Tips from six shops on working with fine artists and their art.
Although the shop has also worked with publishing companies to gain clients, it finds that building relationships directly with the artists is the most beneficial and rewarding route to take. Another tool used to attract new customers is the shop’s course offerings. The shop provides one-on-one instruction for photography and printing through its mentor program, which can be in person or virtually thorough Skype.
According to Schaub, Indian Hill’s philosophy is quality over quantity. The husband-and wife-owned company prints small volumes, but focuses on attention to detail and one-on-one attention, which Schaub believes is enough to attract fine-art clientele: “We are artists working for artists.”
Lizza Studios: early adoption pays off
Beginning as a company offering desktop publishing and graphic design, Pennsylvania-based Lizza Studios (lizzastudios.com) purchased a Betterlight digital scanning
back, which put it on the map as a high-quality film scanning shop.
“I was chasing a market that still wanted high-quality scans, but wanted to go digital,” says owner Bob Lizza. “At that time, I started to get one or two fine-art clients a week and decided to purchase a ColorSpan printer, which was very archaic, but it was still enough for me to enter the world of wide format.”
After about three years of experimenting with wide-format technology, Lizza found that there was a large enough market to pursue giclèe printing and became one of the first adopters of the Cruse CS285ST Digital Fine Art Scanner with a 60 x 90-inch scanning bed. Because of the scanner’s faster speed and efficiency, says Lizza, the shop’s profit margin grew substantially and backlog was eliminated thanks to not only the investment in upgraded technology, but the shop’s new dedication to better serving the fine-art community.
The risk Lizza took by being an early adopter of the Cruse paid off dramatically, he says. The shop, a restored roller rink, began attracting national and international attention. “Cruse used us as the demo location, which brought in people from all over the world and attracted so much publicity.”
The shop is primarily dedicated to serving fine-art clients, but, says Lizza, “Because of the economy, we take whatever we get. We don’t actively seek commercial clients, but we certainly don’t turn them away.” Another large portion of the business is dedicated to commercial “décor” scanning. The shop scans large materials such as onyx stone, which is far too fragile to be used for purposes such as tabletops or counters; so Lizza scans the material to then be used to create mock onyx, strong enough for a wider range of uses. Other materials scanned include wood and exotic veneers.
“Our staff is small. I am the only production person, which means we must only chase after jobs that earn the largest profit margin. For us, that’s scanning.”
Today, the shop has put the ColorSpan printer out to pasture, and now utilizes Epson printers, including several Stylus Pro 11880s and a Stylus Pro GS6000. For fine art, the shop strictly prints with aqueous inks, and turns to the GS6000 for outdoor banners and wallpaper projects.
Lizza’s key to success in fine art printing? “A staff with a real passion for the art of fine-art reproduction.”