Prints that Win: She’s a Dream

She's a Dream by Melissa Thompson

Melissa Thompson, owner of Pistachio Alley Photography in Cody, Wyo., is known far and wide for her stellar baby photography. Though it’s not all she does, it’s her specialty.

Each year she highlights her specialty at competition. This image, She’s a Dream, was entered in both the Wyoming and Montana Professional Photographer competitions. At the Montana competition, She’s a Dream wowed the judges and she picked up a Sunset Print Award.

Printed at Pistachio Alley on Sunset Bright Velvet Rag 315g with a Canon iPF8300, Thompson says, “The judges for both state competitions liked the presentation, the paper it was printed on and the print quality. The general consensus was how the image worked well with the Sunset Velvet paper and how the tones were muted, not showing a true black, giving it a dreamlike quality.”

To create the image, Thompson started with a concept she came up with last year for competition, but says she shelved it because “it just wasn’t working out right.” Everything came together this year, however, with the right subject and the right clouds.

The baby is sleeping on a bed of clouds that Thompson created from a composite of four different cloud formations. Thompson photographs compelling cloud formations and keeps them in folder for use with different images.

“This is three or four different cloud images I brought together, taking sections out, and warping them: bending them around the baby so that it looks like a little bed. For the photo, it’s a studio image on a bean bag and I made sure the lighting worked with the clouds I put together,” Thompson explains. “You look at the lighting patterns and make sure the shadows and highlights are going in the same direction so it doesn’t look out of place.”

Thompson based the studio lighting on the clouds she had already chosen so that the baby blends in just right with the clouds, making the image appear real, rather than a composite. In addition to knowing how to studio-light for composites, Thompson adds, “Using the little nuggets of information learned from a few Masters I admire and impeccable printing and paper quality brought this image to fruition and made an incredible art piece that the family of this baby will cherish forever.”

Wall Flowers with Print-N-Stick Fabric

Wall Mural on Print-N-Stick Fabric

Though it may not seem quite like spring in certain parts of the country, the calendar says, “Yes, indeed, it is spring.” And so does Macy’s, which launched its Spring Flower Show last week in select cities.

An important component of the Macy’s Spring Flower Show is the art that decorates the spaces converted for the annual show within Macy’s stores.

Macy's Wall Mural
This is the mock-up that Larry Cooke, owner of Lake Media Services, came up with for the Macy’s Spring Flower Show. Cooke says LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric replicated it perfectly.

At the Macy’s Chicago location, Lake Media Services Inc., owned by long-time print industry veteran Larry Cooke, was called upon to produce a background mural consistent with Macy’s Spring Flower Show campaign. The mural backs a low stage where demonstrations and presentations are held during the show.

Cooke turned to LexJet and his customer specialist Bryce Montisano to find the best method for producing the mural, something easier to apply than vinyl that would reproduce the mural to the same fidelity as the national campaign.

Montisano recommended LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric because it has a bright-white base to ensure color pops and it has a repositionable adhesive that will also make the mural easy to pull off when the show is over.

Installing the Macy's Spring Flower Show wall mural was a breeze with Print-N-Stick Fabric. Once the show is over it will also be easy to remove and leave no trace behind or cause any damage to the wall.
Installing the Macy’s Spring Flower Show wall mural was a breeze with Print-N-Stick Fabric. Once the show is over it will also be easy to remove and leave no trace behind or cause any damage to the wall.

“I took pictures of the wall, created the artwork and superimposed it on the wall so the client could see what it would look like. I then ran a swatch on Print-N-Stick that was 44″ x 80″ and put it on the wall for them to see and then went on with the rest of the printing,” explains Cooke.

The mural was printed in seven 44″ panels on Cooke’s Canon iPF8300 with a 1/2″ overlap between each panel included. Cooke hired an installer who taped the panels in place to ensure they lined up perfectly, and then applied them vertically. Cooke says the application went as smoothly as advertised and when the show is over it will be a breeze to remove them.

“I print a lot of smaller in-store signs for Macy’s, and I’m hoping Macy’s will do this type of work more often now that we’ve created a successful mural for them,” adds Cooke. “What Macy’s really likes about the material more than anything is that it has a nice matte surface that doesn’t reflect the light and distract from their graphics and their message. Also, we found that it was easy to cut with a razor without fraying.”

Double Black Diamond Wall Mural on Print-N-Stick Fabric

Vail Mountain Wall Mural on LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric

Offices can be boring. In fact, they usually are boring. Adam Zimmerman, owner of Z2 Technologies, West Long Branch, N.J., recently elevated his brother Jeff’s office space in both altitude and attitude for a welcome office makeover.

Adam and Jeff are avid skiers and usually make an annual trip to Vail, Colo. Adam photographed Jeff as he began to make his way down one of Vail’s double-black mogul runs on a snowy powder day in April.

The shot was perfect for a large wall mural and Adam found the solution to reproduce the photo with LexJet’s new Print-N-Stick Fabric.

“My rep at LexJet, Michael Clementi, recommended the adhesive-backed fabric, so I did a test print 44″ tall by 60″ wide to see what it would it would look like. We were a little nervous about blowing it up that large given the resolution, but it looks great. Up close, it looks like a painting, but the farther you stand away from it the more detailed it is. The print quality exceeded my expectations,” says Adam.

The image was printed on Print-N-Stick Fabric with a Canon iPF8300 and applied in panels.

“The oils on your fingers can leave smudge marks so to ensure a clean look we’ll use a seam roller next time,” says Adam (you can also use Sunset Gloss Coating or Sunset Satin Coating to protect a wall mural from fingerprints and smudges). “This was a great test for us since we’ve never installed a large wall mural. Now we feel confident that we can sell it as one of our product offerings.”

Blowing in the Wind with Banners

Loris Printing, Sandusky, Ohio, was on the lookout for a durable banner material to hang up for a Value City Furniture Christmas season promotion on a busy street near Lake Erie. The problem with the location is, well, Lake Erie and the inclement weather and high winds peculiar to that area, especially in the winter months.

Banner by Loris PrintingLoris Printing vice president Craig Hofer turned to his LexJet customer specialist, Rob Finkel, for some direction. Finkel recommended LexJet 11 Mil Valeron Banner finished with LexJet Heavy Duty Banner Tape and LexJet Banner Ups.

“We printed the banner and sent it to the city because the city has to hang it. The guy brought it back to the shop and said they wouldn’t hang it because it was too thin and would get destroyed in the wind,” recalls Hofer. “I told them it wouldn’t rip and personally guaranteed that if it did rip we would replace it. They reluctantly hung it up the week of Thanksgiving. It’s been up ever since and it’s absolutely taken a beating. It hasn’t ripped yet; it looks just as good as the day they hung it up. We had to educate people about the material because they assume a thinner material isn’t going to work.”

Hofer adds that they printed the banner on a Canon iPF8300 and didn’t use a laminate or liquid coating; the print went straight off the printer, seamed on the sides with the banner tape and Banner Ups secured to the corners.

“The material imaged perfectly. We had several people stop in and say how nice that banner looks. We’re kind of new in wide-format and I take Rob’s word for it. His advice has always worked really well for us, so it’s obvious he knows the products,” adds Hofer.

Art at the Point of Sale with Inkjet Printed Canvas

Blue Moon Beer on Canvas by AW Artworks

Each brand has its own aesthetic. The advertising that surrounds that aesthetic should be consistent and appropriate to the brand. In the case of Blue Moon craft beer, the advertising focuses on the craft element, emphasizing a hand-painted rendering of the Blue Moon logo and artwork.

Inkjet Printed CanvasWhat better medium, then, than gallery-wrapped canvas? Tyler Peters, distributor beer merchant for Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors, found the canvas craftsman he was looking for in Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks in Sun Prairie, Wis.

Peters is based in Madison, and wanted point of sale artwork that not only in tune with the Blue Moon aesthetic, but was also in tune with the downtown Madison vibe.

“We wanted to create something a lot different than a standard neon sign or banner; something that conveys what we should see in the Madison market,” says Peters. “The artwork ties into a food festival we have here in Madison called Isthmus a la Carts. We had an interactive Blue Moon mural at the event that consumers – over 21, of course – could paint and enjoy some Blue Moon beer, too.”

Blue Moon Mural
The Blue Moon canvas wraps printed by AW Artworks on Sunset Production Matte Canvas were based on this mural painted by attendees of the Isthmus a la Carts food festival in Madison, Wis.

It was a version of this mural that was sent to Wredberg to print and build the 2′ x 3′ canvas gallery wraps. Wredberg used LexJet Sunset Production Matte Canvas to produce the prints on his Canon iPF8300 44″ inkjet printer.

“They printed beautifully; I was very happy with the look and color saturation of the Sunset Production canvas,” says Wredberg. “They had a pretty tight budget, so I checked on the Sunset Production canvas since I felt it would allow us to get closer to their budget and since it was a longer production run for us.”

Wredberg tweaked the design he received from agency a bit to ensure it fit in the gallery wrap format and wrapped the canvas around 1 1/2″ stretcher bars. Now the 50 canvas gallery wraps are ready to be distributed to various bars in downtown Madison.

Wredberg will also print 50 more canvas gallery wraps to promote Batch 19, a pre-Prohibition style lager. Check back here for photos of the gallery wraps in their environment.

Color Services Inspires with a Unique Photo Collage Wall Mural Print

Wall Mural Collage by Color Services

“We try to connect with people, inspire them, and figure out different ways they can live with their photos,” says Gabe Cano, co-owner of Color Services in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The guiding principle at Color Services is not simply photo reproduction for its clientele, which is mainly retail but also includes a healthy dose of photographers and artists. Instead, Color Services finds unique ways to produce and display images. Cano calls it “specialty retail,” since much of what they produce is more than just 4×5 or 8×10 reproductions.

Collage Close-UpA recent point of inspiration is the wall of photos Color Services created for its lobby. Originally, the lobby featured a number of prints mounted to Gator Foam that covered the wall. Cano wanted to update the wall and create something that was different, impactful and inspirational.

Cano gathered photos taken by friends and the staff at Color Services, and laid out the approximately 3,000 photos in InDesign. The final collage design was printed on Photo Tex from LexJet with a Canon iPF8300 44″ inkjet printer in about 12 panels, and applied to the wall.

“The impact has been insane. The wall treatment we had before was one thing, but this really draws a lot of attention. They got lost in the photos, way more than they did before,” says Cano. “We’ve found that many our clients who see it want to do something similar, or put their own spin on it.”

Photo Wall MuralFor instance, Cano took that concept and applied it to a 25-year portrait photo retrospective that local portrait photographer Stephanie Baker is putting together. Cano created a mockup on a partial wall at Color Services’ studio to show Baker how it would look.

“She freaked; this is exactly what she wants to do. Now she’s looking for a space to exhibit it. She has 20,000 to 30,000 portraits from over the years and wants to completely wallpaper a gallery space with this retrospective,” says Cano.