For Wall Graphics, HP Adhesive Vinyl Saves Money & Improves Results

Tyler Birch of Atchley Graphics in Columbus, Ohio, was browsing the LexJet website looking for an alternative to his current vinyl and laminate solution that would still be compatible with his Latex 360 and 570 printers. That’s when he found the HP Prime Gloss Air GP.

“I called Dave [Grotkiewicz], my LexJet sales representative who is very knowledgeable and helpful, especially with new products. We discussed the product and he sent me a roll to try,” Birch says.

With a mission to provide quality and value to his customers, Birch is selective about the products he uses. “It’s about peace of mind and long-term value,” he says. “You don’t want someone coming back in two years because their graphic failed or they had a bad experience. It comes down to the materials that you use, and the people who are printing, laminating and installing.”

Birch looked at what he was paying for his current materials and realized he could save as much as $100 when buying a roll of each vinyl and laminate. Because it’s not just about saving money, he needed to see how well the product would image. “The print quality is great, profiles are set, and I don’t have head strikes or color issues as compared to my other products.”

Birch wears multiple hats at Atchley — “As a press operator, I knew the product was doing its job, just like Dave told me it would,” he says.

He also finishes projects, which includes laminating graphics or working with print & cut. “The Prime laminated great with the HP Polymeric Overlaminates and the print and cut capabilities are also excellent,” he says. “The adhesive is a little different. It’s a bit harder, which means you won’t see gray adhesive poking out of the edges of a cut application.”

Not only has the new HP Adhesive Vinyl line helped Birch improve his output, but it also helps ensure his customers are benefiting from the increase in image quality and the decrease in cost. “HP Prime Air really helps us provide value to our customers and at a price point that makes us competitive, which is great since we are a small shop,” he says.

With many more projects lined up, Birch is excited to try other products as well, including HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP – a high-performance product that offers a gray repositionable adhesive – and the new Prime Matte Air GR, which offers a gray removable adhesive.

To learn more about the HP Adhesive Vinyl products, visit LexJet.com or call one of our sales specialists at 800-453-9538 to find out which solution is right for your next project.

HP Adhesive Vinyl Case Studies: ‘The Easiest I’ve Ever Used’

Shannon Norwood of Fullmoon Graphics in Athens, Tenn., has been making graphics for race cars for more than 22 years. Recently, his LexJet sales representative, Dave Mayer, told him about the new HP Adhesive Vinyl products. “At first, I was hesitant to switch,” Norwood says. “I’d never had any complaints, but nobody ever said anything about the other stuff I’ve used.”

That’s not the case anymore. “I have one driver who usually installs his own graphics,” he says. “After I switched to the HP vinyl, he called me and wanted to know what material I’d used to print his images. I was initially worried. Usually, nobody asks. I asked him why and I knew I’d get a straight answer from him because he’s very blunt. He said ‘I love it! It went on so easy, it almost falls on. It’s the easiest I’ve ever used.’ I was glad to hear it.”

Norwood orders 2-3 rolls a week, using the HP Prime Gloss Air GP with both the HP Gloss and Matte Polymeric Overlaminates, depending upon his customers’ requests. “I used the matte finish for a rust effect on a car and the finish was perfect. After all, you don’t want glossy rust. Some matte finishes are too coarse and when you take pictures at night, there’s a glare.”

Norwood created a faux rust look using HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate

While he has been getting positive feedback from his customers who install their own work, it’s the person who is doing the printing who is the hardest to please: himself. “It prints much brighter than my last vinyl. My colors seem to pop better. Also, the images don’t have the mottled look,” he says. “My ink goes on real heavy and on other products, it would look like it was puddling. When I print with this on my 64-in Mutoh, the image is completely smooth, no mottling.”

With drivers all over the country, from Blue Ridge, Ga., to Arizona, to Mississippi, Norwood says that all of them tell him the product is a dream to install. “Nearly everyone tells me it almost installs itself, it’s so easy. All of my guys have worked with products from 3M and other brands.”

If you are working with adhesive vinyl and laminates and would like to learn more about the benefits of the HP Vinyl portfolio, call us today at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Mixing Up the Painting Process with Canvas & Coating

When San Francisco-based photo retoucher Leonard Gordon started exploring painting as a hobby, he was intrigued and influenced by Surrealist works by artists like Georgio De Chirico. He developed a similar style of artistry, but began playing with the way his artwork was finished.

Leonard Gordon applies a semi-transparent layer of thinned oil paint on his artwork, Maple Leaf, which is printed on Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas.

“I start with a line drawing projected onto a canvas,” Gordon says. “Then I paint it with acrylic and take a picture of it with my Canon EOS Mark 3, then scale it to 36×48 in Photoshop.”

Next, Gordon takes the photo of the printed piece to his friend, Dennis Mayer, a print provider in Burlingame, Calif., who prints it onto Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas using his Canon imagePROGRAF printer. Then, Mayer adds a layer of protection with Sunset Satin Coating and returns it to Gordon.

Typically, that would be the end of the process, but Gordon was intrigued with what would happen if he used thinned oil paint on top of the coating to enhance the artwork further. The result was dramatic.

“When you put the oil painting on top of the coating, the whole thing just comes alive,” he says of the painting, pictured above, before the final layer of oil painting, and after. “That’s what’s giving the painting depth. It’s all about bringing out the color of the print itself.”

Mayer has been working with the Sunset by Fredrix Matte Canvas for years. “I first started using it because of the Fredrix name recognition,” he says. “I like the texture and the matte finish helps to achieve an art fee to the prints.”

Gordon’s artwork, which includes Maple Leaf as well as several other Surrealist paintings, will be on display for his first gallery show this Spring at Jim Gleeson’s studio in San Francisco.

University Brings Football History to Life with Extreme AquaVinyl

The University at Buffalo football team has a rich and extensive history, dating back over 100 years. The school wanted to showcase the history of the team, as well as the artist who was responsible for creating memorable artwork for the game programs and pay tribute to one of the team’s staunchest supporters.

The members of the athletic department knew that the recently renovated 50,000 sq.ft. exhibition space on the third floor of the Silverman Library would be the perfect place to showcase the “Buffalo vs. Everybody” exhibit and asked Kris Miller, the library’s lead designer, to help with the project.

Largely based on the collection of Buffalo News sports reporter – and football memorabilia enthusiast – Tom Borrelli, the football programs cover the games from 1930-2010. Tragically, Borrelli was critically injured while he was attending a local high school football game and later died from his injuries. His collection was gifted to the University in 2017.

The centerpiece graphic, based on the classic artwork of the programs, is visible from the moment the elevator doors open. “At 35 feet wide by 10 feet high, this is the biggest project I’ve ever been involved in,” Miller said. “I’m not a professional installer, so whatever I use has to be easy to work with and install. If I do have questions, I know I can call [LexJet rep] Ramiro Torrez for assistance.”

For the large super-graphic, as well as several other smaller wall murals, Miller chose LexJet Extreme AquaVinyl with PSA to print on his Canon PRO-4000. “The Extreme AquaVinyl is a pretty forgiving material and doesn’t show installation marks,” he said. “I just had to be careful when I overlapped the edges, but the trade-off is that the final product looks great and is really durable.”

The game programs weren’t the only memorabilia recreated. Twelve photographs from the team archives are also on display. Miller used LexJet Sunset Bright Velvet Rag 315g, to reproduce the images.

“I love the Bright Velvet Rag, the prints always look really nice on that paper,” Miller said. “It isn’t the cheapest paper, but since the prints look like the originals, it’s worth it.”

After the wall graphics were installed and the framed photos displayed, the library hosted a happy hour event for over 250 people, many of whom played on the team during the 1950s and ’60s. “When those former players saw the exhibit, they went nuts, it was nostalgic for them.”

The “Buffalo vs. Everybody” exhibit will be on display through July 2019, but Miller says he’s already planning the next display. “We’ve been asked to do a project about the landmark H.H. Richardson complex, and will be wrapping the wall again,” he says. “We will use your products for that project, too.”

2018 International Print Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to the 2018 International Print Competition winners. In August, 26 District PPA Sunset Print Award winners vied for the coveted top spot, when the judging was finished, the winners were announced:

1st Place: Leaving with Dignity – Kimberly J. Smith

2nd Place: From the Ashes – Dawn Muncy

3rd Place: Heaven’s Hands of Hope – Brian Castle

There’s always such creative diversity in the Sunset Print Award winners and 2018 was no exception. From a snowy landscape in Winter Pastel to a canine Gentle Giant to a train bringing families Home for the Holidays, the judges did not have an easy job selecting the top three images.

“From the Ashes” by Dawn Muncy – 2nd Place

For Smith, winning back-to-back titles is exciting and she’s incredibly happy that her work has such an impact on the judges, “Impact is so important. I put a lot of emotion behind the story in my images and the judges can tell,” she says. “It’s not just another pretty picture. When they see the title [of the image], I want them to brace for impact, I want them to feel something, and apparently, they did.”

Muncy describes the stages of her “competition journey” and how the third and final phase allows her to be expressive with her work: “When you get to be yourself and let your creativity flow, that’s when competition becomes powerful. I know the rules, now I want to show the world who I am.”

First-time Sunset Print Award-winner Castle also thrives on creating emotional impact through his visual storytelling.

“Heaven’s Hands of Hope” by Brian Castle – 3rd Place

“When I can give my clients an image that creates emotion and causes them to tear up, I know I’ve done my job,” he says. “I would never have learned that unless I started competing.”

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners will also receive cash prizes: $2,000 for First Place, $1,000 for Second Place and $500 for Third Place. We want to thank all the participants in the 2018 Sunset Print Awards and will have information regarding the 2019 awards coming soon.

 

Prints That Win: Heaven’s Hands of Hope

LexJet Sunset Print Award winner Brian Castle of Picture Perfect Photography was destined to be a photographer. The Kingsport, Tenn., native grew up in a town that was home to Eastman Kodak.

“Heaven’s Hands of Hope” by Brian Castle

“My dad worked for Eastman Kodak and I spent time in the darkrooms, where I learned to develop film,” Castle says. His experiences in the EK darkrooms and his parents’ influence led him down the photography path. “I was in high school when I picked up my dad’s film camera. I was hooked, it was over. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a photographer.”

Since Castle started with film in a pre-digital world, he had to learn to get the shot right from the beginning. “I learned early on that I needed to set the shot I wanted and then take it, not shoot a bunch of pictures and hope for the best,” he says. “Even with digital, I still set the shot beforehand. I guess it’s because I can still hear my mom and dad saying, ‘don’t waste my film’ when I was younger.”

Castle is already inspiring his 2-year-old daughter to follow in his story-telling footsteps. “Now that I’ve given her a camera, I’m teaching her about telling a story,” he says. “It’s not about getting the perfect picture, it’s about telling someone’s story. If I didn’t do that, I didn’t do my job.”

With his PPA Southeast District award-winning image “Heaven’s Hands of Hope,” Castle did his job by telling his own story. He says that he wanted to do something different, he just didn’t know how. The idea for the photo came to him in a dream.

“I wanted to tell the story of how I turn to God when the weight of the world is too much to bear,” he says. “The hands below me are my wife’s and daughter’s and represent my Earthly family. They are the ones who lift my hands to Heaven when I don’t have the strength.”

Castle knows that the presentation of the image is just as important as the story, which is why he used lighting to create an oblong vignette, giving the appearance of praying hands behind him.  To create a mystical look and complete the ethereal feeling, he chose to print the image on LexJet Sunset Cotton Etching 285g.

While this is a very personal image for Castle, he felt that it was important for people to feel the impact of the story and understand that there is a place to turn in times of struggle. He’s had such a profound response to the image that he’s decided to make a video about the image to share the story and show people how to look for help when they need it.

Creating impact for his clients is what drives him. His motivation comes from his clients, but he’s learned the importance of impact through competition. “When I can give my clients an image that creates emotion and causes them to tear up, I know I’ve done my job,” he says. “I would never have learned that unless I started competing.”

Competitions are critical for photographers. Not just for merit, but for experience and guidance. The opportunity to improve comes with every competition and feedback provided by the judges. Castle takes the competitions seriously, not only to help him with his clients but also in hopes of reaching a personal goal: Rich Newell’s World Photographic Cup team. “When you represent Team USA, it’s like being in the Olympics of Photography. That’s the summit,” Castle says.

With continued support from his family and his faith in God, Castle feels that he will be able to climb any mountain that lies ahead of him. In the meantime, he wants to continue creating art for his clients: “I don’t want to give them just a photo for their wall. I want to give them an experience, a piece of art. I want them to feel emotion every time they look at the image.”