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Fine Art and Print: The Ultimate Party

(January 2017) posted on Thu Apr 27, 2017

How a hush-hush event is blurring the line between fine art and wide-format printing.

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By Joe Holt

“Bill’s ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ song really inspired me,” he declares. “I spent three weeks listening to it, sketching and developing these fun, visually interesting, art deco characters.” After Bartolotta approved dozens of sketches, Csicsko set about designing the composite backdrop in Illustrator. Afterwards, ER2 produced the artwork at full size on their 16-foot HP Scitex XL Jet, using UltraPoplin PES S240 fabric.

Living Color
Adding more than a splash of color to the festivities were Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, the artists behind Luftwerk. The collaborative duo, known internationally for temporary light installations and artistry events, created “Kalos | Eidos | Skopeo,” a breathtaking installation that spilled across the walls and floor. Translated from the original Greek, the work’s name means “kaleidoscope” – an apt choice for the color- and shape-shifting design.

The installation was produced on the same fabric and printer as Csicsko’s backdrop. “The main wall was 60 feet wide by 16 feet tall,” notes Schellerer. “And we did the same graphic on the floor and on the flanking sides, too.

The Luftwerk installation spills across the floors and flanking walls. Photo courtesy of Peter Tsai.

“When you see it,” he continues, “it’s like the fabric literally changes before your eyes as these LEDs are projected onto it.” The effect was an ever-changing display of color, mixed with shifting patterns and shapes on every surface.

Luftwerk achieved this captivating display by designing the fabrics with layers of shades and patterns that were then mimicked in the LED projections. By projecting specific colors and shapes onto the design at any one time, one element or another would be “erased,” altering the appearance of the design itself.

“We had to, from a digital printing standpoint, match our colors to their LED lights so that this effect would work. It wasn’t easy,” admits Schellerer, “but it was well worth it. It was one of the coolest parts of the show.”

While most of us find we’re more “apart from” than “a part of” these mysterious events, the work behind them leaves an impact well beyond the walls of a lavish brick building. The party itself may be a secret; the effects each contributor has on the boundaries of art, color, and even wide-format printing, “without fear and without expectation, forsaking ego,” are not.

Read more from Joe Holt or the Big Picture 2017 Ideas edition.