The Process

Dye-Infused Aluminum

Dye-Infused Aluminum Prints | Scott Mead PhotographyBack in what I call one of my “previous lives,” I worked with aluminum on a daily basis in the aerospace industry. Aluminum is awesome: it virtually lasts forever, it’s strong and light, and it’s recyclable. In fact, there are aluminum instrument panels I made, that are still in Space Shuttles and fighter jets.

Now, I’m proud to be working with the material again, producing fine-art aluminum prints. So, if you’ve ever wanted a piece of art that would virtually last forever, is easy to clean and had more moods than a mood ring, welcome to the world printed on aluminum!

Each of our aluminum pieces begins by printing the image with special dyes, in reverse, on a piece of high-temp transfer paper. The paper is then placed upon a sheet of coated aluminum and placed into a 400-degree heat press, under one ton of pressure. After about 90 seconds, the ink turns into a gas, which permeates the aluminum, becoming a part of the substrate.

The result is a print that will last generations (the Rochester Institute of Technology gives this a 150-year + lightfastness rating), is cleaned with household glass cleaner and has an incredible depth and range of personality that changes with the ambient light in the room. Each piece is part of a limited-edition series, which I personally sign and number. Every aluminum print is ready to hang, right out of the box, and ready to be enjoyed for generations.

Canvas Giclee

Canvas Giclee | Canvas Gallery Wrap | Scott Mead PhotographyAlthough canvas is undoubtedly one of the most popular mediums of paintings and art reproduction today, it wasn’t until the Renaissance, particularly in 16th century Venice, that canvas found its calling. Back in the day, most canvas was made from hemp or linen fibers, replaced by cotton in the 19th century.

All of my canvas giclees are produced in-house, using Hahnemühle waterproof, cotton canvas (we’re also the only Hahnemühle Certified Studio on Maui, and the first in Hawaii) and Canon Image PROGRAF printers.

I start by creating what’s called a “flip wrap,” where I clone three inches from the edge of the image, flip it, and then add it to the edges. This creates a mirror image that will run along the edge of the stretcher bars. This allows the entire image to be viewed, while the “mirror image” wraps around the bars for fastening. After the image has been laid with 12 dye-based inks, it’s allowed to dry for 24-hours, before it enters our spray booth, where it received four coats of a UV inhibitor, which seals the image, and allows for easy cleaning with a dampened terry cloth towel. I then hand-stretch each canvas on kiln-dried, fir stretcher bars. Each is hand-finished, signed and numbered, and comes ready to hang.


Metallic Prints

Back in 1839, photography was in its infancy, and the Daguerreotype’s use of iodized silver plates gave us our first images. Because it used a bright, mirror-like surface of metallic silver, as the ambient light would change in the room, the contrast of depth would change with it.

Leave it to America’s former photographic leader, Eastman Kodak, to develop a photographic paper over a century later, would bring back a look and feel reminiscent of those early images. Initially brought to market in 2002 as an RC-only paper (wet process), Kodak now not only produces the traditional, wet process paper, but now a next-generation Kodak Professional Metallic.

This new paper has a high gloss finish that duplicates the characteristics of similar pearlescent darkroom papers users have preferred for years. However, it carries a larger color gamut to ensure that color captured in-camera reproduces more accurately, all while producing deeper, richer blacks, with an expanded dynamic range and additional detail in shadow areas. The results are images with an incredible range of personality, depth, and dynamic range that rivals being there.

Sugar Cane Prints

Pahoehoe Hakena 24x36 Burned Sugar Cane | Scott Mead PhotographyWhen we think of sugar cane, we typically reflect on the end product: granular white stuff that sweetens out coffee, cereal, and sweet treats. But sugar cane as a fine art paper? Heck yeah! The Egyptians were the first to produce paper from sugar cane, but the art was lost when the technology of using wood fibers was discovered. Fast forward a few centuries and Sugar Cane paper has made a sweet return: Hahnemühle, a German paper company that was founded in 1584, takes bagasse – the pulp byproduct left over after the sugar has been extracted – crushes it, and the fibers are blended with recycled paper waste. Its then run through a pH-neutralizing bath before being pressed into long rolls of paper, creating a printable, fine-art textured paper that not only harkens back to the original plant, but lasts for generations.

Our Sugar Cane prints start with one of these rolls, and the images printed on our Canon ImagePROGRAF iPF8400, then coated with Hahnemühle’s Protective Spray, giving my images a 100 year lightfast rating under normal viewing conditions, and behind UV glass.

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