While I always love selling an original piece of art, I realize that some people aren't ready to make an investment to collect original art, so I try to offer a variety of ways and price points for my customers to acquire the art they love. It's also a great way to accommodate a certain size requirement for a specific space, or to offer a copy of something that has already sold but perfect for the customer. I've had lots of questions from my non-artist friends about the difference between some of the terms we throw around as artists when regarding art, so I thought I'd try to explain.
An original piece of art is an image drawn or painted by the artist's own hand onto a surface, and is usually one of a kind. Surfaces may vary from stretched canvas, board or paper, but an original piece of art is the most expensive of the three choices, and the one collectors' want to get their hands on. I try to offer and variety of sizes in original work, so new customers can own an actually piece of my original art. To me, there's nothing like seeing the original brush strokes, texture and unaltered color of an original work of art.
I hear varied definitions of a giclee, and even more pronunciations. According to the Merriam
Webster dictionary, it's pronounced gi·clée (sounds best if said with a french accent ;). A giclee is created by a process by which high-quality prints are produced using an ink-jet printer - a process that involves squirting microscopic dots of pigment based archival ink onto fine-quality archival paper or canvas. The ink is actually absorbed into the paper, giving the piece a look very close to the original. The image comes from a scan of the original work, or a high
resolution/professional photograph. All of my giclee's are printed by a professional printer on an archival quality surface, mainly canvas, and then I hand touch each piece so that they actually have real texture. These are less expensive than originals, but more expensive than just a regular print. Some artist's limit their giclee prints or number them, which makes them more valuable.
While all of my regular paper prints are professionally printed, some artist's prints off of their home ink jet printer and still produce a high quality image that is close to the original. Prints can also be on photo quality paper. Most regular prints from a home printer may not be on acid free papers or use pigment based archival inks. The color range may also not be as close to the original. If you know an artist and want to support their art, but maybe don't want to invest a lot of money in art, prints are an inexpensive way collect a variety of pieces. Most are standard sizes so they are easy to pop into a ready made frame.
*Please note, I'm an artist, not a printer, so I have explained to the best of my ability and experience. If you have additional insight on printing, I'd love to have your comments! For me, I leave the printing part up to the experts, so I have more time to paint. Hope this gives you a little insight when purchasing art for your collection, or maybe starting one!