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24/02/2010

Traditional graphics and Technology

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The traditional graphics is an anachronism in this modern society. Technology with one of its tentacles, the digital graphics, makes it sound artists and printers dedicated to etching and lithography, as true men of Altamira. The technical processes employed by them, compared to applied technology development in digital graphics, are abysmally retarded and with a barely perceptible evolution. Moreover, even analog photography is an anachronism that is being displaced by digital photography.

However, traditional graphics has its force in our time by several factors, some of the most important art market, the unique value of the invoice craft control runs, centuries-old craft perfection and the indelible mark of talent of the artists themselves directly reflected in a serial work done in wood, metal or stone with the result in paper market continues to privilege the traditional work over the work of artists who use new technologies. The reason is that the market is underpinned by the principle of authenticity and control the number of works, allowing the price rise as the author is listed day to day. Changing technology, offers an aesthetic and democratization of the media, making the works more accessible in its performance and its price.

The market consistently rewards the talent of artists, and the degree of perfection of the crafts of engraving and lithography, which are reflected in the works that have occurred over the centuries, become a surplus
undisputed among galleries and collectors.

Similarly, heat, emotion, expression and human touch that is printed on a piece of traditional graphic design is another factor to buy the company because of the overwhelming face of the technological world, seeks alternatives to hand stamp man.

The advances in research in the engraving and lithography, are a fact. Today is not the same varnish, or similar chemicals, or the same roles that were used in antiquity, the lithography has now other resources with the use of aluminum sheets that involves the possible use of photo transfer and equally, there are now chemicals that help to corrosion, almost perfect, according to the strokes and imagination of artists in the engraving plates. However, this progress is negligible compared to what society has advanced in technology, suffice it to say that today, by simply pushing a button, the world opens the eyes of the beholder.

While the richness and warmth of engraving and lithography are still champions in the art market compared to what is done electronically, can not fail to note its limitations compared to digital. For just mention one, we cite the problem of the dimension of the works.
A lithography may not ever be monumental. The engraving has an intimate character by the size of a deck Tórculo that brutal contrasts so it can provide a plotter with widths up to 1.50 meters and a length of over 45 meters.

The traditional graphical tools and resources offered similar for centuries, making the management of a limited field image, whereas the development of the same in the digital area, we can say that is unlimited.
Only imagination is the limit. The programs used for imaging in the area of computers, have the same tools as etching and lithography, from a photoshop can call the screen, obviously virtually, chisels, brushes and pencils, gouache , grisaille, patterns, meaning hazy or roulette.

Finally, computer programs are similar man's knowledge for use in the screen and the subsequent teams resulted in high resolution. In the mail has been a profound learning process than they have been the traditional techniques of drawing, painting and graphics, today it's up to the traditional graphical open to contemporary. For the artists and printers of today their share in the commitment to society and market, new paradigms regarding the graphic work, for example, it seems that the creators can perform traditional graphics or operated with the digital viceversa.Aquí
is essential to reflect on the phenomenology of the creation of the chart: what digital can never replace the experience of confronting the traditional graphic materials. The fact drawing on a stone, wood or a metal plate, is a unique act and would never be abolished. Also, being a stone unparalleled graphing, polishing a plate or ink stain with etching and lithography, can not be replaced by the excitement away, yet vibrant, contemplation of how the prints come from computers plotters . The confrontation between the artist and printer with the traditional own resources, can never be substituted for experience at the coldness of the screen and digital printer nozzles.

In the act of engraving and lithography there is the human dilemma, allowing loexcelso: the failure and success in creating and thus greatness. When brilliantly punctured a plaque, is for the history of the artist, the man is right or wrong when a level of acidity in the preparation of a lithography stone, remains forever in the history of printing. Copies will be fatal or brilliant.

Instead, the universe of computers is the human trial and error satisfied until all costs. Everything has been designed for the user, despite its errors, to recant. On the road to the digital creation, the artist and the printer can always retract halfway. There is always a "control z" to go back on what worked, what is drawn or printed.

In the digital world, everything is ready for humans to evolve without recriminations or acted as fact. The man goes to the coldness of the functional regardless of feelings, emotions or needs. It should work to force, whatever the cost. That's the big difference between the work produced by the emissaries of
Altamira and representatives of digitization, between those who know they can succeed with a stroke that will never be erased by the experience and who know that with one keystroke you can go back on until find perfection in the images.

On another point, one of the fundamental aspects of the graph is the essence of multi playback. The assimilation of centuries in the management of copies of an engraving, has resulted in the careful production and numbers of the resulting pieces of film. Therein lies principally market value of a graph, in addition to the quality and stature of the artist.

The digital graphic has a lot to learn from that case. Digital processes have such power with respect to the multi reproduction, that virtue is precisely that its main enemy, as galleys and collectors argue that digital can be copied to the

satiety, devaluing the work. The picture has suffered from the same disease since birth. If photography, as now could be done in the digital graphics, had been established for over 160 years the cancellation or a negative mark and the numbers and copy control, another would be the outlook for prices photographic works. Today a signed copy of Manuel Alvarez Bravo has a value of up to $ 4,500, if the artist had self-imposed the practice of canceling or negative marking and numbering the copies until a ceiling value of one of them could quintuple.

Similarly one can speak of the digital graphics; it must set the erasure or destruction of a digital file once it has performed the corresponding circulation, numbered and authenticated, to thereby ensure a good market price of art.

The production, management and numbering the copies at the ydigital traditional graphics as well as analog and digital photography is a key point for regulation and price stability of the works.
Take the case who suffered Dali and Miro, who in the overnight price plunged his graphic works by corrupt editors and printers. Without ethics, everything is rotting and devastation.

In all this way of analysis between traditional and digital graphic, there is the issue of image permanence in the digital results.
This more than proved by history, that traditional techniques of the graph have been champions in the fact of conservation of the copies, need only cite those of Diirer in the field, contemporary technologies also have much to learn.

Today electronic output plotters or digital electronic processing of photography, has a guarantee of existence of at least two hundred years in controlled lighting conditions and stable and that is profit. However, the challenge is that the digital copy on paper with a stay of at least five hundred years for that engineers worldwide are working at top speed, have to trust that the triumph of image permanence in the digital graphics is more than warranted.


To end this writing, while listening to the centennial of Chopin's music in a digital audio equipment, you can ask the following questions:

"Artists and traditional graphics printers are able to assimilate and apply the advances of contemporary technologies?, Will the art market will be able to change the paradigms that legitimate only copies of engravings and lithographs, and works to accommodate digital processes? and "contemporary technologies over the years to abolish the lithographic press, the Tórculo and photographic enlarger?.

At this point it is not for winners and losers in the processes of the graph, or to argue that traditional works are an anachronism in extinction and that digital is the only valid, the issue is of assimilation, understanding, tolerance, understanding, learning and development of artists, printers, galleys and collectors to create a bridge between the old tradition of engraving and lithography processes and outcomes of digital graphics.



Manuel Zavala y Alonso

February 18, 2002

Coyoacan, Mexico City

Note: This text was written for presentation on research and new

techniques, the I Symposium of professional graphics has made to the Museum

Manuel Felguerez Abstract Art, in Zacatecas, Zacatecas during the days of

21 to 23 February 2002.

 



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