Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Vision To Visuals: The Model Project
A cutting-edge display for a cutting-edge project
We took Nessim on a “Tour De Duggal” so she could—as an artist—get an instinctive feel for the latest technologies and, based on her extensive digital experience, gauge the right choice for her new collection. She was one of the few artists who we also took to our Brooklyn headquarters where we have more than 45,000 square feet of production space dedicated to fine-art reproductions.
We produced several samples for Nessim on different materials, including eco-friendly substrates, as well as metallic papers, high-end inkjets, digital-C prints and printing her images directly onto aluminum sheets. Nessim was very excited by the image quality on aluminum sheets and decided to print the entire new collection on aluminum.
While my printers have mastered the art of perfect color reproduction on aluminum sheets, handling the sheets turned out to be more challenging. Each sheet had to be meticulously handled with the “Duggal White Glove” treatment. Slight smudges, fingerprints or a minor dent or ding would render the piece unusable and it would have to be redone. We had to do three pieces over due to the slightest material flaws to achieve this level of perfection. The treated aluminum plates have a special coating that causes a chemical reaction in the ink to harden upon contact with the surface of the aluminum plates. This treatment and process ensure the archival requirements for gallery-quality reproductions.
Once the direct-to-substrate printing was completed, one-inch, framed aluminum brackets were adhered to the back of the sheets for floating installation in the gallery, giving the appearance of prints floating off the wall. Additionally, these brackets have to be carefully attached to avoid any possibilities of damaging the art face side. This process isn’t set up for multiple copies printed simultaneously. Each piece had to be handled separately from start to finish. Our technicians had to stand over each original as it was being printed to ensure the eventual level of perfection.
Next came the most critical, yet unacknowledged aspect of the entire life cycle of an art project—orchestrating packaging and transporting sensitive artwork to the exhibit without damaging the pieces. My mounting team custom-designed ultra-thick, wooden crates fabricated with heavy-duty hinges and twist-locking mechanisms to hold the artwork in place during shipping and transporting. Mounting and shipping are in some ways the most critical aspects of an art project. The tremendous effort that’s involved in the conception of an art project through to the printing and reproduction can all be challenged by the packing process where even the smallest dent renders a piece of art damaged and unusable.
Nessim’s new work received a grand and warm welcome at the Sienna Gallery in Lenox, Mass. Among the many comments on the exhibition, the one that was most beautiful read, “Opulent jewels, bold colors, and classic beauty come together in these collages to make permanent an ethereal moment.”
Nessim received tremendous interest from various galleries after the launch of her show. She immediately ordered another copy of the entire collection to be reproduced. I’ve heard that at least one of the pieces from the collection will be placed in one of New York’s newest lavish hotel lobbies.
To look back on the past four decades and see how technology has evolved, and to assist innovative artists like Barbara Nessim who were my inspiration early on to enter the digital-imaging space, makes me feel thrilled to be able to work with her.
To be able to offer Nessim and the world of art an innovative process, a new fine-art genre in digital image-making, is what I thrive on. As Nessim’s art facilitates “understanding the role of illustration in shaping and reflecting American culture,” I’m proud to be able to offer her the cutting-edge technologies and possibilities that make her vision come alive.
Baldev Duggal, president and founder of Duggal, has been innovating visual solutions for image-makers for more than 40 years. Credited with building and designing the industry’s first dip-and-dunk processing machine, Duggal has maintained his status as a leader in the imaging business and is heralded for outstanding service by consumer and trade magazines alike. With digital capabilities reaching worldwide, his headquarters covers a block on West 23rd Street in New York City.
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