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David Knudsen is a photographic artist whose trademark work combines steel, glass, and, concrete with sky and clouds for an effect that juxtaposes the beauty of each with photography. Knudsen took the concept of one his most well-known photographic series, Reflections on Architecture, and translated it to a staircase at the headquarters of Aston Marketing Group (AMG) in Torrance, Calif.
“I was delivering and hanging some new canvases we selected for the walls of their offices, and got to talking about the possibility of decorating their staircase with my artwork. The theme we came up with was Digital Clouds, where reflections of clouds are captured in the glass grids of modern skyscrapers. Incidentally, I only had a few photos in my library that fit the theme,” explains Knudsen. “Furthermore, I was a bit challenged because the time of season here wasn’t coinciding with getting good cloud shots, so I started researching weather patterns in other cities around the country that are also desirable for their architecture to capture such reflections.”
Knudsen settled on Chicago and Dallas, traveling to each city to try and capture the perfect reflections. Though he says he picked up a lot of great shots to add to his portfolio, none of the thousands of shots satisfied the effect he was after.
“This was quite a learning experience. Throughout the process I discovered the formula I was looking for between the weather patterns, architecture, and photo angles, and that I needed all of these from one building so that it would have consistency. I found the perfect building in Oxnard, Calif.; a huge mirrored façade with very slim trim lines between the panes of glass, and took three or four trips up there. I shot another thousand pictures or so and got what I needed,” says Knudsen.
Initially, Knudsen planned to purchase a cold lamination press, have the glass delivered to his studio, and laminate the prints to the glass with a clear adhesive. “Our consensus, ultimately, was that laminating glass with the film in between two panes of glass was the most permanent and sturdy way to do this,” says Knudsen.
The prints are sandwiched between sheets of 100 percent transparent laminate, and then quarter-inch glass, respectively, on each side. There are a total of 18 panes of custom-bent glass for the semi-circular stairway, each with prints connecting one to another in a pattern Knudsen created.
Knudsen printed Digital Clouds with his Epson 9600 on LexJet Clear Polyester w/ Edge Strips for a translucent effect. With the Epson inks, this clear material takes some extra time to dry so Knudsen set up take-up reel that prevented the prints from touching the floor.
The prints were then brought to the glass factory to be positioned between the glass and laminate for installation. “I’m anxious to see it all come together and know for sure that all my mechanicals were correct and line up with each other. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to see the prints in the very configuration in which they will be because they’re large and delicate. I won’t know until it’s all there in glass and installed on the staircase,” says Knudsen.
The project is being installed this week and an opening reception featuring Knudsen’s work is expected to officially christen Digital Clouds next month.