On his Beyond the Lens blog, landscape photographer Robert Rodriguez Jr. of Beacon, NY showcased this kayaking mural that he recently printed on Photo Tex PSA fabric from LexJet. The mural was designed to bring the feel of the Hudson River into the main exam room of the Dr. Ricardo Rios of Middle Hope Family Dental Center in Newburgh, NY.
Many photographers know that visitors to popular scenic and outdoor recreation areas like to browse through area galleries and gift shops to buy framed or matted prints, notecards, or calendars to remind them of their trip. But enterprising professional photographers such as Robert Rodriguez Jr. of Beacon, NY are discovering that owners of local businesses like buying photographs of the natural surroundings too.
Rodriguez, who specializes in landscape images of the scenic Hudson River Valley, has started producing large canvas prints and photo murals that can help patrons of local businesses see the natural wonders of the area in a whole new way. “Being able to show people how it feels to stand on top of a scenic overlook at sunrise, and feel the emotion I get when beautiful light enters the Valley is so much more convincing in a large, almost life-sized, print,” says Rodriguez.
For example, Robert Rodriguez, Jr. recently created this 54 x 128 in. photo mural for the Bank SQ Coffee Shop in Beacon, NY. The mural is an enlargement of a panoramic photo he shot of Storm King Mountain, the dominant landmark of the region on the banks of the Hudson River. The mountain is located about five miles from the coffee shop.
Rodriguez used the 44-in. Canon ImagePROGRAF iPF8100 printer in his studio to output the mural in three sections on Photo Tex PSA fabric from LexJet. Photo Tex PSA is an inkjet-printable fabric with a repositionable, pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA). In addition to reproducing a surprisingly high level of image quality, the wrinkle-resistant, adhesive-backed fabric panels are relatively easy to install on flat, non-porous surfaces. No specialized training is required. If you make a mistake when aligning the printed panels, simply remove and reposition it until you get it right. When it’s time to remove the mural, the adhesive removes cleanly without gummy residue.
After installing the mural, Rodriguez added a 3 x 4 in. plaque with his name and website and notes about how and when the image was captured.
“This is one of my favorite locations to photograph in the Hudson Valley, and I never get tired of finding different angles, lighting and weather conditions, and times of the year to find new and exciting interpretations.” he explains. “Storm King Mountain is also historically significant in the environmental movement and where Scenic Hudson got its start to becoming a major force in the Valley for conservation. I’ve donated this and many other images for their use in this cause. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy this resource if it weren’t for the work that Scenic Hudson has done in my ‘backyard’.”
Can you picture what a custom photo mural might look like in your home? To help potential customers envision some of the possibilities, photographer Rick Anderson of Omaha, NE created this unique illustration for his website, using some of the scenic shots from his own archives as backdrops.
So far, one of the most popular choices for a wall mural has been his image of the football stadium at the University of Nebraska. A full-size version of the mural printed on Photo Tex PSA fabric from LexJet will be one of the images showcased in the new photography gallery Anderson plans to open in Omaha next month.
The gallery will supplement Anderson’s online business (www.rickanderson.com), through which he sells collectible posters and prints of the dozens of landscapes, city skylines, and college sports venues he has photographed throughout the US.
Gallery manager Rachel Ourada anticipates that opening The Rick Anderson Gallery will help spark greater awareness of what’s now possible with wall murals. She notes that selling custom wall murals differs from selling framed prints, because each project involves extra time for measuring and installation work. But she points out, “The customer gets a really fabulous art piece for their home or business. The stadium images are so popular we recently added three more stadium images to the options.”
Photo Tex PSA fabric from LexJet is ideal for creating custom photo murals. Not only do images reproduce well, but the repositionable adhesive on the back of the fabric makes the graphics easy to install. And when it’s time to take down the mural, the image panels can be removed cleanly without leaving a lot of sticky residue. For more ideas for printing images on PhotoTex PSA, call a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538.
Somers, NY is a small Westchester County community about an hour’s commute from Manhattan. Because it is home to a number of artists and residents who appreciate good art, it is an ideal location for Somers Custom Framing, the full-service framing business run by custom-framing specialist Ken Ryan and his artist wife Ginny. Like many well-run framing businesses, the company has diversified in recent years.
Along with expertise in conservation framing, Somers Custom Framing now offers an artful array of graphic design, photo-restoration, and wide-format printing services. For example, in addition to giclee printing, Somers Custom Framing can print photo enlargements on canvas which Ginny Ryan can hand embellish with over-painting or texturing.
The Ryans also run a retail gift shop as well as an art gallery that sells Ginny’s work, original oil paintings by other local artists, plus limited editions, giclees, custom prints, and posters. As they explain on their website, “We provide our clients with top-quality products and services to address all of their personalized decorating needs, from picture framing to mural printing.”
Somers Custom Framing has also gotten involved in some retail décor projects. Recently, the Ryans worked with restaurant consultant Bonnie Saran to set the design stage for the new Bollywood Bistro Indian restaurant in Fairfax, VA. Working with Saran’s ideas, the Ryans created several film-themed murals using stills of some of the best-known stars in Bollywood.
Using their Epson Stylus Pro 9800 wide-format inkjet printer, Ginny printed the murals in panels onto Photo Tex PSA, an inkjet-printable fabric that produces great image quality and is easy to put up and remove. No wall paste is needed and the material is water- and fade-resistant when used with the pigment inks.
The largest mural in the Bollywood Bistro is 13 ft. wide and 5 ft high. “We printed the large scene in strips, which Bonnie hung side-by-side in a seemingly seamless fashion,” explains Ginny Ryan. Along with the main wall mural, Ginny produced seven additional 97 x 31-in. movie-ticket-themed prints on Photo Tex that decorate the entrance hallway and restaurant interior.
She used other materials from LexJet to print a menu board and window signs with the same Bollywood filmstrip motif as the wall prints. For example, an Open/Closed sign was printed on a semi-matte photo paper from LexJet and mounted to foamboard with grommets at the top so it could be hung with a chain.
For the menu board, Ginny used LexJet’s 8 Mil Production Gloss Photo Paper which was then mounted to foamboard for display in the restaurant’s front window.
In addition, Ginny printed backlit graphics that complement the multi-colored lights that hanging from the ceiling from the restaurant. She printed the designs on LexJet’s 7 Mil Absolute™ Backlit film, which was then placed in several lit cubes that decorate the bar area.
The Bollywood Bistro project wasn’t the first store-design art project that Ginny Ryan had produced for Bonnie Saran. Ginny hand-painted a mural for a gift store in Croton Falls, NY and helped produce indoor and outdoor signage for several other restaurant ventures.
“For Bollywood Bistro, Bonnie described her vision to us and we came up with the best printing solution for her ideas,” explains Ginny. Whenever she was unsure which material to use for certain projects, Ginny Ryan called on LexJet account specialist Jennifer Hepner for advice.
“Whenever we have a new product idea, Jennifer is always available to troubleshoot the possible printing material choices with us.” says Ginny. “The wealth of knowledge she has about the materials LexJet offers is invaluable.”
Somers Custom Framing also uses inkjet-printable 3P Country Cotton FR from LexJet to produce three different sizes of photo pillows that they sell in their gift shop. Since launching the pillow designs eight months ago, they have sold more than 200 pillows.
“Our ability to create, new exciting products using different materials by LexJet is a fantastic asset to the store,” says Ginny Ryan.
You can some of the other products Ginny has created using LexJet materials in the next issue (Vol. 4, No. 9) issue of LexJet’s In Focus newsletter.
If you ever happen to be in northeastern Westchester County, stop by Somers Custom Framing and see just how creative they have been in diversifying their services. Westchester Magazine recently named Somers Custom Framing a winner of a Best of Westchester® award in the category: Best Place to Frame (or Buy) Art.
To learn more about some of the ways you can use a wide-format inkjet printer and materials from LexJet to diversify your imaging business, call one of the helpful account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538.
Going to the movies was more of a community experience in the decades before national corporations started building huge, multiplex movie theaters at shopping malls. If the weather was nice, you could pile your friends into a car and head off to a drive-in. But most of the time, you had to go downtown to the local theatre to see the latest releases from Hollywood.
Civic leaders in small towns across America are hoping to recapture some of that sense of community by restoring old theaters and reinventing them as community arts centers.
Such is the case at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock, PA. The Dietrich Theater first opened in 1937 with just one screen. That was fine until the mid-1980s when the Dietrich Theater couldn’t compete with the new breed of corporate-run multiplex theaters at malls. After being closed for well over a decade, the Dietrich Theater reopened in 2001—this time with two screens to meet the changing expectations and diverse tastes of moviegoers. And earlier this summer, the Dietrich Theater opened a new addition to the theater that includes two additional screens as well as space for arts classes and community events.
One of the most eye-catching features of the addition to the theater is the series of larger-than life black-and-white photographs hanging above the new lobby. The photo posters were designed by Stephen Hendrickson, a NY-based production designer for television who helps design special events and displays for the Dietrich Theater. The posters were printed by Lizza Studios, a Tunkhannock-based business that provides large-format, fine-art reproduction services for artists.
The posters were printed on Photo Tex PSA fabric for solvent printers and an Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 solvent inkjet printer from LexJet. The posters were installed by Bob Lizza, Doug Wilson, and Betsy Green of Lizza Studios.
The seven posters in the series include three 80 x 82-in. posters on each side of the lobby and a 106 x 80 in. poster at the center. The posters feature some of iconic stars you would have seen in movies at the Dietrich Theater in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, such as Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, John Wayne, Cary Grant, and Katherine Hepburn.
According to studio manager Betsy Green, this was the first time Lizza Studios had ever attempted a project like this, but they were more than happy to help The Dietrich Theater succeed as an arts center. She said Lizza Studios typically uses the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 for reproducing art that features bright, saturated colors. But she reports that everyone was extremely pleased by how well the printer reproduced the black-and-white movie stills.
Lizza chose to print on Photo Tex PSA because it is so easy to hang that it doesn’t require any specialized training in installation. Photo Tex is an inkjet-printable fabric, backed with a repositionable adhesive. The adhesive cures over time so that the mural will stay put, but if you make a mistake when you are installing the printed panels, it’s easy to fix. And, because the fabric “breathes,” you don’t have to spend a lot of time removing the trapped pockets of air. The adhesive removes cleanly from the walls when it’s time to take the mural down. Photo Tex PSA is available for both aqueous-ink and solvent-ink printers.
“If we hadn’t used the Photo Tex material, the job would have been nearly impossible for us.” Green admits. During installation, they had to work from a high lift and precisely align each panel in the recessed areas the architect had included in the lobby walls.
They had to take the posters on and off a few times to get each poster installed exactly right. But they succeeded, and Green now calls Photo Tex PSA a miracle material: “Whoever invented it is genius. It is user-friendly in every way.”
The addition the Dietrich Theater opened in June and everyone agrees that the black-and-white images look stunning. The prints provide a striking, historic contrast to the ultra-modern design of the lobby below. Hildy Morgan, of the Dietrich Theater, says “It’s the most beautiful visual tie-in that you can imagine.”
At LexJet, we love hearing how customers such as Lizza Studios are using their inkjet printers and alternative materials to contribute to community projects. We’ve published other stories about Photo Tex murals in our In Focus newsletter and we’ll be showing some other examples in upcoming posts on this blog.
For example, you can read about the photo mural Advanced Signs & Graphics installed in a health-care facility or the wrap-around photo murals Tom Grassi of Image-Tec installed as a scenic backdrop at a rehabilitation facility.
If you have any questions about the material or how to use it, please call one of the helpful account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538.