I'm always looking to push the envelope with the materials I use. At the same time, I demand a level of perfection and stability in every piece of artwork I create. The new d’Vinci Hi-Fi JET Fine Art Printing System has changed the way I work.
I was first exposed to the d’Vinci solution at the PMA Conference 2005 in Orlando, Florida. It was love at first sight. After years of printing on a wide variety of other systems, I finally found one created for artists.
The d’Vinci Hi-Fi JET Fine Art Printing System features Roland’s Hi-Fi JET Pro II FJ-540 54-inch inkjet printer. The system’s printing technology, from Roland DGA Corp., uses color management and RIP software from ErgoSoft, Inc. Its 12-color ink set (CMYKOGLcLm) includes orange, green, and four additional dilutions of black. Coupled with a 1440x1440 variable dot reproduction, the d’Vinci produces incredible shadow detail and a significantly expanded gray scale. Not only does it have a broader color gamut and more precise output than any printer I’ve ever used, the new printer gives me greater control over all aspects of my finished prints.
I especially like that I can continue the creative process right through to the finished print, adjusting and controlling the color, ink density, and tonal gradations.
I use the d’Vinci for all my work, commercial and fine art. But to my mind where the d’Vinci really shows its stuff is in the production of my hybrid process artworks. For these works, I use rare and unusual papers, extremely wide color gamuts, exceptionally large print reproduction, and combine traditional shooting techniques with advanced printing technologies.
I’ve used several different modified Holga cameras and a variety of Polaroid systems to develop my hybrid processes. My most recent addition is a Littman 45s III Option 1.75, a modified 4x5 coupled rangefinder/parallax camera that allows fast, accurate, responsive focus with unparalleled image quality and flexibility.
My current body of work, the “Haiku Series,” is larger, more sculptural, and more textural than anything I’ve done before. I’ve used a hybrid process of my own design involving scanned Polaroid positives and combined traditional and digital technologies to create these works. Each piece is a meditation on the emotional energy of the original subject.
Pointillist in nature, each work differs radically from the others, depending on viewing perspective. Round pebbles of chemistry are made visible through extreme enlargement, transforming color into shape and subject. To maximize this effect, I coupled this extreme color vibrancy with 300 percent ink density using ultra thin (14 gsm), translucent Gampi paper, one of the rarest and oldest of Japanese papers. I selected this media because of its reflective qualities, including a luminous inner glow.
I operate the d’Vinci at its slowest production setting to control color density. The result is much greater expressability of the digital files themselves. To protect finished prints, I use UV Lacquer Spray in multiple coats and finish with a custom black-lacquer frame. These works are offered to collectors in editions of three prints.
With the Haiku Series, I am definitely pushing the media to the outer edge. I joke that the sheer amount of ink I’m laying down probably weighs as much as the Gampi paper itself. But my images can finally be printed the way I envision them. The d’Vinci solution brings my artwork to a level of extreme vibrancy and resolution that was never possible before.
For me, the d’Vinci Hi-Fi JET Fine Art Printing System is the ultimate fine art printing machine. None of the limitations of traditional photography exist within this digital environment. This is due to the d’Vinci’s resolution and color gamut and to the control I have over the machine—including how fast I print and the amount of dry time. Together, these factors let me refine the process and use materials that are not suitable for other printers.
The system has vastly expanded the playing field for all print-makers seeking maximum control and quality. I recommend it highly.
For more information on Roland inkjet technologies, visit www.rolanddga.com/promo/DIMA
Stephen Schaub (www.stephenschaub.com) is a Yellowhouse Master Photographer based in Pawlet, Vermont. He is represented by the Indian Hill Gallery of Fine Photography in Pawlet; Gretchen Rose: Island Home Interiors of John’s Island, Florida; and Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris, France. He is the author of Through a Glass Darkly (2004), featuring his hybrid-process “digital Holgaroids,” and A Sense of Place (1999), a limited-edition collection of his panoramic landscape images.