View Full Version : 'Acrylics': possible alternative names?

09-04-2007, 04:48 PM
There does seem to be some prejudice, in some quarters at least, against 'acrylics.'

I've noticed a couple of alternative names or designations that are sometimes used in galleries (to describe acrylic paintings). Maybe others here know of other alternatives?

The word 'giclee' just sounds better and has a higher level of acceptance than the words 'ink jet print.'

Sometimes this seems to verge on dishonesty or disguise, or non-disclosure. But other times it does not seem that way at all. It's just an intelligent response to a recognized difference in prejudice and acceptance level.

There may be a variety of alternatives, and even room for some inventiveness and new ways of presenting 'acrylic' paintings.

[I have to admit that, even though I think acrylics themselves are wonderful, the word -- 'acrylics' -- is not, in sound or in associations/connotations/image (at least in some people's minds), all that it could be....

Any ideas?]

09-04-2007, 05:30 PM
I have not really come up against any prejudice really. I also have a friend who only works in acrylic, highly realistic work, and is represented by 2 Galleries. My impression is that it is more the work itself and not the medium, that people are concerned with, but I could be naive lol!
I love Acrylic and cannot see any other medium to name the medium my work is in,, unless I want to get into the language of the chemists' side of things lol!. Acrylic is a an emulsion of water and polymer with pigment particles (if I am recalling that correctly), is permanent, flexible, easy to clean up and leave around in my house. I predominantly use Watercolour and Acrylic for my work and occassionally oil (it's rare as the whole rest of my household complains lol!) But, acrylic is my fav and my long time painting buddy :-) I'd turn away from or snub back any person in the art field who judged my work solely on me using the medium of acrylic, myself, but I tend to be pretty stubborn or pig headed if you will :-) Acrylic is tough to master the way I wanted to use it, but it is possible and it rocks! I've used it over 24 yrs and I still have the first framed acrylic on Masonite that I completed in grade 11, depicting myself, my brother and now husband, at a family barbeque.
Acrylic is a durable and flexible medium and there are many many mediums and such that can be mixed with it to achieve hundreds of results. It can be used on so many surfaces. It can be used for decorative work or traditional blending for realistic rendering of a subject. Cold is about it's only real enemy.
I don't think many professionals in the art world today though would make judgements based solely on an artist using acrylic. Acrylic has been around for just over 30 yrs. give or take. However, I again could be wrong in believing that. I guess though I can see how "acrylic" would make one think "wall paint" if one was not really versed on art and artist materials.
My 2 (ok maybe more than 2) cents.

09-04-2007, 05:34 PM
Well, giclee is a specific type of ink jet print - so not all ink jet prints are giclees. So I do have a problem with an artist calling any ink jet print a giclee. And there ARE problems with some ink jet prints in terms of quality and longevity, so the issue there can be genuine.

In fact with artist-grade acrylics there are far far fewer issues about quality. I don't think we need news ways to convince buyers to buy acrylics. They like the painting or they don't. I think we simply need to educate about acrylics and their positive qualities - the misconception is that they aren't as 'good' as oils in various ways. Frankly I don't find any problem with selling acrylics vs oils. If someone decides to not to buy one of my paintings just because it's acrylic then they aren't considering buying it for the right reason anyway.

How about we just go with French?
peinture de plastique

German? Acrylfarbe
Portuguese? acrílica
Greek? ακρυλικό χρώμα (pretty!)

Can you tell I have a desktop translator? ;)

09-04-2007, 05:56 PM
Thanks for the foreign language words. More would be interesting too.

I like 'aquacryl' and 'aquarelle' (not as substitutes for 'acrylic' (unless actually using Lascaux's Aquacryl), but just as words).

'Archival polymer'?

'Lascaux Colors'?

Or -- I saw this one this morning -- just leave it out.

Many people don't seeem to care or notice when that happens, and you don't push the 'plastics' button that some people have.

(My mother is an oil painter, and when you say 'acrylics', she has an involuntary knee-jerk reaction that goes something like "eeeuw, plastic!" -- you can actually see her face scrunch up!)

09-04-2007, 06:05 PM
Yeah, I mean you could just call it a painting...and if someone's interested enough, they can get further details.

Seems to me that acrylics are becoming more and more common/respected/valid...although I've never experienced any specific "hate" toward them to begin with, but maybe a little uncertainty.

One time I had a client ask me to do a painting--without specifying any preference toward materials, and I presented them with the finished acrylic piece (I used acrylics because I felt they were appropriate for that piece). They did seem to keep thinking it was oil--and when I explained the differences and similarities, they asked "Are oils better?"--I think because they were very conservative people who had only seen oil paintings in museums....they absolutely loved the painting, but seemed confused that an acrylic painting could look like an oil.

There are a lot of up-and-coming big name artists who paint specifically in acrylics; doesn't seem like a big deal these days. But then again, it probably depends on your client base.