Archive for April, 2009

Mixing it up


2880 dpi vs 1440 dpi

Da-Roller revealed

Artist of the Week: Per Kirkeby

For all you photogs and print technicians out there, which I am a member, I am putting on my lab coat.  After all, this IS about the “Printing of Art and the Art of printing”.  In the post titled Preview, I asked if anyone observed a difference in quality between a 2880 print from a 1440 print of the same file.  I can only say with confidence that there will be no end to this discussion because there are just too many variables, paper type, printer, inks, print size, color, B&W, image contrast, sharpness, myopia to name a few.  I made a print recently on an Epson 9800 of a 474.6 mb file, sized at 40″ x 40″ with a resolution of 360 dpi on a roll of Harmon Gloss Fiber Base AI Warmtone paper.   The print driver was set at 2880 dpi with the High Speed box unchecked, in other words, the works, with everything on it.   The reproduction was, as expected from the hard proof, beautiful.  But if I had known it would take an hour and 40 minutes to print, I would have powered up the DVD player,grabbed the Whirley Pop, and settled in to watch Dr. Stranglove, and I would still have 5 minutes to spare.  Never sacrifice quality in order to save time or cost, is my motto.  And although I trust the empiricism of science, peace of mind always takes precedence, it’s like buying life insurance, pay now and die later.   So I decided to conduct my own test.  After reading my post, Clark Omholt, founder and president of Spectraflow, emailed this message,  “I think you will be happy with the results of 1440 high speed, 330ppi.  For a test, I suggest you take an 8 inch square section of an image and print at these settings and compare to the 2880, 360 ppi print.  I would be surprised if you were able to detect a difference without a loupe.  BTW, it’s good to do a print head alignment (see the maintenance section of your manual) prior to using high speed mode.”

I took Clark’s advice and on a misty morning, I did just that.  Here are my findings.  The 2880 print took 22 minutes and 15 seconds to print, and used up 1.9 ml of ink.  But hold on, the 1440 print took 2 minutes and 8 seconds, using only .9 ml.  That’s 111.11 % more ink.  I placed the prints on a light table with an adjustable lamp overhead.  First, I checked with my eyes wide opened for sharpness, dot gain and overall contrast.  Then I set a Peak Anastigmat Lupe 4x on each print.  What can I say?  I couldn’t tell the difference.  I was expecting at least more density in the shadows, deeper blacks, higher contrast overall, but that wasn’t’ the case.  Is this test conclusive?  Not by a long shot.  But am I satisfied?  Somewhat.  If I decide to do it all over again, I would need a vacuum sealed room, a reflection densitometer, a spectrophotometer, white cotton gloves and a surgical mask.  Ahhh….don’t hold your breath.

Below is Marv Miller’s recipe for the “Da-Roller”.  I paid Marv a visit on a Tuesday and he treated me to a glass of lemonade and a demo.   He rolled matte, glossy, baryta coated prints, and although some took more time than others (walk’n roll’n walk), all the prints came out flatter, not as flat as a pancake, but at least flatter than a flounder, which was a big improvement.  The following day I shot out to Tap Plastics, followed Marv’s instructions to a tee, assembled two rollers, one 18″ and the other 36″ wide.  Took me no time at all and to top it off the price was right, under $40.  Bienfang’s de-roller, $239.95 – $294.95, online.


Material:  PVC (white) pipe 2″ in dia., length = as long as the longest side your prints, plus 3″

Calendared UV vinyl sheeting 0.03, comes in 54″ widths,  about $15 per yard at Tap Plastics.  Purchase 5′,  split down the middle to make two 27″x 5 feet rollers, good for 24″ prints.

Heavy duty packing tape, 2″ to attach vinyl sheet to PVC.

Are you planning on spending part of this summer in London?  From June 16 – September 2009, there will be a Per Kirkeby exhibition at the Tate Modern. Per Kirkeby is a household name in his native Denmark, and remains one of their best known contemporary artists. His lush, huge paintings, full of color and movement, draw you into his mystical surroundings and abstract world.

Per Kirkeby

Tate Modern.  Situated on the South Bank of the Thames, joined to the North bank by a special pedestrian bridge… this former power station has been superbly converted into the world’s biggest collection of Modern Art. And it’s free. weekends. Open daily 10.00 AM – 6:00 PM, Friday & Saturday til 10 PM. There’s a fun pointillist catamaran that take you downriver to the Tate Britain, which is also very worth visiting – passing many London riverside sights on the way.

As always, thanks for dropping by.  Jia Jen



Got a Second or Two?

Guess what?  Mingus’ exhibit has been extended for a second encore.  So, relax, now you don’t have to shake your tail feather and rush.  So, if you’re in New York the next couple weeks, here’s your chance.  You’ve got until May 9th.



MARCH 19 – May 9, 2009

532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel is welcoming Charles Mingus III.

The “Human Condition” is reflective art in real time as a collection of digital prints composed from impulses; that mental stuff zipping around in all our heads like bits of psychological soup or any number of the multitude appropriate metaphors of inside-outside colliding vectors of mass communication and personal communication. These works are printed on paper, and as a result contain some surprises, delivering crackling artifacts of our culture as well as fresh bases of positive new myth and iconography.


In the last post, “Preview” I asked the question, “ has anyone successfully constructed a homemade de-roller to tame the curl in your prints?“.  Well, I immediately received a call  from marvelous Marv Miller, photographer and educator extraordinaire, telling me a colleague and he  worked their tushies off to create their version of the bienfancg de-roller.  Marv has graciously invited me to see for myself, so I am going over to kick a few tires, look under the hood and give it a test drive.  I’ll report back as soon as I can.

At this time I am pleased to present this week’s artist.  She is Stefanie Atkinson, a New Yawker by trade ( you have to work at living in the big apple), but now lives in northern California as a triumphant photographer and active mom.  Take a gander at her portfolio.  I promise that you will be wowed.


As alway, thanks for dropping by.  Jai Jen

A Preview

Custom framer, photographer, Stefan Kirkeby, of Smith Andersen North is showing photographs by Ruth Bernhard in his gallery March 28 – May 9th.  There will be a reception April 25 from 6-8 PM.  If you’re in the neighborhood, come on down.


The PrintsOfWhales is about fine-art printmaking, but I thought it would be interesting to post an “Event of the Week” from art communities around the world.  From San Rafael, CA to Kabul, Afghanistan, if you are an artist or if you provide art services, let me know what’s happening in your part of the globe.

I have a Giclée printing business in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I would like to keep pace with the industry by networking with others to learn and make sense of current events and issues, i.e. equipment, software,  plug-ins, technical tips, or find an occasional solution to old age problems.  For example, has anyone successfully constructed a homemade de-roller to tame the curl in your prints?

The PrintsOfWhales is also proud to feature the “Artist of the Week”.  That person may be you.*  This week’s artist is Edgar Angelone .  His work is mesmerizing, and it’s even more enchanting when you could see the image on your monitor, click the print button, and in an hour and 40 minutes later (there’s a segue here) deliver a miracle from the womb of my printer.  The composition, the lighting, the deep rich blacks, brilliant whites,  excellent tonal rendition, it’s all there.  To see more of Edgar’s work just click on his name above.


Now for the seque.  I made a 40″x40″ print of this image with “Print Quality” set at 2880 dpi, file resolution 360 dpi and High Speed unchecked.   Can you imagine the same size print with a setting at 1440 and 300 dpi with High Speed checked?  I haven’t run a test, yet, because at that size, paper and ink have become too dear.

  • I will take submissions from anyone, but I can’t guarantee that it will be featured.  A short description or story behind your art would be great.  This includes print makers, too.

If you would like to make a comment, please scroll down to the very bottom of the page.  If you have an event or artist to announce or present, contact me directly using the form below my name.

Thanks for dropping by.