IRIS printmaking was first introduced at Cone Editions in 1992 as an adjunct to its experimental etching, screenprint and monoprint. Today IRIS is recognized as the most aesthetically beautiful of all the inkjet mediums. Because of the unique drum mounted system, delicate Japanese papers can be printed. The inks that we use are rated for 70 years which is greater than that of Ilfochrome, C-Print and the new Fuji Crystal Archive. The inks that we use are nearly as archival as EPSON's latest inks (according to Wilhelm Imaging Research.) IRIS printmaking when first introduced was known for its fading. Today its a very rare, vintage medium with longevity superior to any readily available color photographic process. We print up to 35" x 47".
This is an unusual inkjet process which is remarkably different from that of EPSON, HP, and other inkjet printers. There are 31 different available ink drop sizes in comparison to the three of EPSON, and the resulting ink load which IRIS can produce is significantly higher eliminating the need for "pre-coated" inkjet papers. As a result, IRIS process is used on uncoated paper which is of significantly higher archival value to the artist, photographer, collector and museum. We know that uncoated fine art papers can last centuries. Pre-coated fine art inkjet papers have already begun exhibiting problems due to environmental conditions such as gas and vapors.
- Allows printing on unusual materials such as fine Japanese papers.
- Beautiful surface quality and depth from unique inkjet process.
We recently shifted away from IRIS Equipoise inks to the new IRIS Pinnacle Gold inks and our longevity has increased to nearly that of EPSON's latest Ultrachrome K3 inks. We can not find a convincing reason at this point to prefer EPSON K3 inks over IRIS Pinnacle Gold. While EPSON may have some greater longevity, the benefits of uncoated IRIS paper will far outweigh this. There is no convincing evidence that a pre-coated inkjet paper can withstands the elements of time as long as uncoated inkjet paper as used by our IRIS process. EPSON requires a paper that is coated with a material that is hydroscopic in order to absorb and hold the ink. That same hydroscopic coating will also attract atmospheric pollution. So we are quite pleased now with the longevity aspects of our new IRIS inks!
The following longevity ratings are from Wilhelm Imaging Research:
- Kodak Ektacolor, rated 18 years
- IRIS Equipoise on Somerset Velvet, rated 22 years
- Ilford Ilfochrome, rated 29 years
- Fujicolor Crystal Archive, rated 60 years
- IRIS Pinnacle Gold on Somerset Velvet, rated 70 years
- EPSON 9800 Ultrachrome K3 on Somerset, rated 108 years
How it works
The IRIS process starts with either drum scans of your original film or from your digital camera files. For fine art reproduction, we either scan 4x5 transparencies or your original art on either our drum scanner or our TTI large format direct scanner. We will produce proofs for you to okay or further color correct. For editions we must produce a signed BAT that we keep on file in order to re-match color.
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