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We just revamped our art buying guide, which goes live early next month on gallerydirect.com.  We basically redid it for our new partner’s site, a major brick and mortar who happens to be major e-com player, too.  Nice.    We put a little extra love in the document. Drawing from our experience of over ten years, picking the brain of our Art Director, and throwing in a little Jungian psychology for good measure, we feel the guide will help you find the right image, pick the perfect size, hang at the optimal height and so on.  Who wants to make a mistake? Buy the wrong clothes, buy the wrong car, buy the wrong house, etc.  To avoid erring, we advise our guests to choose what they like, first. Does this mean pick the art you like and the “others” be damned? Yes, actually, it does mean that. Taste is not universally shared. You can’t please everyone, so start with pleasing yourself.  This is why, in the new guide, we strongly urge you to start with finding an image that leaps out as a strong emotional connection, like a favorite song.  It’s your checkbook, if you are not absolutely sure you love the image, you will not be able to live with it for years to come. Decorating with artwork is as subjective as it gets.  As hilarious as arguments about taste may be, they are simply pointless because taste is subjective, too.  I like chocolate. You like vanilla.  Are you going to convince me vanilla is better than chocolate by arguing an eloquent case? Probably not.  “So hey Cupcake, when it’s my hard earned money, I’ll buy my delicious chocolatey things, and with your dough, you can fill your face until the cows come home with vanilla.” From there, we instruct you how to use the artwork itself as a means to create harmony in the room. So, if someone viewing the image doesn’t share your excellent taste—meaning they aren’t connected to the image as you are—they will, at least, be able to appreciate the picture’s ability to create harmony in the space.  Sort of like, “Julia Roberts is great looking even though her mouth is enormous.” Meaning she has so many wonderful features you can look past the size of her mouth.     We want you to have your cake and eat it too. Find images that please you and work toward creating harmony within your home or office. We’re not going to lie; decorating with art is kind of an art form.  We’re happy to lend some pointers.  We’ll announce when the new art buying guide is updated on our site.  If you can’t wait until then, I suppose you’ll figure out who our new partner is. You can hunt it down there on Monday.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Austin-located fine art and specialty manufacturer of image-based products shown on the “Johnson Family” episode, which airs SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10th  (8:00-9:00p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network, continuing its commitment as one of the show’s benefactors through the entirety of Season 8 AUSTIN, Texas, October 7th, 2010— Gallery Direct (http://www.gallerydirect.com/) announces its third week of participation in ABC’s Emmy award winning, philanthropic reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Gallery Direct CEO Joseph Garcia had this to say, “After we looked at the sneak peek and saw this week’s deserving family was from our home state of Texas, we were beside ourselves with joy.  Once we got to know a little more about the Johnson’s and their contribution to strengthening marriages and home life, we were honored to play a small role in the extreme renovation of their home.” To match the sound of joy and laughter in the Houston, Texas home of Eric and Elaine Johnson and their five daughters, this episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will be filled with tears of joy. Along with help from some top comedians, including Cedric the Entertainer, Tommy Davidson, Ralphie May, Paul Rodriguez and fashion model Brooklyn Decker, the design team guarantee that the audience will be laughing instead of crying throughout this episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," SUNDAY, OCTOBER 10 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. Eric and Elaine Johnson—along with their five flamboyant and fashion-loving daughters who range in age from 5 to 14 years—were just having a fun time at a local Houston comedy club. Then design team leader Ty Pennington came out, inviting the unsuspecting family to join him onstage, and told them that they would be the latest recipients of a home makeover. Later on, the excitement continued to build as the red carpet was rolled out and all of the volunteers, builders and celebrity volunteers came to the Johnson family home for a comedy roast. The Johnsons had planned to transform their run-down house, but the one-two punch of 2008's Hurricane Ike and the economic downturn put that dream on hold. Both Eric and Elaine have dedicated their lives to rescuing family life and marriage. As Eric observed the African American community being overpowered by a seeming epidemic of family disintegration, he became passionate about African American fathers stepping up to play a larger role in their children's lives. The Johnsons began a marriage and family counseling non-profit called Optimum Lifestyle, with the goal of strengthening marriages in fun, creative ways. Their couples' seminars have possibly saved 1500 marriages and kept countless kids from growing up in single-parent homes. Eric and Elaine continued their mission while living in their dangerously dilapidated house. Now the "EM: HE" design team can help make their home safe and sound—and most importantly—match the delight and happiness that lives within it. Team leader Ty Pennington and designers Michael Moloney, Ed Sanders and Paige Hemmis specified an impressive collection of artwork for the Houston episode. Gallery Direct’s ability to create art on any surface came in handy as the designers specified an array of different substrates to beautify the Johnson’s new home.  Gallery Direct’s top man Joseph Garcia only had this to add, “Americans and Texans alike must watch this week’s show!”    About Gallery Direct Gallery Direct, a division of New Era Portfolio, a privately held company, is the global leader in providing fine art solutions. The company publishes, manufactures, and markets limited edition artwork and custom image-based products. Its expertise in managing artists, portfolios and forecasting style trends allows the company to deliver current, vital artwork to corporate and hospitality design arenas, a prestigious collection of retail clients, and directly to the consumer. Its technological command not only delivers fine custom artwork quickly, but also creates web-based solutions for blue chip retailers. Gallery Direct is proud to be creating fine American-made artwork for 10 years. For more information, please visit http://www.gallerydirect.com/. About “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” The Emmy award winning reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now in its eighth season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It’s executive-produced Brady Connell and George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET on ABC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Texas-located fine art and specialty manufacturer of image-based products shown on the “New York, New York” episode, which airs SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3rd  (8:00-9:00p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network, continuing its commitment as one of the show’s benefactors through the entirety of Season 8 AUSTIN, Texas, September 29, 2010— Gallery Direct (http://www.gallerydirect.com/) announces its next week of participation in ABC’s Emmy award winning, philanthropic reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Gallery Direct CEO Joseph Garcia had this to say, “Last week’s episode “Boys Hope/Girls Hope” was a real tear-jerker.  I was amazed at the level of participation from the Baltimore community and the immense impact that Ty and his design team had on the young women of “Girls Hope.”  It’s a worthy cause and we are thankful to play a small part in the future of this valuable organization.  We know this week’s New York episode should not be missed.”   On Sunday, the Lutz family of East Setauket, New York, thought they had simply been invited to attend an afternoon baseball game between the Yankees and the New York Mets.  In its place, they were surprised to find out they would be the latest recipients of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” via the Jumbotron screen at Yankee Stadium. Instead of design team leader Ty Pennington’s traditional morning wake up call to a deserving family, he stormed the field and announced the good news right before the game. Adding to the excitement of both the spectators and family alike, was the appearance of several New York Yankees baseball players who were there to give encouragement and support. Also, hundreds of volunteer workers, clad in the now- iconic “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” blue shirts, ran out from the dugout to join the Lutz family, Ty and fellow designers on the baseball field. In an episode that will air later this season, the theme of this build will be “New York! New York!” There will be a Broadway-like production with the entire blue shirt crew and design team singing and dancing while the home is being demolished. Also during the week of the build, there will be an extravagant parade on the family’s block complete with huge floats. The Lutzes are another representation of the kind of family “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” aims to help by building a new home in just seven days. Unable to have children of their own, loving couple Grace and John Lutz gave their hearts to 18 adopted kids in all, including seven with Down Syndrome.  After the couple passed away, their daughter, Kathleen, gave up her career and gladly came home to take care of six siblings with Down Syndrome, who currently range in age from 20 to 25 years old. Everyone agreed that putting the kids in a group home or institution was not an option. It was a good plan, until Kathleen suddenly and unexpectedly had a grand mal seizure.  Her brother, John Jr., was next at bat, sacrificing his successful career as a gymnastics coach to move home and care for his sister and siblings. Kathleen’s health is now stabilized and both brother and sister care for their family as a team. Nothing can dampen the spirits of this cheerful group. They love to sing and dance, cook and play games together. But the crumbling condition of their 40-year-old home has become a concern. The electrical is unsafe, water leaks everywhere and there is mold and rotting wood. Everybody in town loves this charming and special family. They are local celebrities and the community rallies to help them in every way. Unfortunately, their home is at a point where band-aids are not enough. The siblings need their home to be a safe permanent one, with everything to accommodate their special needs. The Lutz family will go on vacation to The Hamptons while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Tracy Hutson, local builder Alure Home Improvements and community volunteers rebuild their home. The art collection Ty Pennington and his design team put together for this week’s episode is stunning.  Gallery Direct’s reputation for making custom art quickTM gave the designers just what they needed to stay on schedule.  Gallery Direct’s Joseph Garcia concluded, “Again, we are thrilled to be part of this epic program.  We’ll be on the edge of our seats until the show airs. Go Yankees!” About Gallery Direct Gallery Direct, a division of New Era Portfolio, a privately held company, is the global leader in providing fine art solutions. The company publishes, manufactures, and markets limited edition artwork and custom image-based products. Its expertise in managing artists, portfolios and forecasting style trends allows the company to deliver current, vital artwork to corporate and hospitality design arenas, a prestigious collection of retail clients, and directly to the consumer. Its technological command not only delivers fine custom artwork quickly, but also creates web-based solutions for blue chip retailers. Gallery Direct is proud to be creating fine American-made artwork for 10 years. For more information, please visit http://www.gallerydirect.com/. About “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” The Emmy award winning reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now in its eighth season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It’s executive-produced Brady Connell and George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET on ABC.
There is a theory that power (the notion of what it is and what it represents) is trumped by seduction.  Chiefly, that power is weaker than seduction because of its irreversibility.  A movement or a leader takes a stand forcing their program upon the public.  Whether it’s good (such as civil rights) or bad (such as Nazism), adversaries form an antithetical unit of power, opposing the dominate power to enact change; thus, power isn’t all powerful. Paradigms are born and those paradigms are destroyed by new paradigms, and so on.  In an advocacy sense, seduction (the notion of what it is and what it represents) is reversible, but seeks to influence and not command. In this manner, seduction is similar to the concept of the past, where the past influences everything, but dictates nothing.  Seduction works by influencing the seduced to act on behalf of the message.  The messages vary such as live healthy, become a custodian for the environment, be charitable.  Messages are more meaningful when are acted upon through individual choice, rather than dictated by a governmental force (of power) or a de facto movement.  At gallerydirect.com, we sometimes debate as part of our team-building exercises. These are useful discussions meant to encourage respect for our differences of opinion, while recognizing the need to converge as a team in order to be productive and in the end sell a bunch of artwork in the healthiest, most creative and most respectful way.  At one such event a question was posed by our moderator.  Who is the greatest American activist? Some said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., others, Malcolm X; there were some RFKs, some JFKs and one Ronald Reagan (weird I know).  As you can imagine a very lively discussion ensued. The only candidate presented that wasn’t assassinated or shot at was Bill Cosby.  I wish I had said that.  MLK, Malcolm X, the Kennedys and Reagan are symbols of power.  Cosby is an entertainer.  Yet the case was convincingly made that he’s done more for civil rights than any African-American, past or present. A non-activist activist.  Civil rights works best when acceptance is promoted. Who wouldn’t want to give rights to the “accepted?” Furthermore, what good are the rights to the newly bestowed, if they are not accepted universally?  How does one become accepted? By having a march or an assembly? By making a rousing speech?  I’m not criticizing these by any means, but movements and demagoguing are examples of power, and with power there is resistance and sometimes violence and death.  The best way to influence change and live another day to influence more change is by seducing the ignorant and the undecided.  The best way to seduce is to entertain. Looking at Cosby’s television career, starting in 1965, he plays super-spy and scholar, “Scotty” in the groundbreaking and massively popular television show “I Spy.” His character was presented as an equal to his (white) partner “Kelly,” played by Robert Culp.  In “Scotty’s” realistic portrayal, by Cosby, race isn’t discussed or presented as an issue.  What’s more, he’s doing things that are not everyday, but rather things that are inspiring, while in the service of his country and chillin’ in exotic locations.  Moreover, “Kelly’s” acceptance and admiration for his partner “Scotty” translates to the audience’s acceptance and admiration. In the 1970s, Cosby goes to work on my personal favorite of his shows, “Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids.”  What’s really accomplished here?  He’s bringing the message of acceptance by showing kids being kids (much like the "Our Gang" series of Hal Roach), but the kids happen to be African-American.  This show influenced a whole generation of suburban white kids, watching Saturday morning cartoons.  Again race isn’t the issue, just kids living in the city and learning important life lessons. But in 1984, the debut of “The Cosby Show” took it to the next level. “The Cosby Show” was unparalleled in its depiction of an intellectual, prosperous, African-American family.  The show didn’t have to take a stance on race, instead became a prima facie statement of normal family life, promoting acceptance through entertainment by portraying acceptance.  Its symbol of change is cloaked in its portrayal of normalcy. To this day “The Cosby Show” remains the top rated show of all time.  We bring this case today, not because of our desire to show how our think tank operates, which has been described by some in the industry as radical.  We’re not trying to be overly philosophical, either.  Gallery Direct is beyond delighted to be involved with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”  A series that we feel is a direct descendant of the work produced by Mr. Bill Cosby. This is a show that influences many Americans to contribute to their community and consider the circumstances of others, but does it in a manner that is more applicable to today’s world through spectacle, collective-heroism and hyper-philanthropy.  “EMHE” is celebrating its eighth season, which is how long “The Cosby Show” reigned.  Much like the programs of Bill Cosby, it promotes unity and hope and entertains at the same time.  In the end, entertainment is as important as the message because if the show wasn’t entertaining, no one would watch, would they?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE American fine art and specialty manufacturer of image-based products shown on the two-part episode, which airs SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 (7:00-8:00 & 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network, and signs agreement to be one of the show’s charitable contributors for every subsequent episode through Season 8 AUSTIN, Texas, September 22, 2010— Gallery Direct (http://www.gallerydirect.com/) announced its participation in ABC’s Emmy award winning, philanthropic reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” today.  Gallery Direct CEO Joseph Garcia stated with enthusiasm, “The entire staff of Gallery Direct is simultaneously excited and humbled to be involved with ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.’ We consider it a great honor to donate the artwork for season eight.  We are truly thankful to play a small part in improving the circumstances of the many families and communities, which the show assists each year. We are eager to see the star-studded season opener later this month.” “Boys Hope/Girls Hope,” Parts 1 & 2 – Ty Pennington and his design team, including new designers Xzibit and Jillian Harris, traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to surprise the students of Boys Hope/Girls Hope in a unique way and reveal to them that their lives were about to change. For the first time in the history of the show, the recipients were surprised on live television when the “EM: HE” team greeted the students with the good news. Another first in the show’s 170-plus episode history came unannounced, courtesy of Mother Nature, when an epic rainstorm threatened to knock the 11,000 square foot build off its strict seven-day schedule. Adding to the excitement, drama and fun of the build was the participation of the kids from the Emmy Award-winning comedy “Modern Family” (Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriquez), actress Raven-Symoné, basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal and music sensation Katy Perry. Boys Hope/Girls Hope in Baltimore, Maryland, invites students from difficult, at-risk backgrounds to live in a home that provides a safe environment, academic tutoring, mentoring and opportunities to give back to the community. Since 1991, 100% of the participants who completed the program have attended college. For now, there is only a home for the boys, giving them a secure place to live and excel academically and athletically. But the girls’ program, which just accepted its first seven members, does not have a building. The Boys Hope male scholars reached out for help to the “EM: HE” team to provide a place for the girls in their community that would offer them the same educational and emotional support that they enjoy. Their hope is that this new home away from home will change the lives of these young girls, as well as for future generations of promising young women. The seven-day build was challenged by some of the worst weather the show has faced. After installing the insulation, electrical wiring and drywall, it was all destroyed by a massive storm, putting the home in serious jeopardy. The kids from “Modern Family” arrived as reinforcements and provided lots of laughs along the way. Also, celebrity volunteer Shaquille O’Neal added an awesome yet educational touch to the new Girls Hope building. The seven young ladies from Girls Hope went on a star-studded vacation to Hollywood, with a special send off from their hero, Raven-Symoné, who stayed on in Baltimore to help the design team. Once in Hollywood, the girls met Katy Perry, their favorite pop superstar; and got a real taste of glitz and glam watching Katy at work in the recording studio at Hollywood landmark Capitol Records. Katy, along with new “EM: HE” team member Xzibit, designed a special room at Girls Hope inspired by Katy’s music video, “California Girls.” Ty Pennington and his design team put together a vast and beautiful collection of limited edition images from Gallery Direct for use in the new facility. The renowned fine art specialty manufacturer created the selection exactly to the team’s specifications. Gallery Direct’s Joseph Garcia concluded, “We were more than happy to make this small contribution to the beneficiaries of the Boys Hope/Girls Hope. We look forward to contributing more of our images as the season progresses. Giving away our artwork makes us very happy.” About Gallery Direct Gallery Direct, a division of New Era Portfolio, a privately held company, is the global leader in providing fine art solutions. The company publishes, manufactures, and markets limited edition artwork and custom image-based products. Its expertise in managing artists, portfolios and forecasting style trends allows the company to deliver current, vital artwork to corporate and hospitality design arenas, a prestigious collection of retail clients, and directly to the consumer. Its technological command not only delivers fine custom artwork quickly, but also creates web-based solutions for blue chip retailers. Gallery Direct is proud to be creating fine American-made artwork for 10 years. For more information, please visit http://www.gallerydirect.com/. About “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” The Emmy award winning reality program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” now entering its 8th season, is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. It’s executive-produced Brady Connell and George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. The show airs Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET on ABC.
Whether anyone wants to admit it (or not), Americans have a religious devotion to celebrities.  Our culture is based on this new type of celebrity-theocracy.  Look at the massively popular “American Idol,” a manufacturing plant for making idols, theocratic in its audience participation constituent.  A trip to the supermarket displays the various tracts covering the tenets of our celebrity movement.  How many websites cover celebrity news? How many television programs are dedicated to the celebrity?   There is one crucial problem.  In the Judeo-Christian sense, celebrities don’t behave very God-like.  They’re more likely to get thrown into rehab or start controversies, or like Narcissus, they get stuck at the mirror of fame, unable to see what is going on around them.  The doctrine of traditional faith is chiefly about self-improvement through selflessness in order to promote stronger communities.  Selflessness is not a very celebrity-type thing to do, and serving with humility is not normally part of the celebrity skill-set.    Extreme Makeover: Home Edition represents a strong shift in the paradigm of our celebrity-dominated culture.  The thing that makes this show phenomenal is its depictions of celebrities acting not like celebrities.  Rather, the show presents celebrities being humble, serving others, assisting communities, and in the process brings these communities together, much like the way a religious conviction might serve the public. EMHE is the celebrity-driven, hyper-philanthropic show working good in the lives of deserving families and communities.  It combines the new celebrity-theocracy with the traditional functions of faith, such as promoting welfare and unification of the community, and presents the message as spectacle.  Who doesn’t want to be part of that movement?  This is why the entire staff of Gallery Direct is thrilled be involved with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  We consider it a great privledge to donate the artwork for season eight.  We are humbled when we think about what the show does, who the show helps and what the show represents. So while Mrs. Hillary Rodham-Clinton’s “it takes a village to raise a child” philosophy has often been debated and criticized over the years, one thing seems apparent in the eight season run of EMHE: It takes a celebrity to raise a village.
On the 26th of September, 2010, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s 8th season premieres on ABC at 8/7c. Earlier this year, the producers of the show contacted Gallery Direct, unexpectedly, and asked us to donate artwork for the entire season.  We were thrilled to sign the agreement shortly thereafter.  If you read our blog, you know Gallery Direct is fascinated with reality television, celebrity culture and spectacle.  Moreover, we are constantly examining how these affect modern mankind and influence communication because entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. Before we continue, we’d like to say a few words about our involvement with EMHE.  The entire staff of Gallery Direct is simultaneously excited and humbled to be involved with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  We consider it a great honor to donate the artwork for season eight.  We are truly thankful to play a small part in improving the circumstances of the many families and communities, which the show assists each year. One aspect of the show we value is the truth in advertising its own over-the-top-ness.  Perfectly named Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the show creates hyper-remodels for families in great need, and every aspect of the show is measured in extremes.  Week after week, the undertaking and end result are astonishing.  An extremely short build-time of one week translates to an extremely large effort in order to recreate or completely replace the family’s home. This requires hyper-involvement from the community where the beneficiaries reside, the contribution of skilled and unskilled volunteers, the large-scale coordination of industry players such as the various builders, and the participation of manufacturers such as Gallery Direct. We are a specialty producer of fine art limited editions and image-based products.      Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is the standout show of standout shows, remarkable and unique in its ability to merge our over-the-top BLING! culture with hyper-philanthropy for the purposes of entertainment, where the community-en-masse participates in a heroic feat.  Each week’s staged grassroots spectacle creates very real results, measured in blood, sweat, and tears.  This is why watching the show is often a visceral experience.  The good the show does is extremely tangible.  EMHE is an entertainment program that is the delivery vehicle for benevolent goodwill.  So, if “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” then the road to heaven surely must be paved with feats such these. Read Part II

If Gallery Direct was a television series. . .

Tweet Remember the television miniseries? These were national/cultural events affecting every local community back in the day.  If the content wasn’t too risqué, maybe the parental units would let you stay up late to watch?  Ah, then the talk about the … Read More

Remember the television miniseries? These were national/cultural events affecting every local community back in the day.  If the content wasn’t too risqué, maybe the parental units would let you stay up late to watch?  Ah, then the talk about the miniseries at school the next day! Cute girls fawning over The Thorn Birds.  “Oh man, pretend to know what they’re talking about,” I would think to myself.  The bigger budgets, the pre-premiere hype. Shogun, Thorn Birds, V, Roots, North and South, The Winds of War, Rich Man, Poor Man.  These were a huge deal, like the Super Bowl except for the arts. The “eventiness” of the miniseries is over.  Unlike the Super Bowl, these are out of fashion, like a dedicated home landline, hooked to an answering machine.  In fact, the Super Bowl is a relic, which adapted to dominate the collective consciousness unlike any other spectacle.  Even the World Series, sports precursor to the television miniseries, isn’t as part of the national consciousness as it was in the past. The miniseries became unnecessary as every worthwhile television series is available online or delivered by Netflix.  Eavesdropping on your co-workers conversation about an unfamiliar T.V. show?  Hull yourself up in the house over the weekend and catch up by Monday morning.  Our household heard Mad Men was amazing.  We were caught up in a week or so.  Just like that.  We don’t think about entertainment the way we did in the 1970s or 1980s. Things change. When you’re the only game in town, you make the rules, the way the three networks did back before the cable television explosion and the internet. Entertainment then, a handful of channels, a handful of sports.  Entertainment today, millions of channels, countless new sports.  Is this a good thing?  Go back and rent an old miniseries such as North and South. You tell me. At gallerydirect.com, we look at the way artwork WAS brought to you like a miniseries.  It had its place, but its time has come and gone.  Fine art on par with our quality used to be super-expensive.  A trip to the custom frame shop was painful and the stuff everyday households could afford was made cheaply. The selection of finer “brick & mortar” stores were limited by whims of their buyer’s aesthetic. We were examining high level marketing strategies this week, particularly “branding.”  What would Gallery Direct be, if we were a television entity, series, genre, channel or whatnot?  PBS? The Thorn Birds? The Super Bowl?  We would probably be YouTube.  We’re pretty much just a facilitator—albeit a sophisticated facilitator—to the user, who creates world class artwork by harnessing millions of images or uploading their own, then customizing it to their specific needs, sent to us instantly and created on the fly. Will cute girls talk about us before the bell rings for class? Probably not.  That’s okay, their moms love us.

The fine line between high tech and fine art

Tweet This week our team examined a month’s worth of customer comments. Although there was feedback regarding our recent site improvements, the vast majority of customer comments were rave reviews about the artwork itself, i.e. the images hanging in their … Read More

This week our team examined a month’s worth of customer comments. Although there was feedback regarding our recent site improvements, the vast majority of customer comments were rave reviews about the artwork itself, i.e. the images hanging in their homes. We were touched by the positive connections our customers have with their new artwork. Over ten years in the art business has taught Gallery Direct many things. A decade ago, we participated in national art shows (called trade shows). These are exhibits where art companies show their stuff, are forced to socialize with their competitors, and pretend to like them. We quickly learned everything we needed to know. First, the mien of the industry players was something we found off-putting. A lot of snobbery and tony fronts abound in the art world. Second, not one of the players is what we would call business-minded. These were two traits we didn’t feel like emulating, so we bounced from the trade show commitment. Any business person knows: you have to work for your supper. It wasn’t hard to figure out the other established fine art publishers were not doing so. Instead, they were in the business of selling a positive illusion to the end consumer, and the price of the illusion was steep. Traditionally speaking, an art publisher signs artists, releases and markets the artists’ work. But who’s printing it? Who’s framing it? Not the publisher. Outside vendors are handling the manufacturing. With every layer, channel or hand in the pot the cost of the artwork goes up and up. So, having fine art limited editions on the wall was cost prohibitive to most Americans. This didn’t sit well with us. We quickly moved to be a vertically integrated solution for art lovers, handling artist and art acquisition, scanning, printing, framing, and marketing. Since this became our business model, we took it one step further. Why not offer customization of each image and on the fly? Moreover, vertical integration means we were also able to react to the changes in home fashion faster than any fine art publisher in the world. - Reacting to the market on a macro-level, finding artwork and directing artists to meet the needs of the ever-changing trends in color and home fashion. - Interacting with the end user, the customer, on a micro-level, via our website with all its customization features. There is no one offering what we offer, anywhere in the world. We are thankful our customers love their new artwork, but the price is the reason it hangs on their walls. Before Gallery Direct moved to vertical integration, our artwork was selling for 6 to 9 times more than it is today. Sad, but true story. The artwork of Gallery Direct is 100% created by artists and photographers and 100% recreated by our staff using technology that is off the hook. To this very day, when I walk through the facility, I say to myself, “DAYUM! That’s a lot of high-tech equipment.” The folks running the technology, recreating the art, framing each image, and sending it out our back door work in a series of independent cells. It looks reminiscent of the Paper Street House in the movie Fight Club. We invested millions in this technology to produce world class fine art, not junk, not posters. We make real art at an affordable price, eons away from the ersatz snobbery of the past. While we’re all used to the “Designed in California” “Assembled in China” messaging of Apple, which is an attempt to make you feel better about a foreign made product. Nice try. Understand this: our artwork is designed all over the globe, customized by you and assembled in Austin, Texas. You can feel awesome about that. We do. Thanks again to everyone loving their new artwork and passing the positive feedback our way. We are nothing without our customers.
It’s fascinating how many digital photo printing sites are fighting for a page one google ranking. Why are there so many photo to canvas printing sites? More people have digital cameras and businesses want to make money from this market for ultra-personalized artwork. But, why do folks want to turn their lives into artwork? That’s the question, and the answer’s as obvious as a 25-carat cubic zirconia: “BLING!” Two small New York subcultures captured the media attention in the mid-1970s, Punk and Hip Hop (sorry England, you can’t take credit for birthing the Punk, only proliferating it). Little did we know it at the time, but these two subcultures would battle it out to become the dominant marketing-cultural paradigms of the Western World. Let’s meet our candidates. Both Punk and Hip Hop are “folk” movements, not in a musical sense, but in a grassroots sense. The subcultures gave hope to their participants though artistic expression, simultaneously creating unity while seeking empowerment. The different tools the subcultures employed were not limited to music, but also included how you speak, how you dress, and how you move. Both subcultures used the DIY (do-it-yourself) mantra to unify and increase the member-base, and provided very basic requirements for their members. The DIY mantra then expands to “Just do it,” express yourself first, worry about progressing your talent second. Can’t play your guitar very well? That’s not a requisite to be on stage; use what you’ve got to convey your message (Punk ethos). Can’t sing? You can rap; you just need something to say (Hip Hop ethos). Where the two subcultures greatly differ is in their view of the Establishment. Hip Hop always sought to become part of it, to attain the values, the objects, and the status of the Establishment. Punk sought to destroy those values. Moreover, Punk, rooted in Western-culture, reinforced self-deprecation as a means to stand-out for its participants. This is a very European concept to make fun of yourself. Hip Hop, rooted in African-culture, reinforced self-glorification as a means to stand-out. This is the dominant cultural standard in the Western World today, to stand-out, to say “LOOK AT ME.” This is why today Hip Hop is still Hip Hop, but Punk--with its destroy the establishment and self-deprecation message--morphed or splintered into many different movements: Indie-rock, Post Punk, Emo, Hipster, and the like. Likewise, regardless of how one’s talent pushes the artist to success, the artist must always be leery of his talent and the Establishment, celebrating it. In the end, maybe it’s better to kill yourself and avoid becoming part of the Establishment? As evidenced in the suicides of Ian Curtis of Joy Division and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. Do you think Jay-Z or Kanye would ever “off” themselves? Hell No. In contrast to Punk’s self-deprecation is Hip Hop’s belief that the individual and the celebration of the individual are paramount. No matter your income bracket or talent level, people should shine like stars, BLING! Hip Hop’s greatest contribution to the world is BLING! You matter most; start acting like it, even if it proceeds your current status. Conceive + Believe = Achieve. So while you might hear a Ramones' song selling cars or a Clash tune hocking soda, the world we live in is not Punkland, but Planet Hip Hop. Today’s world is about self-celebration, not self-deprecation. Advertising revolves around self-celebration. Television revolves around self-celebration and is the chief contributing factor to the proliferation of Reality TV and YouTube. BLING!, where everyday people shine like stars. So, why are there so many digital photo canvas printing sites? BLING!- consumer products revolve around self-celebration, too. BLING! is for any income bracket, from Oprah to Jessi Slaughter. Canvas Photo Printing is a medium, offering a low cost, high-quality solution to turn yourself into a work of art™. You don’t need to commission an artist to celebrate your fabulous life. You can just upload and have it turned into wall decor. We sell an astronomical amount of photos on canvas. We’ve been at this for ten years, and we’re amazed the orders show no signs of slowing down. We’re launching a micro-site, dedicated to handling just photo upload. It will be very easy to use with an incredibly slick design; because things need to be simple, so people can get back to their fabulous lives. Aside from our quality and price being the best for digital photo canvas printing, the user will not be limited to just canvas. Just like gallerydirect.com, the new micro-site will offer alternative media and framing options. BLING! If you really want to celebrate your fabulousness, you might consider printing your digital photo on a mirror! Footnote: Eminem blew up to hyper-stardom because he was the first to mix the self-deprecation of the Punk-tradition into Hip Hop, a little something for everyone.