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The Art of Reproduction

By Michael Lagacé

The scanner stops, its lights dim. The cover is lifted. A canvas is revealed, enormous, with bright yellows and deep blues. A labour of days, weeks. Long nights. A hundred thousand brush strokes or more… now captured as millions of pixels. Now safe from aging, safe from any number of fates. The work – and all the time creating it – is preserved forever. This is the first step in professional art reproduction.

Over the past 50 years, TR Trades has earned a reputation for its excellence in reproduction. As a trade printer, they’re used to having industry-leading professionals expect nothing less than perfection. Now, several years into Fine Art Reproduction, they’re learning that artists have a familiar need for perfection. “An artist puts so much energy and so much time into their paintings, we need to capture all of that in one image. It’s not easy, but we do it,” says Carla Duncan, owner of TR Trades.

“Artists come to us for many reasons,” she says. “Some want us to reproduce their work to sell, some want a digital file for security in case of water or fire damage. But whatever the reason, more and more artists are coming to us with their work, and it’s amazing.”

With a large flatbed scanner that’s quite unique in North America, TR Trades is able to handle a wide variety of original artwork. Size is hardly ever an issue; most artwork easily fits into the scanner’s 48x70 inch bed, and when it doesn’t, it can often be scanned in multiple pieces and stitched together digitally. In addition to a standard flat scan, Visual3D technology uses variable light settings to simulate depth within a 2D environment. For artists, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Being able to faithfully capture textures and mixed media is just the beginning.

“Most artists that see our scans are stunned by the image quality,” Carla says. “The scanner picks up more than we could ever capture before, resulting in some truly incredible and accurate prints.”

With this level of detail, artists can now satisfy the increasingly diverse range of products their clients want. Postcards and half-size prints for an upcoming market, a full-size archival giclée print for a collector, a banner twice the original size on satin photo paper; you never know what clients might want next year, or the year after. This is why more and more artists are being cautious and getting 600 dpi scans before selling the original, leaving their options open for what they can sell later. Many artists find it reassuring to know that the time they invested into their work will be profitable longer than just one big sale.

“I think artists are finding that as their careers progress, this becomes a necessary business decision,” Carla says. “Developing that passive income stream ultimately allows them to focus on what they do best, which is creating art.”

And what Carla and her staff do best is reproduction. A local, family-owned business since 1969, TR Trades has decades of experience to draw from to help artists at every stage of their career.

“We often say, there’s nothing like an original painting, but our prints come close,” Carla says. “A glittery piece painted with acrylics made from rare pigmented inks in the Himalayas may be impossible to reproduce identically. Our knowledgeable staff go over the limitations of reproducing specific pieces and the different options available for scanning and reproduction. Essentially, we know what will work and what won’t, and we’ll tell you.”

This is the level of service that clients have come to rely on with TR Trades. “I think that more than anything else, what drives us are the relationships we build with our clients,” Carla says. “At the end of the day, artists are coming to us with high expectations. The best we can do is work with them and aim for excellence.” This is more than just a longstanding commitment to quality, it’s a customer-centered approach that has resulted in 50 years of successful reproductions.

For more information on Fine Art Reproduction, please visit


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