Artist Jonathon Romain Creates a Colorful World for Children

In an effort to give back to the community and create a space for kids to grow as artists, Jonathon Romain and his wife purchased an old school in Peoria, Ill., that they recently turned into a local arts center. To create a professional and fun atmosphere, Romain keeps all his printing in-house, which saves on marketing and promotions allowing him to put more money into programming. “From printing posters, signage and indoor murals we have been able to save a fortune on creating a beautiful and professional-looking operation,” he says.

Working with two Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 and an old iPF 8400S, Romain prints the collateral for the Romain Arts & Culture Community Center as well as his own artwork. “I’ve been printing giclées of my art for over 20 years, and I’ve owned several machines,” he says. “The Canon PRO-4000 is by far superior and more affordable than any other machine I’ve owned. The color quality and speed on these printers only gets better and better.”

This summer, the Romains offered the first summer program at the new arts center and the printers played a big part in the success of summer fun. “We had the kids talk about issues that affect them in their community, and we let them lead the conversation,” Romain says. “They came up with a number of topics of concern for them and their community, and we selected the top three: violence, drug abuse and the dropout rate.”

The kids then created murals that were framed and presented to the superintendent of the school district. “Each one of the children received a smaller framed copy of images to take home to their family and friends,” he says.

Romain is already eyeing projects for the future. “I want to print outdoor murals and hang artwork created by the children on the building. I can only imagine what that would do for their confidence,” he says.

Romain credits in-house printing to help keep expenses low and put money towards the art center. “The two things that I’ve found to be the most instrumental in my success as an artist are the ability to reproduce my own art on demand and to frame it,” he says.

Using his art, Romain is giving back to his community the best way that he knows how – by instilling a sense of pride within the kids and giving them a chance to use their voices and, perhaps, inspiring future artists along the way.

Prints That Win: Science

Ubly, Mich., photographer Vanessa Longuski fell in love with photography during her senior year of high school. Joining the high school yearbook team gave her the opportunity to explore the world of photography even more. Realizing a growing harmony with the art form, she decided to enroll at Central Michigan University where she first studied still photography, but then later switched to photojournalism.

Today she’s a professional running her own business, Moments Captured by Vanessa, where she primarily photographs weddings, but her passion really lies with the nonchalant nature of children. Her most recent win at PPA Northeast for her image “Science” is a testimony to her passion. This win in the Portrait category was printed using LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper.

“My initial thought was to be more stylized instead of standard, and I really try to understand what the child likes so I can capture genuine facial expressions instead of a cheesy smile,” she says while breaking down her process. “I feel that’s what sets my prints apart from the rest.”

Besides the excitement and love from her customers, the most rewarding thing about photography for Longuski is the competitions. When competing, she gets the opportunity to learn and achieve her goals as well as push herself to work harder to improve her craft.

“Looking back from where I  started to where I am now, has truly grown because of competitions. They are so challenging and when you win, it’s an honor,” she says. “It reminds me that I’m doing something right.”

If Longuski could give one piece of advice, it would be: “Don’t give up. Keep trying, even if you don’t get to the point where you want as fast as you want, you’ll get there eventually.”

 

By Kyjahana Irizarry

Kyjahana, a Florida native, is currently studying Business of Art and Design at Ringling College of Art and Design. During the summer of 2019, she interned for the marketing department at LexJet, where she wrote employee profiles, social media and blog posts, helped produce podcasts and videos and acted as project manger for the annual internship video.

C’est Magnifique! Turning Antique French Postcards into Wall Art

Baton Rouge, La., photographer David Humphreys was approached by Mike Wampold, CEO of the Wampold Companies, to produce art for Bayonne at Southshore, a new apartment complex just off the Louisiana State University campus. “He had these French postcards that he wanted to turn into 5-foot by 8-foot murals,” Humphreys says.

It wasn’t just the antique postcards that would serve as the inspiration for the canvas prints. “Veni Harlan, a specialist in marsh species, helped me find the proper flora and fauna of the LSU lakes,” Humphreys says. “Also, Mr. Wampold knows that there are a large number of pelicans that fly in and stay in the LSU lakes, and that’s how the pelican became the symbol for the apartment complex.”

Once he started experimenting with the process, he knew it was going to be an intricate and detailed project. “I used a high-end Phase One camera, mounted a camera stand and shot them in six or eight sections,” he says. “Then I stitched them together in Photoshop to get an accurate 800 Mb file. I didn’t want to turn them into vector files because I wanted to maintain the integrity of the images.”

Humphreys needed to incorporate the pelicans and other species into the artwork, so he reached out to Gerald Burns, a friend, and former priest-turned-wildlife photographer. “I do a lot of fine art printing for Father Burns,” Humphreys says. “He had some old photos of birds and reptiles that he’d taken over the years, but some were lower pixel ratings. I printed them using LexJet Premium Archival Matte Paper, mounted the prints and, then used the same stitching process I used with the postcards.”

When it came time to print the final art pieces, Humphreys needed to find a printer that would provide a full 60-inch bleed. “After researching all the printers available, the Canon PRO-6000 stood out as being most advanced in technology,” he says. “The printer is incredible. It’s user-friendly and did a beautiful job. Now I’m doing a lot of larger images for other people because of the 60-inch capability.”

After the murals were printed, Humphreys reached out to some friends to help with finishing and installing. “Vivid Ink mounted the prints to custom boards, then they were delivered to Ann Connelly Fine Art for custom framing. Then Vivid Ink did the installation at the apartments,” he says.

With 42 years of photography experience, Humphreys says he was inspired to start printing by an unlikely source: Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. “Graham’s father was a photographer and he got into fine art printing pre-inkjet. Now he owns Nash Editions in California, one of the pre-eminent fine art printing companies in the country,” he says. “He inspired me to print for myself. Ann [Connelly] loved what I was doing, so I branched out and started printing for her and other people.”

Whether printing his own work or helping others create museum-worthy pieces, David Humphreys knows the benefits of partnering with the right people and using the right equipment to turn an idea into reality.

To learn more about creative applications or to find out which printer is right for you, contact a LexJet specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

When It Comes to Performance, HP Prime Matte Air GP Vinyl Delivers

If you are looking for high-performance adhesive matte vinyl to create indoor or outdoor graphics, HP Prime Matte Air GP delivers rave-worthy results and is compatible with solvent, UV curable and latex printers.

Introduced last year at SGIA, customers have been singing the praises for the new HP Adhesive Vinyl products.

Rick Haines of Dimension Design in Jacksonville, Fla., has been using one of the industry’s leading calendered vinyl for years. “HP set out to create a media capable of matching the performance of a tried-and-true product,” he says. “From my experience, they have done just that.”

Haines says that his team has incorporated the Prime Matte into their everyday use and paired it with HP Matte Polymeric Laminate.  “The results have been as advertised, and we’re very pleased that we can save some money without losing any quality,” he says.

The versatility is why William Roll of Signarama in Dothan, Ala., and his team like the Prime Matte. “My guys love the HP,” he says. “They grab it for every application they can use it on, and they tell me that the air-release component is the best they’ve ever used. It’s been used for interior menu boards at a garage and economical seasonal window displays.”

Are you ready to try HP Prime Matte Air GP? Call a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

 

MadMen Creative Gets Crafty with Latex Printing

Lafayette, Ind.-based MadMen Creative was the first print service provider in Indiana to operate latex printing technology. “We started with the L25500, then moved to the L26500 and now we have a Latex 365,” says production manager, Javin Rusco.

Working with each incarnation of latex printer has given Rusco the ability to experiment with different types of media that are not typically considered “printable.”

“I’ve worked with an etched glass non-printable product that, because it’s meant to be used as cut vinyl, works well with HP latex print and cut,” he says.

With 25 years of printing experience, Rusco understands that some products will take more effort to create a printable surface.

Rusco wanted to try something new for a car wrap, so he chose a metallic gold cut vinyl and printed black graphics onto the gold, leaving the final image with gold highlights.

“I used a non-printable wrap vinyl, but I had to really clean it,” he says. “I used a 90% isopropyl alcohol solution to remove the surface contaminates to print on it, but it worked. Since latex ink isn’t 100% opaque, there was an ‘under glow’ to the [printed] image when the sun hit it.”

While his techniques aren’t for the everyday, faint-of-heart print operator, Rusco and the MadMen team pride themselves in developing out-of-the-box creative solutions for their customer requests.

“We’ve done a lot of this kind of work for customers and often, they’ve never even heard of printing on etched glass or gold vinyl, until we recommend it to them,” he says.

Printing on cut media with latex is an experimental process since there are no set profiles or settings. As with any new media, LexJet recommends reaching out to the manufacturer for optimal print conditions, or chat with a LexJet pro for guidance. Call us at 800-453-9538 to learn how to expand your latex printing capabilities.

LexJet brandUP: Supporting Ringling College Students’ VR Game at SXSW

South by Southwest, or as it’s more commonly known, SXSW, is a convergence of creatives across the interactive, film and music industries held annually in Austin, Texas. Marketers exhibit brand roll-outs and new products and applications to attendees.

One brand activation at the 2019 festival featured a group of talented students from Ringling College of Art + Design. About 35 students, studying graphic design, game art, illustration, motion design and business of art and design, launched “Wet Dog Corp.” a futuristic, arcade-style virtual reality game that takes the player through various levels where dirty dogs on conveyor belts are waiting to be cleaned.

“Wet Dog is a zany, fun VR dog washing game that some of our Game Art seniors made in collaboration with Flight School. We thought it would be a fantastic idea to debut the game at SXSW at their Gaming Expo,” says Jamie DeRuyther, a Game Art and Virtual Reality Development faculty member at Ringling College. “It really kind of blossomed into this really, really amazing marketing campaign.”

To attract people to the VR game, the Ringling team wanted to personalize and brand as many eye-catching items as they could. From water bottles to banners to vehicle decals, the Wet Dog logo was everywhere. “It’s real-world stuff with real clients in a real product in real time,” says Jeff Schwartz, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Tallie Malka, majoring in business art and design with an emphasis on marketing, stresses the importance of brand identity. “Branding this company [Wet Dog Corp.] and promoting what we’re doing is what I want to do for a career,” Malka says. “Every touch-point that these people have, they know our brand. That’s why we have branded water bottles, branded everything.”

The students of Ringling and the professionals at LexJet joined together in a collaborative effort to design the graphics, choose the right media, and print the images needed for the project.

LexJet provided the media and offered tips to create many of the large-format printed assets for the experience including banners, displays, vehicle graphics, target boards and water bottles. Here’s a peek into how the students brought Wet Dog Corp. to life:

  • Because the team set up outside, they chose HEYtex Mesh for the eye-popping graphics printed on 60/40 pattern, providing see-through visibility.
  • Easy-to-read graphics printed with LexJet Production Display Film SUV were displayed with banner stands and strategically placed throughout the booth, providing directions and hints to gamers. This durable film was selected because of its excellent image quality and water-resistance.
  • Vehicle branding is one of the easiest, but most important marketing opportunities. The Wet Dog team rented a van for the event and created temporary door and hood graphics using HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP. This calendared vinyl offers a gray, repositionable adhesive and is perfect for fleet and flat-paneled vehicle graphics.
  • In addition to the VR game, a carnival-style game was created with images of dogs printed on HP Prime Gloss Air GP and then installed on backboards. The calendared vinyl with a gray, permanent adhesive is a print service provider’s best asset. This versatile product can be used for indoor and outdoor signage, menu boards, stickers and decals, and many other applications.
  • Using the HP Latex 335 Print and Cut, labels were printed on HP Prime Gloss CP allowing the students to personally brand the water bottles in the booth, on demand. The calendared vinyl with clear adhesive is perfect for stickers, decals and other graphics on clear or light-colored substrates.

The Wet Dog Corp. experience garnered over 900 visitors in a single day. To see more about this successful brand activation as well as see the products in action, click on the video above.

If you are interested in these or other products from LexJet, give us a call at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com, today.