HP recently announced that it is providing large-format printers to The Thomas Kinkade Company to reproduce original paintings created by Thomas Kinkade.
Known as the 'Painter of Light', Kinkade is the most collected living artist in the United States and the prolific creator of emotionally uplifting works famed for their unique luminosity.
Since January, the company's in-house production team has used three large-format HP Designjet 5500 UV inkjet printers to streamline production of Thomas Kinkade's Limited Edition canvases which are sold throughout the United States by independently owned galleries.
Three additional HP Designjet printers will be installed at the company's headquarters at Morgan Hill, Calif, by the end of the year. These will further boost the customised digital output of everything from exclusive Master's Editions, on which the artist personally adds extensive highlights, to canvases with artist-approved colours expertly applied by hand at the company's studios.
"Fine art reproduction is one of the world's fastest growing and most exacting printing markets. Having Thomas Kinkade as our newest fine arts installation really attests to the quality and flexibility of our large-format printing solutions," said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president, Imaging and Personal Systems Group, HP. "Artists the world over are discovering the power of HP printing solutions for painting reproduction, photo reproduction, catalogues, personalised art books, posters - even postcards."
The partnership between HP and The Thomas Kinkade Company has produced a process that recreates Thomas Kinkade's artwork with the colour intensity and exacting detail that is required by the artist. HP also created a customised roll-feed canvas substrate that met the artist's specific needs for texture, whiteness and longevity.
"I am so proud to be associated with HP and their printer division. The HP Designjet printers that we use faithfully reproduce my images. The colours are true and match my paint pallet, creating a fine canvas reproduction that has the look, feel and glow of one of my original paintings," said Thomas Kinkade, founder, The Thomas Kinkade Company. "With precise colour accuracy, I can be confident that the reproduction will be an almost exact replica of my original painting."
Capturing the spirit of a painting
"Colour is the king here," says Andy Wood, director, Manufacturing Engineering, The Thomas Kinkade Company. "We have to match the colours exactly the way Kinkade paints them, but we also need to go beyond that and match the overall feel of the painting based on his artistic intent. Thanks to HP, we have accomplished that while improving our productivity by more than 20% from start to finish."
The reproduction of Kinkade's popular images begins with a 100 megapixel digital capturing process that generates a high-definition file. From this file, a proof is printed by the HP Designjet 5500 on glossy photo-stock paper, using HP UV inks. Once colour is approved, the image is sent back to the HP Designjet 5500 for printing on HP Premium Artist Canvas roll stock, then clear-coated and dried before being trimmed by hand, checked for quality and hand-stretched.
Highlighting and texture is added next to accentuate the colour and luminosity of the painting. Then the canvases are framed, boxed and shipped to Thomas Kinkade galleries across the United States. "Every piece is hand-touched so that does add some uniqueness to each canvas. But it has to match exactly what Mr Kinkade has asked for," says Wood.
The digital workflow enabled by HP now allows canvases to be produced in the exact quantities needed. Whereas the traditional lithographic can take up to five days, this new process takes only hours, substantially reducing overhead and storage costs.
"HP listened to what we needed to do and helped with everything, from colour accuracy through to the finishing process. They even helped us find the right coating," Wood continued. "No one else makes this broad of a solution - and for quality and volume there is no other process like this one."
Another design feature of the HP Designjet 5500 that impressed The Thomas Kinkade Company is remote printer management, which alerts operators if ink or substrate levels are low. This allows for trouble-free unattended printing, which enhances the overall production flow. Also, most important for the artist, built-in colour management tools ensure consistent tones and smooth colour transition that do not vary from print to print or from printer to printer.
"The canvas reproductions that are created using the HP printers truly carry the look and feel of Kinkade's art," says Wood. "The HP Designjet 5500's are the most stable printers on the market. They are extremely reliable - they just print correctly day after day after day after day."