Daniel Gohstand got the idea in Guatemala. A documentary photographer, he’d been shooting images in what he calls a little town on the side of a volcano. To give back to the community, he strung up a 30-foot projection screen and put on a show.
It was a windy night, and the screen billowed. The San Francisco native thought of boats.
“The images took on this spiritual light,” he says. “It had a life of its own. And I thought that would be an amazing artistic accomplishment, if you could do this on sails.”
In 2011, ImageSails was born. Today, the company prints high-resolution raster photographic art. It’s composed of individual pixels of color for a surprising level of image sharpness.
Owners can send in their own photos or graphic designs, or ImageSails will create imagery. The company also will negotiate with artists worldwide for the right to use their artwork. ImageSails then prints on sails for everything from Windsurfers to 350-foot sloops. An owner can have a whole fleet with sails showing an artist’s collection.
“These boats that I see in St. Barths that are a billion dollars are still flying sails that are really limited,” Gohstand says. “The artwork is essentially a single-color logo, maybe it’s a big blue seahorse, really limited. And they’re typically vinyl stick-ons, which are heavy and detrimental to the sail. I could feel how these two worlds needed to meld, sailing and art.”
Yacht owners, he knows, gravitate toward the exclusivity of personalized designs, but to Gohstand, the thrill is the canvas. Sails are far, far bigger than his 30-foot screen from Guatemala.
“We have this incredible scale for proportion,” he says. “The things that we can create are going to be unimaginable.”
Giving Back: Doctors for Santa Maria de Jesus
A portion of proceeds from ImageSails goes to Doctors for Santa Maria de Jesus, a fund the company’s founder created to help a Guatemalan town that touched his heart. “The thing they need the most is medical and dental aid, and education,” he says. “So, I started this project, and my mom donated some money to help us remodel a building there and get various clinics going. You can’t imagine the impact of $100 or $1,000.”