New Class A Fire-Rated Absolute Backlit Seals the Deal

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Octo Lights has built a flourishing business covering fluorescent lights, providing the welcome addition of colorful graphics to hospitals, office buildings, schools, dental offices and homes.

stress-free-fluorescent-light-coversThe finished prints add a whimsical or calming effect that eases the glare the fluorescents are known for, while still illuminating the room. “They still allow the light to come through, and everyone needs that,” says Octo Lights’ Bryan Fly. For the past five years, Fly has relied on LexJet 8 Mil Absolute™ Backlit film to get the job done. “It works great,” he says. “It prints well and the color shows up great.”

How Wide-Format Printing Has Helped a Framing Shop Diversify

Somers, NY is a small Westchester County community about an hour’s commute from Manhattan. Because it is home to a number of artists and residents who appreciate good art, it is an ideal location for Somers Custom Framing, the full-service framing business run by custom-framing specialist Ken Ryan and his artist wife Ginny. Like many well-run framing businesses, the company has diversified in recent years.

Along with expertise in conservation framing, Somers Custom Framing now offers an artful array of graphic design, photo-restoration, and wide-format printing services. For example, in addition to giclee printing, Somers Custom Framing can print photo enlargements on canvas which Ginny Ryan can hand embellish with over-painting or texturing.

The Ryans also run a retail gift shop as well as an art gallery that sells Ginny’s work, original oil paintings by other local artists, plus limited editions, giclees, custom prints, and posters. As they explain on their website, “We provide our clients with top-quality products and services to address all of their personalized decorating needs, from picture framing to mural printing.”

The 13 x 5 ft. photo mural that Somers Custom Framing printed on Photo Tex PSA fabric from LexJet helped restaurant consultant Bonnie Saran set the design stage for the Bollywood Bistro in Fairfax, VA.
The 13 x 5 ft. photo mural that Somers Custom Framing printed on Photo Tex PSA fabric from LexJet helped restaurant consultant Bonnie Saran set the design stage for the Bollywood Bistro in Fairfax, VA.

Somers Custom Framing has also gotten involved in some retail décor projects. Recently, the Ryans worked with restaurant consultant Bonnie Saran to set the design stage for the new Bollywood Bistro Indian restaurant in Fairfax, VA.  Working with Saran’s ideas, the Ryans created several film-themed murals using stills of some of the best-known stars in Bollywood.

Using their Epson Stylus Pro 9800 wide-format inkjet printer, Ginny printed the murals in panels onto Photo Tex PSA, an inkjet-printable fabric that produces great image quality and is easy to put up and remove. No wall paste is needed and the material is water- and fade-resistant when used with the pigment inks.

The largest mural in the Bollywood Bistro is 13 ft. wide and 5 ft high. “We printed the large scene in strips, which Bonnie hung side-by-side in a seemingly seamless fashion,” explains Ginny Ryan.  Along with the main wall mural, Ginny produced seven additional 97 x 31-in. movie-ticket-themed prints on Photo Tex that decorate the entrance hallway and restaurant interior.

She used other materials from LexJet to print a menu board and window signs with the same Bollywood filmstrip motif as the wall prints.  For example, an Open/Closed sign was printed on a semi-matte photo paper from LexJet and mounted to foamboard with grommets at the top so it could be hung with a chain.

The graphics on the backlit cubes near the bar area of Bollywood Bistro are printed on LexJet 7 Mil Absolute Backlit film.
The graphics on the backlit cubes in the bar area of Bollywood Bistro are printed on LexJet 7 Mil Absolute Backlit film.

For the menu board, Ginny used LexJet’s 8 Mil Production Gloss Photo Paper which was then mounted to foamboard for display in the restaurant’s front window.

In addition, Ginny printed backlit graphics that complement the multi-colored lights that hanging from the ceiling from the restaurant. She printed the designs on LexJet’s 7 Mil Absolute™ Backlit film, which was then placed in several lit cubes that decorate the bar area.

The Bollywood Bistro project wasn’t the first store-design art project that Ginny Ryan had produced for Bonnie Saran. Ginny hand-painted a mural for a gift store in Croton Falls, NY and helped produce indoor and outdoor signage for several other restaurant ventures.

“For Bollywood Bistro, Bonnie described her vision to us and we came up with the best printing solution for her ideas,” explains Ginny. Whenever she was unsure which material to use for certain projects, Ginny Ryan called on LexJet account specialist Jennifer Hepner for advice.

“Whenever we have a new product idea, Jennifer is always available to troubleshoot the possible printing material choices with us.” says Ginny. “The wealth of knowledge she has about the materials LexJet offers is invaluable.”

In their gift shop, the Ryans sell custom photo pillows created with inkjet-printable 3P Country Cotton FR from LexJet.
In their gift shop, the Ryans sell custom photo pillows created with inkjet-printable 3P Country Cotton FR from LexJet.

Somers Custom Framing also uses inkjet-printable 3P Country Cotton FR from LexJet to produce three different sizes of photo pillows that they sell in their gift shop. Since launching the pillow designs eight months ago, they have sold more than 200 pillows.

 

 

“Our ability to create, new exciting products using different materials by LexJet is a fantastic asset to the store,” says Ginny Ryan.

You can some of the other products Ginny has created using LexJet materials in the next issue (Vol. 4, No. 9) issue of LexJet’s In Focus newsletter.

If you ever happen to be in northeastern Westchester County, stop by Somers Custom Framing and see just how creative they have been in diversifying their services. Westchester Magazine recently named Somers Custom Framing a winner of a Best of Westchester® award in the category: Best Place to Frame (or Buy) Art.

To learn more about some of the ways you can use a wide-format inkjet printer and materials from LexJet to diversify your imaging business, call one of the helpful account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538.

Ansen Seale’s Slit-Scan Photography Reveals Hidden Realities

By Bill Weiser

River of Light by Ansen Seale
River of Light by Ansen Seale

Just as a microscope or telescope allows us to see things that aren’t visible to the naked eye, the slit-can camera created by photographer Ansen Seale allows us to view everyday objects in a whole new way. Instead of recording a single moment in time, Seale’s slit-scan camera records objects over a period of time.

The slit-scan camera that Seale has been using for the past 10 years is a modified version of a camera originally designed to shoot high-resolution panoramas. For panorama shooting, the camera rotates on a platform and methodically captures one pixel column at a time.  For slit-scan photography, the motor controlling the rotation is disabled. The camera continues shooting a single sliver of space in rapid succession. Counter to classical photography, unmoving objects look blurry, and moving objects are rendered clearly.

In March of this year, Seale produced River of Light, a 100-ft. long backlit print that he displayed at Luminaria 2009: Arts Night in San Antonio. The image depicted water flowing over the unmoving rocks at the bottom of the San Antonio River. With slit-scan photography, the stones at the bottom of the river appear as stripes. Seale says, “The water flowing over them perturbs their static image, creating a kind of color-field painting.”  The reflection of the trees on the river’s edge added to the painting-like effects.

Instead of mirroring the world as we know it, Seale believes his camera records a hidden reality. He points out that that the apparent ‘distortions’ in the images all happen in-camera, as the image is being recorded.

“There is no Photoshop manipulation,” says Seale. “These distortions could really be described as a more accurate way of seeing the passage of time, even though it may be contrary to our tradition concepts of the depiction of time and space in art. In other words, my camera is recording a reality that exists, but one that we cannot see without it.”

The gigantic print, made from a 1.2 GB file, consumed an entire 42 in. x 100-ft. roll of LexJet’s 7-mil Absolute Backlit film. It was output on a Canon iPF8000 printer.

To display the print, Seale used electrical conduit to build 26 stands of different heights. He placed the stands about 4 ft. apart. Then he strung together fluorescent strips and hooked them onto the stands to provide the backlighting. Displaying the art on the different-sized stands made the print look more like a gently rolling river.

This wasn’t the first large print Seale has produced to showcase the hidden realities revealed by slit-scan photography. In 2006, he produced a 11 in. x 56 ft. image entitled Insectinsight.  The image was printed on 67 ft. of photo paper that was wrapped around the four walls of Gallery IV at the Blue Star Arts Space in San Antonio. You can learn more about this work and other works produced through slit-scan photography at Ansen Seale’s website, http://ansenseale.com

The 100 ft.-long River of Light artwork was only displayed for one night, but Seale would love to find a more permanent home for it.

Displaying your images on backlit film can showcase the vibrant, rich colors and details of your work. For tips on printing on backlit film, call a LexJet account specialist at 888-873-7553.