Program for architects, artists, designers, decorators:
Site-specific custom wall and window coverings and wall art
installations are now more practical and affordable.
A new look at digital tools for murals, tapestries, more...
New digital tools
for custom wall coverings
and window treatments
Residential Design and Construction
Thursday, April 3, 2008 / WORKSHOP 3:30 to 5 pm / DEMO 6 pm
Boston Society of Architects / Seaport World Trade Center, Boston
Decorative Arts Producer, North Acres Studio, Jaffrey NH
Manager/Application Engineering & Development, efi-VUTEk,
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We’re not on canvas anymore. New choices for interior design applications to make a place unique are evolving rapidly with advances in digital printing. New tools for art and photography are leading to exciting décor innovations not only for very special high-style residences but for all varieties of homes, from seacoast and rural cottages to urban developments to renovated mill buildings and everything in between. Workshop participants will need no experience with digital art or digital tools, yet will soon imagine their own new possibilities for digitally-inspired custom interior design and accessories.
New art forms: multi-layer cyber murals, Holly Alderman
In the workshop, Holly Alderman, environmental artist, muralist, and founder of Alderman Arts, and Kevin Currier, Manager of Application Engineering and Development at efi-Vutek, a global leader in manufacturing of superwide flatbed digital printers, present an overview of how architects, designers, and artists can use digital tools and palettes that didn’t exist five or ten years ago for interior design projects such as wall coverings and window treatments, with examples of new art forms and new brands growing from experiments, exhibitions, and cutting edge manufacturers. Both speakers are pioneers of digital art and printmaking whose work has been featured recently in a numerous digital graphics and printing magazines, available online and at the workshop.
Orchard, StratoRelief [printed wood], Kevin Currier
“Interest has been steadily growing in digitally printed wall coverings for residential and commercial murals,” says Kevin Currier. “The variety of new substrates greatly expands the possibilities in material and creative applications,” he continues. “The availability of textures, colors and the interplay between the two make it possible for creative designers to offer products never before possible in short runs. There is an abundance of textured patterns resembling plaster, adobe, grotto, sandstone, silk, linen, leather, snakeskin and more. Combined with the colors and patterns possible from their imaginations, today’s designers will be able to surpass even products available in traditional, commercially printed wall covering. The companies bringing this material to market have done their homework. They have worked closely with the digital printers as well as the equipment and ink manufacturers to be able to offer materials that meet the limited-by-imagination-only needs of today’s designers and specifiers.”
Orchard, StratoRelief [printed wood], Kevin Currier
Workshop participants will discover advantages of digital tools such as customization and ease of including site-specific historical references. Becoming familiar with the digital frontier alters the concept and scale of what a designer or muralist can imagine and accomplish. An obvious advantage is the power inherent in digital tools to expand production capacity beyond the labor-intensive nature of work by hand. Other advantages include bio-friendly inks, white inks and gold inks, surprising substrates such as plywood, metal, glass, even stone, and acetate for backlighting. Experiments in contemporary fine art digital reproduction bring fascinating results on fabrics such as translucent satin and sheer silk, tyvek or linen -- for windows, room screens or other room fashions. Another advantage is the opportunity to be original, outrageous or iconoclastic. When Classicism meets cyberspace, watch out for art comedy. Imagine digital intersections of eras of art history floating in time, Hellenic sculpture blending with fading Victorian etchings blending with high gloss garden furniture of porcelain enamel on steel, at the digital dramatic art workshop. Perhaps the major aesthetic advantage of digital tools is their rich, mysterious freedom to create anything you ever dreamed of. The bottom line: affordability.
Digital arts detach from older decorative arts to capture the moment and define the present in a compelling way. Beyond the down-to-earth affordability of digital murals, participants may enjoy how digital tools challenge the historical definitions of established decorative arts. The workshop overview includes Alderman’s digitally woven tapestry with six colors of fine cotton threads by Fine Art Tapestries in North Carolina for display at High Point, Atlanta, Las Vegas and more. Also very mysterious are tapestries of light, sheer murals for walls of glass.
Back to the future, Classicism opens the curtains to cyberspace -- for the room without a view, murals on silk for walls of glass. Multi-layered images of Central Park (above) become faux vistas of skylines to be printed on sheer silk or polyester for Ogden Codman's formal dining room of the Huntington Mansion on Fifth Avenue, now the National Academy Museum, Holly Alderman
Examples of new art forms include Currier’s StratoRelief series made with Efi’s superwide flatbed printers. Experimenting with printing onto wood, he was “surprised by effects that he couldn’t have planned for, in color and texture” and developed limited editions of a unique mix of photography, carving, printing and painting.
Rusty doors, StratoRelief, Kevin Currier
Among new art forms are Alderman’s digital satin prints: the Saint-Gaudens Centennial Collection presents garden banners like murals detached from architecture to float in the breeze. Winter brings the weatherproof satin banners indoors for as window shades and wall art. Or wear two as a caftan for a new FotoFashiontm. Invented for a 6 month special exhibition at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH, the banners blend multi-layered photography of spectacular gardens and landscapes with sculpture and architecture to echo the spirit and iconic images of their surroundings as they beckon for a closer look from a porch and pergola. The sculptures include Saint-Gaudens’ Amor Caritas and Diana, and the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial of the Civil War with the 54th Massachusetts Regiment on the edge of Boston Common.
Yellow House, StratoRelief, Kevin Currier
Following the exhibition, there is already more demand for digital printing of garden scenery and historic photography on fabrics for shades and curtains, murals and trade show displays. Alderman’s FotoFabricstm exist to alter reality, to delight the discerning aesthete. Picture research becomes an important resource in digital décor. A room without a view? Call for digital photography on translucent satin. Or choose fabrics of varying degrees of transparency. Print a portrait or a subtle mirage on sheer polyester to guard against blaring sunlight and enhance the view. Bring indoors the beautiful impressions of sunlight and infinite skies over intimate gardens. Treat windows to faux vistas of perpetual summer to capture the comfort, solace, and spiritual enrichment of the garden.
Amor, digital tapestry of woven threads, Holly Alderman, after Saint-Gaudens golden relief sculpture Amor Caritas and gardens at the national historic site, Cornish
The future aside, digital tools open our eyes to rediscovering antique art forms. Alderman’s scenic wallpaper reproductions include rare French grisaille (gray tones) block prints from 1825. This new/old wallpaper has a charming digital trompe l’oeil effect that happens to be the genuine patina of almost 200 years of benign neglect and a few scrapes. It’s true condition is charming, but can be retouched digitally without lifting a paintbrush or drop of water. Further digital adjustments from grisaille to sepia to ochre to Wedgewood blue to Spode red are seconds away, rather than months, and window shades to match take a few hours. To reprint a room of similar wallpaper from original wood blocks or to repaint the scenes in sepia for the pied-a-terre in Paris would cost too much. Alternatively, one can transform a contemporary dining room, minimalist loft or narrow Colonial vestibule with grisaille scenes reproduced as giclee prints on wallpaper substrate. Or blend your own favorite photos into wallpaper designs. Alderman works with master printmaker Dan Saccardo of Superior Giclee in Woburn to edit scans of over 300-megapixels shot by Todd May of May’s Photography in Rockland. Other panels, pastoral scenes and patterns inspire other creative approaches. To sum up, like murals, site-specific, custom scenic wallpaper has become more practical, affordable and fun.
Cyber-Classic: Amor, on sheer silk above and translucent satin below, two exhibition banners created for Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, now ideal models for site-specific window treatments or wall art, custom digital blends of art history and personal gardens and landscapes, Holly Alderman
“Art and architecture inspire me to make every place unique,” says Alderman. “Digital tools are the palette of the present,” explains the artist, “and digital art provides exponential solutions. To bring alive a dining room wall, I painted geraniums on a window sill with sky. Environmental scale geraniums could add value and create a buzz for condos or mills. Visualize Lawrence as a popular mural destination!”
Amor Caritas, Saint-Gaudens, Amor Variations, Alderman
Amor Summer, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Alderman
Digital grisaille: new/old French wallpaper of 1825 with trompe l’oeil patina, above, and below, Villa d’Este etchings as satin murals for QDG Design, Holly Alderman
Simple pleasures: Geraniums jump the digital divide to open a parking lot to imagination, so old bricks can offer a new spiritual journey, Holly Alderman
Currier concludes, “As printer and ink technologies continue to evolve, the integration of digital and traditional art will only expand. Many artists who are training now are digital natives who have always had access to digital tools. It only makes sense that they will leverage those tools to stretch their creative abilities and develop new and innovative ways of expressing their art. We see superwide format as an important element of art in our times.”
Holly Alderman designs wall art and consults for architects and
developers, parks, decorators and homeowners.