Over the last decade the growth in quality and value of on demand printing has never ceased to amaze me. What only companies could afford 10+ years ago for major events can now be purchased by an independent art gallery at a fraction of the price. For a while now when it came to printing it wasn’t a question of if something could be afford-ably printed but more who do you trust to print it.
Having worked with companies that either printed overseas and you had long delays, color matching issues or just general customer services issues or ones that printed locally but quality was highly questionable at a 20% markup it was hard to have a good printer for long.
Then there is a company like iCanvasArt.com which is not only a Chicago based company but also has a drive to promote and expand contemporary art awareness. When I heard that they were selling high quality Banksy canvas prints and recently licesed Space Invader (now just Invader) prints I was even more interested.
Founded in 1999 by Leon Oks and Eugene Kharon in Chicago the business has grown and expanded all around the world and the quality hasn’t diminished. I had to check out what they do and personally got a museum streached canvas print of Banksy’s “Hirst spot painting with roller rat”.
First off I can not express how fast the turnaround was having the company print and ship out of Chicago. Comunication and tracking was top shelf and packaging when it arrived was secure and very liberal in its padding.
The canvas was properly streached without being too tight or the more often trait of so loose as to be unimaginable to hang. The entire purchasing process was fast, easy and almost without note which is what you want really in a transaction.
I say almost without note in that there were two comments:
- The Banksy prints obviously are derived from photos taken onsite and have been highly cleaned up in photoshop and I might assume vectored. Which is great when printing large scale images to keep the sharpness of line and richness of colors without noise or artifacts. The slight down side is the image has little gradient. Which with Banksy isn’t that much of an issue but could be in other vectored images where it is more human and less like a stencil. Easy way to solve this is give a cropped zoom in function to show what a few sections of the image would look at printed size. Then the buyer can be informed and aware to make the decision that is right for them.
- The image gets cropped based on the canvas size you pick. Which is honestly both great and horrible. Its is great considering that the image when shipped is properly filling the canvas regardless of the size you pick, it looks great at any dimension. Horrible in that I hate croping pictures just as I hate Pan & Scan movies and was a tad caught by suprise by this when it arrived. This could be easily fixed by having the thumbnail actually reflect the final cropping that would happen at the selected dimension and have a gold highlighted (ideal dimention) canvas size highlighted. So the buyer could know if they want the full image at the correct dimension, the gold one would be the best choice.
Those two comments aside iCanvasArt.com is a welcome addition to my list of online suppliers that can get the job done right the first time at a reasonable price. I am currious what other contempoary artists they can line up knowing how difficult that can be but also how important.
Last year it was the amazing 8bit girl costume which I was eagerly awaiting to see what she would do this year and the costume seemed to be closing down her site so in it’s place the Best Halloween Costume idea of 2010 goes to the Amazing Banksy “Flower Thrower”.
George Schnakenberg has taken the iconic 2d graffiti work and turned it in to a living breathing (through a handkerchief) 3d person. You can see via his flickr stream his night out partying and either his proposal or attack of Raggedy Ann.
The costume is quite well done and best of all comfortable and versatile. Hope everyone had a great Halloween this year.
Takashi Murakami at the Château de Versailles
Takashi Murakami’s new exhibit in Versailles has recently opened (closes December 12th if you are of the jet set type) and from what I have heard and seen it is a show not to be missed if for no other reason then it’s striking contrast and humorous seemingly paradoxical existence. read more here
Inaugural Art Loop Open Competition Begins
From October 15-29, Art Loop Open—Chicago’s new art competition (presented by the Chicago Loop Alliance)—will transform ten venues throughout Chicago’s Loop into interactive public art exhibits (200 artists in total) having the public voting on the winner with 1st receiving $25,000 2nd: $15,000 & 3rd: $10,000. It looks to be a fun and smart program to engage the general public (which I still think we could do oh so much more in terms of) but sadly haven’t given it much promotion due to not knowing exactly how to aproach it. I will be looking forward to seeing how it plays out and more so to year two.
From what i can gleam the jury process was pretty solid and most of the artists involved I have either seen, worked with, known or interviewed so I wish them all good luck and more so remind them to forget the prizes this is a great opportunity to rewrite the image of the Chicago artist with the general public so in short “don’t be obtuse, rude, impatient or a douche” also Check out Tom Burtonwood and Pamela M Johnson’s work here & here respectively. Read more here
Banksy does the Title Sequence to the Simpsons
Interesting Video on How Printing Ink is Made
Having been a child in the heyday of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood I grew up with a love of lilting jazz music & seeing how everyday items are made (plus hand puppets but thats private) so it’s interesting to watch just how what I spend most of my money & art career touching plus half of my business career fighting with is made. watch it here
Race & Ethnicity Mapped By Block
As a footer for this week there is a visual map done by Bill Rankin using dots to show the more subtle changes across neighborhoods in Chicago using block-specific US Census data. Called a “taxonomy of transitions” it is quite interesting both visually and mentally but then again I am a data & logistics wonk so might just be me. read more here or even read about music preferences on Last.fm by gender here if you are so brave.
Back in May & June we wrote about Banksy’s trip to Detroit and his mural that was created in the old derilict Packard plant there. That mural of a boy with a paint can saying “I remember when all this was trees” was quickly excavated from the cinder block wall it was painted on by the local art group 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios, they moved it to their gallery space and quickly came under threats and negative attention. Well now they are in court.
Bioresource Inc., the company owned by land speculator Romel Casab, filed suit this week in Wayne County Circuit Court to regain possession of the mural. The suit which names 555 Gallery and it’s executive director Carl Goines as defendants says the 1,500 pounds mural, which may be worth $100,000 or more, was removed without authority and that 555 Gallery did not respond to a letter dated June 7th demanding it’s return.
The 555 artists have attested from the beginning in May that they took the work to prevent its destruction and have no interest in selling it. Gallery attorney Don Lewis said his clients were given permission to take the mural by a scrap metal removal crew foreman named Butch.
“That’s a key issue,” Lewis said. “Would a jury think it was reasonable to assume that he had the authority he said he did — that he was speaking on behalf of the owner?”
I keep saying this isn’t over and that eventually Bansky might make a statement since it serves his interests to be the final voice but he does have a history of disavowing works once they are removed or altered from their original state. This may be no different, but there will be more to come I am sure.
Bad at Sports posted a week or so back about the removal of a Banksy mural by 555 Nonprofit Gallery & Studios (a local Detroit gallery) from the old Packard Plant to their site. At the time I knew this was not the end of this tale and that they were potentially going to reap the kind of attention they really dont want regardless of the intentions behind the act.
As an Update the cinder block mural has now been removed from display after the gallery & work had been reportedly threatened with defacement or destruction (I would imagine the gallery more then the work). The gallery has also now updated their statement in regards to their claim to include that they were given permission by a scrap metal removal crew working at the plant at the time.
Carl W. Goines, executive director & co-founder of 555 Nonprofit, told The Detroit Free Press
There was a lot of anxiety with the threats, so our board of directors requested that we move it until it can be displayed safely.
I still think there is more to come on this still yet and might even include a statement by Banksy himself eventually.