Friday, December 2, 2011

Double Dip

It’s time for one of my favorite things, no it has nothing at all to do with Pamela Anderson, I said one and clearly she has two so she is eliminated by the restriction on the numbers. Please, no further interruptions. This is a serious forum and should be given all of the respect it deserves. (You can bet I wouldn’t say such silly things if you could lob rotten fruit at me, but you can’t!)

The thing I had in mind is taking a double dip. That’s right, getting two bites of the apple for one snap of the jaw.

Large format printers or some call them wide format printers are the subject of today’s lecture and before you turn on Wheel of Fortune and close your mind to my informative talk hear this, a large format printer can serve you in ways which you’ve never even considered.

Large format printers are machines which can print larger surfaces than the standard desktop printer in spite of being manufactured by the same companies. In most cases they can print up to 13 X 19 which is pretty generous.

What would I do with such a thing and I’ll bet it eats ink like a Suburban sucks gas. You’d be right on the last count and wrong on the first. If you are a photographic artist, which of course I am, you can make many of your exhibition prints yourself and save the cost of shipping, printing and the anxiety of waiting while the print you ordered three weeks ago works its way from the shores of the Atlantic to your doorway.

No, I don’t know why most of the high quality, inexpensive printers are on the Atlantic coast, but they are. That means you are at the mercy of UPS, FedEx or USPS when you order a print from them. Now in my experience most of the printers do a great job of getting the print made, packaged and shipped and are extremely conscious of deadlines and panicky artists. But you do take a chance.

Let’s talk about why you might be willing to offer a good home to a printer just a tiny bit smaller than the elephants Hannibal marched over the Alps.

There are a number of shows, two have just closed their entry process, the Second Street Gallery in Bandon does a wonderful photographic show, I hear, thank Richard, it’s an annual event and next year I will be well enough and have something in the right size so don’t forget me Richard, for smaller prints. I say smaller because most photographers face an ongoing dilemma gallery size or room size.

If you print for a room, most homes do not have forty foot ceilings nor do they have one hundred and fifty foot walls and they have home owners who do not have a gallery manager to hang their prints so they want something which they can manage themselves. That’s because the spouse will not help because they said not to buy it in the first place and if you want to climb up on a ladder in spite of your vertigo and try to balance the picture and drive a nail into my pristine walls, you will fall on your head and I will laugh so hard I won’t be able to call the paramedics and there you’ll be lying on the cold floor under that gawdawful thing you bought and no one will come and rescue you and that’s where the kids will find you when they come at Easter.

So a smaller print is just what the doctor ordered, except most Fine Art photographers hope to be displayed in a museum which means gallery sized prints and there you have the problem, small for sales or big for shows?

Oh yes, I did forget, The Small Wonders show happens about this time each year and if you have that gallery sized print you are still out of luck because the name of the show is Small.

So what to do? The wide format printer comes charging to the rescue and don’t you know Custer wishes his problems could have been salvaged by a charging printer, but the Native Americans were to smart for that and that is why it is called Custer’s Last Stand and not Custer’s Instaprint Shoppe.

Yes, if you have a large format printer you can take the master file and run off a smaller print and frame it up for the shows which offer a great opportunity, but limited wall space. And, you knew there was an AND or a BUT in here somewhere, when you show that gallery sized print you can make smaller copies for the nice folks who live in houses and might just want something like a 16 X 20. (Yes, I know that’s larger than 13 X 19, but you didn’t allow for the mat so the print itself is 11 X 14 with a three inch mat and that takes you back to 16 X 20, see?)

So what the heck does that have to do with a painter? Plenty if you’ve been following the hints I keep giving you. You’ve been making Giclees? Giclee is a made up word, it has no intrinsic meaning. When the first micropiezo print techniques were developed and the art folks realized they could make a very close copy of a one of a kind master piece with striking colors and a long lifespan, they wanted something classier than ink jet to describe the process and so they made up a word, Giclee.

No, I’m not suggesting you try to make your own Giclees that is a task for professionals with professional level equipment, no, you can’t do that, but you can make a damn good copy of your work in room size and sell that to a patron who has been hurt by the collapse of the world financial system.

So even a highly skilled and exacting painter can benefit from the use of a large format printer, which brings me to my last points, it is Christmas time and you my friends are stuck with the age old question what do I get for my artist pal?

Maybe you haven’t found all of the Christmas spirit yet and you don’t give a rat’s rear end about your artist pals you want something for yourself. Same story and while we’re at it, the news from the merchants is good. Wide format printers, once the exclusive province of the rich and shameless can be had by mere mortals.

Now you probably live in a big city, I used to and I can tell you when it comes to shopping, I really do miss Dallas. I don’t miss Dallas the rest of the time, but I really do when I have to go out and buy. I used to be ten minutes in any direction from a computer parts store, Fry’s to the south, Office Depot less than a mile down the road, Office Max just over the hill and Best Buy, CompUSA and Circuit City fifteen minutes away.

Or maybe you don’t find Oregon roads horrifying. I used to visit my sister in Austin 240 miles away from Dallas. On a bad day it was a three and a half hour trip. My sister-in-law lives in Crescent City and it takes the same three and a half hours. I can’t face the trip to Portland. On many days just the thought of driving all the way to North Bend is pretty daunting. But if you don’t mind, the chance to get a large format printer for less than the cost of an Ipod is yours for the gas.

And if you’re like me and hate going to Bandon because it is so far away and so slow on the road, you’re in luck, Staples here in Coos Bay will fit you up for around a hundred and twenty bucks and change, Epson or HP.

Me, I’ve used Epsons for so long my first was a Stylus 300 black and white only and I loved it and lived with it happily until I saw that Stylus Color and then I had to have it, ran through my first set of cartridges in less than a day.

But I’ve used HPs too and they do a good job, better each time I try one, but my heart belongs to Epson. Either one will do the job for you, the Epson Workforce 1100 is under a hundred dollars and the HP Officejet 7000 is $129.98. Tell me it isn’t worth that to have instant flexibility at your every touch.

And, (yeah, finally he gets around to the double dip), if you have an artist on your Christmas list why not man-up and get him or her a wide format printer. They’ll love you for it and find all sorts of things to do with it.

The down side? Well you won’t see them until the first set of cartridges runs out. But the cats will love the empty printer box and you can get a whole memory card full of cuter than snuff cat pictures to run on the large format printer, somewhere around Memorial Day.

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