I hung my show at The World Famous Las Vegas Arts Factory on Friday. As mentioned earlier, this month I’m doing photographs – or, rather, a photograph, reproduced 3 times with different treatments. I am very happy with how the piece turned out.
It is a photograph I took in San Miguel de Allende a couple of weeks ago. I was fascinated by the play of light on a glass brick and shot it from a bit of a distance with my Google Nexus P smartphone. I like going for the abstract in photography – shooting the essence of something versus the reality of it – and I find blowing up a tiny image often accomplishes that. I tend to get good results with my phone – better sometimes than with my big digital SLR – because the quality is not quite as good. That little downgrade permits more imagination in working the photo. The original cropped image, before manipulation was about 500 pixels square. You see: I love extreme closups, extreme blow-ups and repurposed bad images!
I knew I wanted these BIG and I wanted them on fabric. I kept thinking about Keith Haring’s first show at Tony Schafrazi’s gallery in New York. He’d been doing chalk drawings in the subways, but Tony convinced him to go big and go colorful. The paintings fot that show were huge and done on vinyl tarps, hung by the gromets in the edges. I wanted to do something like that – a kind of low tech approach to presenting the photos. I considered printing on tarp – something I’ve done before – but that produces a shiny plastic image. I wanted something softer.
Lots of vendors print on canvas. Usually, what that means is they print on paper and them thermo-bond the paper to the fabric. The result looks like a paper print with a texture. I didn’t want that. The high quality printers print directly on canvas – more like a giclee – but are very expensive. I dug and dug and found a vendor in LA that specializes in banners. They also offer ‘Fine Art Printing on Canvas’ but without all of the goo gahs of stretchers and frames. To them it’s just a high quality banner – and that’s exactly the look I wanted.
It took only a few days to get my prints – and I was delighted! The photos have a lovely soft feel to them. Printed directly on canvas, they have a soft matte finish. The colors are outstanding and true to what I sent. And the blacks! The blacks are so deep and pure! I abandoned the gromet idea and had them stitch a 3″ pocket top and bottom so that I could hang them from dowels. This proved an excellent choice because the dowels keep the fabric straight and provide enough weight so that they hang properly.
The piece (it is one piece – a kind of triptych) is called ‘Saint Michael the Archangel.’ The title came to me as I was working over the photo. After all, I shot it in San Miguel – Spanish for Saint Michael. But more than that, it’s what the image said to me. Michael is one of the head angels. He is a fierce warrior – in fact, it is he that defeats Satan in the final battle – and he is usually depicted weilding a sword, vanquishing evil. But it is more than that. He’s also the protector of the people of Israel – the Jews. And he is the angel who comes to you when you are dying, helps you weigh your life, offers salvation and then gently carries you across to the other side. There is a gentle wisdom behind that sword. He is the best kind of warrior.
‘Saint Michael the Archangel’ says Peace, Kindness, Wisdom and Strength to me. That’s what I see and feel. I have priced it at $1,000 for the full set and would consider selling the individual panels for $400. It is in the lobby of the Las Vegas Arts Factory and is represented by Jana’s RedRoom Gallery.