Richard Pasquarelli

August 19 - September 27, 2001
Salena Gallery, Long Island Univsersity, Brooklyn, NY

The Brooklyn campus of Long Island University is proud to present Diploma: By Richard Pasquarelli. The Brooklyn Campus of LIU has two art galleries, the Salena and Resnick, in which emerging and established local artists exhibit their work. The exhibitions, designed to interest and educate the university community and its neighborhood, attract approximately 10,000 visitors a year- a significant audience. Richard Pasquarelli was invited to exhibit at the gallery in the fall of 2001.  A New York-based artist, Pasquarelli had created a site-specific piece for the gallery several years earlier, and was eager to do another.

Part of a series of "memory" paintings he had been working on for some time, what Pasquarelli had in mind for Long Island University was different in scale and scope than anything he had done before.  He wanted to create a mural 65 feet wide by 3 feet high to cover a curved wall in the lobby outside the auditorium at the gallery with a site specific piece entitled “Diploma”. The mural would consist of a collage of remembered images from Pasquarelli's college life outside of the classroom.

Nancy Grove, the curator of the LIU galleries, was excited by Pasquarelli's vision for the wall.  "Richard Pasquarelli's proposal was accepted because it was a unique and intriguing use of the gallery space.  Also, he had exhibited here before, and we knew him to be highly organized and professional,” she said.

“This artwork is about university experience, to be shown in a university setting,” Pasquarelli noted.  “My college reunion sparked my imagination, because it was particularly appropriate for the environment in which it would be shown. I wanted the theme of the work to play out my perspectives on college life as I remembered it. This piece is a diploma of my life outside of the classroom”

In part because of the sheer enormity of the project, and in part because of time constraints, Pasquarelli decided to produce the piece digitally, rather than painting it.  He identified the images he wanted to use, scanned them into a MacG4 and created a rough composition using Quark Express.  Next, he created an EPF from the Quark file, opened it in Photoshop and re-created the image in layers at a resolution of 500 dpi.  The images were blended together so that one image gradually blended into the next, creating a dream-like effect. The entire piece then went through Adobe Streamline, which converts the image into vectors, enabling the resolution of the image to be adjusted to meet the size requirements of the mural.  The final step of the imaging process was to use Adobe Illustrator to ensure that the painted lines and edges were smooth.  

When the piece was completed, Pasquarelli turned to Tom Simmons of Power Graphics to print the final output.  Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Power Graphics is a high quality printing and pre-press company.  Pasquarelli began working with Power Graphics a few years ago, and the company has done several art reproduction jobs for him. 

The output was created with Rexam’s Magic® wet-strength paper, DMiBOP10, with a pressure sensitive adhesive applied to the back.  This particular media was chosen for the project because of the material’s very high quality.  Simmons has found over time that Magic media performs consistently from roll to roll.  “This is extremely important because we place so much importance on color accuracy achieved through ICC profiling,” said Simmons.  “If the coatings or media base aren’t consistent, then the color won’t be either.  We find Magic materials to be very competitively priced, which is always important.”

Once Pasquarelli approved the proof, the full sized mural was ready to be printed.  The piece was designed with a scroll-like feel, and he wanted the image printed in one continuous piece so that it physically seemed like a long scroll.  A key decision was whether to print the mural in one continuous piece and sacrifice resolution for continuity, or to print it in sections and gain higher resolution.  Once Pasquarelli was convinced that the pieces could be trimmed to fit together precisely and that there wouldn’t be any shrinking of the mural once installed, he decided that printing the mural in three sections was the best solution.  

The final output was printed on the HP 5000 using pigmented inks, and the adhesive backing was applied by using a GBC Falcon laminator.  The entire mural took about eight hours to print, and two hours to apply the adhesive backing, trim the mural to size and package it for shipment.  The final result was terrific and Pasquarelli was very pleased.  

When Simmons shipped the mural to Pasquarelli, the last step of the process needed to be completed -- the installation.  Pasquarelli had considered hiring a professional wallpaper hanger to install the mural, but in the end, he decided to do it himself, with the help of his wife and friends.  The installation was a breeze, thanks to an idea that Pasquarelli had to attach a dowel to the adhesive backing and let it roll the adhesive off while he and his co-workers smoothed the paper to the wall.  Using this process, they were able to complete the installation in an hour and a half. 

The mural was a huge success for artist and audience alike.  According to curator Grove, the response to the artwork was very positive.  Grove said, "I personally like the spatial depth that the mural seems to generate, as well as the way one shape seems to flow into another throughout the composition."  Its sheer size impresses, as well.  According to Grove, "While we have had large artworks on campus, I don't know that we have ever had a longer artwork than this one!”