Many people ask me why do you choose to print on metal or aluminum. If it is something you have not experienced in person it is hard to explain, but I will try here. First let's discuss the process of printing on aluminum.
The process starts with a high quality sheet of aluminum. There are 4 basic finishes which can be used but for simplicity lets stick with my favorite, white gloss base. This is a very similar finish to a high quality sheet of printing paper. The image is then printed on the sheet of aluminum with an ink-jet type printer. At this point the process is very similar to a paper or canvas print. The process then has an additional step which other forms of printing do not require. The image on the aluminum is then 'heat-pressed'. This requires a special heat transfer machine which can handle larger prints and apply the heat press. The machines are very expensive especially once you start print larger than 8x12 or so. Some of the largest aluminum printers can process images as large as 96 x 96 inches or 8 x 8 foot, Huge! There are only a few print companies in the country that have this capability.
Back to the original question, why do I choose aluminum prints? Well once you see an aluminum piece of art in person you understand immediately. The images are stunning! There are very few processes that come close to the quality. Very large high quality paper prints are awesome. Acrylic prints which are essentially high quality paper prints with a layer of acrylic on front and back are also nice. Both of these can be stunning. So again why aluminum? Simply put aluminum prints are extremely durable and take on a High-Definition finish. Then there is the price to consider when producing art for your target market. When dealing with paper prints you will need to mount the paper image, frame it and use a high quality non-reflective UV resistant piece of glass to truly get a piece of art that will last the test of time. When printing Acrylic, again the images can be stunning but the process is more expensive and acrylic scratches very easy which can leave an unsightly eye-catching mark on your art. Aluminum is nice because it does not need framing and it is extremely durable. You can not scratch it with your fingernails. The images can also be cleaned with glass cleaner and a soft rag. One of my Hawaii customers used the image as a back-drop for her stove or essentially using it as a back-splash. She mentioned to date it has not faded or scratched even with hot grease splatter! That's cool!
In summary why do I choose to print on aluminum for my art? It is extremely durable, the finish is stunning and the price is about the same or less than traditional mediums. Aluminum is a 'new age' process which will stand the test of time. It's amazing!
www.michaelswebb.com/production for more.