My friend and ex-coworker Mike is a really talented photographer. He doesn’t take pictures for a living, but he probably could. Recently he took a picture of Grand Central Terminal that really grabbed me. As someone who has been thru GCT a zillion times, there’s a very familiar feel that the image instantly evokes. It’s the sense of majestic space, and of activity and purpose that always seems to be in the air at Grand Central. But usually our real world experience of the place is frenetic and impersonal. What Mike captures here is the terminal during a relatively quiet time of day. Still with people milling about, each with their own places to go and things to do, but emptier than usual which makes the place feel more like my own. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it’s kind of like how Boston used to feel to me in the summertime. Since Beantown is such a college city, it had such a different vibe during summertime when school was out. To me, it was like getting the city back to myself during those months, like I was more connected to it. That’s what Mike’s photo captured for me about Grand Central Terminal. And of course there’s the American Flag as a focal point in the image, seemingly watching over the room, lending an air of security, unity and pride.
But enough gushing over the photo. Let’s gush over what’s now hanging on my living room wall!
Since I loved the photo so much, I really wanted to have it printed to canvas, but the only question was how to go about getting that done. A Google search turned up so many different companies that do this sort of thing that it was hard to settle on one. Thankfully Mike himself had a great recommendation- Pixel2Canvas. While he hadn’t used the service himself, he had heard lots of good things about them from his photography buddies. Now that I have my canvas, I can definitely say, believe the hype, Pixel2Canvas absolutely rocks!
The term for this type of art production is giclÃ©e printing. Really it just means it’s a fine art print basically made using an inkjet printer, but giclÃ©e sounds so much cooler, doesn’t it? Of course there are all kinds of inkjet printers, inks, canvases, coatings and finishing techniques, so the quality differences from one printing company to another can be quite dramatic. With little experience in this sort of thing, I can’t comment on the technical merits of the printer or ink choices made by Pixel2Canvas, but there are a few things I can point out.
The mounting option I selected was a 1.5 inch gallery wrap. In a gallery wrap, the image is extended around to the sides to create an attractive presentation suitable for hanging without a frame. In order to create the gallery wrap without sacrificing any of the image from the front of the canvas, a digital technique called cloning is employed. Basically that involves copying the parts of the image around the edges in order to add an additional 1.5″ border around the original which looks like the it’s part of the image. One of the cool things about Pixel2Canvas is that they can do this cloning for you, free of charge. Here’s the result:
Pretty nifty, eh? That’s the sort of thing where a fine attention to detail really matters because the mounting has to be done in such a way that when the canvas is stretched, the edges fall precisely on the transition between the original image and the cloned border. As you can see, Pixel2Canvas absolutely nailed it. I love the way it looks from any angle.
Now for the even finer details. Have a look at this closeup of one of the corners of my canvas:
Just look at how tightly and cleanly the corner wrapping has been executed. While researching different printing companies, I saw several examples of gallery wraps from other printers that were loose, uneven and just kind of sloppy looking. The way Pixel2Canvas has done things, you can tell how much care they took in the process. The other thing I’m thrilled about is the canvas itself. Notice the texture of the canvas is a much tighter, finer weave than standard art canvases. This is Pixel2Canvas’ Luxe line, and for my taste, it provides a better look for photographic prints. And best of all, it’s actually less expensive than their traditional canvas. This fine 24″x36″ piece of artwork on my wall cost only $160! The only mild gripe I have is that it took a while to have my order fulfilled. From the day I placed the order until I received it was 20 days. I’m sure you can find other printers that will be faster, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed, especially for a gallery wrap where shoddy workmanship will be readily visible.
So thanks to Michael Wan for his amazing photo, and to Pixel2Canvas for their outstanding craftsmanship in bringing his work to life in my living room. I absolutely love it!