Buying fine-art prints and originals FAQ

Buying fine-art with confidence - what does it mean to be archival? what is a Giclée print? what is a limited edition, and more

What is a fine art Giclée print?

Giclée (pronounced zhee-KLAY) printing is a fancy word for inkjet printing. But there is a difference between a fine-art Giclée print and your home inkjet printer. For my fine art prints up to A2 in size, I use a professional-grade Canon inkjet printer with archival inks and fine-art papers. For extra-large prints on paper, and for metal or canvas fine-art prints, I use reputable third-party printers based here in New Zealand.

The inks used are not the same as in your home inkjet printer - they are much higher quality. The papers used are coated so that the ink adheres with fine precision, rather than soaking into the paper. The colours are rich and saturated, and will last a life-time with care.

A digital scan or photograph of an original artwork or purely digital creation is used as the source image. With digital/photo artistry there is no tangible original, instead all physical manifestations of the digital image are prints. These prints may be unique (just one print is ever made), limited (only so many prints are ever made at a particular size), or open editions (the artist is free to make as many prints at any size on any medium that they like). Prices reflect the size and rarity of the print.

Are the prints signed?

Yes, I sign every print. Up until around August 2018 I signed underneath the print on the white margin with my name and edition number in pencil, but then I switched to signing in ink or pencil on the picture itself. This enables more framing options as not everyone wants to frame with a white border. For the Skrark Art photographic prints, we use a subtle embossed artist's chop to sign.

On the back of the fine art prints, I also write in pencil the edition number, catalogue number, year created and year printed (if it is different).

What is a certificate of authenticity (COA)?

A COA provides details about the artwork (whether it be an original or a print), the media used to create it or the paper it is printed on, and various rights. It is signed and dated by the artist. A COA gives you confidence that you are buying an artwork that has been verified and signed by the artist, and it will help hold its resale value. All my originals and all my prints above the small size come with a COA. I can provide COAs for smaller prints on request.

Will my print stand the test of time?

All my prints are made on archival fine art papers with archival inks, unless otherwise stated. My favourites are Hahnemühle Photo Rag and German Etching, and Breathing Color Elegance Velvet. These papers and inks are certified to last a hundred+ years if looked after carefully (out of humidity and direct sunlight). In certain cases, I also print onto archival canvas, fine-art metal, Japanese washi papers, and others. The Skrark Art photographic range is printed on Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl photo paper. To maximize life-span, frame using UV-resistant glass.

Do the artworks come with frames?

Only the prints listed in the "Framed Art" and  TinyArt categories come with frames.  I can arrange framing for you or if you need a recommendation for a good framer in your area, just get in touch. Others the artworks are shipped unframed, using quality acid-free packing to ensure they arrive safely.

What is an "edition"?

Fine art photography and photo-artistic prints typically are released in limited editions at various physical sizes in various formats (ie printed on paper or canvas). The edition size refers to the number of prints made at a specific physical size and format. Once a specific edition has ended, no more can be printed at that size and on that format. A new edition may be added (possibly in a different format), but only if at a substantially different size to the existing editions. 

    Within an edition size, the type of paper may vary across prints, in part due to ongoing supply chain issues, but I will always use a reputable heavyweight archival fine art paper. 

    Open editions are typically cheaper and can be reproduced in any quantity, at any size, and on any substrate. I create them using the same top-quality archival processes. Only a few of my images are open editions (primarily the earlier Flights of Fancy works). The existence of limited edition prints does not preclude the sale of the image as a digital asset or for their use in publications or smaller ephemera such as notecards or "Tiny Art" pieces.

    What does the print size represent?

    The dimensions I list refer to the printed area on the paper or canvas. For paper, there will be a white border of around 0.5 to 3cm around the printed area. I usually sign on the printed area, but sometmes below in the white margin. It is OK to trim this border if needed for framing but, to hold the value and ensure authenticity, don't cut off the signature. You can choose to frame and show some of the white border, or frame right up to the edge of the printed area.

    For canvases, an additional printed margin of around 3-5cm is added to the image. This is either a reflection of the image or a colour taken from the image. If you stretch-frame the canvas onto an internal wooden frame, the printed image will extend to the edge of the frame and this printed margin is folded over and forms the side of the frame.

    For metal prints, the stated size is the exact size of the metal print. There is no margin.

    What is an embellished print?

    By using inks, paints, pastels, gels and other media (the sky is the limit!), Giclée prints on paper and canvas can be augmented and embellished with unique artistry, enhancing the character and worth of each print. Embellished prints can also be considered "mixed media". I especially like using pearlescent paints, pastels and inks because they are not possible to reproduce with standard printing. Some of my pieces are finished with wax encaustic or acrylic mediums. I embellish both my photo-artistic prints and prints of original paintings.

    What is an artist's proof (AP) and printer's proof (PP)?

    In addition to the limited series, the artist may print an "artist's proof" and the printer may also print proofs. The existence of an artist's proof and the number of them will usually be listed on the certificate of authenticity. I usually reserve one AP per artwork, per size. The proof may differ slightly to other prints in the edition, because, as the name says, it's the copy the artist makes to check the print is correct. Typically the artist will keep the proof as a personal copy or may gift or sell it. Artist's proofs are more valuable than other prints in the edition and can become collector items. The proof is marked on the print as "AP". The existence of printer proofs are not listed on the certificate of authenticity, and printers can not sell them.

    How do I interpret the Catalogue Number?

    All my originals and prints have a unique identifier in the format: year, image number, print size, and edition number, e.g., CA2017-02-18cm-01. I write this number on the reverse of your print, along with the year created, edition, and year printed (if different from year created). CA stands for "catalogue". I use "SA" for Skrark Art prints. The year is when the digital image was completed (not necessarily printed). The image number increments from 1 at the beginning of each year, but is not necessarily the order the image was completed in (it's the order in which the images were added to the catalogue). If the catalogue number doesn't have a size, it is because it is an older image and was originally printed at only one size. All new prints have a size included in the catalogue name. The edition number increments in the order they are printed until the end of the edition is reached. I'm not necessarily consistent with whether there is a leading zero in  the image or edition number so '2' is the same as '02' or '002'. The code "LOMM" refers to "limited original mixed media" where I have turned a print into a unique mixed media piece, thus it is has properties of both being a limited edition and an original piece of art. Originals do not get an edition number, instead the catalogue number includes "-original".

    Do the prints differ in price for versions online vs galleries vs exhibitions?

    No - the recommended retail price for the prints are the same online as they are in shops and galleries (excluding shipping, duties, and handling). Our galleries do a fantastic job in representing artists and they work hard for their commissions, so I strongly believe in not undercutting them. On occasion, places like Zealandia EcoSanctuary may offer a member discount. The price for framed works may vary across galleries and exhibitions to cover shipping and entry fees, and to recognize the varied costs of the framing itself. On occasion items might be on sale or bundled at a special price.

    Is GST included?

    For NZ customers, GST of 15% is included in the price.​