Fleurotica: About the Lithographs

Of the montages created by the artist, only Goldenrod Erecta and Rosy Pussytoes are available as continuous tone, screenless, fine art reproduction lithographs printed by 
Black Box Collotype in Chicago. Each comes with a 4” x 5” photo of the real wildflower.

As you may know, conventional four color process printing uses halftone screens which create dot patterns that appear to the human eye as re-creations of an original work. 
By definition, halftone dots can reproduce only a portion of the actual image, thereby sacrificing quality, clarity and trueness of image.

Screenless lithography (enlarged)

Screenless lithography (enlarged)

Conventional halftone lithography (enlarged)

Conventional halftone lithography (enlarged)

Screenless lithography, by eliminating the use of halftone screens and halftone dots achieves extraordinary fidelity, fullness of tone, color and detail, impressive color saturation and clear line resolution. Museums, fine artists and publishers with exacting standards use this remarkable process to re-create their finest works of art. Continuous tone lithography 
(as in a photograph with no dots) evolved from collotype printing, which was invented in 1850. Collotype involved printing from plates coated with gelatin. This gave them an extremely fine grain that could re-create exquisite color and incredible detail. Collotype (from the Greek word kolla, meaning glue) however, has always been an extremely exacting, costly, and time-consuming process.

Because the original Fleurotica montages are created from sections of magazine pages that had been screened for printing in the conventional way, looking through a loupe (magnifying glass) minute dot patterns can be seen, but these are not from the printing of 
the posters. The dots are from the original printing of the magazine.

It was Black Box that developed methods of making the process more practical. Working directly from the artist’s work (transparencies are at least one generation away 
from the original), the printing plates were exposed to a continuous tone film image and 
a random pattern was introduced by electrochemically graining the surface of the plate. 
Each color was separated twice, increasing control over both highlight details and the complete range of shadows.

This produces a profoundly greater depth and range throughout the color spectrum: cleaner, more accurate colors, more gradations of tone, higher contrasts (whiter whites, blacker blacks), lack of muddiness in the shadows and greater range of detail.

The specially developed archival, acid-free paper was printed with seven layers of ink 
and every printed sheet was thoroughly inspected by veteran craftsmen in their in-house curation department. The final result can be breathtaking.