From Original Paper Collage to Fine Art Print

From Original Paper Collage to Fine Art Print

Dolan Geiman Prints are Reproductions of Original Collages


Looking at a Dolan Geiman collage from a distance, it is easy to mistake the piece to be a painting. Upon closer examination, you will see the piece is composed from hundreds (sometimes thousands) of hand-cut papers. All of the papers are vintage and many date as far back as the 1800s. Dolan’s favorite activity as a child was exploring the abandoned farmsteads of the Shenandoah Valley on the hunt for objects and papers to rescue from within the homes. Many of his papers today still come from abandoned spaces, and so the paper used in each collage represent a lifetime of this collection and include everything from vintage magazines, hand-written letters, primary school lessons, comic books, and old maps to name a few. All of the papers are meticulously cataloged in the studio, sorted by age and color. When it’s time to create a collage, Dolan grabs his favorite pair (or pairs) of scissors and combs through this paper collection to find all of the appropriate colors and images.


In the process of creating the collages, the papers are all true to their source color; in other words, Dolan uses no paint to color the papers. The only paint used is relegated to the white background and the occasional detail line added during completion. All collages are created on wood panels with a base layer composed of papers from old songbooks and hymnal pages. The pages create a subtle texture and musical imagery visible in the painted surface and pay tribute to the way music is interwoven in many of our lives.

Once complete, the collage is sealed for posterity and then the process of framing begins. Each collage frame is custom built in Geiman’s studio using reclaimed material. Having lived in Chicago for many years, Dolan collected very special remnants of antique ceiling tin which he rescued from the wrecking balls of construction. As the old grocery stores, pharmacies, and neighborhood storefronts slowly faded away, Dolan saw the beauty and history in the discarded materials and has preserved them for use here in his artwork.


Each collage tells a truly unique story, not only in its subject matter but also in its inception and use of reclaimed materials that have been given new life. Look closely and you will be sure to find some special papers that will tie in to your own story as well.



Working with a Local Fine Art Printer to Translate the Collages into Prints


"When Dolan brings in a new collage to reproduce as a first, the first step is to put it on the easel in our photo studio. We then set up our glare-free lighting system making sure the piece is lit evenly. Once the lighting is perfect and the digital camera is positioned we are ready to shoot. The technique we use delivers a digital file that is essentially the same size as the original, but in pixels. This means we get to see every detail reproduced down to the individual music notes in the background.

The next step is to print a proof and compare it to the original in lighting similar to where the artwork will be displayed. The differences between original and proof are marked. Adjustments are made to the digital file and another proof is printed and compared. We do this process as many times as it takes until we are satisfied that the prints will match the original as closely as possible. After Dolan approves the final proof we are ready to run prints!

The prints we produce are called archival pigment prints. Also known as giclée. This means they are printed on an acid-free archival paper using genuine Epson inks. Detailed notes are recorded and printed proofs are catalogued to ensure that every time we reprint an image it looks exactly like it did the last time it was printed whether that was yesterday or a year ago. Our workflow ensures that every print in a limited edition run will match." -- Chris Kates, The Painted Pixel