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Framed prints ship in 4 weeks; originals/unframed prints in 1-3 days. See Shipping.

The Making of Dolan Geiman Original Paper Collages & Fine Art Prints

The Making of Dolan Geiman Original Paper Collages & Fine Art Prints

How Paper Collages Are Made

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: the papers used in each collage represent a lifetime of this collecting and include everything from vintage magazines, hand-written letters, primary school lessons, comic books, ticket stubs 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 of scissors and combs through this paper collection to find all of the appropriate colors and images.
In the process of creating collages, the papers remain true to their source color. In other words, Dolan does nothing to alter the papers that make up subjects. The only paint used is relegated to the background and the occasional detail added during completion.

All collages are created on wood panels with a base layer composed of papers from old songbooks and hymnal pages, painted over with a white wash. 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. The visibility of the musical pages varies from work to work, leaving little surprises to be found in the underlayer of each piece. The background is the only part of a collage that is painted.
Once complete, the collage is sealed for posterity and then the process of framing begins. Most collage frames are 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.
 

Collages receive a special UV-protective acrylic coating or a piece of Museum Plexi to preserve their color and the materials' integrity.

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.

 

 

Turning Original Collages into Archival Prints


Working in conjunction with a local fine art printmaker, the first step in converting a collage to print is digitally documenting the collage. A glare-free lighting system is set and digital camera positioned to shoot the artwork. The technique used to photograph the work delivers a digital file that is, essentially, the same size as the original but in pixels. This means all the teeny, tiny details, down to the individual music notes in the background, are captured in the photo and translate without pixilation when creating the prints.

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.

Finally, 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.

Each print is produced in a limited edition: (currently) 200 for the smallest size, 100 for the medium size, and 200 for the largest size offering. Once sold out, the edition is closed. Learn more via Dolan Geiman Print Details.