April 2022 Featured Graphics: PIA MidAmerica 2022 GraphEx Awards

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.

April 2022 Featured Artist: Jeff Kovalcik

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.”
 
Contact Jeff:
Facebook: Kustom Pawtraits
Instagram: @kustompawtraits
TikTok: Kustompawtraits
Website: kustompawtraits.com
 
Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

March 2022 Artist of the Month: Janna White

Janna White started her art “career” at the age of 70 in acrylics and watercolor, but eventually found a “happy place” combining hand painted papers with collage. Janna lives with her daughter and family in Austin, and continues to create art for the joy of it. After having many careers in her 76 years, she now has time in her “retirement” to be creative!

The collage (left) is from a set of four named “Under the Sea” that Janna created for her granddaughter to use as placemats. “She loves that I repurpose her homework into painted papers!” Janna said.

“I am very familiar with the services offered at Miller Imaging, and Dana is the go-to person for fine arts.”

Contact Janna via email
 
Janna and Dana, our fine art specialist, pictured left with Janna’s art brought in for scanning.
 
Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

February 2022 Artist of the Month: Rhea Groepper Pettit

Rhea Groepper Pettit is a contemporary realist painter, and her subjects are typically people, animals, and still lifes. Pettit’s practice is rooted in traditional oil painting technique, while using contemporary subjects, compositions, and rendering. Pettit says, “You have to know the rules in order to break them”. Her experience as a graphic designer also influences her composition and color choices.

Pettit majored in fine art at the University of Texas, but the huge abstracts that were all the rage back then just weren’t her style, and she wanted to earn a living. Pettit switched to a more “practical” degree in graphic design, and for the next 25 years was a professional designer, doing a few paintings here and there, and a lot of digital collage for fun.

Since 2013, Pettit has diligently devoted time to practice fine art and grow as an oil painter, taking many workshops and painting from life on a regular basis (pre-pandemic). In 2016 she transitioned to painting full time as a professional artist.

Pettit has shown in Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, NYC, Taylor, Waco, Dallas, and Conroe gallery group shows, and has had small solo shows in Austin, Georgetown, and Pflugerville (her home for 12 years). She has also won several awards in juried shows, and is honored to be a member of Capitol Art Society.

“I recently created a series of figures in nature, which I call “Heavenly Bodies” Twenty-eight of these paintings were included in a show at Dougherty Arts Center in December. I am currently working on a series of clothing on clotheslines, which is both nostalgic and modern.”

“I love Miller Imaging, and have been a customer since my design days back in the 90s! Dana is amazing, and has a great eye for detail and color. She is a true miracle worker; I always trust her to scan my paintings for fine art prints. Larry and the rest of the staff who I’ve worked with have all been professional and very welcoming. I feel like I’m walking into “Cheers” (where everyone knows your name) when I visit. That is a rare thing these days, and is very appreciated!”

Website: www.rgpettit.com
Instagram: @rheapettit

Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

 

January 2022 Artist of the Month: Dwain Kelley

Dwain Kelley’s paintings and drawings have slowly but surely evolved from an early realism— landscapes, primarily — to works that retain that foundation but explore the shape, line, and color relationships in a more experimental direction.

Even in the simplest pen-and-ink line drawing, there is always movement and tension. Some pieces are carefully orchestrated while others start off spontaneous and then develop naturally. With the exception of black-and-white drawings, almost all are mixed-media, utilizing gouache, graphite, and prismacolor pencil, pastels, and ink. Dwain’s approach to both life and art is essentially optimistic, and he conveys that quite successfully in all his works. 

Dwain Kelley: Website

Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

December 2021 Artist of the Month: Lucina Suarez

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, I am a child of Mexican immigrants. From a young age, I’ve enjoyed creating art—weaving, watercolor, mixed media, and recently acrylic painting. Nonetheless, art had been a sideline to a lifelong career in public health and epidemiology. Now retired, time allows me to paint with purpose and passion.

The story of my parents’ journey to the US has been a point of pride among our family. I wrote a book about their journey from Mexico to Texas and our family’s early years in America. The book, published shortly after my mother’s death in 2019, was edited by a journalist friend. With me not being able to afford her professional services, she bartered her skills for a painting—the subject matter left to me. At the time, my thoughts were on my mother, her life, and our world as youngsters. Experiencing her loss conjured up her kitchen, her endless tasks making tortillas and foods of her native land, her traditional tools to grind the corn—molcajete, the vegetables from her garden, the Navidad tradition of making tamales, and her stove. So, I filled my canvas with these memories—the figure of a young woman doing the work, thereby producing joy in the form of flowers flowing from her skirt.

I’m not a professional painter, strictly amateur, still learning. Still, I was loathed to give up the painting, but a deal was a deal. I normally take a photo of my paintings using my iPhone for my beginning portfolio. But for this painting, I took it to Miller, specifically to Dana, to preserve it in the best image possible. I am grateful to Dana, who made sure that the colors, particularly, the red in the skirt was true to the original painting.

-Lucina Suarez

Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

November 2021 Artist of the Month: Angel Chiasson

Angel Chiasson has lived in Austin for most of her life since she was a freshman in high school. Her love of art showed up in early childhood where she would be found (to the shock of her parents) drawing on walls and the underside of tables. Angel would eventually corral that passion into a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with a Teacher Certification from Southwest Texas State University (Texas State!). Angel taught art for many years in public schools and in her own private studio.

Angel paints a variety of subject matter and is very inspired by nature. Forefront in her art is bold, bright colors and patterns. “Playful art that makes people happy sounds simple, but it means so much to me when I hear from people that viewing and having my art in their home makes them feel happy. From experience, I know well that life can be hard and sometimes sad. I make this art to send out joy!”

“I love exploring new techniques and subject matter, but my love of color has always stayed true. Inspired by the “Fauve” Expressionist movement, I use bright colors and juxtapositions. To me, Color = Happy and I want to reflect the beauty and joy that can be found in this one great life.”

“I pick and choose certain original paintings to be scanned for prints by Dana. Because I use such bright saturated colors in my work, color-matching and clarity is important so that the happy exuberant feeling comes through. Dana has done an amazing job matching my originals and provided incredible professional prints that I can offer my collectors.”

 
Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

October 2021 Artist of the Month: Joseph Valadez

Joseph Valadez is from San Antonio. He went to the University of Texas at Arlington and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelors of Science in Information Systems. Joseph enjoys spending time in the small towns of New Braunfels and Gruene, Texas, where most of his family lives. He moved to Austin in late 2020 to start working as a Systems Analyst.

His time spent out of work consists of running, kayaking, camping, fishing, and many other outdoor activities where most of his inspiration arises. Joseph paints mainly with acrylic and watercolor while also exploring other types of art such as sculpting and ceramics. Joseph says that his most recent and invested painting started when he moved to Austin.

“Gruene Hall at Dusk” took approximately 150 hours, and was completed in March of 2021. “Gruene reminds me of a place where I have shared great times with friends and family. This piece was painted for my daughter which encouraged me to bring out my best work.”

“The prints that Miller IDS provided have portrayed every detail that my original painting has. Dana Burton has kept in direct contact with me during my process of scanning my artwork and made sure that I received the highest quality prints. Dana and her team make this process easy and stress free. I can trust Miller IDS with my artwork and I am looking forward to continuing working together.”

Joseph’s Instagram: @jsph.valadez

Joseph’s Email: jsphvaladez@yahoo.com

Joseph’s Phone Number: 210-209-0980

Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.

September 2021 Artist of the Month: Hunter Saltzgiver

“Ignoring the need to create something would be ignoring who I am at my core. I’ve always leaned toward picking up a pencil or a brush and seeing what happened next. Most of the time I am encouraged by what I make, but it’s always the feeling I have while creating that I return for. That feeling guides my artistic pursuits.”

Hunter Saltzgiver went to Azusa Pacific University and got a degree in fine art. Saltzgiver then taught K-8 Art in his hometown of Colorado Springs for 5 years before moving to Austin in 2016. Saltzgiver always planned on teaching art and never really planned on making his art into a business, but he said, “when you do something everyday that people enjoy, and you run out of wall space in your home, I guess that’s how it goes.”

Now, Saltzgiver does custom commission work on the side of his creative work. He paints animals (mainly dogs and bears) with acrylics, and he also forms relief landscapes with layered gesso that he calls ‘Whitescapes’.

“All of my bear paintings over the last 2 years I have gotten scanned through Miller IDS. These paintings have a lot of color variety, layers of contrasting colors, and I infrequently mute my paint making scans a tough thing to dial in. Dana, at the 7th St. location, has the critical eye to match nearly every scan I’ve thrown at her and those that haven’t she’s been easy to work with on making the adjustments. I keep going back to Miller for their professionality, their performance and their pricing.”

Feel free to reach out and inquire about pricing on Hunter’s creative work you see on Instagram, making a custom bear or ‘Whitescape’, or commissioning any of the common gifts like pet portraits and wedding gifts.
 
 
Hunter’s Website
Hunter’s Instagram: @saltgivingart
 
Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.
 

August 2021 Artist of the Month: CoCo Zentner

Having grown up in Monroe, Louisiana, CoCo Zentner’s artwork stems from her many days spent soaking in the culture, food, and nature of her southern surroundings. The vibrant atmosphere of her upbringing contributes to her heavy use of color, which plays a significant role in her art.

CoCo is constantly seeking to bring light and beauty to often-overlooked subjects, reflecting a detail and depth resonating with many collectors and designers alike. She paints primarily in oil and watercolor while also exploring different mediums such as oil pastels and charcoal.

“I have loved working with Miller IDS & Dana over the past few years. They are able to replicate my artwork precisely each time and always in a timely manner. As an artist, it has been a joy to see my work come to life in a different form all due to the Miller team.”

CoCo’s Website
CoCo’s Instagram: @cocozentner_art

Contact our fine art specialist, Dana Burton, for more information on fine art scans and reproduction.