Printing & Imaging of America (PIA) hosts annual Graphic Excellence Awards (GraphEx Awards) which recognize our industry’s outstanding technical achievements in innovation and print production. Earlier this month at the regional awards (MidAmerica) we received advanced notice of 10 awards on entries our talented customers allowed us to enter.
Best of Category: Art reproductions digital- Tetris Austin by Mila Sketch Calendars, booklet digital- Arielle Austin Calendars Posters digital- Sara by Janis Fowler Wide format (40” or more) display graphics digital- Fluence BioEngineering Wide or grand format, interior/exterior scapes- Blue Sushi Wide or grand format, special installation- Plank Seafood Provisions
Award of Recognition: Announcements & invitations digital- Open Door Preschools Fall Fete Invitations- designed by Buie&Co Art reproductions digital- Aeons by Jona Burkhalter Calendars, flat digital- Miller IDS 2022 Artists’ Calendar Menus digital- Angie’s Mexican Food Restaurant Menu
At the regional award event in Dallas we were surprised with an additional 3 awards that are listed below. While these pieces won Best of Category in their specific area, the following awards are open to all “best of category” award winners, so the competition for them is much more intense.
Regional Awards -Division II (companies with 26-75 employees): Silver award for Tetris Austin by Mila Sketch (art reproduction) -Best of Central Texas: Platinum award for Plank Seafood Provisions (environmental graphics originally submitted for “wide or grand format, special installation”) -Best of Digital Printing: Bronze award for Sara by Janis Fowler (art reproduction).
The environmental graphics installation at Plank Seafood Provisions in the Domain has been submitted for national judging and we hope that the praise for this creative design and installation will continue! Thank you to our amazing customers for trusting us with your projects and visions and to those who allowed us to enter their work into the GraphEx contest!
Congrats to all who won!
If you would like to get started on a project with our graphics team, reach out to Sydney Donelson at CSSR@MillerIDS.com.
Jeff Kovalcik moved from his hometown of New Braunfels to Austin in 2002 where he finished his BA in studio art at the University of Texas in 2006. His career would meander a bit before he took a detour into the funeral profession where learned the importance of permanent memorialization. During this time, he was still making art but only as a hobby.
“I had been experimenting with scratchboard and had seen the realism achieved by other artists and I was enthralled by their work.”
His first scratchboard pet portrait began as a Christmas present in 2013 to memorialize a family pet. Little did he know, that after sharing that first portrait online, he would soon be dedicating his work to a new medium that captures detailed lighting and hyper-realistic textures unlike any he had tried before. After a few years of practicing his craft, he knew that he wanted to provide this service for pet lovers everywhere.
Thus was born, Kustompawtraits.com, Kovalcik’s endeavor to create custom and lifelike portraits of our little furry ones. He hopes to contribute to the pet loving community, by creating lasting art for their homes. The results are photorealistic and the black and white aspect allows a unique high contrast, perfect for portraiture.
“My goal as an portrait artist, is to create meaningful art that will capture the personality, the twinkle in the eyes, that little mole on their cheek, the spots on their fur and all the other little intricacies that bring your pet to life. I look forward to providing this service full time for years to come and hope I can create some truly unique “pawtraits” and relationships along the way.”
“I believe my first encounter with Miller Printing was when I was with the funeral home and drove a company vehicle down to their previous shop to get a window decal affixed to the side. Years later I had a show up at Kerbey Lane Cafe and wanted to get my work professionally scanned for better documentation. I remembered Miller, so I brought in a bunch of work and Dana Burton did such an amazing job. Sooo much better than my old iPhone 4s taking pics! Crisp blacks, and the crazy detail of the scans were sooo cool. So now, every time I finish one of the pet “pawtraits” or any of my other scratchboards I bring them down to Miller so Dana will take care of them.”
Levy Dykema is one of our many growing clients in Austin and is one of our model customers – they utilize every type of product or service Miller offers.
Recently we were able to rush print some traffic-stopping designs to strategically place in their new Congress Avenue windows as SXSW’ers were traveling by on foot. The designs had the desired effect, drawing festival goers’ attention and creating awareness for Levy Dykema and their new Austin location, inside the historic Sampson Building on the corner of Congress and 7th. Many photo ops were taking place outside their windows. How fun for Levy Dykema to be pictured in postable photos traveling the globe! Levy Dykema’s design was a printed backdrop on ½” foam board with ½” white foam letters cut out and laid on top. Ryan Begley, Director of Design and Creative Services, did his own design and installation and did a bang-up job!
We are blessed to be able to provide Levy Dykema with graphic and reprographic products and services, as well as printers and copiers for the internal document workflow needs.
We remember fondly when Stephen Levy came into our store the first time inquiring about services for his new startup architecture firm. He was determined to keep his business small. Thankfully, his plans changed, and under Stephen’s leadership Levy Architects has grown beyond Austin. Most recently, Levy has partnered with Corpus Christi based Dykema Architects. Together, Levy Dykema has over 50 years of award-winning architecture experience and will expand their unique brand of Texas Contemporary design throughout Texas, the U.S. and beyond!
We thank you Stephen Levy and friends at Levy Dykema for being a great client of ours!
Brandon Miller Group came to us for mesh construction banners for a new development, The Mercer. The Mercer is located in New Braunfels and will feature 42 single-level condos with shared community amenities, including a resort-style pool, entertaining bar & grills, covered lounge, yard games, and a dog park. The sales and marketing efforts are being handled by Brandon Miller Group, who requested 70 mesh banners installed on the fencing to brand the construction site.
Mesh construction banners are perfect for outdoor use because of the airflow able to get through the material. Other banners can whip around in the wind, causing damage, as well obstructing the design printed on the banner. Since the mesh allows air to flow through the banner, rather than fighting against it, it stays in place and stays visible.
We appreciate Brandon Miller Group for sending their business our way! If you are curious about The Mercer, you can visit their website, and if you are interested, they are now selling in New Braunfels, from the $200’s.
On Thursday night I represented our graphics team in Dallas for the awards we won in 2020 (Covid delay) and 2021 from PIA MidAmericas (Print Industry of America). This region represents commercial printers in four states. 2020 was our first year to participate, and I’m thrilled with how well we presented! We received two exciting surprise awards that are announced at the show!
For 2021 we were presented the Best of Show for Digital Printing, Platinum Level for the mural print and installation known as the “Dell Children’s Hospital ‘Heroes’Exit’!” The judges were impressed with the scope of the project and we remain in awe of the wonderful idea behind the installation, allowing every patient leaving to get recognition as a hero. Hats off to Rebecca Borrelli for the design and to both Susan Hewlitt and Marcella Maxwell for beginning the thought process for the heroes exit!
For 2020 we were presented the Best of Show for Digital Art Reproductions, Honorable Mention Level for Karen Alexander’s “Bryce Canyon” piece. The judges created the Honorable Mention award because the piece was just so beautiful and kept drawing them back. It’s a favorite of mine, too!
Again, I am so thankful that you choose us to print your wonderful designs, giving us the opportunity to perform in the implementation side of the work!
Tommy Belton is a native Austinite, growing up in East and South Austin. Photography was always a creative outlet Belton was interested in pursuing, and 5 years ago, he borrowed his mom’s DSLR camera and learned to use it watching YouTube videos. Soon after, Belton bought his own camera and has been pursuing photography ever since.
“I have a deep love for this city, so I decided to start a Photography Project called ‘This Is Austin’ where I photograph iconic Austin businesses, public spaces, restaurants, music venues, etc. that make Austin ‘Austin’.”
“Since day one, Miller Imaging and Digital Solutions has been my printing partner. Dana Burton, in the Fine Art Department, has been so great to work with. She is always incredibly responsive and offers great ideas to make sure my clients get prints they will be happy with. I can’t say enough good things about Dana and the team at Miller.”
We submitted these seven pieces of work on behalf of our customers for judging in the Print Industry of America (PIA) MidAmerica’s “Graphic Excellence Awards” or GraphEx. Five won Best of Category and will move on to being judged at a National Level.
As you take pride in your work, we take pride in producing your work! We are proud of ourselves and of you for these beautiful pieces. Thank you to these amazing companies and individuals who trust us to produce a phenomenal product.
We will keep you updated on the National awards when they are announced.
Jessica grew up outside of Houston but is a Louisiana-native. She is a Texan with a deep love and nostalgia for Cajun life, like homemade gumbo and zydeco music. Jessica went to college at Texas Tech, and always knew Austin was where she would end up. She got a graphic design degree, moved to Austin, and worked for agencies as a designer.
Jessica always made art on the side, as a way to explore her creativity away from the computer and clients. She began a drawing project in 2016 of drawing a building every day for a full year, 365 buildings. They were mostly of Austin and chronicled the changing landscape of the city as it gentrified through the 2010s. A fair amount of the drawings are buildings that have since been torn down and businesses that closed. This year-long project helped Jessica develop her style and led her to her career as an illustrator. “One of the big reasons I love drawing buildings and places is how it’s an anchor for our memories. We all hold stories of places from our past inside ourselves, and we all have different relationships to the same place. When I look at buildings, I wonder about who loves this place, who worked here for years, who met a partner or a friend here, etc.”
“When businesses here in Austin began closing soon after the pandemic started, I dreamt of making a piece dedicated to these places. But I was beaten down by the pandemic myself, so I let the idea go. Then as 2020 came to a close, I saw the New York Magazine cover dedicated to 500+ closed NYC businesses and a voice popped up, ‘Jessica, you are the person to do this for Austin. It is literally your job to make this. Do it.’ So, I relinquished and began.”
Jessica drew 28 businesses, for her “What We’ve Lost” series, ranging from the youngest of 5 years (Barracuda) to the oldest of 87 years (Threadgill’s). The original art is large at 28×40″, and she shrunk the work down to 18×24″ for the print edition. “I wanted to capture a slice of Austin’s history from the last few decades and memorialize some of the businesses that made Austin, Austin.”
“Miller was a delight to work with. Easy and helpful. I talked with Dana, who connected me to Jacy to complete the job. One of the memories of working with y’all that will always stick with me, is when I went to pick up my order, and the man who brought the posters out said, “You made everybody here cry real tears!” And we had a really nice conversation about the artwork and our changing city, with a lot of laughs and heart-warming smiles. Thank you, Miller!”
We can now print promotional items such as pens, coffee mugs, face masks, and more!
We are always looking for unique jobs we have done to share with our customers, and this is definitely one of those. This really unique opportunity presented itself when sports nutrition company, Nutrabolt (C4), reached out to us to produce challenge coins to grow their military presence.
Traditionally, a challenge coin is a small coin or specially cut medallion, with an organization’s insignia or emblem pressed or embossed into it. The challenge coin is carried by the organization’s members, or put on display. They can also be collected by service members and law enforcement personnel. Historically, challenge coins were presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit.
Nutrabolt wanted a way to create brand awareness and brand recognition on military bases, and decided to lean into military traditions in order to do so in a special and memorable way.
Nutrabolt is getting ready to roll out their C4 yellow cans in the military through their beverage distributors. The idea of creating a challenge coin came from one of their distributors who covers several military bases. They plan to present the coins to distributor sales teams covering the bases, as well as store management on-base. The challenge coins will be used for displays, incremental placements, and as a tool for brand recognition that falls in-line with military customs.
We love getting to work on special projects like this one, and really appreciate when customers come to us with creative ideas we get to help bring to reality!
Sarah Wilson is an Austin-raised photographer and cinematographer. Her passion for photography and storytelling was born here, at Austin High. Sarah pursued a classical photography education at NYU’s Tisch School and remained in New York City throughout her twenties. She started as an intern and assistant for some of her photography heroes, including Mary Ellen Mark, Ken Schles, Robert Clark, and James Evans before creating her own body of work.
Since 2000, Sarah has worked professionally, balancing personal projects, documentary films and editorial assignments. She has worked for The New York Times Magazine, Time, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Texas Monthly, and others. Her work has been acquired by the Harry Ransom Center and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Sarah is also teaching Expressive Photography at ACC’s Department of Professional Photography, encouraging students to pursue personal projects, alongside their commercial work.
As a documentary filmmaker Sarah has served as Director of Photography and Producer, working alongside her husband, Director Keith Maitland, on the films, TOWER, an animated retelling of the 1966 UT Tower shooting, and A SONG FOR YOU: The Austin City Limits Story. Both films premiered at SXSW in 2016. TOWER received three SXSW awards, a Critics Choice Award, and the Emmy for Best Historical Documentary. Their newest documentary, DEAR MR. BRODY, was set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival—but both were cancelled due to COVID-19. Sarah said, “We are excited that the film was featured at the SXSW virtual film festival last week.”
“I like to photograph people- I love telling stories…but I also like to be in the lonely West Texas desert, photographing in the stark landscape.”
What pulled you to honor and highlight these women essential workers?
As the pandemic set in and our community was asked to shelter in place, I quarantined with my immediate family. As a photographer, my work was not deemed essential, but something about the word ‘essential’ really spoke to me. I became especially grateful for the workers that were keeping our community safe and moving forward. I started to think about the women workers, many of whom were juggling responsibilities at home, while facing this public health crisis due to their ‘essential’ work. Inspired by these women, I felt an overwhelming need to recognize their courage, so I started taking portraits of essential women workers in Austin, on location, outside, at their workplace. As the body of work started to expand, I decided to submit the work to the City of Austin Museums and Cultural Programs grant, called ArtsResponders: Social Practice Responds to COVID-19. I was excited that the project was selected, but that was just the beginning.
How did you find these specific women to photograph?
In partnership with the Dougherty Arts Center and ArtsResponders, we put out a call for entries for people in the Austin area to nominate the essential women workers in their lives. We chose 15 honorees to photograph out of over 100 nominations, and instead of having an indoor gallery show, we decided to present the work as large-scale wheat-pasted portraits on the sides of participating buildings throughout Austin.
Any plans to do another project in this same style?
I think I caught the wheat paste bug! Now I feel like everything has to be big and public!
How did you decide on wheat paste?
With the ArtsResponders grant, I needed to keep my budget low, while at the same time creating a public art exhibition. Weatherproof photographic materials can be very expensive to print, and just as expensive to install. While brainstorming presentation solutions with Annie, my rep at the Dougherty Arts Center, we came up with the idea of wheat-pasted portraits. I was definitely inspired by the artist JR, and his large-scale wheat paste installations. I decided we needed some large-scale portraits of women workers here in Austin!
What has the feedback been like on the photographs?
We’ve had a very positive response to the work, through the local news media, on Instagram, and word of mouth. Yesterday on Instagram, I saw that a nurse had taken a photo of herself next to the large-scale portrait of an ICU nurse. In the comments, she said that seeing these 19ft tall portraits made her feel that her hard work on the frontline was also being recognized. This is what I intended- that each of these portraits would come to represent the thousands of women in our community who have worked so hard to keep our community safe and moving forward. This project is a big thank you!
How did you choose Miller to print the photos?
I chose Miller because I’ve been a customer on and off over the years, and the location was very convenient for me. I did some research and found out that Miller could print 36” x 48” on a lighter weight paper, which works well for wheat paste. After the first round of test prints, I learned that Miller has very quick turnaround times, and has a super-friendly staff. It’s a treat when Larry brings my order out to the parking lot…what a nice guy!
Anything else you want to add?
Another exciting aspect of the project is the Instagram site, @essentialsatx. We not only feature photos of the large-scale portrait installations, but we also post the images and stories of all the nominees even those that weren’t selected. It’s starting to become a great online community and a way to honor these awesome women.
We are thrilled that we were called on to print signage for Patika coffee on South Lamar. We produced their safety guidelines and temporary outdoor menu on coroplast and aluminum which make for a durable duo. The folks over at Patika cleverly hung their signage with removable hangers, making sure the signs were secure and weatherproof.
Located at 2159 South Lamar, Patika is open for online and in-person orders. They have plenty of parking at the back of the building and space to wait for your order while maintaining distance from employees and other customers.
We also helped Patika’s sister company, Superthing Coffee, develop contour cut coffee stickers as well as business cards, which created a distinct look for their coffee bags and branding. Superthing is roasted locally and served at Patika as well as Mañana, Brew and Brew, Olamaie, Creature Coffee and a few other places. It is also available online for single purchase and subscriptions at superthingcoffee.com.
As you can see, Miller’s takes pride in working with local businesses. Let us help when the time comes to open your business or office. We’d appreciate your support!
1811 S. Laredo San Antonio, Texas78207 Phone: 210.591.5630
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