Thursday, May 26, 2011

Abstract art prints by Marten Jansen

This site brings to your attention the abstract art prints that were made after an abstract painting by Marten Jansen and also to acquaint the reader with the process of screen printing. Screen printing serves many purposes but perhaps best known is it's application to art in the form of the production of art prints. We distinguish between art prints and posters in that art prints are of higher quality and posters are less expensive. Screen printing requires much more manual labour than the production of posters, which is largely automated. This explains the higher cost of manufacturing of art prints.

For some people this begs the question: "If art prints are more expensive then why make them, are they really so much better?". The answer is yes. The technicalities will be explained below, but it's striking how the average person usually doesn't realize that he/she is indeed watching an art print and not an original painting, while with posters the difference with an original artwork is inescapable. This doesn't mean, of course, that posters aren't great to have, but the closest thing to original art is certainly an art print. If you are looking for posters then below there are some links to some first class sites to buy posters from.

Limited edition or open series?

Some people require a series of art prints to be a limited edition. They appreciate the thought that there are, and will be, only a limited number of the art print they are interested in. Some people however, buy art prints just for their intrinsic quality and the pleasure they give them in their home and are unperturbed by the thought that someone in a neighboring town possesses a similar art print (similar, because no two art prints are identical, as explained below).

For some artists the thought is unbearable that, once a limited edition of art prints has been sold out, they will never be able to offer that particular art print again. Especially if their style is constantly evolving - so once a painting is finished, they will neither be able to paint in that style again, nor, in the case of a limited edition of art prints, be able to offer art prints in that style.

This can be a compelling reason for an artist to declare an edition of art prints open, which...for the buyer has the advantage that an open series of art prints will always will considerably less expensive than a limited edition of art prints.

The screen printing process

First a photo of the painting is taken by a specialized photographer. The image is fed into a computer which separates the colors, eliminating from the photo deviations from the colors chosen by the artist. The resulting film is handed over to the printer, who produces a series of plastic foils, one foil for each color. Those areas in the painting that correspond to a given color (according to the film) are then "etched away" by means of a chemical process. These areas become permeable to fluids, i.e. the ink. This is shown on the photo below.

prints - foil

The foil above represents one particular color, the yellow areas resulting from the etching process. These yellow areas form a very fine grid, so fine that the resulting dots can't be discerned by the naked eye (as opposed to the offset technique, which is used in the production of posters. Offset has a much coarser grid) This explains the strength of color which characterizes screen-printing.

The foils are then fitted into aluminium frames and the frames are attached to tables on which the printing takes place. Below you can see the printer mixing and (next image) applying the ink. (The ink is actually as thick as oil paint and highly permanent). You can see that screen-prints aren't mass-produced, the ink is applied manually. Therefore each print differs slightly from the other and is unique.

prints - mixing

prints - applying

Above the printer is preparing samples that are subsequently compared to the original painting (see below).

prints - check 1prints - check 2

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