New Exhibit Takes Flight with Floor-to-Ceiling Murals

When the design team at Field Museum in Chicago wanted to create an exhibit with the few James Audubon’s artifacts they had on-hand, they decided to give it a big treatment with floor-to-ceiling murals of reproductions of Audubon’s illustrations.

The exhibit idea started with an original over-sized book by Audubon, a 19th century naturalist and painter who dedicated his life to studying and documenting all the birds of North America. His bird expertise and illustrations are world-renowned. Field Museum had a few birds represented from the book as well as pages from one of Audubon’s sketch books. With only a few items on-hand, but a desire to showcase them, Nel Fetherling, supervisor of graphic production, worked with her design team to come up with a creative approach for the small exhibit.

The images in the book had been photographed years ago, and Fetherling was able to access the files. “I said: ‘Let’s do wall paper,'” she says. “We wanted to do something really, really big.”

Fetherling had used LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric for smaller jobs and thought it could work as a wall mural, as well. “Because we use aqueous inks, I knew I couldn’t print true wallpaper, so I used this product instead,” she says. Her team printed six 14-foot x 75-inch wall murals as well as one for the entryway (pictured at top).

“The colors were so brilliant,” Fetherling says. “Our designer was skeptical, but after we printed it, she said the colors were almost better than the actual illustrations. It’s just such a nice white to print on.”

Fetherling handled the installation herself, requiring a scissor lift and a bit of trial and error. “I was thankful that it was a little bit forgiving,” she says of the ability to reposition or remove Print-N-Stick. “We have had other products that weren’t quite as successful going through the printer — and the colors were not as good. This is better than other products we’ve used with an adhesive back.”

She says Print-N-Stick’s versatility has everyone talking about what they could use it for next, since it is a viable alternative to a solvent or latex vinyl that she could not print in-house on her two Canon PRO-Series PRO-4000s.

“The Canon PRO-4000 and Lucia inks are very nice,” she says, with her team relying on the printers for everything from educational panels to artwork to event posters and much more. “Our designers were amazed at quality of prints coming out of the Canons. And we liked that we can get a two-roll thing on the Canons to switch out papers quickly.”

To learn more about the Audubon exhibit, visit Field Museum. To learn more about LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, call a LexJet rep at 800-453-9538 or visit

A Memorial of Photography and Light: Three Seasons at Black Forest Farm

Light Pillars by Karen GiustiStephen Schwarz was a New York City firefighter and a first responder on 9-11. He was injured early that morning, but would return to Ground Zero to help in the rescue effort.

Artist Karen Giusti, who was his fiancé, says the cumulative effect of breathing in the airborne debris at Ground Zero led to his death in June 2010.

“Many 9-11 first responders have chronic health problems or are passing away very young. Stephen was not even 50 years old,” says Giusti.

Giusti channeled her grief into a series of art pieces called Three Seasons at Black Forest Farm, which will be displayed at the Katzen Arts Center at the American University Museum College of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C., and will also travel to sites in New York City.

Three Seasons at Black Forest Farm is essentially a series of light pillars using photographs Giusti captured at Schwarz’s farm in upstate New York composed together to communicate the essence of her memorial art. So far, Giusti has built five pillars, but is contemplating up to 20 more as the exhibit begins to travel.

Light Sculptures Printed on LexJet Absolute Backlit
Models that Karen Giusti built as guides for potential future configurations of her exhibit, Three Seasons at Black Forest Farm.

“It’s about keeping time and the concept of time standing still; things you think of when someone passes away and how you respond, grow and what occurs to you during that time,” explains Giusti. “It’s also an artistic interpretation of scientific concepts of time where the photos are strings of time.”

The pillars are composed of hundreds of photos from Black Forest Farm stitched together, printed on LexJet 8 Mil Absolute Backlit in 40″ wide by 175″ long panels with her Epson Stylus Pro 9890, connected to each other with Velcro, suspended from the ceiling, and supported underneath by a slow-turning motor.

“At Stephen’s farm I stood in one place and shot at the ground and up, and then turned very carefully and came back down and around. I had a chart I stood on to make sure I would get the entire farm photographed in the round, almost like a holograph,” says Giusti. “It’s very fitting that it’s esoteric and ephemeral with the beautiful photographs stitched together, and I thought that using a hanging light pillar would be a beautiful effect to work with the imagery.”

Instead of building a tubular framework to hold the prints in place, Giusti found that the Absolute Backlit material was both flexible and rigid enough to be used as the structure itself.

“I was considering what kind of framework to use, but it turns out that the Absolute Backlit works fine because it is so durable and user-friendly – it doesn’t scratch and you can handle it pretty roughly – and you can get a beautiful shape out of it,” says Giusti. “Only an artist would get so excited about a print material.”

Making a Multi-Media, Multi-Textural Art Installation a Snap

Inkjet Printed Art Installation

Lee Emma Running, an associate professor of art at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, was recently featured in the exhibition, Paper Architecture, at the Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa. Her installation is titled Pare.

The wallpaper was printed on Photo Tex from LexJet on an Epson Stylus Pro 9600. The inkjet-printed wall mural perfectly contrasts and combines with the hand-cut red satin for a piece that’s all about patterns and how they play on the eye.

Inkjet Printed Art Exhibit“I work a lot from the natural world, looking at things that are similar at a microscopic and macroscopic scale. I’m interested in similarities between veins in a leaf, veins in our body, and river systems seen from space,” explains Running. “The drawing for the wallpaper background came from a microscope scan of a leaf veins that I traced, painted, and digitally tiled to make the pattern. I printed the wallpaper pattern onto Photo Tex and then backed it with red satin. Using a hot knife I hand cut out a lacy network of traced sheep wool from both materials. In the gallery I covered the wall with red satin and then mounted the negative spaces from the cut-outs onto the satin field to increase the illusion that the wallpaper is peeling away from a red ground.”

Since Pare was one of Running’s largest installations, she was looking for something that would make paneling the prints across 47 feet and 14 feet tall simple and removal easy.

“I was interested in Photo Tex because it can come off the wall multiple times and be repositioned. The pattern is very small and had to match up seamlessly, so the ability to reposition it a lot is helpful,” says Running. “It performed really well and I was told it came down easily. Pare was sized specifically for this exhibit, but because I can re-use the material I think I will be able to re-purpose the elements for another installation. I’m always looking for ways to re-use material so that it doesn’t end up in a landfill.”

Re-Orient: Photo Tex Inkjet Art with Flair

Linda Guy is a fine artist who teaches screen printing, lithography and inkjet printing at Texas Christian University. One of her students was LexJet’s own Nolan Dowdy, who’s now Guy’s customer service specialist.

Inkjet printing multi-media fine art for an exhibit

Guy mixes traditional and digital media in much of her work, particularly her recent series call Re-Orient. Guy describes herself as “a collagist and a design anthropologist, if there were such a profession.”

In her Artist’s Statement about Re-Orient she writes: “The conceptual direction that I take in Re-Orient is to combine an inclusive collection of various historical patterns with self-originated elements.” To do so, Guy combines Photo Tex from LexJet, a repositionable adhesive-backed fabric, with screen printed and photographically mounted design elements and drawings that float off the wall about an inch or so.

Multi-media art exhibit using inkjet printing and wallpaper fabricThe primary backing image is printed on Photo Tex on a 24-inch Epson. Guy says she was previously producing the image on an adhesive-backed vinyl but prefers the look and repositionability of the Photo Tex for this artistic application.

“I’m having lots of fun with Photo Tex. It’s enabled me to do some large-scale things and make it more of a wall installation than I was able to do before,” says Guy.

Re-Orient is being shown at the Ro2 Art gallery in Dallas through Oct 22.

Photographic Sculpture: A Three Dimensional Inkjet Printed Interpretation

Inkjet printing for a fine art photography exhibitMark Lewis’ fine-art photography almost demands a three-dimensional interpretation. And, in a community known worldwide as a Mecca for sculpture – Loveland, Colo. – Lewis has yearned to find a way to interpret his work in three dimensions.

Inspired by the graphics used for the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art, which used gauzy, translucent fabric banners as a focal point for the exhibit, Lewis formed a concept for his own exhibition. Lewis called his LexJet account specialist, Michael Clementi, to brainstorm about inkjet printable materials he could use to bring his concept to life. Clementi recommended Polyvoile FR fabric and Lewis began testing the material on his Epson Stylus Pro 9880.

“I started to think about all the 3D things I’ve been working on, and had the idea that if I had a 3D space, I could put up my 2D artwork on the wall, like a gallery presentation, and then hang my new abstract figures on these banners and suspend them throughout the room, leaving areas for people to walk through. The idea was to create one large piece of art comprised of individual pieces that combine into one large art object that can be walked into,” explains Lewis.

Art exhibition with inkjet printed fabricLewis secured space at Aims Community College in nearby Greeley, Colo., and set up the display, mixing framed photo prints on the walls with Polyvoile banners hung throughout the space. The banners are abstract representations of Lewis’ Zero G series of nude studies.

Lewis explains, “The Zero G originals on the wall are a few years older and incorporate figure nudes with an illusion of weightlessness, so they look like they’re floating in air or water. The translucent Polyvoile banners that are 7 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide, are extreme abstract figures that almost look like they’re made out of lightning and movement. The photographic process is very different for the abstract pieces than it was for the Zero G process.

“The Zero G series is an illusion based on light,” Lewis continues. “The second, abstract version is the same concept with much longer exposures of 6-8 seconds. I’m using my studio strobe flash, but I’m manually firing it. I have either camera or model movement, and sometimes I’ll use materials like painter’s plastic or sheer cloth material and a fan. As the material and model are moving then I’m popping up these individual flashes, and in between the flashes I have a bright hot light on. It sinks in low light exposure in between the strobes, and then the strobes capture those individual seconds within the six seconds. I’m getting a choppy freeze-frame effect. You end up with a big, blurry photo that looks like you can’t use it for anything. I take it into Lightroom, look at the figures inside that mess, trim everything away that I don’t want, and it leaves a part of those exposures and then I add a color temperature to it. I call it an organic process, because it’s like a big shrub that needs to be trimmed.”

The summer exhibition at Aims Community College has been a big hit. It’s an unusual interpretation of creative art that makes people think about light, images and perception. The exhibition will run through September, then Lewis will install a similar one in Loveland.

Fine art photography with strobes
One of the Zero G images by Mark Lewis that form the basis for his fine art photo exhibition, Energia, at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo.

“That was the first experimental presentation of what I’d seen in my mind for a long time. I got everything printed up with no problem and had seams put in for the pole pockets. Once it was installed, I was very satisfied with the outcome. It was my first attempt to get dimension in photography that I felt was very successful,” says Lewis. “One of the questions that comes up a lot when people see it is how difficult it is to print. I never had a misprint with the material and it has worked perfectly every time. It was quite simple to print. I just followed the directions given to me by LexJet. I had to change pixel density to 720 and some minor adjustments like that, but I’ve printed in black and white and full color and have been pleased with every print I’ve made with it.”

Here’s a video of the exhibition…