In 1991, Jack Duganne, a printmaker, searched high and low for an accurate word to describe his new digital printing process, and he came up with “Gicle” (pronounced: zhee-KLAY). This French word means “nozzle” and the verb form “gicler” means “to squirt, spurt, or spray.” To say that Gicle is a high tech reproduction or even pointing out that it is done in very high resolution and high fidelity simply does not truly paint a picture in the mind’s eye of what Gicle really is, and a person won’t fully understand until they see one. Gicle, the pinnacle of modern art print technology, is used to reproduce an artist’s original work so well that it is very hard to distinguish from the original.
Gicle does not incorporate mechanical screens or dots like older printing methods, so there are no dot patterns visible to the human eye. Sophisticated Gicle images faithfully reproduce all the beautiful tones and hues that the artist originally produced. A Gicle printer squirts out a continuous tone of over four-million microscopic droplets of ink, per second, onto either paper or canvas and the output may commonly be found in art galleries, museums, and photo galleries.
In the early days an IRIS ink-jet printer which was able to produce millions of colors using continuous-tone technology was used, but today’s technology far surpasses the early machines. Now large production Gicle printers are made by HP, Epson, Canon, and others but there are no “desk top” models so you still have to go to a specialist to get a Gicle done.
One of the most amazing aspects of Gicle is that nearly any media from acid free watercolor paper and canvas, to vinyl or transparent acetates can be used. Instead of dyes, pigment inks are used to produce long lasting high-resolution continuous tone prints with a brighter more accurate look than former older print processes could produce. Under normal conditions, if archival inks and materials are used, a Gicle print should last from sixty to two-hundred years, depending upon the actual environment of the displayed print. Of course, hanging a print in direct sunlight is not recommended. Most companies put a layer of anti-fade UV protection over the print to improve longevity.
Many modern artists paint digitally so there is no physical work to hang on a wall. Some artists use digital scans of their physical artwork to make reproductions of their work. Gicle addresses both formats by creating an entirely new reproduction medium for artists and art lovers. Each piece is individually produced so an artist is not obligated to make a certain number of prints. They can choose to make only one if they like.
You don’t even have to “be an artist” to create beautiful high quality art prints from your own personal photos of people, places, pets, and vacation memories. In a very short period of time, without huge up-front costs, by using high resolution scans or your own high resolution digital photos, Gicle canvas prints can be created for your own living room or for gifts for special people in your life. Gicle on canvas can be gallery-wrapped, or stretched onto a frame of thick wooden bars with no visible fasteners (such as staples or tacks) creating a finished product which can be hung without framing. If a person does a search for “Gicle printing” they will find a wide list of companies located all over the country who specialize in this amazing printing process.