– Colour permanence & Why I print by myself –

Long-lasting quality

The papers that I have selected to print my creations have an outstanding quality (archival or museum-quality). The requirements that a paper needs to comply with to gain this denomination are defined in a norm (ISO 9706). One of the key strengths of these papers is their durability: depending on the model of paper and how the artwork is displayed (bare, under glass or a UV glass), colors can remain unchangeable for many decades or hundreds of years. To achieve the best quality and durability results it is also required to use pigmented inks (instead of dye-based inks), which carry fined powder of solid colorant particles suspended in a liquid. The prints using pigmented inks are called Glicée prints, which have a higher quality.

Absence of optical brightening agents (OBAs) in the artworks

The artworks on this website have not been treated with OBAs, products that are used to increase the brightness and contrast of other papers. OBAs are not recommended for printing artistic creations given that they become deteriorated faster than the inks and papers, decreasing the color permanence or life span of the artworks. Instead, we use museum quality papers with high natural brightness and contrast.

How framing affects color permanence

Color permanence depends on where the image it is placed and how the work is framed or stored.

It is not essential, but it is advisable to frame the artworks by placing a glass or methacrylate with a filter to eliminate ultraviolet light. It is also recommended to avoid very humid environments such as a bathroom, placing on top of a radiator, in front of air conditioning exits, in aggressive atmospheres (workshops with solvents), or fixing the artwork to rear support using a non-neutral pH adhesive.

External tests have revealed that on average, using museum-quality papers, the life-spam of an artwork exhibited without protection is multiplied by about 2 when using a normal glass, and by 4 when using glazing with a UV filter.

Finally, when framing the artwork, take into account that there should be a distance between the print and the glass or acrylic glass (by means of a passe-partout or a spacer). Otherwise, the humidity will condense in the contact points between the print and the glass, which will deteriorate the print.

Why I print by myfself and about the printer selection

Initial consideration

I vastly reflected on where and how to print my creations before starting my activity.

To outsource this service to an external laboratory offered massive advantages (cost, risk, space, provisions…). However, I also identified some other good reasons to print using my own means:

  • Total quality control: instead of leaving in the hands of others to obtain the maximum quality, I have complete thorough testing, experimenting with different papers and adjustments to achieve the best results.
  • Peace of mind by following the best printing practices: there are a series of common practices that can cause long-term defects. Following the best procedures, I make sure I avoid subsequent defects. For example, respecting the drying times before framing to allow the ink glycols degassing or using neutral-pH glassine paper to store and pack up the prints.
  • Total control over the artwork digital files: this factor minimizes the associated risk of unauthorized reproduction of images and possible loss of value of the limited editions.
  • Speed to manage orders: in the small city where I live, nobody was offering museum-quality printing. Printing by myself, I make sure I can process the orders as quickly as required.

So finally we decided to use my own means to produce our artworks. As a result, I have now a thorough understanding of printing, types of papers, subtleties of each one of them, and other details.

Printer selection:

I use a large format printer (Canon ImagePrograf PRO-6000), with 12 original pigmented ink cartridges (Lucia PRO), designed specifically for high-quality photography. According to my exhaustive investigation at the time, when I selected this printer it was probably the best in the market, both for the tonal reproduction (gamut), as well as for the excellent depth of the blacks (D-density), purity of the colors, smoothness of the transitions between similar tones (gradients), the appearance of the bright areas and sharpness.

Better ambiances

Improved sensations

Greater comfort

Greater prestige

Social Commitment: small gestures for a great change 

A part of the profits from the sale of these artworks and photographs is donated to support social and environmental projects.   

 More information here