Four companies prove the profits of fine-art printing.
“We are on our fourth generation of printing equipment. We build our own media profiles and maintain a strict, closed-looped color-calibrated environment. More importantly, we have developed a series of unique print products – The Panel Print and The Acrylic Print – which has helped create some competitive separation. Our recent big investment has been another computerized mat cutter,” Becker says. “We now have a Valiani and a Gunnar computerized mat cutter, which are pretty busy machines.”
“It’s very important for us that our customers are successful,” says Becker. “We always refer our artists to other clients when it’s appropriate. And we of course do everything we can to make it easy and seamless for our customers to sell their art.” Red Wing showcases its artists on its various websites as well as social-media outlets.
“Fine-art printing is a relationship business. You can only earn the trust of the artist over time. Once that trust is earned and the relationship grows, business will grow. It isn't any different than any other business – if you take care of your customers, they’ll take care of you.”
Sacred Earth Gallery: Turn to digital
Edward C. Robison III has been in the photography business for 15 years, but he’s only had a brick-and-mortar location for the last six: Sacred Earth Gallery (www.edwardcrobisoniii.com) in Eureka Springs, Arizona, where he offers photography, printing, color matching, mounting, and varnishing on canvas.
“Initially, I was printing my fine-art landscape images in a darkroom on Cibachrome paper. But I didn’t like the look of the high-gloss Cibachrome prints, and I began looking at alternative printing processes,” says Robison. “At that time, no one was printing photographs on canvas or any alternative papers, and inkjet printing was just beginning to look good (in my opinion), so I switched from the darkroom to digital printing, and I haven't looked back. The canvas prints were a huge success.”
At the same time, Robison was also contracted by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of American Art in Kansas City, Missouri, to help photograph its art collection. “Not long after I began shooting art for the Nelson-Atkins, they received a large grant from the Getty museum to convert their studio to digital, and implement inkjet printers into their proofing workflow,” he says. This further spurred Robison’s interest in inkjet.