A few months ago I was approached by the owners of my favorite coffee shop, Bank Square Coffeehouse in Beacon, for a new print to hang in their main entrance. I’ve been fortunate to have several murals installed there for a few years, and after their recent renovation, they wanted something new.
I proposed that instead of another mural, which is printed on a wallpaper like material, we use actual fine art paper. This would create a much better looking print with more detail, contrast, and depth. It would be smaller that a mural but the visual appearance would be more dramatic. We decided on a size of 45” x 68” based on the wall space and environment. The challenge would be how to mount and hang it.
For a fine art paper, Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310gm was the best choice for several reasons. First, the non-reflective surface of a mat paper would eliminate any glare and allow the print to look good from any viewing angle. Second, it’s super smooth surface would complement the detail in the image, especially the foreground texture which is very close to the viewer. And finally, Rag Photographique has great black density for a mat paper which means the print doesn’t lose its contrast, but at the same time has a beautiful fine art feel.
Getting ready to mount onto 1″ Gatorfoam.
I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to frame the print traditionally because I wanted a borderless presentation without glass. So after making the print on my Canon iPF8400, I carefully mounted it to 1” Gatorfoam using photo mounting spray. Then I mounted the entire piece into a wood canvas floater frame that is usually used for canvas prints. This creates a nice finish, adds more strength and rigidity and complements the look and feel of the coffee shop. (Here’s a youtube video about using gatorfoam for smaller prints.)
Mounting and hanging a print this way does compromise its longevity and archival properties – it has no protection of any kind. We decided on this approach for several reasons. First, the visual presentation was the primary focus, and there’s no question printing and mounting this way looks great. Second, none of us are concerned about relative longevity. We’ll probably replace it in a few years, so the tradeoffs are well worth it. It also doesn’t receive any direct sunlight, so UV is not a big problem.
If you’re ever in Beacon, stop by Bank Square for the best coffee in town and check out the piece as well. It’s always a great privilege and honor to have my work displayed publicly, and for that I am grateful to Leonard and Katy for their constant support. (They also have a great outdoor shop as well!)
Thanks for reading!