On Sunday after the conference, a group of nearly twenty people visited Ribuoli Digital a fine art digital and traditional print and fabrication studio for artists and photographers located in the far west of Chelsea. Proprietors Andre Ribuoli and Jennifer Mahlman-Ribuoli showed prints and machines for reproducing artwork and creating new artwork. Ribuoli started doing their own artwork and have since begun working as jobbers for other artists (some quite well-known).
Recently they have even begun publishing limited edition prints (generally less than 50 copies). Andre and Jennifer spoke about their experimentation with new and traditional techniques for developing relief, intaglio, photopolymer gravure, monotype/monoprint, and digital embroidery, among others. They have kept old technology alive, like an IRIS 3047 printer (the last in NYC) on which they are now testing printing on silks, and are running large format Epson 9900 and Epson 11880 printers with archival pigments. They also showed some experiments comparing results with photopolymer intaglio and 3 axis routing vs copper plate engraving.
Perhaps the strangest device, a “WireJet,” took up part of Ribuoli’s west wall, essentially it’s used for ‘printing’ CMYK+W oil paints onto large surfaces. Originally intended for the sign painting industry, the inventor attracted little interest but his patents were eventually bought by 3M. Ribuoli had experimented with the WireJet for things like painterizing photographs and monoprints, but most of their artist-clients seemed interested in using it for paintings. At the end of the tour, Jennifer showed how embroideries could be produced from digital files and stitched onto artworks. Discussion included longevity of prints and accelerated aging testing, the problem of “authenticity” for digital copies and of digital artwork, and the difficulty of advancing the technology of 2-D printers in a restrictive patent environment. Great fun was had by all.