Digital painting

In late 2011, I was pondering what it would be like to ditch the wet media and just paint digitally. The kids were young and it was impossible to think about leaving paints around the office. The kids would get into it, no doubt about it.

My experience has always been with physical media. Was I going to produce work that was meant to be printed? What would that feel like? Could I just print one, then destroy the digital file? How does this work?

All of my research was about the “giclée” process, which uses high-quality jet printers. I wanted to find out what the process was and what made it special. I wanted to visit somewhere that

After a couple printer visits, I decided to go with American Litho Color in Dallas. They focus on fine art printing and scanning of physical works for digital reproduction. With the printer selected, price was fixed and not dirt cheap. Even as an experiment, I wondered if these things could be sold. What if I created a series? Would I turn into a hack artist that turned from paint worship? Could I recoup the cost?

At least, I tried to think about it in depth and seriously. I wondered how artists survive. Could I do a combination of physical works and digital prints? Should I plan on taking digital scans of work, just in case there’s a future desire to print? (The cost of digital scanning medium-to-large works is not cheap, but the results from American Litho’s giant flatbed scanner were amazing.) 

Anyway, here’s the work and the resulting prints:

“lgldkgme gnesldk” – digital, 2011

I ended up investing in three prints of “lgldkgme gnesldk” – a 20″ x 20″ on unscretched canvas, a 20″ x 20″ on paper, and a 10″ x 10″ on paper. The quality of colors ended up being rich and even the rusty flavor of the reds were captured perfectly.

It has been a long time since doing this project, but it was worth while to take it seriously and learn about the possibilities.

I had some soul searching to do before going all in.

I know artists that have made a name for themselves by painting, drawing, & maintaining a physical studio. Giclée printing is not “cool” printing like Risograph. And it is not fine art printing like lithography or thoughtful screenprinting. Would “real artists” put my name into a blackball list of artists that have printed shirts and mugs? Would tubes of paint mount their resistance and call me dirty names when entering the store? Would the canvas at home be moved to madness and tear themselves in two? 

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