The creation of limited edition prints
In the early part of 2017, Mike was offered the opportunity to create limited edition fine art prints of his Mandalas at the studio of Carlos Cruz-Diez. Every aspect of the processes involved in the creation of these stunning prints has been carefully considered and planned by a truly expert team.
The first step was to refine the printing and these images show close ups of the results achieved and how the definition and fidelity of the digital printing respects the original painting. It was exciting to see how realistically the gold effect was being reproduced, even at this early stage.
By comparing the original paper stock with the resulting print, it's possible to see how accurately every detail, right down to the weave of the canvas, has been captured during this first process.
The next step was to explore the possibility of enhancements that could be applied during the printing process. During this stage the studio played with the contrast, saturation and warmth of the colours available to allow Mike and the team to decide on an effect that would corresponded most directly to the original.
It was decided that the gold finish would be best applied via a silkscreen and shown here is the first test with a gold silk screen layer. Despite not being well adjusted at this stage, it gave Mike and the studio an idea of how the shimmer of the gold paint used in the original painting could be replicated. The outcome of this particular test was that the surface of the gold had become too large and imposing, so it was altered to randomize the texture a little.
At this stage the team met a challenge; namely that the gold inks had a tendency to become flat splotches of gold that were not true to the delicate appearance of the original. On review, it became clear that this issue was a result of the particles in the gold paint for silk screen being relatively thick and as such would require a broader silk and in turn a broader printable surface.
We then moved towards the very fine points of detail: the studio tested five different types of gold finish with nine different variations, two variations with a water based ink that had a medium hue, two solvent based that were more saturated and offered a cooler hue and lastly two different solvents with a little extra pearly shine and the warmest hue of all the tests.
Finally we tested what proved to be the most complex and delicate technique of all. This involved using Silk screen and Gold Dust. During this last test the team applied a fine layer of transparent substance though the silk screen, allowed to dry for 20 minutes and then, with a really soft brush, the gold dust was applied to the sticky substance. In total three tests were completed to explore this last technique. In the second test the process described previously was repeated and the outcome was that, although realistic as to how gold behaves and reflects light, the finish became very shiny. In the last test the difference was that the original gold image from the piece was printed underneath, so it vibrates a little bit, but gives it a warmer hue and more body to the gold areas.
Tellingly, without any prior knowledge of the detailed processes and iterations that had been explored to create all of the samples described above, Mike was immediately drawn to, and ultimately selected, the result of the final Silk screen test.
NEWLY AVAILABLE - Limited Edition Print
Comparing Paper Stock
Hue & Saturation
Gold Silk Screen
The team at work