Discover how Axelle Fine Arts approaches the printmaking process and why it continues to rely on traditional methods.
The transition to a digital workflow in commercial printing operations is widespread, as well as the reliance on four-color-process printing to handle most full-color jobs. How does your print studio go about separating colors on art prints that can have 60 or more colors?
Until 2002, all of our separations were hand drawn using ink and litho crayon on ruby and mylar. We have pneumatic pipes running all over the shop, and we'd just snap in an airbrush gun and get to work. As we got busier, it was increasingly difficult to keep up with the workload laying everything out by hand. I would be doing separations for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, while trying to mix all the colors and print. More and more artists were coming to us with digital files and it finally just made sense to bring in the needed equipment and streamline the workload.
Now we have two Macs: a dual-processor G4 and a dual-processor G5. For scans, we either use our Creo Jazz flatbed or we send the work to Artscans Studio in California, which does exceptional work. Our typical file sizes are 250 MB to 1 GB, and we use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. We output our films on an Epson 9600. We also have a Roland Camm-1 Pro that we are using mainly for gallery signs, but we've cut a few rubies with it as well.
We still do a lot of hand separations. Most of the artists we work with are adept at painting and drawing. So we usually start the print process with a line drawing. This summer we did a large print with artist Alexander Ross. He spent the week working reductively on two sheets of Rubylith.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.