Accurate reproduction of artwork and photography is no small task. Some of the first giclée prints were produced on IRIS inkjet printers, capable of outputting millions of colors using continuous-tone technology. With the help of today’s digital inkjet printers, fine art reproduction is affordable and produces comparable quality.
Fine art, photographic, specialty media, and giclée printing company, Marco Fine Arts, Inc. (MFA) opened in 1987. Owner, Al Marco, grew the business steadily by offering fine art printing across many new technologies. “We have been in business so long that much of that growth is word of mouth,” he says. In total, 100 people work from the 42,000 square foot facility in Hawthorne, CA.
MFA consistently works with artists, photographers, publishers, Internet retailers, and big box retailers to produce high-quality fine art reproductions. The company offers digital printing and scanning, fine art serigraph printing, framing, fulfillment services for high-volume accounts, and specialty lamination for acrylic and metal printing.
From Capture to Print
To achieve the best image possible, MFA uses a mounted 4x5-inch camera along with a Better Light, Inc. scan back, shot in properly calibrated studio lighting. A high-resolution scan allows MFA to easily manipulate the fine art image until it is an acceptable match of the original. With the latest technology, the shop scans sizes ranging from 4x5 inches to 4x8 feet.
The quality of the digital file is important because it determines the level of detail apparent in the end product. Marco admits that this is the most challenging aspect. With the capture process the main concern, it is a relief to know one can rely on high-quality printing equipment and media to produce the job accurately.
MFA houses more than 25 Epson wide format printers and uses both aqueous and solvent ink. “We recently started to use the new Epson SureColor S70670 64-inch solvent printer, which utilizes Epson’s MicroPiezo TFP printhead and Epson UltraChrome GSX ten-color solvent inks—including an optional white and silver metallic—to produce astonishing print quality and fine art reproductions,” shares Marco.
He also has two Xerox Corporation iGen presses used for high-volume, narrow format jobs.
Epson certified media, including GS Canvas Gloss and GS Canvas Satin, provide rich blacks and saturated colors. “Epson printers and papers allow us to create reproductions that capture the vivid color and exceptional detail of originals,” attests Marco.
Hot’s Kitchen Collage
Bo Bridges Photography partnered with MFA to produce an installation for Hot’s Kitchen, a fresh food, family-style restaurant located in Hermosa Beach, CA.
The restaurant requested an installation for a 34-foot by 55-inch wall in its new restaurant space, and asked specifically that it relate to the surrounding area of Hermosa Beach. Bo Bridges created a collage made up of hundreds of images. “It ties in both the look and feel of Southern CA with lifestyle, action, and landscape images, which are complemented by Chef Sean Chaney’s adventurous menu,” explains Bridges.
The entire project took two weeks. Four days were devoted to sourcing images from Bridges’ library. He pulled about 500 images total and ended up using 222. It took Bridges 25 hours to lay out the entire piece in Adobe Systems Incorporated’s Photoshop. Layering the photographs and creating a consistent flow for the entire image was challenging.
Once the 7GB file was complete, it was sent directly to MFA for proof and print. MFA used its Epson SureColor S70670 printer with Epson GS Canvas Gloss. The entire piece was printed as one, and then wrapped on a custom built wood frame. It took ten people to stretch the image.
A licensed professional who works with Bridges on many of his projects installed the application. Wire was put on the back of the graphic and MFA reinforced it with small invisible brackets.