Tuttlingen, Germany – Are CIJ printers only useful for commercial applications? Certainly not, as artist Francis Nathan Abiamba recently proved. The artist from Cameroon spontaneously used a print head from Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG as a brush – and amazed visitors at the wire and Tube 2018 trade fair in Düsseldorf with a portrait of Charlie Chaplin.
Abiamba, known in the art world as Afran, had a booth at the wire and Tube 2018 trade fair and it happened to be right next to the Leibinger booth. “We started talking and we suddenly had the crazy idea of using a print head as a brush,” recalls Christina Leibinger, Managing Proprietor of the Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG from Tuttlingen. Usually, the JET3up printer’s cylindrical print head is mounted on a conveyor belt or behind an extruder and connected to the hydraulics in the printer housing via an umbilical. “Abiamba just picked up the print head, threw the umbilical line over his shoulder, and used the back of a fair poster as his canvas.”
“A day without laughter is a day wasted”
Abiamba had only briefly practiced with the print head. It was, after all, the most unusual brush the artist had ever worked with. Then the show began: the artist painted a portrait of the British comedian Charlie Chaplin. In no time at all, using the silver electric paintbrush, he captured the distinguishing features of the film icon on paper – including his bowler hat and famous two-finger mustache. “Everyone at the booth was impressed and the magical performance brought many a smile to the audience,” raved Leibinger. “The portrait in silver is absolutely stunning and will be given a place of honor at our company headquarters in Tuttlingen.” Chaplin himself would have enjoyed the performance. One of his most famous quotes is: A day without laughter is a day wasted.
One of the most unusual brushes in the world: Francis Nathan Abiamba painted a portrait of Charlie Chaplin with the JET3up’s print head.
How can you use a print head as a brush? Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) technology on the inside makes it possible. Up to 120,000 electrically charged ink drops shoot through a tiny nozzle per second in the direction of a collecting tube. When printing, two deflection electrodes come into play. They change the trajectory of individual drops, so that they land as a pixel on the product surface – the remaining drops fly into a catcher tube and circulate in the system. Abiamba did not even have to touch the paper while painting.
About Francis Nathan Abiamba, the artist
Francis Nathan Abiamba was born in 1987 in Bidjap, Cameroon. He first graduated in ceramics at the Fine Art Institute in Mbalmayo in Cameroon, and then studied contemporary art in Bergamo, Italy from 2006 onwards. The artist still lives there today. His studio is located in Pescate – 45 kilometers northeast of Milan. His work includes paintings, drawings and sculptures that can be admired all over the world – and especially in Spain, Italy, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.