When you work print magic for some of the biggest names in photography and fine art you might as well print big, which is exactly what Stephen Kerner does. Kerner, owner of Stone River Giclee in Woodstock, N.Y., has been printing giant reproductions on canvas for renowned photographers Russell James and Catherine Sebastian (who’s also the wife of former The Lovin’ Spoonful front man John Sebastian).
Those are but two examples of a long list of prestigious clients for whom Kerner prints, which also includes the Dali Lama, Harvard Press and the New York Cultural Society. Kerner reproduces the drawings and Thangkas (Tibetan religious paintings) from the Dali Lama’s monastery on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth. “They use real gold paint, so it’s very difficult to get that color, but we can hit it with our ImagePrint RIP on the Epson printer,” says Kerner.
As the exclusive printer for New York Cultural Society’s endowment for all of its modern fine art painting, Kerner reproduces the work of legendary painters like Edwin Church and Jackson Pollock. Kerner either captures the original work in his studio or he’s supplied with transparencies, but sometimes he has to capture the work at the museum. “I go with a laptop and a camera and do all the color correcting in front of the original paintings. I photograph them, take color swatches, come back, put them all together and calibrate the printer with the color profiles,” he explains.
But it’s not just printing that recommends Kerner to this exclusive clientele; it’s an innate sense of color and artistic aesthetic that Kerner brings to his work.
Kerner started printing about 20 years ago when the first Iris printers appeared on the scene. He didn’t pick up printing to start a business, but was propelled into it through a need to reproduce his own fine art. Kerner’s fine art is displayed in 14 museums across the country and printing his own work so he could control the process to his tight specifications helped him gain a foothold for his paintings.
In those 20 years, Kerner has gone through the entire digital print evolution. It’s an evolution that has reached a “pinnacle,” he says, thanks to incredible improvements in inkjet technology. Kerner’s workhorse is the Epson 11880 he picked up from LexJet. The 64-inch printer, along with the ImagePrint RIP, help Kerner produce remarkable pieces of art writ large. As an example, Russell James, most well known for his fascinating celebrity photography, has embarked on a series called Nomad Two Worlds, which highlights indigenous peoples from around the world.
Kerner explains: “They’ll send me a RAW file and then I do all the retouching and reformatting to their specifications. It’s quite a process because they’re printed out as large as 12 feet long. After I retouch it and prepare it, I print it out using LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas and the ImagePrint software. Once the images are printed, we pack them in tubes that then go to the artist, an aboriginal artist who embellishes it with their own native motif in paint. I then take that embellished work and print them as limited editions up to 14 feet long. Russell likes to go big with his work. He could have picked anybody, but he picked us because of the quality of our work and the canvas we get from LexJet.”