Fine Artist Uses UV Printing to Create Textural Beauty
Bonny Lhotka is a Boulder, Co.-based author, printmaker, and fine artist who has been innovating with digital print for decades. She is an expert at combining traditional media and cutting-edge technology to express her creativity. Recently, she’s been working with UV prints. “When UV printing first came into this country, I fell in love with it,” Lhotka says.
Lhotka has been an innovator in using UV printers to create artwork, developing her “caustigram” print technique and applying heat to create sculptural prints. Her views on incorporating technology into traditional painting are gaining wider acceptance, as other artists are now starting to take advantage of digital printing’s capabilities to bring refinements in color and texture to fine art.
She saw the Roland (Booth 4616) LEF benchtop UV flatbed printer in action at a past SGIA Expo, and realized its potential. “I loved the Roland UV inks because they have a thickness to them, and I see the printed inks almost like brushstrokes,” Lhotka says.
Lhotka continues to rely on the Roland UV benchtop printers to create stunning pieces of art. She appreciates how simple it is to create layers with Roland’s RIP software, and that if she needs to print a larger piece, she can easily transfer her files to any of Roland’s line of UV flatbed printers.
Recently, Lhotka used Roland’s 64" VersaUV LEJ-640FT flatbed printer to create a 40x60" print titled “Night Snow” for an exhibition at the Walker Fine Art Gallery in Denver. The image was printed on ACRYLITE Reflections frosted mirror material, an etched surface with a mirror backing. By layering the gloss and opaque white inks, Lhotka was able to create the illusion of a layer of ice over the image.
“This piece was unusual because at the exhibition, people felt compelled to run their hands over it,” she says. “Some of them asked permission, and some just reached out — it was as if they couldn’t quite understand the visual illusion. I encourage that kind of engagement with my art,” she says.
A dedicated student of art, Lhotka readily acknowledges her teachers, and has always found ways to give back by sharing her knowledge with others. In addition to writing three books, she hosts Roland DGA’s annual Imaginarium Artcademy workshops, where fine artists from all over North America gather to experiment with VersaUV flatbed technology.
Hearing that people were interested in touching artwork she creates has inspired Lhotka to ask whether her VersaUV could print Braille. The answer from Roland was a definite “yes.” In an upcoming artwork series, Lhotka is planning to incorporate Braille and other elements for sight-limited people. She is working with a Braille instructor, and will make the pieces available to local groups that support blind and sight-limited people.
“I really love what I do with UV digital printing — it helps me expand and explore creative ideas,” Lhotka says. “UV printing is the future in art. You’re going to see a lot of it.”