By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Wide format scanners offer high-quality capture for various markets, including technical document printing and fine art reproductions. Paired with a digital press, a wide format scanner enables print service providers to offer accurate photograph reprints and digitized paintings to artists and galleries.
Riverside Art, Ltd. started in 1963 when Robert LeComte Sr. recognized a need for an art supply store. In 1985, LeComte Sr. and his son Robert moved the shop to Somerset, MA and added a reprographics department and blueprinting service in addition to retailing art supplies and custom frames.
Today, it operates in a 10,000 square foot facility with 11 employees and approximately 3,000 square feet dedicated to scanning and printing. “We now have customers from as far away as Saratoga, NY who have made the trip here on multiple occasions for scanning and printing services,” comments Robert LeComte, president, Riverside Art.
In 1987, Riverside Art started printing with a Xerox Corporation 2510 to create blueprint copies without the original vellums. Several years later the company transitioned from blueprinting to using toner-based xerographic copiers and a large format B&W scanner.
Since then, the company invested in several digital devices including a 60-inch ColorSpan Display Maker, HP Inc. Designjet Z6100 and Z6200, and two Canon U.S.A., Inc. imagePROGRAF iPF9400 presses. During its transition between digital devices, the shop realized it needed to focus on a niche. “We didn’t want to venture into signage and vehicle wraps,” explains LeComte. “Being that our origin is in the fine arts genre, we chose to concentrate on fine art reproductions.”
Today, the company operates as a one-stop shopping destination for custom picture framing, reprographic services, art supplies, and handmade gifts. Its services include giclée color reproduction, matte cutting, architectural copying, art materials, canvas stretching, hanging services, and digital restoration.
A large part of Riverside Art’s fine art reproduction work is completed with a Cruse Digital Imaging Equipment scanner, installed in 2014. Carefully selected, LeComte spent nearly three years researching and reconsidering the purchase due to its cost. “Just when I was about to pull the trigger on purchasing $30,000 worth of photographic equipment, an employee became the catalyst to try an experiment on an image that was captured by a professional photographer.” As a result, the experiment proved a scanner captured more detail than a photograph. “A full-size scan of anything bigger than a 16×20-inch original was tremendously better than a photograph,” he adds.
With its technical and fine art printing services, 95 percent of Riverside Art’s output uses digital printing and scanning technology. However, LeComte notes that the company’s true success is a result of good scanning technology in conjunction with printing. “Many printers have been capable of producing beautiful prints for years now. What was lacking was the ability to obtain a high-quality digital capture in order to take advantage of the printer’s capability.”
Its software includes Onyx Graphics, Inc. to manage printing output and the Cruse scanner’s proprietary software. The shop also offers finishing with a GBC 60-inch Pro-Tech laminator and 51×102-inch flatbed hot vacuum press. Finishing services include mounting, laminating, framing, delivery, and hanging. “We can provide any part of the service chain or from A to Z where required,” offers LeComte.
Paintings on Demand
Riverside Art’s experience and success in reprographics allows the company to serve repeat customers in several industries. Since 1985, the shop has worked with Brian Fox Studios—a gallery/artist specializing in painting athletes and celebrities.
The studio recently approached Riverside Art for an accurate, large format reproduction after receiving a commission to paint a conceptual lighthouse original for a commercial setting decorative element. “The significance of the lighthouse is a branding element for the artist’s commissioner,” says LeComte.
Riverside Art supplied the canvas on which the original painting was created, including stretching, framing, delivery, and hanging. Upon the painting’s completion, the shop used its Cruse scanner to capture the digital image. According to LeComte, this makes the image available for the business that originally commissioned the painting to have multiple quality images reproduced on demand as promotional gifts.
The sign shop has yet to finish the entire project for Brian Fox Studios. However, before this project it recently completed a similar job for the same artist, which netted a total number of 2,870 square feet of canvas prints. “Most projects for this customer are not of this scale but frequently, on a demand basis, add up to square footage in the thousands of ten square feet at a time,” adds LeComte.
Together, scanners and digital presses create an on-demand service for high-quality fine art reproduction. Print providers like Riverside Art that utilize this technology to keep artistic clients satisfied with the ability to digitize any original work for a strikingly accurate reproduction.
Part two of this series features a print shop that improved its fine art reproductions with a digital scanning system.
Feb2019, Digital Output