PressOn Help Create “Living Painting” for National Gallery – Print and 26,500 Flowers

by Shelley Nye
on 22nd June 2016

PressOn Help Create” Living Painting” for National Gallery

It was the year’s best large format digital printing challenge so far!

PressOn were asked by the Flower Council of Holland to help create a giant 35 square metre installation to be erected in Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery on 2 June 2016.

The “living painting” combined the medium of digital print and 26,500 real flowers. The work was commissioned to celebrate’s support of the Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National Gallery that runs until 29 August 2016.

It was a challenging request – to create a 6.2 metres tall by 4.6 metres wide piece of digital print that when covered with real flowers, would recreate a Dutch Master painting by artist Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. The painting is entitled ‘A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase’ (1609-10).

We were approached by Chanel de Kock, UK Marketing Manager for the Flower Council of Holland, in early May to help.

Nigel, one of PressOn’s joint MD’s worked on the project and undertook some of the lengthy testing needed to get the materials and inks just right for the project.  We printed a template of the painting that sat on floristry foam to act as a guide for the florists adding the real flowers. They tried using that could be pulled out once the flowers were added, but it disintegrated too quickly for the florists to be able to work effectively on it. The timing of the disintegration was too unpredictable though for us to guarantee the print would stay intact for long enough so the florists could see the painting.

The final configuration was a print on blue back paper, using HP Latex inks on our HP LX3500. Then using the Kongsberg XP Cutter we made over 30,000 slits in the printed surface to enable the flowers to be added.

12 sections in total were printed to wrap the floristry foam. Some of painting was not covered in flowers so was printed on waterproof canvas to help withstand the weather and then added over the top of the other covered sections.

Almost 30 florists teamed up to create the fresh flower masterpiece, many of whom were volunteers recruited at the Chelsea Flowers Show. The teams worked through the night in a London studio to create the masterpiece.

Chanel de Kock of the Flower Council of Holland added, “I’d like to thank PressOn for their great work, their relentless attention to detail and dedication that helped us complete this very successful project. People visiting the Gallery from the UK and around the world will be able to see these paintings brought together in one room, and also have the chance to experience a very special kind of bouquet.”

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Written by
Shelley Nye Marketing Manager
PR and Marketing Manager for PressOn.