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Author Topic: Signing work  (Read 13028 times)
MatthewG
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« on: June 09, 2007, 10:45:03 AM »
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Hey guys

I am a fine art photographer and am always looking for a better pen used for signing my work.
I currently use a Pigma Micron it's Archival and Acid free but I am doing more and more black and white work and want a great pen for signing on the print.  Maybe something in Silver.

I have looked but have come up empty handed.


Any suggestions?
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Roscolo
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2007, 01:04:19 PM »
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Quote
Hey guys

I am a fine art photographer and am always looking for a better pen used for signing my work.
I currently use a Pigma Micron it's Archival and Acid free but I am doing more and more black and white work and want a great pen for signing on the print.  Maybe something in Silver.

I have looked but have come up empty handed.
Any suggestions?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=121910\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I operate an art gallery and I'm a collector. Whatever you sign with, please sign the print on the back.
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Recked
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2007, 02:41:05 PM »
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Hello,

Just curious Roscolo why on the back and not on the front.

thank you
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2007, 02:55:45 PM »
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All the gallery presentations I've seen are signed on the matte in pencil.  (perhaps on the reverse as well - but that's not displayed - obviously).

I know Michael uses this method.
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ternst
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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2007, 03:03:15 PM »
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All Ansel Adams prints I've ever seen were dry mounted and then he signed the front of the mat in pencil. I've seen four or five different types of signatures from him, but all were in pencil on the front of the mat just below the bottom of the print. I guess if it was good enough for Ansel...
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Recked
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2007, 03:23:43 PM »
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Hi,

I have always signed my stuff on the mat in pencil or archival ink not to suggest that I am in the same league or even close to Sir Adams of course, but it always seemed to me to be the correct thing to do. I never considered signing on the print itself as I assumed a signature at least on the front of the print might lessen the price you were able to offer etc.

thanks
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dkeyes
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« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2007, 03:51:38 PM »
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I use black pigment pens on the back of the print. If the print is mounted I sign the back of the board. Most if not all contemporary artists sign their images on the back of the actual print or whatever the print is mounted to. That way the signature lives with the object/print. Signing in pencil isn't permanent enough for me. I don't like the idea that the signature can be erased or altered.

Signing on the front has always seemed tacky to me. Not that one can't do a signature on the front in a tasteful and subtle manner (thus the reason for using pencil). I just feel that the art isn't about the artists signature so why put it on the front? It also detracts from the image unless there is some underlying conceptual reason for the signature to be part of the art.

- Doug
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Roscolo
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2007, 04:11:12 PM »
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Hello,

Just curious Roscolo why on the back and not on the front.

thank you
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=121939\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bottom line, it's the decision of the artist, but placing one's signature on the front where it is visible is a distraction from the image. The bigger the signature, the more of a distraction it is. We've all seen great photographs (and paintings) more or less spoiled by someone's big gaudy signature pen strokes screaming "I made this!" on the front!

Think about it: as an artist and photographer you go through much time and work to create an image that draws one's eye in, and then negate all the hard work you've done by putting some writing on or near the image that only serves to draw the viewer's eye away from the image.

BTW, I'm guilty. I used to sign my work on the front. It took me some years before I could relinquish my ego and sign on the back!

A compromise, for matted images, is to leave enough border around the image area and sign well into the border area of the photo on the front, and then matte over the signature.

I've always appreciated painters who signed on the back also for the same reason. A good compromise for the painter is to conceal the signature within the painting which is a common practice.
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eronald
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2007, 04:29:00 PM »
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I sign within the print with a set of initials that look like a Chinese character. I choose my spot carefully and use black ink or white pencil - the signature is part of my image as I see it.

Edmund
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 04:29:27 PM by eronald » Logged
thompsonkirk
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2007, 11:05:11 PM »
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Contrary to some of the advice above:  It's common for photo-artists to use a "reveal" mat, one with the cut-out area of the overmat a bit larger than the image but smaller than its sheet of paper (substrate).  The edition normally appears on the left of the sheet of paper, with name & year (often both year of capture/year of print) on the right.  For example,

  1/50 [left,]                                                                             [right,] Ansel Weston 2001/07

The advantage of a reveal mat is that it can't cause differential fading of the image areas inside & beneath the overmat.  Of course the signature isn't a gaudy one - there isn't room for that.  Just a little one, usually pencil.  The print is held to the undermat by mounting strips or corners, not adhesives, and can readily be slipped out for re-matting or re-framing.  

If you don't use reveal mats, sign the back of the print in the border area.  

There'd be no point in signing only the mat - that would undo the whole notion of keeping track of authenticity/provenance of the image.  If a dealer or individual later wants to re-mat an Ansel Weston print that was signed only on the mat, how would he/she maintain its authenticity?  Or if I were a crooked dealer, couldn't I put a copy-negative version of the master's work into the previously-signed mat?  

Kirk
« Last Edit: June 09, 2007, 11:05:49 PM by thompsonkirk » Logged
AndyF2
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2007, 08:57:52 PM »
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I found signing (and titling the image) on the mat resulted in this text being disconnected from the image and lost in the large space of the mat.  The solution I use now is a double white mat, with the signature, title, and print number if appropriate on the inner mat below the image, in pencil.  The outer mat then frames the inner opening plus artist information.  This spacially connects the information better to the image, "frames" it by the outer mat, and still keeps it subtle.
For permanent information on the photograph, I do not print to the edge.  Along the very lower edge of the paper, I label the print more fully (signature, title, date, number, and possibly file name) in ink, however this part of the paper is masked by the mats and only seen if the frame is opened.  
So I get a subtle title, and a permanent signature & title on the photo itself.
Andy
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Mark Graf
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« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2007, 11:01:38 AM »
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Quite a few painters sign directly on the work itself, I don't know why it would have to be any different for a photograph.  Signing on the back of course assumes that the work will never be permanently mounted.   It seems conflicting to me to value the importance of having a hand-signed piece, and then covering it up.

Most art supply stores should have some very fine point paint pens in silver or gold that work well.  (The kind where you need to press the tip in to get them to start flowing, and will dry up very quickly if not capped tight!    )
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SeanPuckett
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2007, 12:31:09 PM »
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Pigma Micron 02 or 03 depending on print size.  

I sign directly on the image for representational imagery, on the media border for abstract imagery.  I sign my initials and the year printed, quite small (less than 1/4 inch square) and strategically placed to be visible but not obvious.

I use this signature as part of my marketing -- only signed prints are made by me.  Other prints (cards, calendars, etc) won't have the signature.  Patrons should expect art to be signed by the maker; anyone who doesn't want it signed is just looking for decor.  And if you want decor, you can just buy someone else's offset litho wallpaper for a dollar or two -- get out of my studio!

N.B. I tested some metallic silver pens early on; the ink flakes off gloss/satin media with any change in humidity or bending of the paper.  Kind of odd to see a little silver "S" just sitting all by itself on the desk, but that's what happens.  Maybe other pens work better.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2007, 12:34:34 PM by SeanPuckett » Logged

stevenh
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2007, 08:41:40 PM »
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for 30 years or so i have followed the convention of intaglio and litho printers. which i also used on my intaglio prints.

i leave a healthy white border around the image on the paper. print by hand edition (#/#) on the lower left. title (if there is one, rarely) at center and signature with date on the lower right in a small unassuming hand.

the galleries, collections and museums seem to find this fine. the key is that they are noticeable as reference ONLY. not as a announcement.

i do know some silver and wet process color printers that sign indelibly across the center of the back of the print with a soft pencil or felt tip. in addition to the front.

i personally don't like this as i have seen it visible from the front through the paper.
fwiw.

signing tools i use are usually pencil. it's archival, and if you use an HB pencil it is soft. the main thing is to not damage the print or substrate now or in the future with the tool

the patrons who buy my prints in the galleries are serious enough collectors and enjoy fineart enough that i'm pretty sure that they aren't going to "re-sign" them. why would they? it would reduce the $ value of the print. they are not generally the type of people who would license the image for other uses.
besides i have the original files and copyrights.

i would worry more about putting images of mine on the web and having someone take credit for them in their own portfolio. but then i'm not as well known as bruce barnbaum, ansel, etc. so web theft is probably more of a risk for me than for them.

 again, fwiw
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 08:42:08 PM by stevenh » Logged
Charles Gast
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2007, 05:39:02 AM »
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I was not signing my work because I did not want to distract and didn't consider the photographer -me- to be of such importance. Another reason I don't like to sign prints or mats is that my signature looks like crap. I prefer to write in block. My cursive looks terrible.
 After people repeatedly asking me to sign prints or mats I sign the mat in pencil. Pencil is acid-free etc. It also does not stick out like black ink. There are pigment ink pens as mentioned above but I like pencil since it is more of an understatement in gray.  I usually write the location of the shot on the back of the print or frame.
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framah
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2007, 05:26:04 PM »
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Here's another little thing you can use.

I have used this for 15 years. It is from Veach Company. It is a pen which you plug into an outlet and the tip heats up. You then lay a piece of foil provided and sign your name slowly and the gold, silver, or black transfers to the print. Not sloppy llike those gold writer pens, it gives you a nice clean line.

Google Veach Company and there they are.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2007, 05:26:31 PM by framah » Logged

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