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Best setup for abstract art?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by brinked, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. brinked

    brinked New Member

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    Hey guys. I have been doing a lot of reading on these forums this week and it has been extremely helpful to say the least. I have learned so much just from reading up on here, I made it a point to add signs101.com to my search queries in google so it would return results from here.

    Right now I am in the research mode of how I want to proceed with my business. I am not in the sign business but my situation is pretty similar since I deal with art and I am looking to simplify the process.

    My current situation is that I sell modern/abstract artworks on metal panels. These artworks are painted on aluminum panels that are 16 inches width by 28 inches height. The artoworks come on 1 panel or on a series of panels (usually 3-5 panels but sometimes 7 panels are needed) that come together to make 1 piece of art spaced at about 1 inch from each other. Right now I buy these artworks handpainted from china in bulk. This is fine for the most part, but this means no 2 artworks can be the same and some people do complain but its not many.

    The biggest issue is that when I run out, I run out, another order takes about 45 days to arrive so thats starting to effect business, especially the ones who want custom made artworks, they do not want to wait 45 days.

    My solution is to make my own. I talked with clients and many of them dont mind having printed works of art, they just want it for the design.

    From my research on here and some other forums is that I have 2 options.

    1. Sublimation. This would mean purchasing a sublimation printer that can support printing of 28in wide media such as the epson 9890 which can be had for around $3500.00 and a large format heat press such as the geo knight press for $14k that has a surface area of 44 x 64in but that also means some artworks will have to be broken into two which I can live with since about 80% of the artworks art less than 64" wide. With toher supplies needed this is about a $25,000.00 upfront cost to get started when factoring in other supplies. Then I have to find out which inks I need to use, how much it costs to refill etc.

    2. Flatbed UV printer. Such as the cet Q500. Something like this has more than enough surface space and perhaps an easier process than the sublimation? Cost here is of course around $80,000.00

    I do not have any experience with this kind of thing, even though I consider myself a technical person I dont think I would have too much trouble learning how to do this myself, but I wont spend $80k on something just to try it out only to find out whoops...it does not print well on metal.

    I do not want to have to apply inkaid or anything else or buy expensive precoated metal panels. I would liek to buy the metal panels in bulk for a decent price from a wholesaler I have seen a few mentioned on these forums and print directly onto them so thats why the UV flatbeds and sublimation methods seem to do this unless I am mistaken.

    So what do you guys thing my best way to go in terms of quality and ease of production? Really looking forward to everyones feedback. Money is not really an issue as I have an established business currently and looking to expand.
     
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  2. kanini

    kanini Member

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    Since you already are very good at choosing art and selling it, why don't you visit a couple of sign shops that have flatbed printers or the equipment you mention needed for producing the products? Then you should outsource the production to them and you can focus on what you do best - selling art! Producing them on a flatbed or sublimation is a lot more than just pressing a button, and a flatbed especially needs to print a lot of the 24 hours a day to stay in good condition. Good luck!
     
  3. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    so you don't have any idea how to proceed. but would like us, who've spent decades and hundreds of thousands of dollars to set your business up for you? usually a consultant would be in order and he'd be compensated. this is a forum for professionals sharing trade info.
     
  4. brinked

    brinked New Member

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    Hi Kanini, thanks for the reply.

    I like to have full control of everything, I do not like depending on a 3rd party to get my stuff done, thats a big reason why I also want to stop depending on importing from China.

    I have an idea of what goes into flatbed and screen printing. I fully understand the maintenance and so forth as well. I have 2 employees who work full time and I would have no problem getting them the proper training on using and maintaining the equipment. One of my workers has a background at fixing commercial laser printers so that would actually come in handy. Having the machine running at least 20 hours of the day is pretty much what I expect given my current output.

    What I am simply trying to find out here, is what produces a better print onto an aluminum surface? I dont mind buying samples from different print shops, but I feel I would be limited in my exposure to samples. For example, just because a print shop produces a better looking piece on their Arizona printer than a printing press can provide does not necessarily mean a UV flatbed printer is the better option since there are so many variables that come into play such as type of ink used, type of substrate used etc.
     
  5. brinked

    brinked New Member

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    Apparently I do have an idea how to proceed since I provided 2 in my post that I am exploring. Did you bother to even read my post? If you don't have any experience printing onto aluminum surfaces or have anything to offer, please don't waste my time. That doesn't do anybody any good.
     
  6. player

    player Major Contributor

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    I have a great respect for you and your knowledge, but I wonder about this...

    This forum is called Signs101. 101 is a term representing the first level, or beginner level of a given discipline. In this case signs.

    This guy (and I have seen others) get shut out when starting up at the entry level. I am wondering how that fits in with the "101" philosophy?
     
  7. John Butto

    John Butto Very Active Member

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    Artbot has more knowledge in this form of art you are wanting to do than anyone on here. He puts out beautiful art on metals and substrates.
    Totally agree with Artbot's take on this. First the OP tells us how he subs out to China for the lower price and now wants our knowledge for nothing.
     
  8. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    OP is in a niche market. Best bet is to have the same file printed using different processes. (e.g. flatbed, sublimation etc...) Then pick what best suits his particular business model.
     
  9. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    Are you talking about the 'ground' aluminum panels, selling on Ebay, and Etsy?
    That we used to make good money on, before China, and people like yourself, started flooding the market with chineese stuff? You can't make a print to replicate the holographic effect. Why not just stockpile a enough chineese stuff, that you don't run out? Then just order more from China every week.
     
  10. skyhigh

    skyhigh Major Contributor

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    1) "To share common understanding of the structure of information"
    2) The basics (or to at least know the basics)

    I guess you can interpret "101" to suit any situation.

    When I started college, one of my classes was "English 101". At that time, I would guess it was assumed by all (campus, professors & students), that everyone in the class was fluent in the language......not that they used the basic structure correctly.

    According to your interpretation, English 101 would have been the perfect course for a Japanese student who couldn't speak a lick of English?

    fyi....I got a C in the class.
     
  11. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    go to a trade show, go to a printer dealer that would most likely be selling you the equipment, see the printers in action in-person, and make your decision from there. long OP's from first-time posters are exhausting and opening with how you've been funding China's ability to undercut the abstract artists already on this forum might not have been the way to go. "Scabs" are a sore topic around here, as we all have to deal with them in the real life, setting up shops just down the street and outsourcing everything out of town/state/country. ...just to drive-down the prices, cheapen product standards, and go out of business while leaving people with a bitter taste in their mouths when it comes to sign guys.

    "what prints better on uncoated/untreated metal?" is a solid question. please take notes and keep me posted what you find.
     
  12. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    i'm sorry. i now see that you've dedicated several minutes typing your request. that should count for a three year apprenticeship. maybe if you type a few more paragraphs, we can then qualify you as a veteran.

    you are a jerk. get off the board. go undercut every artist, printer, and even low paid chinese worker. you've mastered importing & packing & shipping. the only logical conclusion is to become an OEM/retailer.
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    While I agree with some of the sentiments on here, may I ask you.....

    Whose work [artwork] are you gonna reproduce... regardless of what technique or machine you buy ??



    We have done a few of these kinds of 3 and 5 piece works of art. In fact, I put one in my house. Being an old fine arts painter, I've converted a few of my old paintings and sketches into digital files. Thinking about doing some more.


    So..........


    • Where do you get your theme ??
      [*]Where can I go to see your works ??
      [*]Are your paintings signed ??
      [*]How do you market your pieces ??
      [*]Do you have a website I can go look at ??
      [*]What kind of licensing will I need to do this ??
      [*]What size is your work area ??


    This would be most beneficial to me if you would post this for me. :thankyou:
     
  14. brinked

    brinked New Member

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    Thank you for some of the replies on here. Sounds like the CET is in fact worth exploring more.

    I deal with china because I have no choice. I do not sell on etsy or ebay, or on the internet at all for that matter. I have partnerships with galleries all over the US and I deal mostly with new construction such as hotels and commercial buildings.

    Having the stuff painted by real artists in america would be impossible considering the quantities I do. Believe me, importing from China was not something I wanted to do but if I did not, I simply would not be in business. My customers are fully aware that these are produced in China but they know they are paying for my support, resources and expertise in the industry.

    Gino, the artworks are made by artists such as my father and about a dozen others which we buy the rights to the designs. We then have the rights to reproduce the pieces anyway we see fit. My work area currently consists of 3 warehouses. The art works can be seen in Galleries in South Florida, MA, NYC and Chicago, as well as commercial buildings around the USA.

    artbot, perhaps you should understand that because you're a senior member on here, does not give you the right to decide who comes on here and asks for advice. Obviously you feel this way because you consider me a competitor and you don't want someone else on here doing something similar to yourself. What you're failing to realize is that your comments are bad for the people who run signs101. Communities such as this don't make money off the senior members who makes a hundred posts a day, they make money from the lurkers and the new people who come around and click on the advertisements. I have already clicked on a half dozen or so ads and bookmarked a few.

    Thanks for all the feedback guys, I did not come on here to step on anyones toes or learn any "trade secrets". I will not be posting or coming on here any further since I don't want this thread to get any more out of hand than it has already gotten. Thank you to everyone who contributed feedback good and bad. I wish you all the best with your businesses.
     
  15. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    I get a kick out of threads and people like this.

    You come on here looking for free and quick answers to evidently something you want to get around without any effort, time or money invested, but you won't answer one stinkin' question I asked about something you know everything about. Why is that ?? You afraid I'm gonna step on your toes ?? See, the door swings both ways.

    You have artists of a dozen or so, who can't paint and duplicate fast enough for you to make money on them and for them, so you outsource to our worst neighbor. You feel no pain, cause it's your gain, but how 'bout the hundreds of people who could do this right here in this country ?? Oh, that's right, you can't turn a profit on your friends' work that way. Costs are prohibited. Perhaps you are a type of carpetbagger ??
    :Oops: that's right, now even the Chinese can't do it for you fast or cheap enough, so now that you learned all of their ways too, you're gonna throw them under the bus, just like you are here. Can't get your way and through bitter talking and making fun of one of the best contributors here, you intend to leave. That's right, just run and never help a another soul now that you've gotten what you needed. Here to take, but nothing to give.
    No one here can control how someone enters our ranks, but let it be said, the losers usually show their colors immediately and while leaving for good, say some of the sweetest things on their way out. :U Rock:
     
  16. artbot

    artbot Very Active Member

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    everyone on here has invested in each other. we are all experts at what we do. "signs101" hardly describes the wealth of knowledge here. our advice is valuable. someone new to the site with no experience should start out with a tone of humility rather than hubris especially when addressing masters of the trade.
     
  17. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

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    agree. go to trade shows go to printer dealers and ask them these questions and take a look at their samples. we may come off like a pack of jerks but try to understand that you joined to find out about what will work for you business but unlike sign people, you will take info and you won't be back here to give back to the next person coming onto the site or have anything offerings when one of the long term members has a question. yes this is a place to ask questions but it is is more like sharing info back and forth, not just a one way street. good luck in finding what you need but do go out into the real world and check out the printers
     
  18. player

    player Major Contributor

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    I always took the "Signs101" to mean beginners can ask questions without being afraid of ridicule.

    I do understand the OP is not a sign guy though.
     
  19. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

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    I think it all comes down to the give and take of the site. a newbie comes on and asks what font is this and it is Helvetica, the get hacked on but they stay with us. six months later someone posts "where can I get this frame" and same newbie posts a source giving back. with total non-sign people here just looking for info that we've had to work hard to find and will never give back, they only take so it makes most of us feel used
     
  20. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Let's use your analogy.

    You said.... S I G N S 1 0 1. Not cut your local or semi-local sign shop outta the picture 101. Not come here and take all ya can 101. Not cop an attitude 101. Not make fun of a very knowledgeable member 101. Anyway, I hope not.

    If someone was coming to 1st grade in your school and couldn't speak a word of English, would someone in charge not re-assign this kid to the proper authorities and find a school where he could at least communicate so he/she could learn the basics ??

    Why stick a kid gifted in art... in a music school ?? Why put a mathematician in with a dentist ??

    brinkie just admitted he/she didn't fit in and didn't want to give back to the community. It was evidently, early on, he/she was here for the pickin's and that only.
     
  21. brinked

    brinked New Member

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    You did not ask "one stinkin' question" you asked 7 questions. Despite the fact I knew you were baiting me, I still answered your stinking questions, but you probably overlooked that didn't you, because you already made up your mind on what direction you were going to take in your response.
    You know nothing about my business. These are not artists who paint all day. They create unique works of art. They sell the rights to their art and they get paid well for it too. Having a room of 100 artists hand making art pieces is not practical. You know of nothing about my business and your comments reflect this. Importing the pieces is much cheaper than even buying the supplies for reproducing my own, cost is not the issue, availability and creating artworks on demand is the issue.


    You see me as a competitor. It is as simple as that. You do not want someone on here who is doing something similar to you. I am very successful in what I do. I would have been more than happy to give you some advice on the industry as I am sure there is a wealth of information I can teach you as well. Sorry but you're wrong and there is no other way you can spin it.

    I never admitted anything close to that. This community is for sign making. Sign making are works of art, are they not? I see what I do to be very related to what a lot of people on here do except we are on different sides of the business. I am looking to expand further and was hoping this would be a nice community to situate myself in but clearly I am not welcome here.

    Interpreting the meaning of a domain name is silly and shows how desperate some of you are to make a point. Before I signed up I read the message at the top:



    1. [*=left]Welcome to Signs 101! We are a community of professional sign makers and others interested in our craft. If you are, once were, or want to be a professional sign maker, we invite you to join us. If you are a supplier to our craft, a teacher or student interested in the craft, or a member of a related craft, trade or profession, we also invite you to join us. Registering will allow you to post, view images and search our archives.

      Registrations that do not match any of the above will not be approved.
     
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