Artist and curator Jose Ruiz, the founder and principal of Furthermore, was not interested in creating yet another digital print shop. “We had this impression that DC needed a new affordable print shop specifically for artists.”

by Liz Georges

A year later and Ruiz has produced that print shop on the third floor of 1019 Seventh Street , NW. The space is open, the feel is modern-- like a visit to an artist’s studio, as opposed to a print shop. “The way it had been before, you send a file, come pick it up, and there’s no real discourse in between. That’s something we’ve opened up,” Ruiz says.

“We’ve created an environment where it’s open and we encourage artists if possible to come in, spend some time, experiment a little,” he adds. Unlike other digital print shops that will wax poetic about the output specs of their equipment and the fast turnaround times and the low prices, Furthermore assumes you know all that already. Rather, Furthermore prides itself on its collaborative nature, its willingness to help artists experiment.

Lately, this has meant elevating the digital edition print, transforming it from a money-saving, shortcut production method into an artistic process in its own right. “The project we’re doing right now [for New York artist Halsey Hathaway] we’re trying to re-imagine the analog process of printing through digital printing. So we’re printing part of the compositions and printing them on top of each other, which normally you wouldn’t do,” Ruiz explains.

Artist Bridget Sue Lambert, who co-founded Furthermore, and is currently a digital printing specialist, explains, “We’re printing it like it was four colors – printing a black layer, then running the paper back through the machine, printing the yellow, then the magenta, then the cyan. . . It’s kind of like going back to traditional printmaking.”

“It’s a good example of an artist who’s engaged and trying to push it. He knows there’s going to be an edition. He could send anything really, but he’s trying to have a similar process to his paintings, and push what he knows of digital printing, and even push us, too, because it would be easier for us to click ‘print’ without having to redo it several times, but that’s not a challenge,” Ruiz finishes. The project is an example of one of many close working relationships that Furthermore has developed with artists and artist groups both here in DC (Flashpoint, Pleasant Plains Workshop and The Studio Visit are recent collaborators) and all over the world.

“I think it’s becoming for us not only necessary, but integral to what we do. Without those collaborations, it’s hard to really move contemporary art forward,” Ruiz says. In the end, Ruiz is not just a businessman running a print shop, but also an artist and a curator, and the multiple roles are what differentiate him. “It’s interesting. I find it inspiring, which is why I choose to do a lot of things, and I kind of see it as an overarching practice. But, for the sake of the print shop, I think it benefits it that we have these practices. If we didn’t, I think it would be any other print shop, you know?”

WPA members wanting to collaborate with Furthermore may do so at a discount. Starting November 1, WPA members receive a 20% discount on their first five visits to Furthermore, applicable to all printing services.

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November 3, 2011