Progress: Printing for the Masses
HAGER CITY — Underneath a florescent light hanging from the ceiling in a basement, Dan Wiemer stood at a table with an original painting at his right hand, a stack of prints to his left and recalled his earlier days as a working artist.
Wiemer used to be an illustrator, he used to have 4-by-5 transparencies made of his illustrations, he used to carry those transparencies around to different ad agencies and he used to pay $75 apiece for those transparencies.
The transparencies now rest in boxes – of which there are many – and collect dust because Wiemer has little use for transparencies now.
On this occasion, Wiemer stopped by the home of David Husom and Ann-Marie Rose – the husband-and-wife team who run Husom and Rose Photographics out of the basement of their Wisconsin home – to drop off an original painting and pick up some prints of an earlier work.
Wiemer, who lives and works in Red Wing, has worked with Husom on a number of pieces throughout the years and said it’s amazing how much the technology has changed.
“There are just colors you can get in a Giclee print that you couldn’t get in (lithograph),” Wiemer said of the printing method Husom uses. “You know, it’s like the hot pink and this kind of funky tealy-blue that you just couldn’t get in the four-color process.”
Giclee printing is a method by which a print is made using a professional printer with either eight or 12 different color inks and the printer used by Husom and Rose is an eight-color printer.
The inks are now pigment, which is a much more permanent than the dye that was previously used, Husom said.
One of the advantages to using the Giclee method, Wiemer said, is the ability for the artist to print their work on an as-needed basis as opposed to the mass printing required by older methods.
“It’s more cost per unit,” Wiemer said, “but you’re paying for the luxury of being able to get them one at a time.”
In a perfect world, Wiemer said, he would just sell originals, but the Midwest is more of a print market.
Some artists don’t like to sell prints, Wiemer said, because they see prints as selling out.
Wiemer doesn’t see it that way, and he said prints are just another way for people to have affordable art and it’s also his way of making a living.
When Wiemer has a piece he’d like to get prints for he said he drops off the original and leaves the rest up to Husom.
“I have enough faith in his eye for color that he gets it right,” Weimer said.
While Husom said roughly 90 percent of the business they do at Husom and Rose Photographics comes from other artists, the purpose for starting the business was to have the option of using the printers for their own work.
“We got into it because we wanted to do our own prints,” Husom said.
The printers Husom and Rose use, however, are not meant to be used every once in a while, they are meant to be used with regularity.
“So we quickly came to the conclusion that if we wanted if for ourselves, we should work for other people,” Husom said.
This story originally appeared in part 3 of the 2014 Red Wing Republican Eagle Progress Edition, titled Start to Finish. The three-part series features local businesses, artisans and community groups describing their step-by-step processes.