For the last few months I have been printing giclées of Hubble and NASA images and gallery wrapping them on canvas. This lead to me working with a local astronomer on a very fun project. Here’s the story (original posted on Menaul Decor’s blog):
A Florida astronomer recently came to our studio after seeing on our site that we produce Hubble and NASA photos on canvas. He wanted to check things out in person before buying because he wasn’t sure how good they would look. We understand his skepticism. An astronomer wants something that captures the same excitement they feel when looking through their telescope at the night sky. Unfortunately, when it comes to astronomy art, that’s not always easy.
Astronomers are usually stuck getting overpriced prints or flimsy fold-out posters from magazines. They’re not that good, but it’s usually the best you can get. You can try dressing them up by having them matted and framed but that gets expensive fast (and probably costs more than the poster in the first place.) Getting a roll of paper out of a tube and slapping it on the wall with some sticky tack doesn’t quite instill the sense of awe and wonder that these heavenly bodies should inspire.
In our studio, the skeptical astronomer’s concerns evaporated the moment he saw Bode’s Galaxy and Sombrero Galaxy on canvas (we’d prepared them at his request.) He was blown away. Seeing it on a computer screen is one thing, but it’s an entirely different experience to see it on fine art canvas, hanging on a wall. Light acts with it differently and the canvas’ texture adds a special quality to it. He bought the two canvases on the spot and placed an order for more to give out as gifts.
The very next day he called us with an exciting idea. He had recently moved out into a rural area that has less light pollution and a clearer night sky for his star gazing. He was still remodeling and decorating his house, which is why he check us out in the first place. He wanted to know if we could print an extremely high resolution photo of Saturn taken by the Cassini satellite that orbits the planet.
This is the image he chose:
He wanted to know if we could make it as big as possible (in fact, bigger than almost anything we’ve ever done.)
Our answer: “No problem.” Custom orders are our specialty.
What we decided on was a 32″ by 60″ gallery wrapped canvas. We had custom stretcher bars built (that’s the wooden frame the canvas is mounted on). After sending him digital proofs for approval, we printed the piece on museum-quality fine art canvas, sprayed it with a clear UV protective coating and hand-stretched it. We had it done for him within a week.
Here’s what the astronomer wrote after receiving his stunning artwork:
“Where no artist has gone before…”
“Scott Menaul has produced something amazing. If it is not a brand new art form, it’s close, and it promises a revolution in modern art—one that returns beauty, skill and optimism to the canvas, in a most post-post-modern way, and may it be a harbinger of the future in more than just the art world.
“Taking public domain images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cassini mission to Saturn, he has produced artwork that transfixes the eye and mind. There is a qualitative difference between canvas and paper, and the images of galaxies and star clusters fairly leap from the canvas, the paint-like inks seeming to glow as if lit by the subjects themselves. There is a depth and texture to canvas and paint which makes them richer, more organic, more subtly ‘alive’ than any paper and ink I’ve seen.
“Scott Menaul has made the most spectacular use yet of the greatest public art of our time, the public-domain imagery from the Hubble and Cassini space missions. With an abstract artist’s eye for interest and contrast, and an engineer’s mind for subject and composition, and produced with cutting-edge technologies, modern art has at last come of age.
“If art serves to instruct and illuminate a people and their time, to use and celebrate the latest achievements of man, then here have the planets aligned at last, with technique, technology, and the ineffable wonders and joys of the human spirit taking wing together.”
See our Hubble and NASA space photos gallery or call 877-257-9199 and tell us what ones you want added. Astrophotographers, we’re happy to print your artwork too! Our studio in Clearwater, FL is open and walk-ins are weclome. And you can become a fan on Facebook.