Dallas photo print company uses new canvas: Metal
by Jackie Norris
Hannah Wier of Houston wanted to give her husband, Dan, a family photo as a Father's Day present, but she was looking for something a little different.
While searching online, she stumbled across Impel Ink, a Dallas-based company that prints photographs on fine art metal instead of traditional canvas or paper.
"The prints had a metallic look like you used to get from black and white film on high-grade paper," she says. "It's hard to get that look these days."
To get exactly what she wanted, Hannah uploaded a picture of herself and her daughter onto the website. Then Ginger King, owner of Impel Ink, touched up the image and used a watercolor effect to enhance the photo.
Once Hannah approved the picture, King printed it on a 17-by-22 inch piece of satin gold metal. The one-of-a-kind masterpiece now adorns a wall in Dan's home office.
"I'm very happy with the results," Hannah says. "The gold metal gives the piece a sort of ethereal feel. Close up, it looks like an impressionist watercolor."
The artistic vision behind Impel Ink comes from the talents of 36-year-old King. In 2008, the former advertising agency representative started the online business as a way to stay home with her three children, while tapping into her love for art.
She initially began printing photos to canvas and specialty paper, but as she researched alternative options, she found fine art metal.
"It's a modern printing material that stands alone," she says. King found similar businesses in Europe, but says her company is unique in America.
"I came across one other company that prints onto metal, but it's mainly for commercial purposes."
King takes orders for prints from both residential and commercial clients on her website.
A normal week consists of knocking out anywhere from three to 10 prints — and business is picking up. She's received requests from all over the country and hopes to receive international orders soon.
Lee Ann Bulgin of Southampton, N.Y., ordered a photo of a home that her company built. Bulgin paid around $340 for the satin silver print and says it's worth every penny.
"So many people question what it's printed on," Bulgin says. "It's clearly too beautiful to simply be on paper or canvas."
Impel Ink's unusual prints range from $100 to $1,200, depending on the size and type of metal. King currently offers three different finishes: satin gold, satin white and satin silver metal.
Each order takes around one to two weeks to complete — which Lori Vaughn-Phinney of Charleston, Ill., felt was a quick turnaround for an impressive piece of art. After her friend ordered a photo from Impel Ink, Vaughn-Phinney was inspired to have a family vacation photo printed for her home.
"I receive many compliments about how unique it is," she says of the print that welcomes guests at the back door entry. "You can't get something like this anywhere else."