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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 09:24 GMT
E-mail to art gallery in an instant
Artists from around the world are being encouraged to e-mail their masterpieces to be displayed in an East London art gallery.

Hewlett Packard's Mark Ellis
People have sent in work from China, India and Hong Kong

Graphic artists, designers and film-makers are all being asked to contribute to the Hype Gallery, in London's East End, with their digital pictures or short films.

The idea was developed with print giant Hewlett Packard, which has installed a range of equipment, from huge laser printers to projectors, in the gallery.

"The Hype Gallery is a true piece of democracy," Mark Ellis, Hewlett Packard's design jet manager explained to BBC World Service programme Go Digital.

"We are offering the opportunity for anybody who has art, or who produces art electronically, to come and show it on some of the display technology that we have."

When a piece of art is received, via e-mail or on a CD, it is printed out on huge machines, mounted, then hung on the wall for all to enjoy.

Big print job

No ordinary household printer does such a big job, however.

"If you think about a large deskjet or inkjet printer - a lot of people have printers at home now - think of that scaled-up so that it can print 60 inches wide. That is essentially what you are looking at," explained Mr Ellis.

The printers do not just have little ink refills with which most printer-owners would be familiar, either.

They have six huge tanks of coloured ink instead, so that art can be reproduced as close to how the artists intended as possible.

Huge printers
They are not your ordinary household printers
"The technology is improving all the time. These are the colours that the artist intended that you see there and they are intensely vivid also," according to Mr Ellis.

Printing out masterpieces from all over the world was not what these mammoth printers were intended for though, Mr Ellis explained.

Originally, they were used to print out technical drawings produced by architects, which consisted primarily of lines.

"We found that more and more architects, having designed a building, wanted to show it in 3D glory and actually render it," said Mr Ellis. So Hewlett Packard developed their technology to help.

Underground opportunities

The organisers think being able to use digital technologies in such as way opens up the world of art to ordinary people, and brings together creations in a quick and innovative way.

The gallery has already had pieces of art sent from all over the globe, including Hong Kong, China and India, according to Mr Ellis.

"There is a real underground of artists who haven't really had this opportunity before. The equipment here really represents quite a large investment and we have learnt a lot about what people are trying to achieve in terms of art.

The colours are how the artists intended them to be
"And for the artist, they get to see exactly how their art would look put through this kind of equipment. "

Film and animation artist, Scott Radnell, thinks using technology in this way is pushing the art world's boundaries, as well as showcasing what non-professionals, not just the experts, can do.

His one-minute film is being displayed in the gallery too, in one of the four rooms housing large projectors.

"We have had film cameras since the 20th century, but I think the 21st century is a new time," he said.

"Before all we could do is point a camera at something and record film.

"Now, we can do that, we can digitise it, and we can manipulate it. And those tools are far cheaper, even in the last five or 10 years and they are available to people like myself."

Details of how to send a piece of art, or film, to be displayed in the gallery can be found on the gallery website.

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