Reproducing Art for a Good Cause at A-R-T & Associates

Each year, Ronald McDonald House Charities and Coca-Cola Company commission an art partner to create an original painting that is auctioned during a fundraising event to raise money for the charity, which provides housing for a family while a child is receiving life-saving care at hospitals around the country.

A-R-T & Associates shared some of its test prints of the Coca-Cola/RMHC 2018 poster.

In additional to the original art, which has been created by the likes of Peter Max and Steve Penley, the poster is then reproduced and sold around the country as an additional fundraiser. For 2018, artist Winford Galmon was selected. Galmon is well known for his bright, action-packed paintings of famous sports stars. His RMHC/Coca-Cola piece celebrates the cheery Ronald surrounded by bright, multi-colored hearts.

A-R-T & Associates, based in Atlanta, has once again won the bid to reproduce the posters for 2018. “We have to be very competitive when we bid this job,” says Rachael Zaudke Wilkins, who runs the print operation at A-R-T. Her LexJet sales representative, Matt Bailey, suggested LexJet TRIBUTE Satin Photo Paper 240g for the job. TRIBUTE is an instant-dry, heavier-weight 9-mil photo paper that’s ideal for high-production jobs, thanks to its cost-effective price when purchased by the pallet.

“Matt knew what I was going to use the paper for, and he said, ‘we just got this paper you really need to try.’ By the time I was three-quarters of the way through my first roll, I was extremely pleased,” Wilkins says. “It’s a very nice quality paper for a fantastic price. Plus, you can hang it up with just pins on the wall — lighterweight papers need to be framed.

“The Ronald McDonald House poster is a very cost-conscious project,” she says. “With TRIBUTE, we’ll be able to give them a higher-quality product.”

Printers Prefer the Latex Fabric EnduraFab™ Textiles. Here’s Why!

When EnduraFab™ Textiles hit the market last year, the line of fabrics was one of the first latex-compatible options available to the industry. Throughout the year, print service providers have told us that EnduraFab™ not only offered a much-needed latex solution in the market, but it also outperforms its competitors.

Pop up trade show display printed on EnduraFab™ Stretch at TPM, Inc.

We caught up with Dustin Batson, the Color Lab division manager at TPM, Inc. in Greenville, S.C., where his team produces a wide variety of event displays, banner stands, site signage, interior décor printing and more. The market demand has changed in recent years, he says, to soft signage, rather than rigid display boards that were used in the past.

“We use EnduraFab™ Stretch for trade show pop ups and the EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier for all of our backdrops,” Batson says. “There’s less cost in shipping, and easy changability with SEG panels — you just simply pull out the insert from the frame and replace it. For trade shows, it makes more sense and is less cumbersome.”

For Eduardo Aceves Hernandez, electronic publishing specialist at the Document Solutions department at the University of Texas at Austin, the ease of travel with EnduraFab™ is a huge win. “People kept asking for things they could fold and take to conferences,” Hernandez says. “In response, we shopped around, and EnduraFab™ was the solution. Customers have been really happy so far.”

Hernandez prints EnduraFab™ on an HP Latex 360 64-inch printer for his university customers, which include everyone from the athletic department to school administrators who need event signage, trade show displays, thesis exhibits and banners. When these items were printed on vinyl media, they had to be rolled up and shipped or carried in tubes to avoid creasing — “they were really a hassle to carry on a plane,” he says.

A fabric poster printed on EnduraFab™ at the University of Texas at Austin

EnduraFab™, however, can be folded and stowed in a suitcase. “It just hangs really well, and displays well,” Hernandez says. “And it’s not going to crinkle. So you get simplicity with good quality.”

Batson says the ease of use is definitely a bonus, and the print quality is strong, too. “It holds very vibrant color,” Batson says. “And the color tends to hold better and you get less crocking than other materials.”

Finishing EnduraFab™ is easier and more reliable, too, Hernandez says. “With thicker fabrics, fraying was an issue,” he says. EnduraFab™ finishes so cleanly, he says they don’t have to sew the edges. “We even mounted one graphic to a foam board and it looked good, too.”

The EnduraFab™ Textiles line is available exclusively through LexJet, and includes six options in a variety of sizes:

  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit: Lightweight fabric with excellent drape for table skirts, SEG frames and soft signage.
  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit FR: Frontlit fabric that meet the flammability standard for NFPA 701, 2015 Edition (Test 1, Small Scale) and require heat set for desired print durability.
  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier: Heavyweight fabric for retail signs, SEG frames and indoor banners.
  • EnduraFab™ Frontlit Premier FR: Frontlit Premier fabric that meet the flammability standard for NFPA 701, 2015 Edition (Test 1, Small Scale) and require heat set for desired print durability.
  • EnduraFab™ Stretch: Lightweight fabric with one-directional stretch, providing installation flexibility and ease particularly for SEG frames and geometric trade show displays.
  • EnduraFab™ Stretch FR: Stretch fabric that meet the flammability standard for NFPA 701, 2015 Edition (Test 1, Small Scale) and require heat set for desired print durability.

2017 National Sunset Print Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 National Sunset Print Awards. They will be presented with their awards at Imaging USA in Nashville, next month:

1st Place: The Beauty of Innocence – Kimberly J. Smith

2nd Place: Classic – Randy McNeilly

3rd Place: In Flight with Twigs – Uldis Ilvess

There were a total of 31 prints that included a junk boat on a cool and Misty Morning, a celebratory Alabaster Aster, the majesty of a Departing Flight, and even a pack of lawmen in Prepare There’s Trouble. With such a vast array of creativity and artistry displayed by the 2017 Sunset Print Awards around the country, it’s no wonder the judges had a difficult time narrowing the field down to the final three.

Discussing her Southwest PPA win earlier in the year with The Beauty of Innocence, Smith reflected on the photo shoot where she captured the innocence and serenity of a 1-year old, not an easy thing to do! “I could see the artistry in the shot and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture the image,” Smith said of the winning image, pictured above.

“Classic” by Randy McNeilly

Photography veteran Randy McNeilly had a total of three wins out of the PPA Southeast district, but it was his wedding portrait “Classic” – a piece that truly captures the elegance and beauty of a bride on her wedding day – that garnered a 2nd place win in the National awards. McNeilly stressed that spending time with each client is an important part of capturing their personality and learning what story is inside, begging to be told.

“In Flight with Twigs” by Uldis Ilvess

For Uldis Ilvess, a fortuitous road trip helped him score his winning shot for Professional Photographers of Iowa. While driving through the country, he spotted a few homes and decided to see if there was anything interesting. Ilvess recalls, “[there] was this fenced-in area with a pond, and in the shrubs, were these birds nesting.” Watching the birds mesmerized him, but he had to get some pictures which enabled him to capture the grace and beauty of the scene.

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners will also receive cash prizes totaling $1,500 for First Place, $500 for Second Place and $300 for Third Place. We want to thank all the participants in the 2017 Sunset Awards and look forward to seeing this year’s winners in Nashville.

Best of 2017: 10 Awesome Customer Print Projects

From school pride and works of art to corporate design and thesis exhibits, 2017 was an inspiring year of print output by LexJet customers around the country. Take a look at 10 of the top applications we discovered from our amazingly creative, inventive and sometimes super feisty customers:

Illinois Company Revs Up Custom Car Show Signs Sometimes a passion can turn into an excellent business opportunity, which is exactly what happened to Gary Hedlin, who owns Show Car Signs, a business that specializes in designing, printing and mounting customized signs for car shows. The signs are displayed on the ground, on easels or mounted onto a 4-foot brushed-aluminum stand, and the verbiage on the sign describes details like the car’s make, model and year, horsepower, wheel types, suspension, vehicle upgrades and other tidbits to help the car stand out in the competition. READ MORE

How Bumblejax Gives Mounted Photos Some Real Pop When Seattle, Wash.-based Bumblejax wanted to create an ecommerce site that allowed anyone to have access to high-end, modern face-mounted photo displays, they tested out several different photo papers before settling on the winning product. About five years ago, they came across the award-winning LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper, and they were sold. READ MORE

Prints That Win: Alabaster Aster

For Dover, Ohio classic portrait artist Christine Walsh-Newton, working with people is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a photographer, so it would seem rather curious that her Sunset Award-winning print, “Alabaster Aster,” is something as simple – yet geometrically stunning – as a flower. “Working with people is great, I get to interact with them, but as a photographer, you don’t always have 100% control,” Walsh-Newton says. “Sometimes I just want to chill. Photographing flowers is sort of a means of meditation for me.”

Adding more meaning to her choice is the history of the Fuji Mum (in the Aster family) that is the subject of her winning piece. It was part of a bouquet given to her by her husband for their 19th wedding anniversary. “I rarely shoot flowers, unless it’s for my own entertainment, but I thought this would make for a great image, especially in black and white,” she says of “Alabaster Aster.” “I like to use alliteration for the titles of my flower pieces, and alabaster is a much more descriptive word than ‘white’, it was perfect for this selection.”

Sub Shots: Making Great Artwork More Affordable

The evolution of SubShots by Dye Hard Sublimations over the past few years is a story that epitomizes the growing capabilities of inkjet and dye-sublimation printing. The team started out dye-sub printing uniforms for lacrosse leagues, but with new products and technology, they’ve begun to evolve into photography reproduction and décor applications and even Christmas ornaments.

“We had every intention of doubling-down on apparel, but once we got the equipment and printable hard surfaces, like ChromaLuxe metal photo panels, we thought: Why don’t we just produce really great, vibrant pictures on ChromaLuxe?” says Sean Calvillo of SubShots. “We think we make good artwork more affordable.”

Cavillo says his team is currently curating more photographic content from professional photographers, and customers can choose from a library of images and order metal or wood prints through SubShots ecommerce site. They also offer customized work for commercial interior design, such as the aerial shot divided into multiple ChromaLuxe metal panels, pictured above.

While the art/photography side of their business gains momentum, SubShots hasn’t veered to far from its sporting beginnings. With the purchase of an Epson SureColor P8000 44-inch aqueous printer from LexJet, SubShots was able to start producing complementary graphics, like life-size wall cutouts of athletes, like the lacrosse player pictured.

“We’ve augmented the metal pictures with LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric to create wall decals to keep with our sports roots,” Calvillo says. “We want to be the one vendor who can do both.”

The creative team has also been working with ChromaLuxe for customized holiday gifts. “We have a photographer customer who was taking the pictures she shot during a session and dye-sub printing them as double-sided ornaments,” Calvillo says.

The SubShots team became a LexJet Blue Business member, and Calvillo says the shipping program has been a game-changer. “LexJet’s personalized service combined with the free shipping program and your competitiveness on price is why you guys are always my first call,” he says.