As a company that is better known for its work on commercial vehicles, Structure Flex seized the opportunity to show its edgier side when it was commissioned to digitally reproduce images of some of the world’s most famous rock musicians. Val Hirst reports.
Having built its reputation as one of the foremost European suppliers of a diverse range of products manufactured from heavy duty PVC coated products, Cromer–based Structure Flex was only too delighted to be Invited by iconic rock photographer, Nick Elliott to collaborate on his exhibition entitled ‘Size Matters’, which featured 13 giant images of a range of artists including Beverley Knight, Motörhead’s Lemmy, The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins, Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr, Europe’s Joey Tempest and Skunk Anansie’s Skin.
Structure Flex, which was first established 45 years ago, has recently invested a further £450,000 in the latest digital printing technology and thus, as Managing Director Paul Reeve,explained,it relished both the opportunity to demonstrate both the full scope of its company’s operation and the versatility of its impressive printer portfolio. This includes a VUTEk 5000, a Durst Rho 320S and Mimaki’s latest 1.6 metre JV33 printers.
He said: “We supply a wide variety of very wide format print in the form of trailer side curtains, vehicle covers and tarpaulins, but this project represented a new challenge, as it required us to do full justice to Nick’s much celebrated photographic artistry, while also taking full account of the practical and logistical considerations too.”
Nick Elliot, a 20-year veteran of the music industry is famous for the images he has created for album artwork, as well as the most widely read musical press, and has also exhibited in galleries across the UK and Europe. He commented: I’ve often shown my work as limited edition fine art, but this time I wanted to produce images on a scale that would really convey a wealth of intimate detail to the viewers so that they could truly experience the excitement of the live performance.”
In order to accomplish all that was required, Structure Flex first produced a number of prototypes and tested a range of different fabrics, before making its recommendations. In addition, it also had to ensure that the images were framed in a way that was aesthetically pleasing, whilst still meeting all of the necessary health and safety obligations.
After some initial trial and error, Structure Flex produced the eight metreby five metre images for installation by a professional team of scaffolders. The result was suitably electrifying with the printed images providing the same intricate wealth of detail that Nick so expertly captured in the original photographs, at a size that made them equally striking, whether viewed at a distance or close up.
Paul Reeves observed: “We were very pleased with the final outcome and, more importantly, so was Nick! We hope that this project will provide us with a passport to more work of this kind. The width of our VUTEK printer certainly came in very handy for printing seamless images of this size and we are now actively seeking further avenues where our print expertise and facilities can combine to produce similarly stunning artistic effects.
The exhibition, which was premiered at the recent Pageant of Power classic vehicle boat and helicopter festival held in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle in June,before an audience of 65,000 people, prior to touring across the UK, culminated in performances by the Rick Parfitt Jnr Band and Tenors of Rock on the Friday and Saturday evening of the event, where some of the exhibits were used to grace either side of the stage.