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COVID-19 Dolly Parton “Jolene” Parody for Free the Vaccine

We’ve been training an international group of volunteers for the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign. Our goal is ensuring publicly-funded diagnostic tools, treatment, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be sustainably priced, available to all and free at the point-of-delivery. The participants have been learning how to use artistic activism to reach these goals.

We learned that Dolly Parton had made a one million dollar donation for COVID-19 research to Vanderbilt University in her home state of Tennessee. Additionally, Vanderbilt has received over $10,000,000 in tax-payer supported research initiatives for COVID according to public records.

For publicly funded research to do the most good, it needs to be publicly available.

For publicly funded research to do the most good, it needs to be publicly available. That’s why we’re asking Vanderbilt University (and you*) to sign the Open COVID Pledge. Our Free the Vaccine teams came up with this Jolene Vaccine Lip-Sync Challenge campaign to use humor, participation, and music to get the attention of Vanderbilt and Dolly Parton fans around the world.

If you think that the any testing, treatment or vaccine that has been developed with public funding MUST be affordable and accessible to everyone, help get the word out.

Here’s what you can do:

Special thanks to The Invisible Familiars and friends for working on this song as the “Free the Vaccine Band”

  • Sarah La Puerta: Lead Vox
  • Jared Samuel Elioseff aka Invisible Familiars: bkg vox, acoustic gtrs, bass, piano
  • Yuval Lion: Drums
  • Harry Bohay-Nowell: pedal steel
  • produced & engineered by Jared Samuel Elioseff for Spaghetti City Mobile Recorders

And special thanks to the Vox Fabuli Puppets and Cookie Coutoure!

Lighting for Art Reproduction

This post is presented courtesy Giclée Yoshimatsu at Giclée Yoshimatsu.

All artists know that light is the key. Chiaroscuro is a known, understood, thoroughly documented and well accepted school of art that depends on light and dark. Indeed, without light, art would be as bland and boring as medical illustrations. Although chiaroscuro was known before the Renaissance, it came into its own during that period. Chiaroscuro enabled artists to depict volume, three dimensionality and realism.

In order to faithfully depict fine art for reproduction, light is the key to capturing the texture and realism of the art. Be it canvas, paper, wood, metal or other exotic surfaces, the texture adds to the original. There’s also the matter of the media ranging from acrylic to oil to watercolor to ink sketches to etchings and more. Adding volume, dimensionality and realism to reproductions enhances appeal and value.

The simplest, least expensive light is hazy sunlight that’s been filtered through a soft, even cloud layer or large diffuser. When such conditions are available, take your art outside and either lay it flat on the ground or hang it perpendicular against a neutral color wall. Of course, it’s also helpful if the weather cooperates by not being too hot or cold or windy or dusty. If such conditions are regularly present in your area, please let me know because I want to move there.

Most artists depend on a studio or home office to make photos of their art which can be a hassle of its own. If you have the budget, a large light panel mounted to the ceiling can emulate the sun but it needs several features. First, it should be dimmable and soft. A huge, bright light on a typical 8′ to 10′ home ceiling will be difficult to control. Second, it needs to be reasonably well color managed. The simplest color temperature is between 5000 Kelvin to 6500 Kelvin but, even more important is CRI or color rendering index. This tells you how faithfully color is seen compared to natural light. The best possible CRI is 100 and the lowest score for art reproduction is about 85. As a general rule, stay away from fluorescent lights. LEDs are pretty much the best choice today.

IMG_20200701_102017

LED light, adjustable from 2700 Kelvin to 5500 Kelvin with 2280 lumen output

Two inexpensive (~$73 ea) lights like the Yongnuo YN300 III (left) is all that’s needed for an indoor shoot. Position the lights on either side of your art at about 45 degrees and adjust the intensity so your exposure is good at about f/5.6 at whatever speed your camera requires in aperture or manual mode. Of course, this assumes your camera is mounted on a tripod to eliminate shake.

For about the same price, you might opt for an LED shop light like this Ryobi battery operated model at Home Depot. The downside is that it requires a battery or extension cord and isn’t dimmable. Also, CRI might not be as high as a light designed for photography. Whatever you use, always keep in mind, “Inverse square law” and  “Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection.”

One last word of advice. Don’t use flash, especially not the anemic camera top mounted flash found on many point & shoot and consumer dSLR cameras. Without going into a lot of detail, just trust me that it will be an exercise in frustration.

The post Lighting for Art Reproduction appeared first on Giclée Yoshimatsu.

Advocacy Innovation Lab: Free the Vaccine for COVID-19

“Free the Vaccine for COVID-19” is the first implementation of our Advocacy Innovation Labs, designed to train participants in artistic activism while generating new, creative, and innovative tactics to solve urgent problems.

The Issue: What’s the Problem We’re Addressing?

It’s hard to imagine the day we read the headline “COVID-19 Immunizations Begin.” However, history shows that it’s only a matter of time until we have a vaccine for COVID-19. This day will arrive. And in that there is hope. 

The problem is this: when we do have a vaccine, will everyone have access to it? Without affordable access for everyone, across the globe, the vaccine can’t really do its job. Already governments around the world are investing billions in tax-payer funds into the research and development of diagnostic tools, treatments, and a vaccine for Covid-19. Since the SARS outbreak, the National Institutes of Health alone has spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research and development. This virus is now a pandemic, following those of Ebola and Zika, yet experience tells us once the vaccine is discovered, pharmaceutical corporations will want us to pay again to acquire it. This means that payment will be demanded for something already paid for from public funds. It also means that not everyone will be able to afford access. 

More urgently than ever the global need for collaboration and solidarity is being felt by people who had never before paid attention to these issues. Almost everyone, everywhere is waiting for drugs and vaccines that can change lives, history and the current narrative. And an urgent question needs to be answered: how do we ensure access for all? 

Communities Served 

People from all backgrounds, ethnicities, levels of status and wealth have been impacted by Covid-19. We are all vulnerable, but not all of us equally. Our goal is to ensure the vaccine is freely accessible to everyone in the world. Our primary targets include: 1) university faculty who can pressure their institutions to be socially responsible in patenting and licensing of publicly funded medicines like vaccines developed in university labs, 2) Ministers of Health or other funding bodies, and 3) Pharmaceutical CEOs.

When we win, the people who will benefit will be residents of entire nations, often those historically written off by pharmaceutical providers because they are too poor to profit off of. When we win, uninsured residents of wealthy nations will have a chance to survive. When we win everyone benefits because flattening the curve isn’t enough – we can only eliminate the curve after everyone is vaccinated.

Strategy: How Does it Work? 

The social-political landscape has fundamentally shifted. We won’t win through old methods – holding up signs at a traditional crowded protest march is not an option. So we’re finding new, better ways that work in our current context through an “Advocacy Innovation Lab.” While the virologists are working in their lab developing a vaccine, we’re working in ours making sure that vaccine is freely available.

We implemented  a global program designed for the time of physical distancing with weekly online courses on innovative advocacy and best practices in access to medicines advocacy. From 300+ volunteers we have formed “Salk Squads” of 4-6 people (named after Jonas Salk who gave the vaccine for polio to the world). 

Each week, Lab participants meet online for training and lessons from special guest experts who have successfully fought for equal access to medicines. Then the participants, in small teams of 4-7 that are regionally-based, do weekly assignments to both learn more and to perform action experiments. They may experiment with narratives and ways to use social media to encourage health officials to pledge to support equal access to treatment. They may test social distancing performances that encourage people to pressure their governments. Over the course of 4 months, hundreds of actions will be implemented, and each group will be guided to reflect and refine their actions in order to learn from them and share with others. 

Their advocacy experiments and results are shared within regional groups where they are collaboratively evaluated and refined with an assigned mentor. Successful tactics are shared across all the regions so they can be iterated upon and deployed globally. We plan to learn new ways to promote equity in access to medicines from this massive number of experiments and assessments, while developing and building a grassroots movement ready to implement them. The methods, case studies and best practices will be shared with the public to encourage use by anyone.

Impact 

Already the impact of the campaign can be felt in our participants where, a few days after meeting, hundreds of people are remotely coordinating, planning and working together to ensure global equity in access to medicines.  Within days of our announcement we had over 600 sign up. Shortly after over 300 volunteers committed to work on the campaign weekly for the next four months. They are from 29 countries on every continent (except Antarctica!). They are young (79% are under 45), 66% identify as women, 60% as activists, and 36% as artists or designers.

We believe in this campaign’s future impact because, while it is a new and innovative concept in massive, rapid online organizing based on creativity and experimentation, it is built on many years of work by organizations with excellent track records.

C4AA has helped thousands of people create successful advocacy campaigns around the world, and helped organizations and funders create visionary strategies that combine the best practices of arts and activism. Their research and publications demonstrate the astonishing impact of putting innovation, culture and creativity at the core of change.

UAEM has the depth of technical knowledge on alternative R&D mechanisms, licensing and global health. With over 100 chapters in more than 20 countries across the world, UAEM students work has successfully influenced policies at universities in order to ensure that products of biomedical research and development are made available to and affordable to the people who need them most.

Innovation: What makes this approach distinguishable from other efforts? 

This project is specifically designed to respond to this moment, facing its uncertainty with a movement that thrives on innovation, action, and collaboration. This is unique and groundbreaking for the access-to-medicines movement, which for the last decade has been heavily technical in their search for solutions to the access challenge.

Our entire program is aimed at propelling innovation in advocacy by emphasizing rapid, crowd-sourced experimentation and creativity. While traditional advocacy methods can rely on fact sheets and petitions, research shows that narrative, surprise, and creativity is more effective in the cultural and social change that propels policy change. And yet few advocacy groups know how to use those tools.

Center for Artistic Activism has been helping advocacy groups do this work for over a decade, and this is the largest, most concerted effort to date to apply the research and methods to a global campaign.

We are reaching and mobilizing people confined to their homes but desperately wanting to collaborate and use their diverse skills to ensure everyone has the care they need. This could be remembered as a moment in history that is about fear, isolation and suspension. This project counters with hope, collaboration, and innovation.

Suitability: What makes our organizations the right ones to address this issue?

This project is a partnership between the Center for Artistic Activism and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.

C4AA has led dozens of workshops, in 20 countries with 2000+ people helping them use their creativity and culture to affect power. They’ve moved public health campaigns forward and conducted groundbreaking research on the impact of creative activism. This campaign is built on the successes of a similar anti-corruption program with artists, activists, and investigative journalists in the Western Balkans and West Africa.

UAEM has grown from a North American movement, with its origins in the HIV/AIDS movement, to a truly global one, encompassing regions with contrasting needs and contexts, working collaboratively towards a global objective of making medicines accessible to all. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed hard truths about the world’s preparedness in face of a global pandemic including responses that feed social inequalities and increased oppression of marginalised communities.

Long-Term Vision: If we’re successful, how will the issue be impacted?

We’re training hundreds of people in how to become the cutting-edge, creative activists of the future. Each will have the tools to develop innovative campaigns that can overcome a variety of obstacles, and build movements with everyday people, through accessible tactics, that embody local cultures, vibrancy, and life.

Our specific vision is to empower citizens to replace a medical R&D system that favors profit over people with already existing alternative models. Pharmaceutical corporations develop profitable drugs, not medication in the public interest. COVID has been researched for years with billions in public funds, but until a pandemic emerges, there’s no profit motive for pharmaceutical corporations to initiate testing, treatment, or vaccines. We are living within a system that has obviously failed. Hundreds of thousands have died and will die because of it. What must replace the current model is an ethical, human driven R&D system where publicly funded research leads to needed and affordable treatments. UAEM has mapped 81 alternative R&D models that were included in the UN’s High Level Report on Access to Medicines in 2016.

COVID-19 is undeniably shaping our future. Let’s make this the catalyst: transforming our access to medicines and improving millions of lives with it.

For more information contact us.

Op-Ed: Free the Vaccine, Free the People

“Signing the Open COVID Pledge is therefore not merely a technicality or detail about licensing policy, but a matter of ensuring racial justice in healthcare and opposing institutional violence against Black people.”

by Navya Dasari and Joyce Farley (of FreeTheVaccine.org)

This post also appears on Medium.com

As protesters around the country convene in large numbers to protest police brutality, Trevor Bedford, a research expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, WA, is worried about the potential influx of coronavirus infections and deaths. He isn’t alone. Minnesota health commissioner Jan Malcolm, although supportive of the protests, has shared similar concerns about the increase in viral transmission, especially given the significant toll the pandemic has taken and could continue to take on Black communities. According to infectious disease specialist Judy Stone, the use of pepper spray and tear gas by police is likely to exacerbate transmission. America is now battling two historical pandemics, both of them disproportionately killing Black people, who comprise only thirteen percent of the U.S. population, but roughly twenty-seven percent of the country’s deaths by police violence, and twenty-five percent of the country’s deaths related to coronavirus. These pandemics are COVID-19 (coronavirus) and police brutality.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that despite its most common symptoms being a high fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, the novel coronavirus is capable of causing much more damage to the body. According to The New York Times, as of June 9, 2020, coronavirus cases in the United States now exceed 1.9 million, and the country has seen at least 110,000 coronavirus-related deaths. In the midst of this pandemic, racism is yet another blow to health outcomes and socioeconomic stability.

The world witnessed the smartphone-taped murder of George Floyd, a Black man, on May 25, 2020. The disturbing video went viral and was the impetus for global protests against racism and its systems. Floyd was asphyxiated from the pressure on his neck from the knee of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. This horrific incident mirrored that of Eric Garner, another Black man killed by a police officer on tape. Garner died from an illegal chokehold maneuver in July 2014 by former New York City officer Daniel Pantaleo. Both Floyd and Garner died from extreme police force, highlighting how little has changed for Blacks in this country despite the national pleas for changes in policing and its tactics. As protests once again ignite across the country, this time the Black community must also contend with the disproportionate rate of infection and deaths due to the pandemic.

Articles in The New York TimesThe Guardian, and Elemental have highlighted the racial disparities in coronavirus deaths, which for many is unsurprising. Again, Black people make up twenty-five percent of the country’s deaths related to coronavirus, which is estimated to be a staggering loss of 27,500 lives. This crippling figure is rooted in decades of injustice and inequality across social, political, and economic policy areas. The New York Times and ProPublica have written about the strong ties between race and issues of environmental racismlaborhousingwater infrastructure (ex. Flint, MI — where residents still don’t have clean water), and access to health care, all of which determine people’s vulnerability to COVID-19, as well as their (in)ability to recover from it.

What we need now more than ever is a transformation of our criminal justice and healthcare systems, equality, and equity. We need the moral leadership of research institutions willing to put Black people, and all people, before profit.

AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Inovio, three pharmaceutical giants, are leading the charge to develop a coronavirus vaccine. All have received significant federal funding for their efforts in coronavirus research. For example, AstraZeneca has received approximately $1.2 billion USD from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Moderna has received $483 million USD from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Inovio has received $11.9 million USD from the Department of Defense (DOD). However, once a coronavirus vaccine is finally on the market, it is unclear whether it will be equally accessible to Black people and other minorities. None of the companies leading vaccine research have been able to guarantee that it will be affordable. Furthermore, both the U.S. and U.K. governments should take critical steps right now to ensure that the vaccine is affordable and accessible, regardless of socioeconomic and health insurance status. Paradoxically, at a hearing in February, Alex Azar, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, told a Congressional committee that while “we would want to ensure that we work to make [the vaccine] affordable… we can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest.” Azar was implying that if the pharmaceutical industry can’t make money, they won’t invest in necessary health research. However, Azar’s statement ignores the fact that vaccine research has received significant financial investment from the federal government, $2.6 billion USD from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, as of May 4, and the government a moral responsibility to ensure that its citizens can afford the products of the research they have funded.

While Azar is one of many on the Hill who may share this view, when it comes to our efforts in combating the pandemic, the focus should be on affordable prevention and treatment. To end the pandemic we will need widespread, indiscriminate access to the coronavirus vaccine, including and especially in the Black communities which have been hit the hardest. Recent history tells us that we cannot count on pharmaceutical corporations to prioritize justice and/or human dignity over profits. We need only to look at the actions of Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi regarding insulin to understand why. In the United States, some people with diabetes have been forced to ration expensive, but life-saving insulin, some of them dying as a result. Why are pharmaceutical companies able to price gouge insulin? The aforementioned three companies have monopolized the market by continuing to extend their intellectual property exclusivities, and are able to significantly increase prices as they see fit. Baffling, right? If that isn’t enough, insulin was developed with Canadian taxpayer dollars on a university campus nearly a hundred years ago, so there’s no reason it should be so expensive. In the event that corporations are able to obtain exclusive licenses for coronavirus-related intellectual property, what happened for insulin could happen for a coronavirus vaccine. Still today, one in two people who need access to insulin do not have access.

As we confront both racism and the coronavirus, we must now challenge research institutions that are working on the vaccine, in the hopes they will eliminate exclusive licenses, ensuring that no company can obtain a monopoly on a coronavirus vaccine, therapeutic, or diagnostic. Universities should make relevant intellectual property freely available on coronavirus research, software, medications, and other critical information and tools. This will be rather easy for universities to do. The idea is not just our own; we have partnered with the UK-based Open COVID Pledge, which enables institutions to make this commitment, ensuring that the products of their research are manufactured at scale and at an affordable price point. This means that the vaccine will be available and affordable to all, which will help guarantee equal access for Black communities. Signing the Open COVID Pledge is therefore not merely a technicality or detail about licensing policy, but a matter of ensuring racial justice in healthcare and opposing institutional violence against Blacks.

The Open COVID Pledge isn’t the only initiative addressing access to the vaccine. The Free The Vaccine campaign is a new initiative with the goal of ensuring that the coronavirus vaccine is sustainably priced, available to all, and free at the point-of-delivery. The campaign is a partnership between Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a student-led organization that works to increase access to affordable medicines, and the Center for Artistic Activism (C4AA), which trains people around the world to use creativity to influence power. In its current phase, the Free The Vaccine campaign has focused on advocating for institutions to sign the Open COVID Pledge. But if the goal of this campaign is not met, access to the vaccine will come down to two important questions: who has insurance? And, who has the income to pay for it? If this is the case, COVID-19 deaths will continue to discriminate by race and socioeconomic status, leaving very little to no hope of correcting the colossal injustices we’re seeing. If we do not address affordability, we will see prevention efforts stymied and possibly limited to wealthier, whiter communities and failing in poor minority populations, which means transmission will not be controlled.

As activists, and in collaboration with others, we demand an end to the interconnected pandemics threatening Black lives, both the coronavirus and racism. Therefore, research institutions and communities must realize that they are not exempt from our collective duty to humanity, combating racism, and public health. What we need now more than ever is a transformation of our criminal justice and healthcare systems, equality, and equity. We need the moral leadership of research institutions willing to put Black people, and all people, before profit.

To the titans of the scientific community: the Open COVID Pledge is waiting for you to sign.

How can we measure the impact of art and creativity?

Imagine you want to help young people in West Africa use their creative skills to engage their peers in political dialogue about gender violence. Or you want to train artists and scientists to collaborate on truly innovative and creative ways to teach people about pressing science issues like climate change. Or you want to create a performative ritual for formerly incarcerated people that reintroduces them into their communities. These projects have amazing objectives, but how do you know if you’re accomplishing what you set out to do?

When it comes to social change projects that work at the level of culture, and reaching people through emotion and creativity, it can feel intimidating to try to understand what “works.” How might we all best understand the effect AND affect of projects that combine creativity and social change?

We’ve been working on this challenging question for a number of years, and we’ve been loving putting it into practice through our most recent Assessment Advising work.

The examples above – the West Africa youth, the artist-scientist collaborations, and the ritual performance – are from our recent work advising Action Aid, Guerilla Science, and A Blade of Grass. We’ve been helping them measure and understand the impact of the fantastic work they’re doing at the intersections of culture, creativity, and social change movements. Read these case studies here, and learn more about how we do this work.

Stop Hate for Profit: Facebook Ad Boycott

The Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, and the Color Of Change have called for business to boycott advertising on Facebook “to stand in solidarity with our most deeply held American values of freedom, equality and justice.”

Their effort is gaining momentum, with brands singing on like Patagonia, the North Face, REI, Magnolia Pictures, and Ben & Jerry’s.

Stop Hate For Profit Logo

What would you do with $70 billion?

We know what Facebook did.

They  allowed  incitement  to  violence  against  protesters  fighting  for racial justice in America in the wake of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor,  Tony  McDade,  Ahmaud  Arbery,  Rayshard  Brooks  and  so  many others.

They named Breitbart News a “trusted news source” and made The Daily Caller a “fact checker” despite both publications having records of working with known white nationalists.

They  turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression on their platform.

Could they protect and support Black users? Could they call out Holocaust denial as hate? Could they help get out the vote?

They absolutely could. But they are actively choosing not to do so.

99% of Facebook’s $70 billion is made through advertising.

Who will advertisers stand with?

Let’s send Facebook a powerful message: Your profits will never be worth promoting hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and violence.

Please join us.

Over two years ago we published an op-ed in ArtNet News about the Center for Artistic Activism’s withdrawl from Facebook. We tried to make the case for other non-profits to exit by focusing on the data and financial side while touching on moral and ethical issues. It’s not too late.

Alumni Anne Basting’s Creative Care

Anne Basting (alumni of our School for Creative Activism) is a pioneer in dementia and elder Care. She “developed a radical approach that combines methods from the world of theater and improvisation with evidence-based therapies that connect people using their own creativity and imagination.”

Her new book is called Creative Care: A Revolutionary Approach to Dementia and Elder Care.

Here’s a note from Anne

I have always felt an urgency to getting these tools to caregivers. But in this historical moment, the need is multiplied 1000-fold by the closing of social programs for people with dementia and the desperate need for meaningful engagement with elders now on lockdown.

This book chronicles my story of how I came to find the power of creative care; the elements of it and how it can be infused into care relationships; and how creative care practices can help transform our care systems themselves.

In the moment of COVID19, everyone is a caregiver. And creativity not only is a helpful tool, it’s our new way of being in this unprecedented time.

I hope you find these stories both soothing and inspiring. The team at my non-profit TimeSlips is working furiously to bring more and more creative engagement tools to caregivers in every setting. Sign up for their newsletter to get a weekly dose of Creative Care – inspiring prompts to help spark your imagination and engagements.

I’m offering a daily dose of Creative Care on my Facebook page.

Let your imagination soar… and may you be well.

— Anne

Inkjet Technologies

This post is presented courtesy Giclée Yoshimatsu at Giclée Yoshimatsu.

For fine art reproduction purposes, there are just two major inkjet technologies. Both are known as drop-on-demand but differ significantly in design. Before we go there, let’s first examine basic inkjet technology.

Inkjet printers (ijp) work by spraying tiny droplets of ink through a nozzle onto media, aka substrate. By tiny, we are talking in terms of 3-5 picoliters. A picoliter is 1 trillionth or 1/1000000000000 of a liter. As you might imagine, a single picoliter by itself would barely be visible on a sheet of paper but, when combined with millions or billions of picoliter size dots, the result is a visible image.

IJPs combine these droplets in many ways including layers, side-by-side, overlap, random and other proprietary patterns as seen below to create a visible image. The dots are not arranged in neat rows and columns or some other discernible pattern.

 

Northlight_P7000 head

Each white pad has nozzles for two colors. This head had 10 colors.

Northlight_dot pattern

Not every nozzle fires every time so the dot pattern appears random.

Of course, there is a method to this seemingly random placement once the final image is visible. Also, no one except geeks views prints at this distance.

Now that you have an idea of the precision we’re dealing with, the monumental task of ejecting a 3 to 5 picoliter droplet at the exact moment to land at a precise location becomes clearer.

To add to the complexity, printers capable of creating fine art reproductions usually use between 6 to 10 inks. It’s not just one nozzle firing at a time. Depending on the printer’s native resolution, the head can have anywhere from ~3000 to ~6000 nozzles and fire up to 50,000 droplets per second. Finally, keep in mind, the paper is being advanced as the drops are deposited so it’s a moving target, if you will.

This is where the two major brands diverge. Canon uses a thermal process while Epson uses a piezoelectric mechanism. Whether one is better than the other is a matter of debate and preference.

Canon’s FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) print heads use heat to propel ink droplets out of the nozzle. A chamber above the nozzle fills with ink. At the precise moment, a heating element above the chamber heats the ink causing it to rapidly expand and shoot out of the nozzle. Think about that for a moment. Six thousand chambers full of ink being heated to a precise temperature that causes the ink to expand and jet out of six thousand nozzles to place ink at precisely the desired location then refills with more ink to prepare for the next droplet. This cycle repeats as much as 50,000 times per second.

Epson TFP print heads, on the other hand, uses a proprietary piezoelectric system for ejecting ink at about the same rate. In Epson’s system a piezo element flexes when an electrical charge is applied. Based on this phenomenon, a tiny ink chamber is fitted with a piezo element. With the chamber full of ink, an electrical charge causes the piezo element to flex which, in turn, forces a droplet of ink out the nozzle. As the piezo element returns to its original state, it creates a vacuum that sucks more ink into the chamber.

Photos in this article are ©Keith Cooper, Northlight-Images.co.uk, a commercial photographer and printing expert based in Leicester, UK and used with permission.

The post Inkjet Technologies appeared first on Giclée Yoshimatsu.

Everything is fertile

Marcel Proust

From the man who discovered an entire world in a cup of tea:

We have put something of ourselves everywhere, everything is fertile, everything is dangerous, and we can make discoveries no less precious than in Pascal’s Pensees in an advertisement for soap.

–Marcel Proust, The Fugitive

Fine Art Reproduction Inkjet Paper

This post is presented courtesy Giclée Yoshimatsu at Giclée Yoshimatsu.

There are literally hundreds of different media types (paper, canvas, poster board, metal & vinyl) in many surface textures (matte, satin matte, smooth matte, glossy, high gloss, linen, etc.) Many are available in both cut sheets as well as rolls. Some printers pride themselves in being media mavens, always ready to suggest a different paper or canvas. Giclee Yoshimatsu specializes in reproducing fine art that closely matches the original. Since most paintings and drawings are produced on paper or canvas, this is what we focus on. At a client’s requests, we can produce prints on other media but that may delay the process while printer profiles are created, tested and verified.

Paper for fine art reproduction generally has a matte surface but, even among matte media, there are significant differences. Matte smooth is different from matte textured and different still from matte velvet. In canvas media, there are matte, satin and, even, glossy surfaces. That doesn’t mean the canvas is smooth and slick like a photographic paper, just that the ink-receptive coating is satiny or glossy. The underlying canvas is still textured, just like canvas used for paintings.

Another criteria of critical importance to fine art reproductions is the inclusion or absence of OBAs (optical brightening agents,) chemical additives used to create an appearance of a brighter, whiter finish to the media. Since most media are produced from wood pulp, the natural color tends to age toward yellow/orange. OBAs are added to make the media appear whiter and brighter. The downside of OBAs is that they comprise unstable molecules that can yellow over time, leading to discoloration. For this reason, we recommend that only non-OBA papers be used for fine art reproductions you plan to sell.

Canvas can also have the same issue as most are made from natural products such as cotton, linen and flax. The same cautions apply to canvas prints containing OBAs, even when the print is coated and displayed under UV glass. To avoid OBAs, we recommend Epson Exhibition Canvas Natural (Matte, Satin or Gloss.) Below are two prints on Epson Exhibition Canvas Matte with OBAs. The one on the right is straight out of the printer with no protection while the one on the left has been sprayed with two coats of different varnishes. They’ve been left out in bright, hot summer sun for several weeks for an accelerated aging process. (These photos are simulations. I’ll post the true images in a few weeks.)

   

This is a good point to address varnishes. There many types of coatings and varnishes for fine art reproductions. I’ve tried about a dozen but, at this time, have reduced my choices to PremierArt Print Shield ($15 at ITSupplies,) PrintGuard ($18.95 at Dick Blick) and Krylon Conservation Varnish ($10.50 at Jerry’s Art-A-Rama.) I don’t yet have a favorite and am waiting for the results of long-term testing. Regardless, almost every print, paper or canvas, can benefit from a varnish coat. Many varnishes claim to make the print waterproof but, in general, a better term would “water resistant.”

Having said all this, keep in mind not all OBAs are the same and not all prints require the same longevity. If print permanence is not a primary concern, this may all be moot in your circumstances. To quote Prof. Walter Kotschnig from a speech at Holyoke College, 1937, …keep your minds open—“but not so open that your brains fall out.” Also, new OBAs from reputable companies are much better than older chemicals so it’s possible the OBA issue will fall by the wayside in the future.

Bottom line, we recommend heavy matte papers and natural canvas media without OBA from the company that produced the printer. Epson printers should use Epson media and Canon printers should use Canon media. As always, there are exceptions such as Hahnemuhle, Canson, Moab and a some others but their higher quality may not always justify their higher costs. The bottom line will almost always dictate the best cost/quality equation.

 

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