Photographer and entrepreneur Brian Hampton approaches everything he does conceptually. A photograph is not just a photograph and a print is not just a print. When Hampton’s friend and Chicago-area fine artist Tom Heflin was commissioned to paint a collage celebrating the 100th anniversary of a local hospital, Hampton saw an opportunity to help create a lasting legacy.
“Tom does a lot of work with a Midwest flavor and I’d like to print the original artwork he’s created over the past 40 years or so in tribute to him as an icon of the Midwest. It would be neat to see other people from around the country who reproduce fine art do this for the artists who have made an impact in their communities,” says Hampton.
The mural Hampton reproduced from Heflin’s original artwork is a great first step in that direction. The 4-ft. x 6 ft. original was taken to a high-end lab that specializes in digitizing fine art. Hampton made sure the artwork was digitized in the Adobe RGB 98 color space since that’s the space he works in throughout his workflow, from Photoshop and the ImagePrint RIP to his Epson Stylus Pro 9900 printer.
The mural would take up a 10-ft. x 15-ft. space of prominence in the hospital, so Hampton decided to print in six strips 31 inches wide with an inch of overlap on either side to make it as simple as possible for the professional wallpaper hanger who would install it. Each strip was centered in the ImagePrint RIP instead of printing full bleed, again to ensure ease of installation.
Hampton used LexJet Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas with the extra protection of Sunset Satin Coating. After the mural was installed, Heflin embellished it with acrylics so the coating provided a surface to work on and extra durability.
“I called my customer specialist at LexJet, Michael Clementi, and let him know that I was looking for the best possible canvas for this project. Michael suggested the Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas with the Sunset Coating and sent me the profile for the canvas,” explains Hampton. “The combination was perfect. The colors were right on, and if they weren’t I can guarantee you that Tom would have said something to me. Every artist is extremely particular about each color in their artwork and this turned out exactly as he painted it.”
Hampton adds that the installation went seamlessly (pun intended). The professional wallpaper hanger chose to apply the paste to the wall instead of directly to the back of the canvas to make sure none of the paste would bleed through.
“The wallpaper guy did an excellent job of making sure the registration was right on, but that’s what they do; they’re matching patterns all the time when they put up wallpaper,” says Hampton. “The overall result was spectacular. I went over to the hospital last weekend to take pictures of it and almost everyone who came through stopped, looked and talked about it.”