Custom and Unique Interior Décor Creation and Printing at Kahler Photo

Lobby Decor Printed on Canvas
Custom lobby art created by Kahler Photo for the Radisson printed on LexJet Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas, stretched on frames and then set in a floater frame.

 

A photographer by trade, Danny Kahler, owner of Kahler Photo in Minneapolis, has taken those skills and his signature style and applied them to various interior environments, adding printing, framing and installation to the mix.

Printing on Wood Veneer
Kahler printed on maple veneer and applied it Gator Board for a corporate boardroom.

Kahler’s first interior décor project was for a hotel. His sales pitch was to photograph site-specific images that would be used as room art at the hotel. He did the photo shoot in Omaha and the client selected their favorite images, which Kahler then printed for them.

Kahler expanded on that concept, creating and printing public space art, like lobby and conference room artwork for corporate offices, assisted living centers, schools, hospitals and so forth. Since that first big project, Kahler has concentrated on providing only custom décor printing with all the tools necessary to do it right and on time.

“We thrive on custom artwork. I like to give a client, or a designer working with a client, the option to do color abstraction or color replacement images. In this case, you’re basically taking existing colors in the image and replacing them with colors that coordinate with the interior space of a building. Rather than just converting an image to a black-and-white or sepia tone, we’re going beyond that,” explains Kahler.

Printing on Pine Veneer
This was printed on pine veneer, applied to Gator Board and mounted in a floater frame for a local art foundation.

Going beyond that for Kahler means that, in addition to printing on fine art papers, photo papers and canvas, he prints on thin sheets of various materials, like wood veneer and aluminum. For larger substrates, like plywood, acrylic, PVC and Dibond, Kahler contracts the printing to local print shops with flatbed UV-curable printers.

“With our Epson printers we can print on veneer or aluminum, apply contact adhesive on the back and then apply it to another substrate as a backer, like MDF and Gator Board,” says Kahler. “We then select mounting hardware that works well with the existing hardware in the space.  This may be standoff hardware, wire suspension or security hardware.”

Over the years, Kahler Photo has expanded from just printing to providing framing and installation services. Kahler doesn’t do all project installations, such as hotel guest room art, but installs the more unique pieces that require that extra detail.

Pine Veneer Print by Kahler Photo“Adding framing services opened up a lot of doors, because we became more of a one-stop shop; they didn’t have to hire us to do photography and printing and someone else do mounting and framing,” says Kahler.  “No project leaves the studio until we’re happy with it, even if it means that we have to re-do part of it. You put in extra hours if needed to get it right so that the client says it’s more than what they imagined; that’s what it’s all about.”

For the more typical décor printing, Kahler uses LexJet Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas, LexJet Sunset Photo Semi-Matte, LexJet Premium Matte Paper and LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper.

“We started using LexJet papers about a year ago. I talked to Rob [Finkel, Kahler’s LexJet customer specialist] last week about incorporating LexJet fabrics into our production for particular projects,” says Kahler. “We’ve been very happy with the canvas and paper. LexJet products have helped us save money and opened up a wider selection of media, especially for hotel projects.”

Though Kahler has the production system down, he says the photography is the foundation of the business. Most of the décor work Kahler does is renditions of his or other photographers’ work that draw from the architecture and areas surrounding the space being decorated.

Maple Veneer Print by Kahler Photo“I like to explore more deeply into a theme, rather than just capturing an overall shot of a landscape. There are some beautiful landscapes out there, but I like to look deeper at what’s happening under my feet; the small things that people tend to walk by: real interesting elements of nature or architecture in a particular setting,” explains Kahler. “The abstract subject matter is what I like to capture most. Still, it’s important to get many other perspectives. This is why we use many contributing photographers.  Some clients don’t like the abstract nature of a scene and some like the overall scene, so we want to be able to give them the option of a variety of styles.”

Save up to $560 on Inkjet Media with Hahnemuhle Rebates

Rebates on fine art papersThis past weekend, Hahnemühle announced new rebates that last until Oct. 31. The rebates range from $10 to $70 and apply to the following Hahnemühle FineArt papers:

And, here are the rebate amounts based on the size of the paper (limit eight items for the rebate when you order):

  • 8.5″ x 11″: $10
  • 11″ x 17″: $20
  • 13″ x 19″: $25
  • 17″ x 22″: $40
  • 17″ rolls: $20
  • 24″ rolls: $40
  • 36″ rolls: $50
  • 44″ rolls: $60
  • 60″/64″ rolls: $70

Get the details and a rebate form at: http://us.hahnemuehle.com/campaigns/2012/8-27/

If you have any questions or need help with anything, call a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Big Deals, Promotions, Printers and Prints: Visit LexJet at Imaging USA 2012

Canvas stretcher bar kits for gallery and museum wrapsIf you’re looking for new ways to boost business, better ways to produce your own prints and the best service and support in the industry, put LexJet’s booth (547) on your Imaging USA 2012 itinerary. Less than two weeks away, Imaging USA is being held in New Orleans this year, Jan. 15-17 (classes start on Thursday, Jan. 12), at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.

Get stocked up on inkjet media and LexJet’s high-quality, do-it-yourself canvas stretcher kits with the following show-only specials…

In addition to these show specials, LexJet experts will be on hand to demonstrate best practices for inkjet printing as well as the full complement of LexJet inkjet imaging media with LexJet Sales & Application Guides on hand and other printed samples on Sunset media for you to peruse, compare and contrast. LexJet will print in the booth with an Epson Stylus Pro 4900 and show you how easy it is to use Sunset Stretcher Kits for a high-quality, professional gallery or museum canvas wrap.

For more information about LexJet’s show specials and demonstrations, and to schedule an appointment, contact a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538. For more about Imaging USA 2012 and to register, go to www.imagingusa.org or call 800-786-6277. We look forward to seeing you there!

Great Expectations and the Perplexing Paradox of Fine Art Reproduction

One of the most common problems experienced in the fine art reproduction market is making the original artist happy with the reproductions you are able to create. Artists expend a lot of time, effort and talent creating an original piece of art, so it may be difficult to get them to accept a reproduction that doesn’t match their original exactly.

There are two things that you can do to make the artist more excepting and grateful of your version of their work: Set their expectations and use materials with a large color gamut.

Setting Expectations
Setting expectations is the most important thing that you can do for an artist. By properly setting expectations, they are more likely to accept a print that is not an exact match of their original. More importantly, you will prevent them from taking their business elsewhere.

Many times an artist will create his or her original piece using a large amount of different colors. Since your printer only has 7-11 colors (depending on the make and model), you will not be able to re-create their print exactly.

A good idea is to buy a 16-color and 64-color box of crayons and show them to the customer. Explain that they created the art with the 64-color box, but you only have the 16-color box available to re-create it. That usually hits home.

Now your customer should easily understand that your printer does not have an unlimited color gamut. The next step is to reassure them that no such printer exists. If you have a wide format inkjet printer from Canon, Epson or HP that has been manufactured in the last two or three years, then you can tell your customer with confidence that there are no other printers out there that can do a better job than the one your currently own. This will keep your customer from looking to your competition.

In order for you to be able to make this promise, however, you must update your printer if the newer technology offers a significant increase in color gamut.

Selecting Material with a Large Color Gamut

Finding a larger color gamut in your inkjet papers and canvas
Figure 1: Sunset Select Gloss Canvas has a 305% larger color gamut than the typical matte canvas. Click on the image for a larger version.

The paradox of fine art printing is this… Materials with matte finishes are usually preferred when doing fine art reproductions. Most of the time an artist will specify a matte canvas or matte water color paper. Due to the coatings of these materials and the physics of light, they traditionally have a smaller color gamut than all other papers. Therefore, you have artists who demand the largest color gamut possible requesting their work be reproduced on materials with the smallest color gamut.

The easiest way to increase the output color gamut is to change the material you are using to print. Luster and gloss materials have a larger color gamut because those surfaces are usually smoother than matte finish surfaces. This smoothness allows more light to bounce off of the print and directly back into the viewer’s eyes, creating richer colors, including blacks.

If your customer wants a print on canvas, then print it on a gloss canvas instead of a matte canvas. Your color gamut increases significantly with this simple switch (see Figure 1). If your customer absolutely has to have a matte finish canvas, then you can use a matte coating on the canvas, like those from ClearStar Corporation.

Which papers and canvas have the largest color gamut
Figure 2: Sunset Fibre Elite has a 157% larger color gamut than a typical matte fine art paper. Click on the image for a larger version.

If your customer wants a print on fine art paper, then print it on the award-winning Sunset Fibre Papers, which come in various finishes: Sunset Fibre Satin, Sunset Fibre Gloss, Sunset Fibre Gloss Natural and Sunset Fibre Elite. They offer an elegant, high-end finish that emulates the fibre prints of the traditional darkroom. Compared to a watercolor paper, their color gamut is significantly larger (see Figure 2). There’s also Sunset Fibre Matte if your customer insists on using a matte fibre paper, but they’ll need to keep in mind that its color gamut is less than that of the other Sunset Fibre papers. Again, it’s about setting exectations.

With a larger color gamut, your printer or RIP’s color engine will have to re-map fewer colors. That means more of the artist’s original colors will be hit by the printer. Your customer may not like the finish of the gloss canvas or fibre papers unprinted; it’s quite subjective. However, they will most likely appreciate the fact that these materials produce a copy closer to their original art.

To be sure, print their image on matte and gloss canvas, Sunset Fibre Elite and fine art paper and let them make the decision. I am sure they will pick the paper with the larger color gamut almost every time.

Also, try the relative colorimetric rendering intent when reproducing fine art, as it shifts fewer colors in the process. For more information about rendering intents and their effect on the final print, click here.

Special thanks to Tom Hauenstein for the expertise contained in this article.