Brings Her General Public Collection of Synograph Paintings to The Gallery at Green Hills
WORDS Gina Piccalo
A mid the clamor and excitement of Restoration Hardware’s glamorous grand opening of The Gallery at Green Hills, Portia de Rossi demurely describes her new endeavor: creating exact replicas of original art with 3-D printing.
“I really did think if we can 3-D print pretty much anything, why can’t we print a painting?” she explains, perched inside one of RH Nashville’s elegantly appointed rooms. “And why can’t we get all of that articulation and texture that’s on the original? And why can’t we reproduce it exactly?”
De Rossi is a longtime art lover and avid collector with her wife, Ellen DeGeneres. The walls of their Beverly Hills home are adorned with the work of Mark Grotjahn, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol. But with every purchase, de Rossi says, she felt guilty that these genius works wouldn’t be accessible to more people.
Out of that guilt, her Los Angeles-based art curation and publishing company, General Public, was born. In just eighteen months, she and her brother, Michael Rogers, collaborated with Fujifilm to create “synographs,” de Rossi’s trademarked name for the process of mass-producing exact replicas of original paintings.
The rapid startup required a steep learning curve. De Rossi says she spent months in the back of print shops all over the country testing a wide range of ink colors and textures so the results were as authentic as the original.
“When I started digging around, I saw there were a couple companies that had gone into museums [in Amsterdam] and taken Van Goghs off the wall and reproduced them,” de Rossi says. “To make them commercially available was a whole other process with different equipment from scanner to software. Nobody has really printed a brushstroke until now.”
SynographTM uses super-high-resolution scanners to read the subtle nuance of a brush stroke. Proprietary software transfers the image to wide-format printers that drop ink that cures instantly on wood, canvas, metal, or paper.
General Public launched in mid-May with four categories: Colorfield, which features abstract expressionism; Found Art, which includes Paris Flea Market portraits and still lifes; General Public Domain, featuring old-master works updated by contemporary artists; and Studio Marks, which showcases an artist’s technique and craftsmanship.
Their General Public collection is exclusively curated for RH Modern, a division of Restoration Hardware, and available in more than 100 stores nationally. Flemish painter Koen Lybaert, Dutch artist Paul van Rij, Kali Sanders, and American painter Seb Sweatman are included in the collection.
The pieces range from $500 to $4,000. Artists get to keep their original and earn royalties on every sale.
General Public’s collection, including its RH Modern collection, can be found at www.generalpublic.art.