Is a digital drawing/ink-jet print a manipulated photograph?
No. The image is a product of the artist's hand. I strive for a realistic look, but all of the lines and tones in the drawing are created by my hand. Beginning with a blank digital file in a drawing program installed on my computer, I create the drawing with a digitizing tablet and electronic pen.
Is it a reproduction?
No. A digital drawing is an original piece of art. Physically, it exists from its inception as a digital file of bits and bytes that translate into a visible image when viewed on a monitor or printed by a computer-driven printer. The digital file is to the ink-jet print as the crayon drawing on a litho stone is to the lithograph.
Once it has been editioned, the drawing is an original multiple, ie., a fine art print, which is signed and numbered by the artist.
There are many ink-jet prints, often called giclees, on the market that are created by photographic reproduction of a piece of art completed in another medium, such as painting or pastel. Even though these reproductions are signed and numbered by the artist, they remain reproductions, not original prints, because the originals were done in a different medium.
How many copies of this digital drawing exist?
When I sign the image, I also include a notation of two numbers separated by a slash: for example, 15/24 , in the lower left hand paper margin under the image. This is my signed guarantee that this particular print is the 15th print in a total edition of 24. I also have a number, not to exceed 10% of the edition, of Artist's Proofs printed; in this example, there would be two Artist's Proofs as well as the twenty-four prints in the edition. Lastly, there is a signed B.A.T. (bon-a-tirer, French for good-to-print) that is the property of the master printer.
Will it fade or deteriorate?
My images are printed on 100% rag fine art paper either by an Iris ink jet printer at Jonathan Singer Editions using American Ink Jet's ink set called Pinnacle Gold or by my Epson 4000 using Epson Ultrachrome ink. Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. (www.wilhelm-research.com), rates the permanence of a four-color black and white image printed this way at 100 or more years, depending on the type of paper, under their standard lighting conditions. For comparison, a watercolor is permanent for approximately 25 years and the most archival photograph for 60 years. In dark storage these ink jet prints are permanent indefinitely.
Can something produced with a computer be Art?
Art happens in the mind - both in the mind of the artist and the mind of the viewer. On a physical level, all art images are illusions. Regardless of how new or how traditional the process, these illusions are fabricated out of powdered pigment and glue or grease. Assuming that the artist is forthcoming about originality, the existence of multiples, and the archival qualities of the medium, there are no legitimate or illegitimate processes or materials; they are aesthetically neutral. Whatever it takes to convey the image from the artist to the viewer, be it pixels or paint, is a legitimate vehicle for art.