Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Harvey Girls Part 2

When we left off with Part 1 of Harvey Girls the poster had been through conservation and was mounted to linen with a Masa substrate.

Pictured: Progress photo taken after linen backing and before restoration.


The areas where we had removed tape from were missing paper and all the fold lines had hardened. So, the first step was to patch the areas where parts of the poster were missing. We have a collection of old posters that have been donated to us that we use to patch. Melissa and I try to find the most appropriate paper in terms of color and texture for each piece we work on.

We miter in the paper patches (how exactly involves some voodoo and a couple of virgins), so that when you run your hands over the patch it blends seamlessly with the original poster. With something this big I trace and cut all of the patches out first so that I get into a rhythm with gluing them in. I basically work in a big circle so that by the time I've finished gluing in the last patch, the  first patches are dry enough to begin the next step.

Pictured: I am working on prepping all of the areas that need to be filled with paper patches, but the great thing about this photo is the massive Italian Taxi Driver billboard in the background. You never know what you'll see in our studio!

Pictured: There are 10 patches in this picture. Can you find them all?

Pictured: Forgive the blurry photo, this was the best of the bunch sadly, but here I am spreading glue on the back of a patch.

Pictured: Positioning the patch.


Pictured: Here is a patch that has been glued in and is in the process of drying. At this stage in the process the edges of the patch can still be felt.

Once the patches are dry, the next step is to trim down the edges of the patch so that they are smooth. After that we then burnish over them, essentially meshing the paper fibers together with moisture and heat. I also go through and burnish any fold lines or other areas that are raised up at this time. 

Pictured: Using my deadly palette knife to trim down the edges of this patch.

Pictured: Here I am burnishing the edge of this border patch flat.

Pictured: You don't immediately introduce heat to a wet area because it can lift up not only a patch, but other parts of the poster, but the heat helps to seal everything together.

After I am done prepping the poster it goes to Gabe for masking. Since this poster had so many patches in the paper color that was the first priority. Gabe masked off all of the image and text so that only the paper color was exposed. Then Aaron airbrushed the patches to blend in seamlessly with the paper around them. Once that was done there were a few areas, such as the Harvey Girls title and some areas in Judy Garland's face that needed Aaron's attention.

Pictured: This picture was a progress photo taken after the paper color had been airbrushed to blend the patches in with the original.

Pictured: There were still some larger areas, like Judy's face and hair, that needed airbrushing.

Pictured: Here is the same area as above after Gabe has masked it off for just the hair.
After Gabe and Aaron were finished with masking and airbrushing, then Katie took over. On this piece she worked on the fold lines and detailing the parts of the image that hadn't been airbrushed. Katie can zone in on small details and has the concentration of a Zen master! We startle her all the time because she is so focused.

Pictured: Katie working on a fold line. It's not even visible in these photos, but she sees it!

Pictured: Here she is working on the slight shadow around Judy's hair. She also filled in the small area in Judy's face at the bottom of the photo.

When this poster came to us it was a wreck, with tape and staining all over it and pieces missing. Just as a refresher here is the photograph we took after it was mounted.

Pictured: After linen backing progress photo.

And here is the final photo after full restoration! 


It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!





Friday, June 22, 2012

The Harvey Girls Part 1

 Poster Mountain has built its reputation over the last 20 years primarily on restoring vintage movie posters. Recently we have had a huge boom in contemporary silk screens, but this week we are going back to our roots to show you the restoration of a 1946 Harvey Girls three sheet.

For those of you who don't know a three sheet is the size of three one sheets. A one sheet measures 27 x 41, so a three sheet is 41x 81. 

This poster came in pretty wrecked. It had chunks missing from it and pieces of tape holding other parts of it together. We do a lot of tape removal, hence why we are always cautioning people that there is no such thing as archival tape.

Pictured: The poster with tape along the fold lines, holding it together.

Aaron, our airbrusher, is also a master at tape removal. Using a heat gun to loosen the adhesive he slides a sharpened palette knife under the tape to peel it off the poster without causing undo damage. There is usually a sticky residue left behind that we use some solvent to loosen and the scrape off with a razor blade. 

Pictured: Aaron spreading the larger of the two pieces of the poster out to ascertain where all the tape is.

Pictured: Aaron using a heat gun, not a hair dryer, to loosen the tape from the poster.

Pictured: This was just too cute not to include, I am always reminding everyone to smile so it was nice to get a candid shot!

There are many different kinds of tape, some of which are water soluble and easier to remove during the mounting process. And as is typical for pieces with tape, this one had several different kinds on it. But once Aaron had gotten everything but the water soluble tape off it went into the conservation department to be linen backed.

Pictured: The poster after the tape has been removed. The fold you can see is on the interior because the exterior fold was only held together with tape.

Pictured: The brown tape is water soluble.

Robin prepped the linen and masa substrate, while Gabe started on the larger of the two panels. He wet down the front, then the back and used a special soap solution to help remove any toxins from 60 plus years of life.

Pictured: Robin laying the masa on top of the linen.

Pictured: Gabe beginning to wash the lower part of the poster.


Pictured: Gabe flipping the poster over. For those of you joining us after the Collider article, this is our very large garage where all the magic happens!

The poster is manipulated between two pieces of Mylar, but in order to get it wet we have to unroll the Mylar. When we unroll it small edges often want to stick to it. So both Gabe and Robin, who began washing the top section, had to keep their eyes peeled for small pieces of the poster lifting. 

Pictured: Gabe peeling a piece of the poster off the Mylar.

Pictured: Robin having the same issue as Gabe. This poster did not want to cooperate.

With posters that come in sections, there is always an overlap where one poster sits on top of the other. In this case the lower portion sat on top of the upper, so we had to mount the top section first in order for the image on the two sheets to line up correctly.

Pictured: Here is the first section laying on the substrate with the Mylar still on top.

While Robin mounted the top portion, Gabe spread glue on the back of the lower panel. To do this we flip the poster face down on top of a piece of Mylar so that when the glue is on we can lift the poster up with the Mylar on the front and move it over to the frame.

Pictured: Gabe spreading glue on the back of the lower section. This is a great picture because of the two Marilyn Monroe 6 sheets (twice as large as the poster we are featuring here) that you can see in the background.

Pictured: Gabe and John moving the lower section over to the frame. Pretty cool to see the poster with the light coming through it.

Things move pretty quickly while we are mounting a poster, however once the whole poster is on the linen we can step back and take a breath. This is the point when we make sure that the image lines up in the overlap and we put in small pieces of the poster that Aaron managed to save during tape removal, but were put aside until the end of the mounting process.

Pictured: John straightening the overlap so that the image lines up.

Pictured: Gabe squeegeeing the poster and Mylar so that the poster evenly adheres to the substrate. Another great shot of Marilyn in the background.

Pictured: John removing the Mylar and making sure that the paper does not lift up withe the Mylar.

Pictured: Robin putting in a couple of stray pieces of the poster.

So, here is the poster after mounting. You can see that there is some paper missing, but you'll have to check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this poster's restoration.


It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!




Friday, June 8, 2012

The Mummy Revitalized

In the last few months we have worked on a lot of contemporary silkscreens and it has been a joy to see the range of posters that are being produced. Most of the silkscreens that we have done have only needed minor work; fixing dents and creases with a couple needing ink loss restored. However, we received a Martin Ansin The Mummy a few weeks ago that had 3 tears along the top that went all the way into the image.

Pictured: This is the before photo that the client took.

Our first step was to put it through John's Isinglass process to get the piece flat and on a board so that we could begin restoration work. (If you have questions about what the Isinglass process is, you can check out the blog we did about a Tyler Stout Lost silkscreen.)

Pictured: Martin Ansin's silkscreen of The Mummy before we began work on it,

Once the print was soft mounted on the melamine board, Melissa took charge of the piece. The resizing process had helped with the tear, but there was still a ridge that needed to be prepped for restoration.  

Pictured: The Mummy after it had been through the Isinglass process and was temporarily mounted to a melamine board.

Prep work is all about feel and one of the things that distinguishes Poster Mountain from a lot of other restoration studios is the amount of prep work that we do on a piece. It may not look better once it has been through the prep department, but it feels better and that makes all the difference when you begin to lay paint down.

Pictured: The tear has been prepped so that while you can still see it, you can't feel it.

Once Melissa had burnished the tear flat she masked off everything but the red to begin airbrushing. Airbrushing looks best when there is as little as possible paint laid down on the surface. You also have to have a good eye for colors in order to match and build up layers of paint so that everything looks just right. For this piece is was very important to keep the airbrushing to a minimum, so she's only applying paint to the affected area, and no place else.


Pictured: Melissa airbrushing the red. Don't worry, the red that looks like its all over the cream paper is actually the over-spray on the acetate that protects the paper and is the exact reason that we mask each piece that gets airbrushing.

 With the red airbrushed in Melissa used watercolor to blend the airbrush in with the original red ink.

Pictured: After the red has been airbrushed and the masking removed. See, I told you we didn't paint on the paper color!

After the red had been restored to its former glory, Melissa worked on the black and the paper color using the same combination of airbrushing and watercolor as she did in the red. Restoration is a constant process of layering colors to revitalize what was lost.

Pictured: Here Melissa is blending in the red airbrushing before beginning to work in the black.



When I asked her, Melissa said that the trickiest part of this project was airbrushing the tear to match the paper color. Not something that most people think about when they look at a piece that has been restored, but she spent a lot of time matching the natural texture of the paper with the the airbrushing she was doing.

Every minute that Melissa put into this piece was well spent because the final product looks amazing!


It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!