Mockingbird Press

As a relative newcomer to the world of art, I am constantly encountering new things that help me to think about my own art work and how to develop it. In the last year or so I have become aware of how some artists make their work more widely available by having it reproduced as prints and greetings cards. I was intrigued by this process and wanted to know more, so I spoke to Bob Antell and his wife Sharon who run the Bristol-based Mockingbird Press.

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Interestingly, Bob and Sharon are both artists – and it was through his experiences of making reproductions of his own work that Bob developed the business. Bob worked as a graphic designer for many years and this also helped to feed into the idea of setting up the Mockingbird Press. Once he had researched and found a reliable process for reproducing his own work and the work he produced for clients, other people started to ask if he could do the same for them.

So – how do you go about getting your artwork reproduced? I had an idea that smaller two-dimensional pieces could be placed into a scanner, but what about large pieces? And what about three-dimensional work? Some of my own mixed-media work is made of lots of layers and has an uneven surface. My own primitive efforts to scan it produced very poor images indeed!

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It was clear to me that capturing a high quality image of a piece of artwork was crucial to the process of reproduction and Mockingbird Press have a range of tried and tested methods for doing this very successfully. In many cases the work will be photographed and Bob can either come to an artist’s studio (especially if work is big or difficult to move) or the work can be brought to the Mockingbird Press studio in Bishopston. Once the photos have been taken, they will be edited to look as close to the original as possible.

Instead of charging for the initial set-up of artwork images separately, Mockingbird Press have developed a system where the artist is only charged for items produced from this initial set-up (such as Giclée Prints, greetings cards and high-resolution digital images). Bob believes that his own experiences as an artist help him to get this initial set-up stage right for the artist, because he can put himself in their position as he carries out the work.

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Another of my questions about the reproduction of artwork was “what exactly is a Giclée print?” This is what I found out from Wikipedia:

The word giclée was adopted by Jack Duganne, a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the IRIS printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer they had adapted for fine-art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of “inkjet” or “computer generated”. It is based on the French word gicleur, which means “nozzle” (the verb form gicler means “to squirt, spurt, or spray”).

So, Giclée prints are a very specific form of digital ink-jet print. The ink used is extremely light-fast and a special kind of printer is used. Mockingbird Press offer a range of different papers for Giclée printing and the results are very impressive. The cost of a print on A3+ paper (485mm x 330mm) is £12. If you require more than one print, there is a 15% discount. Mockingbird Press print on various sizes of paper and prices vary accordingly. More information about Giclée printing can be found here.

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Many Bristol artists sell greetings cards of their artwork, which is a really great way to share your work with lots of people and provide a functional item with many uses. Mockingbird Press supply greetings cards of different sizes and paper qualities. Each card comes ready packaged with an envelope in a cello bag and prices start from 85 pence per card (with a minimum order of 250 cards). Bigger cards, higher quality paper, and a completely recycled package cost a little more per item.

Some artists simply buy the high resolution digital images of their artwork rather than prints. Bob is happy to supply low resolution images for use on social media, etc. (which is really useful for getting your work publicized to a wider audience).

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Mockingbird Press is one of a number of printing and reproduction services for artists based in Bristol, but it is clear that Bob’s experience as a graphic designer and artist, and his passion for high quality artwork, has allowed him to develop a significant customer base in the city and beyond. Once I have produced some ‘masterpieces’ I will be looking to organise some cards and prints. If you would like to find out more about the services offered by Mockingbird Press, visit their website: http://www.mockingbirdpressbristol.co.uk

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