Giclee printing is a technology that made it’s debut in 1985. While the technological aspects of giclee imparts an impression of simplicity and ease, in actuality, the methods are extremely complex and time consuming. The giclee printer is a digital printer that uses continuous ink jet technology whereby microscopic droplets of ink are placed with excruciating precision onto a surface. The image consists of pixels or dots that are formed by these droplets in combinations of each of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). Data from the computer instructs that printer how many droplets of each color to place within each given dot. The dots are so small (each droplet can only be viewed under a microscope) and precise that, instead of seeing dots, the human eye only registers a slow tonal graduation. The ink jet travels from left to right along a steel rod, while a drum wrapped with fine art print paper is spinning transversely to the ink at two hundred and fifty inches per second. Each nozzle of ink (four nozzles, one for each color) produces one million droplets per second, an amazing testament to the intensely precise calibration and mechanical accuracy of which the giclee printer is capable. The inks are water-based without the toxic environmental effects.
The strong interpretive power of a giclee is in part, due to the quality of the inks and printed on a variety of surfaces, including archival quality paper, canvas, and silks, giving the ultimate look and feel of an original fine art print. Museums have also realized giclee’s vast potential and already have made giclee editions a permanent part of their collection. The participating museums include The Metropolitan Museum of art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Philadelphia Museum, National Gallery of Women in the Arts, D.C., to name just a few.