The second place winner of our first ever Application of the Year awards is The Color I of Anacortes, WA. The business has gone through a number of iterations before becoming what it is today and offering custom window roller shades, a project that won the company second place in our contest.
Tim Dussault, owner, The Color I, became involved with photography in 1985 working in color processing, copy work, darkroom color, and B&W custom work. A couple of years later Dussault began custom framing and selling limited edition artwork, as well as offering consulting. In the 1990s he took all of his experience and opened his own custom framing shop.
Business expanded in 2002 to include wide format printing and fine art reproduction, this led to a bigger storefront and art gallery to promote work printed in house. In response to a boom in business, Dussault closed his framing and gallery company to focus on printing, exclusively reproducing work for an artist group referred to as the Island International Artists (IIA).
One additional chapter brings us to The Color I of today. Dussault parted ways with IIA by selling his services to a competitor. This allowed him to concentrate on what he refers to as his hobby, creating new ways to view and use art. The result was Art Roller Shades, which came into being in 2008.
“The shades were born from my creative playtime and I thought it was a great idea. I was inspired by the different types of media that I could print on and coming from my photography background, I liked how light could inspire image and color,” explains Dussault.
Today The Color I still dabbles in art reproduction, but also offers flat screen frames, interior color consulting, art preservation, and display services for local artists. The Art Roller Shades division provides custom roller shades designed using stock images or a customer’s digitally supplied image. Dussault works with his wife in a 1,000 square foot space.
What won The Color I second place was an application produced for Penny Krater, a repeat client of Art Roller Shades. She purchases framed original art and reproduction pieces from The Color I. Regarding her roller shades, Krater wanted to match the décor of her dining room, using reds and blues to define the space.
A Pacific Northwest art lover, Krater saw a painting by Jennifer Bowman that embodied the color palette she was looking for. The artwork was reproduced and then to make sure all of the windows were covered, the image was used twice. Dussault flipped it to create a seamless effect and avoid cropping the artwork, which would lose the artist’s implied integrity of the scene.
Dussault worked on the project for two weeks—from job submittal to install. He relied on LexJet Corporation’s Poly Select Light media to print the graphics for multiple reasons. Krater was concerned about the shades limiting light and making the room too dark, this media allows for a lot of light to transmit through. In addition, the media’s texture, color representation, vibrancy, and how easy it is to trim and cut was also an attraction.
The Color I uses a Roland DGA Corporation Hi-Fi Jet Pro II FJ-500 to print projects such as this. It’s a 54-inch printer that utilizes aqueous inks, which Dussault says is ideal for reproducing artwork. “This printer combined with the appropriate media provides a realistic art look rather than a graphic oriented one,” he goes on to explain.
He traveled out to OR where Krater lives to deliver and install the shades. It took an hour to install seven windows. The basic process includes screwing mounting screws in place, clipping the shade into the mounts, and then lowering the shade to view the completed work. Afterwards, Dussault and Krater admired the window treatments. With the shadows down at night, when one is looking into the room, they mirror stained glass. According to Dussault, Krater stood in the room in awe for ten minutes.
Dussault’s work through Art Roller Shades is innovative, which explains its nomination in this year’s Application of the Year awards. “It’s art used in a practical way. The room is customized to specific tastes and the result is interactive art because you’re choosing work that’s going to define and affect your space,” says Dussault.
Practical art is a popular form and personalization of everything from tablecloths to window shades is possible with digital. Dussault’s work via Art Roller Shades defines the graphic arts in multiple ways. “It demonstrates the endless possibilities of this technology and industry growth can affect our daily lives in positive ways, not just to be used to sell something,” he concludes.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, BACA Exhibits a Win.