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Drawing a Fine-Art Crowd

(February 2011) posted on Thu Feb 03, 2011

Tips from six shops on working with fine artists and their art.

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By Britney Grimmelsman

Print shops successfully working with fine artists have been able to master not only the skills and technologies necessary to create nearly identical duplicates of their clients’ artwork, but they’ve also aced the test when it comes to attracting clientele seeking out a “fine-art friendly” print provider.

What are fine artists looking for in a print shop? While this will vary, of course, with the individual artist, it’s safe to say that the following attributes can go a long way when it comes to drawing a fine-art crowd:
• A passion for working with fine art and artists;
• A shop that will strive to understand the artist client’s expectations;
• Knowledge from the print provider, to steer the artist to the best media, inks, and technologies to reproduce the work;
• Attention to detail in all phases of the work, from capture to output and finishing – fine artists are probably much more intimately familiar with every aspect of their artwork than commercial clients are with their files; and
• Consistency, when it comes to color particularly, from original to print, and from print to print.

We spoke with six print shops catering to fine artists, asking them to address not only the above points, but also their marketing strategies and their expectations when it comes to the market.

Bellevue Fine Art: fostering a relationship
After traveling the world as an international business consultant, Scott Moore, owner of Seattle-based Bellevue Fine Art Reproduction ( realized that what Seattle really needed was a print shop that specialized in fine-art reproduction, high-end scanning, and color correction.

“As with many new businesses, I set out to solve my own problem. I’m an artist, and was looking for printers that could reproduce my artwork.”

Today, Bellevue dedicates 100 percent of its resources and technologies to fine-art printing and scanning. The shop’s clientele consists of about 80 percent artists, 10 percent professional photographers, and 10 percent average consumers such as art collectors and people seeking photo restoration or personal printing.

“It’s hard to throw away all that good banner business and commercial jobs that naturally come our way because we do large-format printing. But it has served both us and our clientele well to specialize in fine art, and to do it well,” says Moore.