Brad had the good luck to be one of the first people to see “Sarah and Emmett,” mere minutes after it was hung on the wall for Travis’s great “Strange Grooming Habits” solo show at Copro Nason way back in 2009. He bought it on the spot and asked Mr. Louie if we could produce a print of it—Travis most graciously agreed.
Having the real, honest-to-goodness painting in front of you when proofing intaglio plates is both a blessing and a curse… the actual painting is relatively large (19” × 16”) and tack sharp, with a subtle, wonderful tonality between its cool whites and rich sepia blacks. The details are so crisp (the hair! the fur! the fisheye!) and the surface so smooth that it looks untouched by human hands. I imagine that Travis lit a few candles, donned a magical frock coat and top hat, closed his eyes and rubbed his temples as the acrylic paint magically developed daguerreotype-style onto the gessoed board across the room.
If you haven’t seen Travis’s work in person I highly recommend it.
But yes… sometimes having the painting can be a curse. There turned out to be a great deal more information in its 19” × 16” than we could cram into an 8” × 5.5” print. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t try; the plates were made and remade and re-remade until we stopped finding things to improve, inks were remixed, the press recalibrated, paper moisture fiddled with, wiping techniques tweaked… the end result is the finest intaglio printing we’re capable of.
And of course we weren’t done.
First came the antiquing and hand staining... the handmade Twinrocker paper took a touch of sepia wash and a bit of walnut ink around the edges like a champ.
Part of the magic of the original lies in the sheen of its smooth surface. We are also familiar with how good Travis’s work looks under domed glass. So we wanted to see if we could work a touch of that shine and dimension into the paper surface itself via embossing. A thousand-dollar domed brass plate and a trip through the Kluge press later, and we had our answer: yes.
Difficult to photograph but impossible not to see and feel, the silky polish of the printed area rising from richly textured paper in a shallow dome and the decorative deboss surrounding the image make for a wonderfully tactile print.
Finally, no project with Travis would be complete without his exquisite hand lettering. Travis hand-titled each and every print in graphite and his signature is a little piece of art all to itself.
Overall we couldn’t be happier with how this project came together. Worth the wait is an understatement. Buy it now on pressureprinting.com!
- Released February 2012
- Limited edition of 50 prints
- 10 printer’s proofs
- 10 artist’s proofs
- 1 bon à tirer
- Printed from an original, exclusive Travis Louie image
- Paper size is 13” × 9.5”
- Image size is 8” × 5.5”
- Intaglio printed onto custom Twinrocker paper in sepia ink
- Each print individually stained with gouache and walnut ink
- Embossed dome over image area
- Debossed decorative pattern surrounding image
- Title hand-lettered by Travis
- Embossed printer’s chop
- Signed and numbered by the artist
- Comes with a signed and numbered certificate of authenticity