up the word for squirt or spurt — after all, that’s what happens when the printheads fire ink onto paper, right?

And, lo, Giclée was born and we’ve battled with its spelling and pronunciation ever since.

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — From North Northwest Beginnings by Julian Calverley

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — From ‘North Northwest Beginnings’ by Julian Calverley

What’s Wrong with Giclée…?

It sounds nice doesn’t it? And, in a way, it is.

Unfortunately, you only have to speak to a Frenchman (or, as happened recently, a Swiss friend) about your Giclée process to be sure of a drenching as a result of the coffee they’ve just spat all over you…

Why? Because, and there’s no easy way to say this, in French slang giclée means ejaculation.

In his first week working with me, Antoine (a wonderful French assistant) saw an email drop into his inbox entitled ‘Giclée Print Order’.

Through his tears of laughter, strong French accent and slightly broken English, he finally composed himself and managed to utter the now legendary words:

“Hey, Man, we’re going to be really tired after making these prints, no…?”

HP Designjet Z3200 Service Station

So, Which Name Should We Use..?

If you’ve ever worked with me or downloaded my Price List, you’ll know that I only ever use Giclée in brackets like this:

(sometimes known as Giclée)

Digital Inkjet Prints of the Highest Quality doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, so I like to call them what they are:

Archival Pigment Prints (APP)

Take note, however, that I only use this name because that’s what they are — archival and made with pigment inks.

Be sure of your choice of paper and ink before you adopt the name to describe your own printing methods.

Liam Murray Caravan

Archival Pigment Print (Detail) — Liam Murray’s ‘Caravan’

Spread the Word…

Once you’ve digested the information above, decide for yourself.

If, like me, you feel that Giclée should no longer be used to describe high quality inkjet printing, then spread the word — PLEASE!

Tell everybody who needs to know and, hopefully, we can make a difference…

Oct 092013
 

It’s always a treat when I can be involved in a body of work over a long period of time, seeing its progression and printing the resulting exhibition.

I’ve worked with Damien Wootten for many years now — nine, in fact. During that time, he’s visited several North East locations repeatedly for the last eight years to form the series, Coastal Retreats.

Coastal Retreats, Caravan by Damien Wootten

Mainly working in and around Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Damien’s immersion in the area really shines through.

As he describes:

“At times everyone needs somewhere to retreat to, and I’m sure — like many — my destination seems to be the coast, and being a photographer it seems inevitable that I take my camera with me. I’m very familiar with the North East coast of England and parts of it are deserted, wild and beautiful — but it is the more ordinary, everyday and less attractive areas that interest me more photographically.”

Coastal Retreats, Family by Damien Wootten

Damien continues:

“I have never questioned too deeply why I have chosen these locations to work in and accepted it as an impulse and a need. Hopefully these images have something more to give than just to show the surface of things and offer something worthwhile and contemplative to say about our place within our landscape. These coastal areas seem to symbolise that – where the man-made reaches the edge of things. This is where the natural environment takes over, restraining human encroachment.”

Coastal Retreats, Man by Damien Wootten

I love the Northernness of ‘Coastal Retreats’, a feeling that I’m sure prevails as a result of Damien living in the area along with his seemingly unconditional persistence!

Anyone who lives in the wild and woolly North East will know exactly what it feels like to stand in many of the scenes Damien’s captured, not least a biting one such as this:

Coastal Retreats, Snow Sea by Damien Wootten

Printing this series has been a true pleasure — I hope all those who manage to see the show between 12th October and 2nd February at the Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland enjoy it as much as I have.

The photographs are all 40x40cm Archival Pigment Prints on 60x60cm Museo Silver Rag 300gsm using HP Vivera Pigment Ink.

Sep 192013
 

This year, the Bupa Great North Run was a two-pronged affair for me…

Firstly, I ran it (see my blog post Great North Humanity). Secondly, I made a series of one metre high prints for designer and illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve and Great North Run Culture 2013.

Daisy de Villeneuve with Run Colour Run at the Laing Art Gallery, printed by Jack Lowe Studio

Daisy de Villeneuve with ‘Run Colour Run’ at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne (Photograph © Colin Davison)

Best known for her eye-catching designs for the likes of the V&A, Nike, Moët & Chandon and Topshop, Daisy created a series of portraits in her distinctive colourful style for the commission, entitled Run Colour Run.

Daisy writes:

“What I saw when I went to the Great North Run was there were a lot of people, it was very visual. I went around with my camera and I took photos of anyone I thought looked interesting. So, I’ve taken pictures of a whole range of people – not just the athletes and participants, but the hospitality staff, security, the Red Arrows, event organisers, people with their families, kids cheering on their dads, people in costumes, different characters that stood out to me. A lot of these will show up in my portraits.”

Daisy de Villeneuve, 'Run Dad'

‘Run Dad!’ by Daisy de Villeneuve

From her Paris studio, Daisy discusses the project further:

Recently, top international athletes Ryan Bailey and Josh Cassidy came face-to-face with their portraits, now showing at the Laing Art Gallery here in Newcastle upon Tyne:

Ryan Bailey with Run Colour Run at the Laing Art Gallery

Ryan Bailey (Photograph © North News & Pictures)

Top international athletes come face to face with themselves at 'Run Colour Run' portrait exhibition at The Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle

L-R: Great Nort Run Culture Director Beth Bate, US track and field sprinter Ryan Bailey, Canadian Paralympian Josh Cassidy, Daisy de Villeneuve (Photograph © North News & Pictures)

May 242013
 

In January 2011, one of our finest actors passed on to The Great Mystery.

Pete Postlethwaite commanded the screen and stage with his formidable presence, his film career punctuated with startling roles in Brassed Off, Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo + Juliet, The Usual Suspects and let’s not forget Jurassic Park

So, it was naturally a wonderful treat to see Paul Elton‘s intimate portrait of Pete appear in our trays of slooshing chemicals, his craggy demeanour immortalised as a Platinum/Palladium print.

Platinum/Palladium Print of Pete Postlethwaite by Paul Elton

Platinum/Palladium Print of Pete Postlethwaite by Paul Elton

Paul described to me how he made such a gentle portrait:

“Pete Postlethwaite lived with his family in south Shropshire.  Close by is a local beauty spot and National Trust area called the Long Mynd.  As Pete was himself a lover of the natural beauty of the south Shropshire hills, he wrote the foreword to a book written about the area.

“I covered the event for a society magazine.  During a quiet moment I asked him if I may take his portrait to which he agreed. Totally unassuming and down to earth, he stared straight into the lens with those soulful eyes.

“The impromptu shoot was over in less than five minutes.  Actually, I had photographed him on other occasions, but this image captured his integrity and for me reflected more faithfully my feelings of who he was.”

Although brief, it sounds like a wonderful moment for Paul with such a beautiful outcome.

Following some canvassing on Twitter and in ‘real life’, I’d like to leave you with a clip of one of Pete’s performances.

There are so many to choose from but this tear-jerking scene in Brassed Off came up consistently — as a friend of mine described it, “The most poetic piece of swearing ever filmed.”

Hankies at the ready…

If you’d like me to make prints for you, please feel free to contact me.

My latest list of services and prices can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

May 082013
 

Fresh from his flight across The Pond, I had the pleasure of meeting the street artist Yis “NoseGo” Goodwin in my studio yesterday.

As recently described in the Huffington Post, Goodwin creates playful, energetic totemic imagery of animal characters born from his imagination.

NoseGo's The Marvelous Clash with Unit 44 Gallery

Goodwin is working with Unit 44 Gallery here in Hoults Yard, gearing up towards a solo show opening this Friday 10th May entitled The Marvelous Clash.

I’ve known Danny Hughes and Steven Dunn at Unit 44 Gallery for some time now — Goodwin’s work has provided a great opportunity for us to collaborate together for the first time in making the editioned Archival Pigment Prints to accompany the show.

Danny kindly describes the editioned prints I’ve made for Unit 44 as, “the most beautifully finished print we have ever released.”

Find out more information on their pricing and availability here.

NoseGo's The Marvelous Clash with Unit 44 Gallery

In his latest blog post, Danny recalls a conversation with Goodwin over breakfast:

“He [NoseGo] described the totem composition of a number of his paintings, comprised of multiple layers, each distinguishable, separate however contributing to the over all form of the character. He referred to peoples experiences, lessons, and memories good or bad that make up who we are. He then went on to describe the somewhat ‘random’ composition of style, character, and look of the artworks. The result in this made absolute sense. He described the childhood toy box filled with all kinds of gems, figures, characters, animals, action heroes, vehicles etc. He then described that back then there was no constant ‘style’ in which you would arrange and play with your toys – this being the ‘marvelous clash’.”

NoseGo's The Marvelous Clash with Unit 44 Gallery

Finally, I’ve always been fond of the photographic eye of the inimitable David Bilbrough.

David popped into the studio last week to capture the print production process. Along with Unit 44, he’s kindly allowed me to share some of his observations with you here…

Production of NoseGo print editions at Jack Lowe Studio in conjunction with Unit 44 Gallery

Production of NoseGo print editions at Jack Lowe Studio in conjunction with Unit 44 Gallery

Production of NoseGo print editions at Jack Lowe Studio in conjunction with Unit 44 Gallery

Production of NoseGo print editions at Jack Lowe Studio in conjunction with Unit 44 Gallery

Production of NoseGo print editions at Jack Lowe Studio in conjunction with Unit 44 Gallery

If you’d like me to make prints for you, please feel free to contact me.

My latest list of services and prices can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

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