Vashon Island Imaging specializes in new art print technology

A new Island business opened this spring with a goal — to bring out the best in every picture and preserve it for display as a work of art.

Douglas Mesney

A new Island business opened this spring with a goal — to bring out the best in every picture and preserve it for display as a work of art.

Vashon Island Imaging is a large-format digital printing studio on Vashon’s west side that prints out high-quality reproductions of photographs, artwork and other images. The business uses Epson technology to create reproductions that are up to 44 inches wide and 40 feet long.

“In the old days, people brought their pictures to custom darkrooms when they wanted something especially nice done with them,” said Douglas Mesney, an artist and owner of Vashon Island Imaging. “Now, digital imaging services have replaced darkrooms. At such services, there are many ways to reproduce a picture.”

The business, located at Mesney’s home, specializes in all stages of digital production — from printing to finishing, framing and wrapping canvas. He can take any photograph or two-dimensional art piece and make a print of it on velvet, canvas or fine art paper.

“The idea is to take somebody’s treasured picture and help them display it in a more elegant way,” said Mesney, an artist who has worked in more than 70 countries and who sells his work in galleries. “Vashon Island Imaging is all about ‘the art of printing.’”

Mesney is an illustrator and new media artist who works in digital photography and graphic arts to create vivid composite landscapes, naturescapes and other scenes — “hyper-reality,” he called his colorful pieces. His artwork, and the custom pieces he can create from any image, are giclées, or high-quality digital prints.

His business was a natural extension of his art, he said.

Mesney prints the pieces on one of three large Epson inkjet giclée printers, which have many more beads of ink per square inch than a typical inkjet printer, so the quality and detail of the giclées is maximized. The printers use eight colors of ink and produce extremely colorful pieces that take hours, even days, to dry completely.

Giclées are something many people have never heard of but may have unknowingly seen before, he said. They are a new art form, because the technology to create them is less than 10 years old, he said.

Some of Mesney’s giclées, which have an intense and dreamlike quality, are now on display at All India Café, Quartermaster Inn and the Heron’s Nest.

“I take reality apart and put it back together again the way I want to see it,” he said of his composite art pieces.

He first began printing his own giclées a few years ago, when he realized there was nowhere that could serve all the printing needs he had for his own artwork, he said.

But in the last year, as the economy has gone into a tailspin, sales of Mesney’s artwork have been falling so much that he needs to support himself another way, he said.

He’s hoping Vashon Island Imaging will provide that income. His prices and quality should attract customers soon, he said, though business is just beginning to pick up. Prices for giclée prints begin at 7 cents per square inch.

“I want to be extremely fairly priced, because at this time, people don’t have money, so we all need to notch down,” Mesney said.

Island artist Anne Gordon had one of her pieces, “Dockton Tall Ships,” reproduced by Mesney for sale at Vashon Allied Arts’ upcoming Art Auction.

“The quality of what he did is superb — not good, it’s superb,” Gordon said. “And you would probably pay double that somewhere else. It came back varnished; it pretty much looks like a painting.”