Avast Ye Swabs! The Art of Piracy at the Tampa Bay History Center

Forty Thieves by Don Maitz

The Tampa Bay History Center is featuring the original work of fine artist Don Maitz as part of its exhibition, The Art of Piracy: Pirates in Modern Culture. The exhibition began on Jan. 24 and runs through April 26.

No Prey No Pay by Don MaitzMaitz is famed for creating the original artwork for Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum when the adult beverage was first brought to market to be properly swilled.

The exhibit examines the role of art in shaping the popular and iconic images associated with 17th and 18th century pirates in and around the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic seaboard.

Originally from Connecticut, and now based in Sarasota, Fla., Maitz’s interest in pirates and sea rovers goes back well before he moved to the Buccaneer coast. The move simply made his pursuits in pirate art even more appropriate.

Hidden Cove by Don Maitz“A lot of artists and illustrators had moved west and were doing western art. Since I moved to Florida I didn’t think that subject matter really fit. Illustrating what was going on in our coastal waters and treasure hunting, I thought pirates would be interesting subject matter for me to continue. Plus, some of my favorite artists have worked in that genre,” says Maitz.

For this exhibition, Maitz printed some of his most notable pirate art to date using his Epson Stylus Pro 7800 on Sunset Hot Press Rag, LexJet Premium Archival Matte and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 g.

Don Maitz
Don Maitz

Maitz sends his artwork – typically oil paintings and watercolors, though he works in a variety of media, including acrylics – to Eagle Photographics in Tampa to capture his work.

“I get a digital file and go through ImagePrint software to balance the print to the original art. I use Photoshop to manipulate the color and the ImagePrint software to change the image based on the surface of the paper I’m printing to,” he says. I want to use the highest quality paper possible. I like Sunset Hot Press Rag because it has a little less tooth so it doesn’t collect things like dust and oil from your hands. I use Premium Archival Matte for more cost-effective smaller prints.”

Maitz cuts the prints by hand, rather than using the automated cutter inside the printer. He says it’s best to keep the dust produced by cutting as far away from the printer as possible; a clean printer alleviates potential headaches from clogged nozzles and cuts down on maintenance routines.

Maitz has worked with LexJet as print supplier partner since he bought his printer. “What I really like about LexJet is that I place an order and it gets here quickly; that’s a real plus. Also, when I first bought my printer from LexJet, my learning curve was dropped considerably by help from my rep and technical support,” adds Maitz.

John R. Williams’ Photographic Art Printed and on Display at Thomas Paul Fine Art

Fine art photography exhibit at Thomas Paul Fine Art

The last time we spoke to John Reiff Williams, he was preparing for the big showing of his work at Thomas Paul Fine Art in Los Angeles. More than 50 pigment inkjet prints later, the exhibition opened this past weekend to what Williams characterized as a “sea of people.”

“It became almost a retrospective, in that my beach work was done in the late ’70s. Having that as a reference point helped people make the leap between the earlier single-point perspective concept to going liquid in the photography. It helped me explain that evolution during the opening, and the people there seemed to grasp the concept,” says Williams.

The three photographic series – the La Jolla Beach Project, The Edge of Collapse Series from Mexico City and the Hollywood Boulevard Series – are all featured at the gallery exhibition, which is expected to run through March.

Fine art photography exhibition in Los Angeles
Photo by Lisa Ono

Most of the work was printed on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 g on Williams’ Epson 3800 Stylus Pro inkjet photo printer. A couple of the bigger pieces (30″ x 40″) were printed by a service bureau.

Originally, the prototype frames were welded metal, but maple frames were used instead. Optium Museum Acrylic was used over the prints in place of glass to cut down on glare.

Los Angeles art gallery exhibit
Photo by Lisa Ono

“In terms of presentation the component that was really astonishing to me was that museum acrylic over the images. So much of the work is in the low end as far as tonality so it was important that the lights didn’t distract from the photography. And, the maple frames did their job and made the work pop so that the photographs were the star of the show,” says Williams.

For more information about the exhibit at Thomas Paul Fine Art, go to www.tpaulfineart.com/. And, for an insider’s view of the thought process behind the photographic series at the exhibition, click here.