Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Going Optical

This summer we've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and his newest, Blink. The question: What factors come into play to create an "epidemic" of sorts. Words and images. Thin slicing, snap judgements. It's making me a bit dizzy trying to figure out how and why I respond to images during the initial two seconds of contact.

"In my parents shop, a high-end green grocery in England, my grandmother showed me that just by putting certain juxtopositions of colours in front of the customer's nose you could increase sales of a particular item," recalls Robert Ruscoe. "If you turn tomatoes outwards with their stalks showing and frame the box with bunches of parsley, you sell more tomatoes and parsley. Or grind fresh coffee beans (or display the beans) with lots of people in the store, and it triggers the desire to drink coffee so buy some beans."

Clearly it's easier to work with food; how does one make printed material a tactile experience that triggers not only desire to take the card or read the poster, but to act? Is it just the creative aspects – color, touch, perfumed paper stock, images – that trigger response? "TV is mostly image," says Robert. "Advertisers seem content with that – a woman in a shower, a guy racing a car, images that brace the distance between desire and need." Or well being.

So what kind of response do we want to generate? What kind of sale is a good sale, and what kind of sale is nothing more than a one-night stand? An illusion? Thoughts?

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Sage, the financial software maker for businesses, asked Robert Ruscoe to star in a recent print campaign. Robert's Polyflash business, the mother company for Lalande, has long produced reports, large prints, brochures and cards of all sizes and shapes for Sage. "Their business is always mission critical," says Robert. "It's always about getting materials to them now." Apparently Sage thinks Lalande's wizard is a sage as well. Robert says he's happy to work as a model. His fees are reasonable – a nice bottle of Côte Roti will persuade him. Give him a shout.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sheridan in Dublin

Malachy Quinn, the Paris-based Irish playwright is taking his successful tragi-comedy, Sheridan, on the road to Dublin. After a sold out run in Paris this spring, Sheridan, directed by theater veteran Yves Jégo, will play in French with "some simultaneous translation" at the Andrews Lane Studio theater in Dublin. Lalande played a role in this play, producing flyers, posters, invitations, program booklets and the very cool A2-sized panels that will be flipped during the play so Dubliners will be able to follow the wonderfully absurd action led by the soldier painter in his quest to vanquish non-believers in his artistic enterprises. We used a special Ray Johnson typeface created by UK font designer Keith Bates for the "subtitles." Ray Johnson, the late artist and an acknowledged master of collage and "father of mail art" was a living legend (and a great friend).

If you are living in Dublin or planning an August visit between 9 Thursday to 11 Saturday and want to book a seat, call, from Dublin: 01 679 5720. Tickets are 15 euros.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A La Carte Postale

When I made my first post card for a 1990 exhibition in an abandoned shoe store in my home town in New York, I was slightly terrified. I had serious doubts about this enterprise. Why? I was very unsure of the marketing end of my art-making activity. Was it good enough? Too amateur? Who did I think I was to make a card? "Get over it," I told myself. "You're on your own."

I eventually chose a self-portrait standing next to one of my silhouette "baby" collages, made a photocopy, printed out a short text, and designed a page using tape and glue to hold it all in place. These were the days before scanners, digital cameras and USB keys. But I could produce decent-looking type on the Mac SE and my laster printer. When I began handing and mailing out these cards, I quickly understood the power and value of producing printed material myself. No one was going to do it for me.

That same year I wrote a feature piece for Art & Antiques magazine about artist-produced invitations, touching upon Duchamp's crumpled "readymades" sent through the mail for Julien Levy's Surrealism show, Yoko Ono's disappearing cards, Yves Klein's blue stamp for "Le Vide" at Iris Clert in Paris in 1959 (below, worth some 4000 euros) and dozens of other innovative designs that were works of art themselves. My "Immaculate Perception" collage on the invitation for the Berlin exhibition "Herzschmerz" in 2006, inaugurated Gallery Tristesse Deluxe. The image of a girl in a lemon tree went all over Berlin. [The original was purchased by French artist Eric Michel.]

Not only do these paper works – whether catalogs, post cards, posters or large-format prints – contribute to the sense of a personal history, they also reinforce an aesthetic direction. After printing more than 50 or so different cards for myself, I now work closely with artists and store owners embarking on the same trajectory. I've encouraged them to embrace the "do-it-yourself" ethic. Make postcards. Put them – and yourself – in the world. Allow people to have a compelling image and message in their pocket, on their refridgerator or bedroom wall or in their office. Give them two; they can give one to a friend.

Post cards serve as an appetizer as well as a travelling, portable art show. Send them to Beijing or Oslo, The Tate, or the Museum of Modern Art in New York (nothing mailed to MoMA is thrown out). Post cards are limited editions – tiny, inexpensive works of art. Printed in quantities ranging from 1 to 2,000, these printed rectangles, ephemeral in nature, dot one's history in a familiar and friendly way, but also generate value and interest in all directions, particularly when the original art work has already been sold. A cancelled stamp on it gives the post card a bit more history. Duchamp's invitation for Julien Levy's Surrealism show – a crumpled poster stuffed into an envelope is a sought-after collectible work of art. His "Rectified Readymade," his French pun – L.H.O.O.Q. – on the Mona Lisa from 1919 is an icon of modern art. It began its life as a post card of yet another icon.

Creative and graphic efforts that issue from the launch of an exhibition, restaurant, boutique (or even your blog) go down in history, and sometimes up in value. Those little squares of paper end up creating the biggest sensation. Ms. Glaze, a four-star chef sensation and video star as well as friend of Lalande offered me one of her amazing dishes in a digital version for this postcard promotion, "A La Carte Postale," targetting restaurants and bistros in Paris.

I tell all Lalande clients taking their first steps in printing that the post card has great power and potential – a small work that speaks when you're not around. Send me your images and comments about your post cards: E-mail or call: 01 53 68 16 10. We want to know how you became famous.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Wedding Band

You might have seen them playing around Paris, on the Rue Daguerre in the 14th, on the bridge between the Ile St. Louis and Ile de la Cité, knocking out jazz and country standards by the dozen. It's the Wedding Band, a group of mostly ex-pats, grooving when the sun is up and sometimes playing late into Parisian summer nights.

Michael Rosen (guitar, lead vocals), Chris Hudson (slide trombone) Tim Puckett, (soprano saxophone), Jimmy Gibson (contrabasse) and Johnathan Dickinson (drums) are the boys in the band, and they've been working together for years. Gigs at Chantilly for the races, Ferrara, Italy (for a wedding!), the Duc des Lombards in Paris, a ton of corporate affairs, and festivals in Belgium and throughout France keeps these guys busy. Film maker Agnes Varda heard them and put them in one of her films, including their music in another. Even the mobile phone company, POP, in Poland signed them up. Ring tones?

You can buy their CDs off their web site. We hope to produce a booklette for them in the near future. The Wedding Band just released a new CD. Since 2000 they've sold more than 25,000. That's a lot of music.

I've known the Wedding Band for years and saxman Tim Puckett asked me if we could print up a few thousand business cards and reproduce a couple hundred CDs as well. While we're no longer reproducing the CDs, we regularly print up their cards. So if you have one of theirs, it's also one of ours. It's great to be a part of the band, even if we don't play any instruments.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Robert Ruscoe, Lalande's master printer, is an accomplished photographer as well as a digital wizard. While in Venice he produced a gorgeous portfolio of Venetian doorways, buildings and architectural details. His photograph, TIPOGRAFIA, is close to Robert's heart, being a type maniac and the kind of person who lusts after elegant decay, a specialty of Venice and its façades. Immediately, I wanted to use it as a promotional post card, and also to offer it as a signed, limited edition print. Robert is planning on producing it in an enormous semi-transparent adhesive print for the façade of our studio on Rue Labrouste in the 15th arrondisement.

We've decided to offer TIPOGRAFIA a limited and signed edition of 21. The full-color print measures 65 x 55 cm, and is produced on the Epson 9800, using 100 per cent cotton, acid-free Arches paper, 240 gram weight. The price is modest: Only 75 euros. Contact me to reserve your signed, limited edition print and arrange delivery in France – or anywhere in the world. It's a great work of art for yourself, or a gift for someone who loves Venice and its fantastic façades.

For new clients, we're offering a time-limited promotion: Through the end of July, if you order 500 Full color postcards (10 x 15 cm) with black text on the back, we'll print up 100 cartes de visites (business cards) for you with whatever image you like. The postcards are 99 euros HT. For your business card, you can use a picture of yourself as a kid and your e mail, your company logo, or anything else you like. Make one for a friend as a gift. We'll need images sized to a standard business card – 9 x 5 cm. Send us a good color image, saved as a .jpg or better, a PDF, set to CMYK.

Actually, you can make other things with us – books, brochures, posters, catalogs, large prints – and we'll produce the business cards free for you as well. This offer extends until the end of July.

Like Robert's TIPOGRAFIA, if you take a great picture, you can produced limited edition prints, or post cards, or business cards, make them known, put them in the world, and become famous.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Christian Xatrec's Signs

Frenchman Christian Xatrec is the Fluxus-inspired artist who spun the EXIT sign around to read EXIST. He loves signs and is happiest when he makes his own. We asked Christian, who is still making his art as well as working as vice president of the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice and New York, if he would permit us to produce an inkjet print with one of his pieces, both as a way to create a portfolio of fine art digital prints for Lalande, and to see how he would react to the piece produced large, in color on 300 gram Arches paper. The above print from 2004 measures almost a meter square. Entitled "Danger: dangers," Xatrec's pyramid of caution in red and black with splashes of green and yellow serves as a maddening lexicon of where to go and how to get there. A great piece, we think, pointing us, at least, in the right direction.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Robert Ruscoe: Lalande Wizard

Robert Ruscoe, my friend and partner at Lalande, is an Englishman who crossed the Channel to France some 25 years ago "to work on his French, make art, make a fortune and drink better wine."

He's done all of those and at the same time has become a master digital printer, ad proofer, photo retoucher and has made more than 1000 highly detailed rubber stamps. We first exhibited together in Paris Mail Art in 2003, a show curated by Christian Balmier, and have been friends ever since and partners soon thereafter.

There's very little Robert doesn't know how to do with a computer or a computer file, and more importantly, turning those computer files which confound all of us, into valuable printed material. I've never seen anyone work a Quark layout as fast as he does. He's an expert on the Xerox, the Konica Business Hub and the two Epson inkjet printers. And Robert is going nuts these days making books on a new machine he picked up that binds and glues (hard or soft cover) books of all sizes, shapes and flavors. He produced a wedding book (for himself) and just published a dozen copies of a 48-page book about his Spring trip to Venice. I'm still waiting for my copy.

This portrait (above) of Robert at the studio in the 15th is by Lalande client, the Paris-based Dutch photographer, Jeremy Stigter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ricardo Bloch's Lifescape Books

Lalande Digital Art Press printed half a dozen Lifescape books for Ricardo Bloch. This Paris-based, Mexican-born photographer, makes portraits of living spaces in book form, on command – apartments, houses or children's rooms. They are soft- or hard-bound, and are made in unique editions with anywhere from 36 to 100 pages. Ricardo is also working for small- and medium-sized companies to produce limited edition books on their businesses, properties (real estate), or boutiques.

Robert Ruscoe, Lalande partner and technical wizard, worked closely with Ricardo to carefully bind the books and produce a limited edition that would blow the mind of the client. For a book of nearly 400 images Ricardo wanted to produce about Denver in the late 1970s, Robert tweaked nearly every photograph to get both the "vintage" and "fresh" effects Ricardo wanted. Check out Ricardo Bloch's website to see his books, portraits and photography.

Robin Jonsson Business Post Card

Robin Jonsson is a Swedish photographer living and working in Paris. We helped him launch his fashion and design photography business with a short run of postcards.


Sometime ago we made self-adhesive (autocollant) labels for Stormhoek Wines, a South African winemaker slowly distributing its white and red wines in Europe.

This image, from my series, A Perfect Friend, was printed in full color, cut to size and applied to the glass bottles – about 72 of them – in record time. They were produced for IVY PARIS as part of their group exhibition at the I V Y Paris Group Show at La Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpetriere. We've made wine labels for La Cave des Papilles, perhaps the best natural wine shop in Paris. It's on Rue Daguerre 75014 Paris, and one of our favorite places to buy wine.

Self-adhesive stickers can be cut and trimmed in pretty much any way you like. You can even make HELLO ... MY NAME IS... stickers for your event, kids' parties or just to remind yourself who you are. We all forget sometimes.

Collage By Stephanie Jenny

We made some posters and postcards for artist Stephanie Jenny, the adorable babe at Zango on the Rue Daguerre in the 14th. She launched her art career in June with the Portes Ouvertes along the Butte aux Cailles (in the 13th arrondisement), opening up her studio during a weekend art fest. Stephanie hung about 30 works and sold nearly a third of them, including this one. For her postcard, we isolated a section of a larger canvas, and used a digital photo of the entire piece in black and white on the back for a "stamp."

We love working with artists and offering whatever know-how and marketing we can offer so they get the exposure and traffic they're looking for. "Put your images out there," I told her. "You're the star." I suppose she thought about that for a day or so, but when she had the posters and cards in hand, she quickly laid the groundwork for a successful exhibition: Stephanie put up the 25 A3-sized posters in local shops and cafés where she lives, just off La Butte.

Well, they came, they saw, (probably drank), and they bought and some bought two! She has the eye, the scissor + glue skills, and the ebuillient temperament needed to make a go of it. Stephanie undoubtedly raising her prices for her show this September.

Monday, July 9, 2007


Welcome to Lalande Digital Art Press! Bienvenue!

We are Your English/French Language Printers in the Heart of Paris.

We are a Paris-based Digital Printing Press for Artists, Photographers, Galleries, Boutiques, Small and Medium-sized Businesses.

We offer expert quality, rapid service, and that little extra you don't often find in Paris. We speak both English and French.

Ask us about post cards, brochures, posters, reports, business cards, catalogs, and large-format digital prints for artists, designers, photographers, galleries (limited edition prints on Arches acid-free paper), and boutiques.

We print on the Epson 9800 and Epson 9600 inkjet printer: Arches paper, canvas, Canson papers and Epson papers for your signed and limited edition prints from 1 meter wide to 10 meters long.

Call us for quick quotes or to discuss your project. Whether you need 1000 brochures, 2000 post cards, 50 one-meter square digital prints, or a catalog of your latest designs, or even a limited edition of your last novel.

Words and images, we understand both very well.

Our Business is Your Business. Tel: 01 53 68 16 10

Ask for Robert, Christine, Matthew or Francine.