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Printing With Purpose

(June 2009) posted on Wed Jun 10, 2009

Using Flatbed and other digital-print technologies to make a statement.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Clare Baker

The UV inkset, she explains, was also ideal for this project because it was able to create the aesthetics she was after. “The UV ink sits on the surface of the media and has a raised quality that can be seen and felt—similar to that of a silkscreen or serigraph,” Krause says.

Because of the unique substrates used, proofing was not an issue for this project. “When you have surfaces that are made of plaster with rubbed metallic, for example, you can’t really test it,” Krause explains, because the inks could look different every time. “In this sense,” she says, “I’m fairly forgiving as an artist. I tend to think that there are very many ways to approach a project.” She also credits the PressVu for being able to eliminate this step. “The Vutek color conversion from RGB to CMYK for printing is so good it makes proofing unnecessary.”

The 13 prints were output in a single day. Most of the images printed on polycarbonate, Dibond, and aluminum surfaces were relatively thin, and Krause later gave them “depth” by building various structures on which to mount them. For the pieces on polycarbonate, for instance, she constructed 1 x 3-inch wood structures with plywood surfaces; she covered the plywood with copper leaf, drilled holes into the four corners of the polycarbonate, and bolted it to the copper-covered plywood. For the Dibond pieces, the structures were built from 1 x 2-inch wood and the Dibond glued directly to the structure.

Two pieces, however—Anhinga and Scilia—took advantage of the PressVu’s ability to print on surfaces up to 1.75-inches deep and didn’t need mounting. Those images, says Krause, were direct printed onto hollow core doors, which had been coated with plaster and rubbed with a metallic pigment.

Beyond the flatbed
The six other prints in the exhibition were printed with pigmented inks using Krause’s in-house HP and Epson printers.

She used an HP Designjet Z31000 with HP Vivera pigment inks to output three of the pieces onto a 12-mil transparent inkjet film from Intelicoat. The film was then nailed to recycled roofing copper and glued to the surrounding wood.

The three other works were printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 9600 with Epson UltraChrome ink onto pre-coated aluminum and steel. In this case, the Epson printer was utilized because the Epson’s 1.5mm head clearance could accommodate the thickness of the substrates, close to 60 mil, says Krause.

Black Gold, a piece by Krause with a similar environmental message, was yet another work in the exhibition and used yet another technology: offset printing. Created in November 2007, Black Gold was produced by scanning a metal and plaster surface and then reshaping it in Photoshop to match the designated press dimensions. Krause divided the Photoshop file into three separations, which became silver, gold, and black offset plates. The print was output using a Heidelberg Offset Lithography press with metallic inks. The piece also incorporated digitally printed silk tissue output with the HP Z3100.

Print on demand and more
The exhibition also included six 12 x 12-inch artists books related to the environment. These were made using a variety of materials and binding techniques and included images from many series of Krause’s work, spanning more than a decade. One book in this series, which shares the same name as the Losing Ground exhibit was printed in several different editions that combine traditional printing and print-on-demand technology.

Two editions of Losing Ground were printed by Acme Bookbinding with an HP Indigo 5500 on Mohawk Options 65# made from 100-percent post-consumer content. A limited edition of 100 was bound in a natural black fabric, while a deluxe edition of six books was printed by Harcourt Bindery.

Both the limited and deluxe editions include details printed on vellum, silver and photo gloss papers using the HP Designjet Z3100 and tipped into the book. Krause also added other details by hand, using stencils cut on a Universal Laser Systems PLS4.60 engraver, graphite, colored pencils, markers, metallic pigments and gold leaf. A 7 x 7-inch unlimited consumer edition of the book is also available online via

“Losing Ground” was installed at the South Shore Art Center in Boston at the end of April and remained on display through the end of May. Images of the artist’s work remain posted on her website,

Freelance writer Clare Baker is based in New York City. She is the former associate editor of The Big Picture magazine.