Printing Digital Photos on Canvas


Using the Epson 7900 and the Breathing Color (BC) Lyve Canvas (their best), David & I generated a volume of prints ranging around 24″ x 36″.  I built a plastic-lined spray booth in the breezeway of the home, mounting a 4’x8′ panel at 60 degrees.  The Rhoplex spray mix was kept warm with 50% water, 40% matte, 10% glaze.

The “bedroom” print above is the first stretched canvas for a forthcoming exhibition of California Freeways. Roughly 18″x50″.

General notes: When stretching canvas, the print surface should be treated like solid gold. Under not circumstance should the image be put face down. Work the canvas from the built stretcher, standing up or face up.


  1. The Rhoplex spray darkens the image by about 1 stop and tints the image to yellow. As a refractive polymer it puts more light into the darker areas, giving them more visual latitude in detail.
  2. Pictures look smaller in canvas. You sacrifice 5″ in each direction to wrap the canvas around a stretcher bar. Kind of  a drag on a 24″ printer to only end up with 19″ viewable.
  3. Where the image rounds the frame, the transition is noticeable. It must be stretched precisely and the visual transition from photo to canvas edge takes thought in your print process.

Lessons from observations

  1. Rhoplex amber color shift is intolerable in the current run. Need to check various Rohm and Haas suppliers.
  2. I am working on a plan for a 1×2″ stretcher where I can reduce this to about 3″, but still there is a loss.
  3. Allow 1/16″ of the image to wrap. A hard line where the photo ends and the canvas matte resumes is one approach, but better is applying a Gaussian blur in the print process. Carefully extend the light and dark patterns of the image or you defeat the rounding purpose.

More later – Mark


Snow Leopard not printing Epson 7900

Installed Apple’s new Snow Leopard at my print studio. I could not print on my Epson 7900. I sent my first print thinking “Ahh Snow Leopard – the latest and greatest”, then up pops some new printer dialog with dumbed down driver values that did not make sense. And 0 bytes went over the wire. I will save you the curses and hours – here is the fix.

  1. As Epson says,  go back to your Snow Leo disk to the optional package and install ONLY Rosetta.
  2. Reinstall the latest Epson printer drivers. They don’t say that, but you will not get a print without it.
  3. Reboot. They don’t say that, and you may not have to. But it is good voodoo.
LATER NOTE: EPSON has some lag catching up with the MAC OS releases.

The hum in the background is my 7900 working away. Apple get it right! Make an OS installer for the rest of us artists.

July 20


Google Moon provided an impressive recreation via map/multimedia of the moon landing July 20, 1969 – 3:17 PM Houston touchdown + seven hours later lunar walk. At the moment of the broadcast I was a teenager, and the day was TV trays sometime in the afternoon in Hawaii watching the black and white blur box cracking “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Exciting times, because one year earlier Stanley Kubrick’s 70mm film from April 1968 planted in our minds where we would clearly be in 2001.

The Egyptian boy-King gazes past his destiny in 1320 BC.


Ringtone Practice and Theory based on iPhone

Making ringtones for iPhone is easy. No need for a fancy program or buying it from a commercial source. You can make a unique sound for each caller.

An iPhone ringtone is just a standard iTunes song format changed to an .m4r extension. Here are the steps.

Create/ edit sound.
Save as Mp4 or ACC
Change extension to .m4r
Select the ringtone files tab in iTunes
Drop file in iTunes ringtone section.
Sync phone making sure Ringtones is selected for sync.
2. (alternate method) create a .wav file.  drop in Itunes, select it, choose Create ACC, move both the .wav and .acc file out of itunes.
  1. Create/ edit sound.
  2. Save as mp4*
  3. Change the mp4 file extension to .m4r
  4. Select the ringtone iTunes files tab
  5. Drop .m4r file in iTunes ringtone section
  6. Sync phone making sure ringtones is selected for sync
  7. On phone got to settings to assign as default, or to contacts to assign to a person.

*Step 2 expands if you are editing .wav file.s Here is the method to create mp4 (ACC) format from .wav files.

  • create a .wav file in Soundedit, or any sound program.
  • drop in Itunes
  • right click it and choose choose Create ACC Version
  • copy out the .acc file from iTunes
  • delete both the .wav and .acc file appearing in iTunes
  • continue with step 3.

Theory of Ringtones

A unique ringtone is your ring tone, and in a room of ringing phones, you know for sure when it is your call. In fact you can tell who is calling, if you have that tone assigned to a person in your contact book. Making a set of personal ringtones that are in a family is even better. I email my personal ringtone to my friends so they can assign it to me.

Which makes a good ringtone? That loud boom-box phoney who strolls down the hall annoying everyone, screeching acid music or a voicetone saying “Jim, this is Steve, I want to talk to you”. These are the Darwinian dead ends of call tone culture. Music itself is often offensive to someone. Some people love country, others hate it. Some love rock, others hate that. But clearly it says to the world you are a fan of one particular tribe. Ok, but is it really you? And might you better be served by an abstract tone?

Generally it is good to stay abstract and somewhat musical aiming for “bell perfection” – the original hailing tone of ancient telephones. Let’s look at the original bell, once cliche, now an archetype.

Bells and Cells

It is hard to beat the bell. That sound is instinctively recognized, and when you hear it, you know what to do. However that same sound comes from anyone’s phone.  How many times have you been in a room when a ringer goes off and everyone is turning to answer their phone? Avoid this by getting personal. You want a bell, but different. Apple launched iPhone with the percussive Marimba. The sound is brief, the short beats warrant attention.  But it could come from anyone with an iPhone.

A percussive-oriented sound is good. The best ones are original, made from scratch. The second best are “obscure” samples that you edit, and even modify.

Let’s look a little closer at the principles of the bell sound.

Ringing 101

The original phone had a metal bell with an electric ringer. Over years of repetition of the same bell construction, the tone is identical everywhere. Millions of people are used to hearing and practiced at picking up the instrument. The pickup cancels the bell and opens the circuit for conversation with the caller at the other end of this phone.  But the actual tonal of an “alarming” pattern of percussive sound, silence, and its repetition is what people are used to.

In the era of the computer any digital sound is possible to shape any tone and assign this so a specific calling device. Personal sounds are an interesting subject. You could not do this on the old phone system with a single bell. On a cellular system the ringtone designates the caller.

For a mobile cell phone, the ringtone should be relatively short. When the call tone cycles back to itself, the end should fit with the beginning.  The tone should be able to be heard in a room of people, so the tone should be of higher pitch than the spoken voice. Low tones and low volumes on a cell phone are almost impossible to hear. Better tones are percussive and have an alerting function. Using a sound editor you are likely to raise the volume and use an audio compressor.

– to be continued

Apple WWDC09 – Become your own carrier

iphone3gsApple has the hardware, software, content and the user experience to tie this all together with an intelligence that no competitor in any one of these industries can synthesize. As the future hurdles on toward smaller, more communicative realtime devices what is Apple missing? Becoming its own carrier.

How often do I buy a product thinking, if only Apple designed it. Apple doesn’t just build and box something. They think outside the product about how a person will interact with the many other things in their life. Consider how the new iPhone 3Gs (speedy, beautiful) shows a new 3 MP camera(adequate), but Apple adds this nice autofocus touch-tap to focus on the image. Wished my viewfinder had that on my camera. Apple goes utside of the picture-taking devices part, easily transporting pictures to iPhoto (comes with every Mac). The command is “Share”  to get the final images easily on the web. Back to the point.

What is clear at Apple WWDC09 and voiced by the 5200 others is how badly their no-show prime carrier is performing. At&t has brought nothing to the Apple party. No stage presence here. This very lack of coordination smacks of Dell vs Micorosoft preferring an enmity to building a product superior to Apple. It begs the question. What if Apple were to become its own wireless carrier? Clearly at&t is not keeping up with Apple’s pace of innovation. Witness no MMS at the cascade of announcements. The operator has inferior stores to buy product. If you have issues with Apple’s Genius bar – don’t even try to buy from an at&t sales person. At my local at&t store they actually told me to take the Apple iPhone outside of their store to open the box!

at&t offers one thing. As a regulated monopoly they convey their precious frequency on which Apple iPhone’s do their 3G traffic. Sprint may be the only carrier with the  nimbleness to go beyond being a pipe, but they signed with Palm. Verizon, with greater coverage could be even slower in bureacractic support than at&t but they have the towers.  Operator’s do not live in a free market.  That is a future to fear. Their worst nightmare? To become the “dumb pipe”.  If they continue to retard innovation then they will not enjoy the benefits of either end. Apple deserves a great partner – itself. Handset makers are on notice doing what they can to stay in the game. How soon before operators get the word as the telecom market simply ends up following the piper sprinkling the golden seeds.

Apple figure’s things out. Putting capital and coercive FCC considerations aside, Apple could become the operator with the best wireless Internet services.

Jeff Jarvis’s basic thought-experiment guide “What Would Google Do?”, admits that Apple is the exception to his Google rules. So for the wireless world in which we are entering, where everything communicates and computes in smaller and smaller packages, might Apple add services to its operating plan. What if a carrier were as imaginitive and integrated with customer services and producst as Apple? I find myself full of answers when more and more I ask, “What would Apple do?”

The New Personal Art


raw thoughts unstrung:

Custom tennis shoes. Personal photography. Karaoke. Personal clothing, pictures and songs are part of the world of personal recipes, personal restaurant tip sheets, personal hand marks, signs, bookmarks. Then there are personal ethics, personal saviors, personal religion.

Internet of a hundred thousand pictures a week, a million radio stations streaming, ten million blogs changing weekly, one hundred million daily voices. Layers, transparencies, textures of language, overlays of culture. An event is mediated by ten thousand photographers. Tens of thousands of videos, audios, text (blogs) carry the message to the rest of the world. All are resampled, remixed and mashed up. A band called God uses all the languages of the Earth in one  line after another.  Singers in one line speak in Japanese, gangster English, French, Swedish, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese and back. What do you call that art?

With so much digital media around the largest movement in aesthetics  is the editing. Cutting, framing, overlaying, forming transparencies and building fine multiple overtones. With personal choice it is looking more and more like personal magical editing ritual is the difference, because the source is the same for most.  Does this not put greater value on the source, the making? Or is it as Buckminster Fuller said – mankind no longer needs to mine the Earth, there is plenty on the surface – only a recycling strategy counts. Not editing but a meltdown to be reborn.

As The Medium is the Message, Mcluhan would say your autobiography is no different from Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed. Life is the message. The difference is the sanctimonious message and your life is that one has had a chance to embellish your moral code, pause on the mythology of your work, trumpet your psychological struggles. Someday everyone will have their own personal church. A grand personal philosophy, an art movement, your Blue period, your Romantic group, your Classical era, your expressive experimentalism, the morph of good luck to a personal religious symbol. It is all there, lived but unwritten, untold. One’s reverence another’d. There are the hearsayers, observers, appreciators, lovers, believers, fans, fanatics?  In the end, culture is what you choose to repeat. Although propagation strategies count, the recipe for the repetition of free unexplored life has eluded our many races and religions who resound and enforce that they know it all. The value is fundamentally on your person, you as the source. Your presence is the vital value. In fact it is your valued life that distinguishes you from the monotheistic sagas insisting you are worthless in the site of their Lord.

What was once His became his then yours then mine. History is his story and mine is the future. Over time we tire of having in our head only the “great song” ethed in by mega-hearings. Who has their own song inside? That is the new personal art that values the raw unworshipped person. The real person is of all potential.

There are many Darwinian branches of the culture tree broadcasting media they would have us believe. The same told stories of the fathers had nothing to do with their actual lives. Certainly not of their sons – for no religion has succeeded to caste the correct moral disposition of familyhood. In fact children naturally defy religious conversion – the rite of the dying soul, the soul that has lost its way, simply forgotten its childhood. The umph of your young character is the only protection you have from attack of religion.

Certainly most people have an equally potent set of life forming challenges. The story gets told, converted to metaphor and wisdom only later.

The poetry of our gate, our subtle dance, even walking down the sidewalk is your own, savor it because noone will see your  walking. You will see only the music in your lover’s walk. Individuals are busy being born, preferable to the being dying.

Where the new personal art leads is to push aside the trash and pave ahead with your every growing child-self.

So the tourist is only good if as a traveler they create places for people to travel to as interesting as they have seen.

This is the personal art. The art of being a person.