This Seattle Framing Company Is Going Big with the Epson P20000

Mary Song of the Seattle-based NW Art + Framing knows a thing or two about printing. A photographer and print coordinator, she oversees the fulfillment of custom and commercial orders for a variety of clients throughout the Northwest. In fact, the company handles printing for three sets of stores, which include the flagship NW Art + Framing, Frame Central, Museum Quality Framing and Beard’s Framing.

“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’ll fulfill 10,000 orders,” Song says. “We get 150-foot custom rolls, and we’ll go through four of them a day.”

NW Art + Framing prints for hospitality, healthcare and commercial clients.
NW Art + Framing prints for hospitality, healthcare and commercial clients.

That’s a lot of media for fine and framed art, metal prints, canvas and much more. To handle the workload, the facility houses nine printers, mostly Epson, including the recent purchase of the Epson SureColor P20000 64-inch printer, pictured above in action.

“The P20000 is helpful for large canvas and art prints,” Song says. “We have a demand for it, and everyone is going larger.”

The demand, she says, was specifically for large fine art, coated prints that weren’t latex-specific. The P20000 was specifically designed for high-production photographic and fine art printing with all new UltraChrome PRO inks, including four levels of grays. To ensure the color reproduction was up to par, Song but it through a rigorous test: her own work.

“As a photographer, I didn’t trust people to print for me,” Song says. “When we got the P20000 in, the first image I printed was one of mine, so I could see how good it was. The definition in the images was fantastic. The image has sepia tones, which is difficult to print, but right out of the box without profiles, it was spot-on. I couldn’t be happier.”

Since Song started with NW a year and a half ago, the company has doubled the number of its printers in effort to bring all print jobs in-house. “We really wanted to get the profit inside our building,” she says. That also meant that she and her team had to work faster, which was another selling point for the P20000.

“We needed a faster turn-around time, and this machine is faster,” she says. After considering some other less-expensive, older-model printers on the market, she chose to go with the P20000. “I said: If we’re going to invest in new technology, let’s invest in what’s the newest, not something that would be outdated within a few years.”

The company is also considering purchasing a SureColor P10000 44-inch printer, which uses the same ink set as the P20000, which will save on storage space and maintenance, she says, as well as delivering the consistency she expects. “Nothing beats Epson’s color or quality,” Song says. “Epson is by far one of the best printer companies out there.”

Introducing: LexJet Sunset Production Satin Canvas SUV

For photography and fine art reproduction shops, LexJet Sunset Production Satin Canvas SUV is the all-new solution for high-volume production that demands consistent results for the creative digital market.

The new canvas is a U.S.-made 100 percent polyester canvas with the look and feel of a traditional, 2-over-1 poly-cotton weave, but heavier than a typical polyester canvas. Compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, latex and UV-curable printers, this versatile canvas is a cost-effective alternative that doesn’t require a coating for a satin finish.

Maxwell D1
This print, titled “NY NY,” is available at MaxwellDickson.com.

Los Angeles-based Maxwell Dickson, which specializes in digital canvas décor art, tested the new product and has since put in an order to bring it on as a go-to canvas. “We’re going to use it — that’s the best endorsement I can give anyone,” says Kashif Shaheed, manager at Maxwell Dickson.

“We prefer for our canvas to have a cloth feel to it, so it looks like authentic canvas – not too plastic,” he says. “People confuse it with vinyl if it looks too manufactured.”

Because Maxwell Dickson prints more than 100 prints per month that range in a variety of sizes from 16-by-20 inches to 40-by-60 inches, the fact that this new canvas comes in 150-foot rolls is a bonus.

“We use at least 12 rolls of the 75-foot rolls each month,” he says. “We’d prefer not to change out the rolls as often, so that’s really one of the biggest selling points for us.”

To learn more about the launch of LexJet’s Sunset Production Satin Canvas SUV, call us at 800-453-9538.

Top Tips: DIY Spray Booth and Easy Canvas Coating

If you’re a photographer or fine-art printer, chances are you produce a lot of canvas prints. And with that, the need to apply a protective coating, which can be messy and expensive.

However, you don’t need to set aside a large space or spend a lot on a spray booth. In fact, we’ve created a guide to show you how to build a three-sided spray booth for less than $70, that can be accomplished in an afternoon using PVC pipe and plastic sheeting.

You can see the booth in action in the video above, which illustrates the application of Sunset Satin Coating using a high-volume, low-pressure spray gun. To see how easy it is to build a DIY spray booth, check out the video below. You can download a PDF with all of the detailed instructions HERE.

Fine Art & Photo Repro Pros Prefer Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas

Printers who specialize in producing fine art and photo reproduction have their own set of requirements that canvas must deliver, such as high white levels, ease of use and excellent image and color quality. That’s why many providers who offer high-end gallery wraps, for example, rely on LexJet Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas.

“We’ve been using the Sunset by Fredrix canvas for about four months now,” says Chris Capel from The UPS Store, Aurora, OH, who uses the canvas on his new Epson SureColor P9000 printer. “The image quality is outstanding, and flesh tones are beautiful.”

Avast Ye Swabs! The Art of Piracy at the Tampa Bay History Center

Forty Thieves by Don Maitz

The Tampa Bay History Center is featuring the original work of fine artist Don Maitz as part of its exhibition, The Art of Piracy: Pirates in Modern Culture. The exhibition began on Jan. 24 and runs through April 26.

No Prey No Pay by Don MaitzMaitz is famed for creating the original artwork for Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum when the adult beverage was first brought to market to be properly swilled.

The exhibit examines the role of art in shaping the popular and iconic images associated with 17th and 18th century pirates in and around the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic seaboard.

Originally from Connecticut, and now based in Sarasota, Fla., Maitz’s interest in pirates and sea rovers goes back well before he moved to the Buccaneer coast. The move simply made his pursuits in pirate art even more appropriate.

Hidden Cove by Don Maitz“A lot of artists and illustrators had moved west and were doing western art. Since I moved to Florida I didn’t think that subject matter really fit. Illustrating what was going on in our coastal waters and treasure hunting, I thought pirates would be interesting subject matter for me to continue. Plus, some of my favorite artists have worked in that genre,” says Maitz.

For this exhibition, Maitz printed some of his most notable pirate art to date using his Epson Stylus Pro 7800 on Sunset Hot Press Rag, LexJet Premium Archival Matte and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 g.

Don Maitz
Don Maitz

Maitz sends his artwork – typically oil paintings and watercolors, though he works in a variety of media, including acrylics – to Eagle Photographics in Tampa to capture his work.

“I get a digital file and go through ImagePrint software to balance the print to the original art. I use Photoshop to manipulate the color and the ImagePrint software to change the image based on the surface of the paper I’m printing to,” he says. I want to use the highest quality paper possible. I like Sunset Hot Press Rag because it has a little less tooth so it doesn’t collect things like dust and oil from your hands. I use Premium Archival Matte for more cost-effective smaller prints.”

Maitz cuts the prints by hand, rather than using the automated cutter inside the printer. He says it’s best to keep the dust produced by cutting as far away from the printer as possible; a clean printer alleviates potential headaches from clogged nozzles and cuts down on maintenance routines.

Maitz has worked with LexJet as print supplier partner since he bought his printer. “What I really like about LexJet is that I place an order and it gets here quickly; that’s a real plus. Also, when I first bought my printer from LexJet, my learning curve was dropped considerably by help from my rep and technical support,” adds Maitz.

A Perspective on Matching Fine Art Paper to a Fine Art Original

Fostergraphs Fine Art Reproduction

There is no definitive rule for matching the right fine art paper (or canvas) to the original piece that’s being reproduced, whether that piece is oil on canvas, a charcoal sketch, a watercolor or any other medium.

Ultimately, it’s based on the artist’s preference and their interpretation of the piece for reproduction. However, certain media generally translate into certain types of fine art reproduction materials.

Obviously, oil on canvas will generally be reproduced on canvas. Of course, there is then the choice between a satin, gloss or matte finish, and any coating that may go over the canvas to both protect it and create its own finish (more on that in a future post, or you can download the free white paper, How to Make Canvas Printing Work for You).

For fine art papers, veteran print maker Kent Foster, owner of Fostergraphs Inc., Decorah, Iowa, has two “go-to” papers: Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper 310g for those who want a more textured surface and Sunset Cotton Etching Paper 285g for those who prefer a smoother finish.

“For the most part, we use Sunset Cotton Etching for pencil, charcoal and sketch work that’s more flat. We use Textured Fine Art predominately for watercolor reproductions, as well as oil paintings when they’re going to paper and not canvas because these artists tend to like a textured paper. And, they tend to work in textured medium to begin with,” says Foster.

In the example pictured above, Foster reproduced a piece entitled Where Eagles Soar by award-winning water color artist Mary Ann Gloe. It’s one of four watercolors Foster reproduced for the Luther College bookstore to replenish their stock of Gloe’s work.

“She’s a very talented artist has won a lot of state awards. I’ve been doing work for her since 2005, and that’s about how long we’ve been using Textured Fine Art as our primary textured fine art paper,” says Foster. “Artists want a nice product at an economical price. It’s a nice paper, it has a good weight, it presents very well and it’s priced reasonably. In this case, the watercolor looks especially good on a textured surface. The original surface she works on is typically somewhat textured, and this paper accurately represents the original.”