Sew What? Inc. was recently given the opportunity to create a backdrop for TOTO. The artwork for this backdrop was initially delivered as a “square piece of art”. This is often typical for art that has been designed for an album or CD cover. In order to achieve a landscape style backdrop piece, it was necessary to have the artwork extended to add graphic elements to both the sides and the bottom of the scene. For this we worked directly with John Rios of John Rios Designs who is a skilled entertainment industry graphic artist and backdrop designer. In this case he used the style and theme of the client’s original artwork design and added details in the style of the original art so that it would fit the landscape shape we needed. The art was carefully formatted and saved so that the output would be at the greatest dpi resolution.

The new art file was then zipped and delivered to us at Sew What? Inc where we printed the file on our wide format vutek printer in house. The piece was printed onto our heavy cotton canvas substrate, and there are many hours of printing involved in a backdrop of this size. Once printed onto 10-foot-wide panels of cloth, the drop was vertically seamed by our sewing staff. The graphic was carefully lined up so that the detailed pattern was beautifully and invisibly matched when sewn into its finished size of 30’h x 40’w. Webbing reinforcements, hems and pockets were added to make the backdrop installation ready.

Once sewn the drape was then applied to a paint frame, where our skilled scenic artist took time to hand paint Ultra Violet effects carefully onto the key areas of the graphic.  This is a slow process and requires great care. The painting must be constantly checked under black light to make sure the UV effects are producing the desired effect.  More than just highlights, it was important that the drop had one look when under traditional stage lighting (to look and feel like the album art), and then take on its own complete UV look when the Ultra Violet lights are applied to it on stage (another worldly glow! Astronomical!).