Stephen Kerner, the Woodstock, N.Y.-based fine artist (www.stephenkerner.com) and fine-art printer (www.stonerivergiclee.com) profiled here at the LexJet Blog about this time last year, is no stranger to the abstract. Nor is Kerner a stranger to complicated, outside-the-lines projects that challenge and perplex.
Both of these qualities – the abstract and the complicated – as well as Kerner’s 20-plus years of experience came to the fore on a recent project he completed for big-show set designer and promoter Marco Ferrero, who also owns Vivo Fine Art gallery in Woodstock.
The result was a giant pyramid structure, covered in canvas and complete with projected video and extensive LED lighting designed for music festivals. The structures most recent stop was at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival held earlier this month in Manchester, Tenn.
This design, which was really creative, was totally his. One night he approached me about the job. I thought it was fantastic and didn’t realize he was ready to go into production. It happened very fast, as a lot of things do. A lot of people were involved in a lot of different levels.
“He approached me about creating 18-foot tall pyramids and printing his design, which was triangles within triangles. Marco designed them in many different colors and we tested them on a lot of different substrates: backlit, canvas, vinyl and even metals. We printed a lot three-foot test panels, and he chose LexJet Instant Dry Satin Canvas. He liked that look and the canvas looked beautiful; there was such vibrancy to the colors,” says Kerner.
Kerner printed four panels for each triangle that made up each three-sided pyramid on his Epson Stylus Pro 11880. These panels were seamed together by printing a two-inch bleed area, folding it over and joining the panels with either LexJet Heavy Duty Banner Tape or an industrial adhesive.
Then, the canvas was attached to the metal framework with grommets on all three sides placed at three-inch intervals. The final pieces were then coated with a solvent-based ClearStar coating from LexJet.
“The satin canvas is durable up to a certain point, but the festivals are outdoors and there’s typically a lot of rain down in Tennessee this time of year so they wanted to make sure they were heavy duty,” explains Kerner. “The problem we had here was with curing times on both the coating and the adhesives were using to the seam the canvas. It rained here constantly, so the humidity was high, making those curing times much longer than normal.”
The pyramids open up and reveal 12×12 video screens while hiding all the video equipment that runs the screens in the base while another pyramid houses huge speakers. Ultimately, the pyramids were designed as both festival décor and as practical working devices to bring the show closer to the thousands who throng the festivals Woodstock-style.
“It was very complicated and it’s probably the most difficult project I’ve worked on. It took many weeks of collaboration and tons of math to make everything fit just right and work together,” says Kerner. “When you’re dealing with triangles everything is on an angle so it’s a lot different than dealing with a square piece.”
Kerner adds that he also collaborated with world-renowned Nevessa Studios and its owner, Chris Anderson, on the fine details of the project.