HP Adhesive Vinyl: ‘The Colors are Amazing’

About a year ago, William Roll opened a Signarama franchise in Dothan, Ala., and he’s been growing ever since. Working with an HP Latex 365, Roll and his team create vinyl signs, car wraps, box trucks, yard signs, etc. As a franchisee, Roll was given a pallet of a variety of adhesive vinyl products to kickstart his business. “Those products made things difficult,” he says. “We were redoing jobs over and over.”

Roll reached out to his LexJet sales specialist to see if he could help find a solution. That’s when he first heard about HP Prime Matte Air GP and the Matte and Gloss laminates. “We got a sample roll and did some color calibrations on it,” he says. “The colors are amazing, and it makes us look good. It’s important for a new shop to work with good products.”

The versatility of the product has also helped Roll keep his expenses down, another key to success for a new shop. “We use it for yard signs now because it’s cheaper. I can have the guys use the Graphtec and cut a square, adhere it straight to the yard sign,” he says. “You don’t have to lay it out, face tape it or anything else. It saves time and makes the project more cost-effective.”

While he has a rack full of vinyl, he narrows the selection to just a few products. “We use HP almost exclusively. I have two types of perforated vinyl and we use Avery 1105 for car wraps, but the rest is HP,” Roll says. “If it’s not backlit, we’re going to use it first.”

The wide color gamut is important to Roll and his customers, but another reason he and the team enjoy working with HP vinyl products is because they are easy to install. “We do our own installations. This stuff is the easiest stuff to lay down. It’s probably got the best air-release out of all the products we use,” he says. “The learning curve with HP is excellent.”

Roll had a project in the winter when conditions were less than ideal, and the HP products installed easily. “It was extremely cold, and our guys were on a lift 20 feet in the air. We were afraid it wasn’t going to stick because it was freezing, but we got it done,” he says. “It still looks amazing today.”

Whether creating yard signs, menu boards and food trucks or decorating his store for Christmas, Roll has discovered the versatility of the HP Adhesive Vinyl line keep his customers happy. “It doesn’t matter how cheap a product is, if your customers aren’t happy, it’s expensive. Our customers love the results when we use HP.”

For more information on HP Adhesive Vinyl products, call a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Sunset Photo Metallic Paper Beats Aluminum for Gallery Exhibit

When Hollywood director Blair Hayes curated his movie-site images for a new exhibit, Light of Future Past, he set out to print them on brushed aluminum for a sleek, modern look. However, when he sent a few sample prints to the Shafer Art Gallery, at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kan., where they would be displayed, the gallery struggled with lighting the images.

Using overhead spot track lighting, the light bounced off the aluminum and muddied the colors. “Blair uses dramatic contrast. The backgrounds are almost a coal black with one spot or source of illumination in that photograph,” said Dave Barnes, Shafer Art Gallery Director. “The brushed aluminum made the situation worse.”

Click images to enlarge

After trying different placements, and even hanging the prints on a diagonal to get the light angles right, the gallery staff was at a loss. That’s when they turned to Chris Glassman, general partner at Casual Graphics.

“I explained that the direction of the print negates the illumination, due to the direction of the brushed surface,” Glassman says. “I suggested using LexJet’s Sunset Photo Metallic Paper, due to its large color gamut and outstanding ability to illuminate. Also, we found that laminating the printed pieces accentuates the unique characteristics of the media by seemingly magnifying the light coming in, reflecting a more saturated color experience.”

Glassman had similar luck when producing 6-foot-tall prints of neon-accented bugs on black backgrounds, which were printed on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g and finished with a gloss coating.

“When a customer has a piece that demands bright saturated colors, [the Sunset Metallic] is our go-to product,” he says. “Dave stated to me that if it weren’t for Casual Graphics, the show would not have happened due to the lighting issues, and in turn, I must state that if it wasn’t for the LexJet media, I wouldn’t have been able to provide them with a cost-effective alternative solution to aluminum prints.”

Hayes has directed commercials, television and movies, including the cult classic, Bubble Boy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. His dramatic images were captured mostly during location scouting, and Barnes and he connected through a mutual friend, which led to the exhibit, which runs through the last week of October.

“I’m fortunate enough, being a director, I get to go all over the world – and mostly America – and get exposed to things that one might think are just ordinary objects, but when I see them with my eye for the first time, I can’t help but – I find them fascinating,” Hayes says. “My work is very Americana. … I love our country, the people who make up our country and what it’s all about.”

Hayes was hoping to create images as well as an experience for the viewers: “With the metallic paper, as you move past the photograph, side to side, things start to reveal in the shadows.” He said it was a similar experience with the brushed aluminum, but the gallery lighting deadened the effect. The Sunset Photo Metallic Paper, however, was simply a “more practical and equally effective way to show off the photographs,” he says.

When printing Hayes’ work, Glassman used his Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-Series 6000 to ace the job. “Interestingly enough, some of Mr. Hayes’ photos had subtle tonal ranges in the darks, and this media improved and distinguished those incredibly well. The gloss laminate helped take it a step further, which was a happy surprise.

To achieve a specific desired printed look, Glassman emphasizes that color profiling is a must, regardless of the printer or media choices. “Profile your printer with your chosen media and calibrate when critical jobs arise, or when the appropriate amount of usage has occurred on your printer, and also if you have a hardware change, like printhead replacement,” he says.

To learn more about applications using Sunset Photo Metallic Paper, or if you need profiling assistance, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

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Artist Brian Jarvi

Printer Challenge: Reproduce the 30-foot Painting, African Menagerie

Last year, we featured another print project by Glassman and his team at Casual Graphics. He reproduced a giant painting by artist Brian Jarvi titled “African Menagerie.” The painting captured 210 species living in Africa now, and was 17 years in the making.

Glassman reports that the original painting is currently for sale, valued at $6 million, and Glassman’s reproduction is now hanging in a castle in Switzerland. Jarvis is heading back to Africa for more research and public awareness.

Prints That Win: Just Around the River Bend

Grandville, Mich., photographer Kari Douma can take ordinary moments and turn them into extraordinary images. Photographers know that capturing an award-winning moment means timing is critical and perfect timing is prevalent in much of Douma’s work. Last year, she captured a wintry Michigan sunrise – with just a hint of pink – over a blanket of freshly fallen snow and turned it into “Winter Pastel,” one of her two 2018 winning images.

“Many times, you have one shot to get a picture,” Douma says. That was especially true for her 2019 PPA Northeast winning photo “Just Around the River Bend,” which she printed using LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper to help provide depth to her image.

While vacationing in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (UP), Douma and her family were hiking along the river when she spotted holes in the riverbed.

“I took one look at it and absolutely loved how it looked. We went back at sunset and I photographed it,” she says. “There are so many things that have to be right: light, water level, angle. I’ve been back to the same location twice and have not been able to get the same type of image because the water levels were too high.”

The holes, known as kettles, are formed when stones and sediments get caught in swirling eddies, boring holes into river rock. “When the water is too high, they are underwater and you can’t see them,” Douma says. “If the water is not at the right level, the image is completely different.”

The notorious late UP sunsets also helped Douma capture the perfect image. “It had to be photographed from a wobbly suspension bridge. It was to our benefit that sunset was around 10 p.m. because there were no other hikers on the bridge,” she says. “I had to shoo my whole family off the bridge to steady my tripod to get the photograph.”

It’s that innate talent to read and capture the world around her that has helped Douma continually grow as a photographer. “I judged my first district PPA competition as well as judging IPC this year,” she says.

Judges are trained to look at things differently and understand how a photographer utilizes the 12 elements. She understands that newer competitors can find it difficult to think about the technical elements when they are still understanding the creative ones. “I know that it’s hard to learn it, remember it all, so it’s nice to be able to share insight from my experience,” she says.

Normally, Douma travels all over the country teaching photography, but this year she took a different approach. “I didn’t do any teaching this year; however, I spent two days providing recorded video critiques for members who wanted live feedback after PPA,” she says. “It’s really exciting to help people who are on their own photographic journey.”

For photographer’s who are nervous about entering a competition, Douma understands the nerves but says the experience is one of the best ways to improve.  “Feedback is the most important aspect of being a photographer,” she says. “The judges are there to provide feedback and help you grow.”

From competing to teaching to judging, Kari Douma is passionate about the beauty she creates and enjoys sharing her story while encouraging others to start on their own journey that could take them just around the river’s bend.

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.