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.

What They’re Saying: HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate is ‘Dynamite’

About a year ago, Adam Koppelman bought the SpeedPro Imaging in Totowa, N.J., from its original owner. “We’re growing, which is terrific. I’ve brought on a few large corporate clients,” Koppelman says of his clientele.

One corporate client that he and his team are working with is the Dave & Busters at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, N.J. “The staircase is about 23 feet wide and 36-steps high, with a landing. The graphic isn’t going on the tread, only the risers,” Koppelman says. “I knew it wouldn’t be stepped on.”

Needing to protect the graphics from the occasional kick, Koppelman chose to use HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate. “We’ve used it for other projects like wall murals,” he says. “With Dave and Busters, there’s corporate branding and color is important, I need it to be right and we didn’t have any issues. It looks dynamite and they are pleased with the results.”

Having used other brands through the years, Koppelman knows there are some issues when using a matte laminate: silvering, bland or faded colors, even installation issues. Laminates can be expensive, so replacing graphics can get costly if they need to be reprinted. “I switched over to the laminate because it is a nicer product than what we were using. Also, it is more efficient from a cost perspective.”

Not only does he feel the HP matte laminate enhances the colors, but his installers are also pleased with the way the product goes down.

“We printed a 6-foot by 10-foot wall mural and the installer asked what kind of laminate we used. He felt that install was easier for him due to the rigidity and thickness of the laminate and vinyl.” With the success of the smaller wall mural in his portfolio, other companies have requisitioned larger pieces for their corporate spaces. “We recently did one that was 8-and-a-half by 26-feet. The customer was very happy with the results.”

Koppelman is not only using the HP matte laminate on his projects, but he is also talking to other SpeedPro owners and they’ve started using it as well. “We’ve been going through the rolls pretty quickly over the last few months.”

What he likes most about the product is the rigidity, his customers like the look of the finished graphics, and his installers like the way it handles. Of course, saving money is also an added benefit.

If you are interested in learning more about the HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate or the other products in the portfolio, call a LexJet sales representative at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Prints That Win: Thunder Waiting for Dakota

One afternoon, Fort Mitchell, Ky.-based photographer Joseph Ruh’s wife suggested they visit a friend’s farm. Upon arrival, they were greeted by Thunder and Dakota, two of the resident horses. They spent the afternoon walking around the farm and photographing both horses. A split-second decision of Ruh’s would land him in the winner’s circle for the Sunset Print Awards.

Thunder was so close, pinning Ruh against the fence. “I almost missed the shot, but then thought to myself this angle could be really neat,” he says. When he and his wife returned home, they looked at the photos. His wife saw the up-close shot and persuaded him to enter it into the competition.

Photography is something that’s always come naturally to Ruh, ever since he was young. Growing up, he had a neighbor who was an artist and worked for Gibson Greeting Cards. He was the one who inspired Ruh to get in touch with his creative side, through both painting and photography. It was photography, however, that stuck with Ruh.

“I wasn’t great at painting, but I could take a photograph,” he says. “My father had cameras around his house, encouraging me to start shooting with an 8mm video camera as early as 9 years old.” Ruh and his father would eventually switch to film cameras.

Even while working in electronics in the military, he still found photography interesting. Stationed in Germany, Ruh learned to work with black and white and grew to love the medium as he developed photos in the photography lab on the fifth floor of his dormitory. Fast forward to the 1970s when Ruh took a 3-month probationary job as a photo-journalist at the Kentucky Post. For five years, he shot everything from editorials to sports. Eventually, he took a job at Northern Kentucky University as a staff photographer in the marketing department.

Ruh would work at the University for over three decades, photographing everything from sports to biology classes (his favorite). “I really loved the science aspect, especially using a 15mm macro lens to shoot dissections in the class and sitting in on the lectures.”

To this day, Ruh won’t travel without his camera. Whether riding his bike or driving his car, he has his camera next to him so he can take pictures of anything from landscapes to flowers to trees. He currently works as a commercial photographer for contractors and builders but also enjoys also taking photos for fun. “I enjoy the freedom of creating self-assignments to take pictures of what I please.”

Ruh appreciates the ability to enter competitions, such as the Sunset Print Awards. “I like receiving feedback from the judges and other competitors,” he says. “I can see what I am doing right and what needs improvement.” He likes the guidelines provided through the PPA’s 12 elements and ensures that his photos encompass each one. He enjoys editing his photos because he feels that is an important part of the competition process, “[editing] helps me see my work from other viewpoints.”

Stating he can’t get enough of photography, Ruh finds inspiration for his work in everything from art magazines to television to his model airplanes. He considers the different angles, frames and focus that he can use to make something ordinary into something extraordinary through an image. Using an EPSON SureColor P800 Printer and Sunset Photo eSatin Paper helps him print award-winning images and gives him complete control over the entire process, from capture to print.