Back Against the Wall

Black Crow Studios paves the way for the high-end interior décor market.

“I think of Black Crow Studios as a wallcovering company that does all our printing in-house, not a printing company that also does wallcovering,” says Tracy Hiner, owner/president of Black Crow Studios and 2019 Women in Print Award winner. Hiner says the shop only works in the interior décor space, specifically printing high-end wallcoverings and fine art prints. Clients from around the world come to her Long Beach, California-based business to purchase custom designs created by her all-female staff. 

At Black Crow Studios, the design team creates their artwork in-house, “from mixing custom paint colors to match a particular color story or photographing flowers fresh from the flower mart,” says its website. “If you have an artistic idea you are trying to bring to life, we want to help you realize that idea.” The graphics are then digitally printed in their design studio. 

In Hiner’s industry – “the very high-end, luxury interior design market” – they are not allowed to disclose any projects they’ve designed and printed until their clients have done so first. And sometimes they still can’t share the finished project. “They are holding onto the work hoping to get it published in magazines like Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Luxe, etc.,” Hiner says. “Unless they have shared the final images themselves, we absolutely cannot share any info about their projects.” The team typically sees images of the installed graphics around two to three years after the project has been completed.

With high-profile clients, come unlimited funds for lavish wallcoverings. Hiner sees so much money being funneled into the industry, but not into society. In 2017, she started working with the Caliber Foundation, a charity that funds gun buyback programs across the country. She donated 20 percent of the sales of Black Crow Studios Caliber Wallpaper Collection and Art Prints to help get illegal guns off the streets. This year, Hiner launched Rebel with a Cause. She now dedicates each of her wallcovering collections to a different charity and donates up to 50 percent of her personal income from each sale. The charities and organizations she has worked with empower women, help the homeless and addicted, educate kids, aid immigrants, rescue animals, and save the planet. She hopes Rebel with a Cause will influence the design community to use their platform for good.

 

woodhouse

Client: 
Cara Woodhouse Interiors
Tools: 
OKI ColorPainter M64s printer
Neenah Digiscape smooth matte 350 
Size of Printed Graphics: 
7 x 15 feet
Date of Install: 
July 2019

The design was created in Photoshop from original artwork painted by Wendy Schwartz. The material was donated for the Holiday House Hamptons, an interior design exhibition and fundraiser that donates all ticket sales to the Breast Cancer Foundation. “It had a bit of a viral moment when the show house opened,” Hiner says. “We donated an additional amount for the NY Now show because they loved the room so much they had it installed there, as well.”

 

rudin

Client: 
A Rudin
Tools: 
OKI ColorPainter M64s printer
Neenah Digiscape smooth matte 350
Size of Printed Graphics: 
20 x 12 feet
Date of Install: 
October 2019

Hiner sourced and photographed onyx, a gemstone, to translate into the mural collection Dystopian Opulence, of which this project is from. “The idea for the collection started from minerals,” says Hiner in her blog. “I had done a mineral-based collection in partnership with someone years ago. This was me revisiting what I had originally done, looking at it from a new viewpoint, and using new materials and techniques. It was interesting to revisit a subject, but see it differently based on the growth I had done as an artist and a person.”

 

rudin2

Client: 
A Rudin
Tools: 
OKI ColorPainter M64s printer
Neenah Digiscape smooth matte 350 
Size of Printed Graphics: 
18 x 12 feet
Date of Install: 
September 2019

This wallcovering was created by malachite, a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral that Hiner sourced and photographed to translate into the Dystopian Opulence collection. “The collection, while very vast in scope and style, starts pretty straightforward and then transitions into a darker interpretation,” says Hiner in her blog. “As an artist, I am always influenced by what is happening in the world. This collection is a manifestation of all the despair, frustration, and sadness of where the world is going along with the beauty and majesty of the Earth and what She can create.”

View more from this Big Picture issue