Recent Blog Posts

Animal and bird artwork might be linked to man’s primal need more than any other genre. The cave paintings at Lascaux, in the Dordogne of France, are some of the earliest (circa-15,000 B.C.) depictions of animals inside a home: primitive wall decor. Noticeably absent among the 2000 images are any representations of landscape or vegetation. It seems ancient man needed to stay connected to faunae over florae. While the need to have food, clothing and shelter is apparent for our world and ancient mankind, the need to stay linked to animals, using artwork also seems vital. Are the folks who purchase animal and bird art today more in touch with their caveman side? Does it mean civilization is programmed to celebrate animals, but the environment, not so much? Or, as man moved out of cave-shelters into urban centers, learned how to domesticate animals and readily kill any that were a threat, the need to depict the animal kingdom tapered? Gallery Direct has a massive selection of artwork celebrating fauna and flora. The categories are popular; but in the end, we sell much more landscape and botanical artwork than animal and bird prints. We live in one of the “greenest” cities in America: Austin, TX, which also happens to be one of the most “pet friendly” cities on the planet. We talk a lot about respecting the environment, right before we get into our automobiles and drive to Whole Foods. What would the inhabitants of ancient Lascaux think of that?

Pasticcio, Hip Hop and Andy Warhol

Tweet We recently signed a new artist to a limited edition publishing agreement. Her name is Peggy Weiss, and her work is unique among our collection of artists. It’s a new, digital version of pasticcio. In the art world, the … Read More

We recently signed a new artist to a limited edition publishing agreement. Her name is Peggy Weiss, and her work is unique among our collection of artists. It’s a new, digital version of pasticcio. In the art world, the pasticcio (in French, pastiche) is a composition made from a selection of different works. Peggy utilizes snapshots and deconstructs and reassembles them into convincing works of art, applying—as she goes—her own personal touches with the broad range of instruments available to the digital artist today, such as a mac, networked to a scanner and digital tablet, Photoshop, and various other imaging tools. Peggy’s take on the pasticcio is one of the most unique we’ve seen, slightly edgy, at times haunting, and always familiar lyrical renditions of past and narrative future. We don’t see many submissions from artists working in pastiche, so when we found an artist in our own backyard (Austin, TX), making compelling pasticcio, we were thrilled to sign her.

Recycling Copies

Some critics find pasticcio dangerous, viewing it as a force that seeks to negate the traditional/ancient genres of art. Why? Put simply: painters paint; Sculptors sculpt. A traditional artist is not likely to learn/use a host of new digital tools in order to create art, when a paintbrush and canvas suffice. Moreover, the traditionalists are troubled by pasticcio’s use of existing images or source material to create new, original artwork. We think it’s ironic the “fine arts”—anchored in the strictest traditional parameters—are the last to embrace the dominant paradigm of this age: recycling copies of the familiar to create a new original. This is one definition of hyperrealism. Who do we thank for this brave new world? Hip Hop and Andy Warhol.

Hip Hop and Warhol

In the mid-1970s, a DJ first used two turntables to create new music, blending different existing sourced material, recorded on vinyl records. The New York subculture Hip Hop was born. The originality comes in the combination or the blending of original sourced material rather than creating what is completely new. This New York subculture is now the mainstream. Look at popular music today. You’ll hear previously recorded beats, bass-lines and melodic hooks from past familiar songs, recycled to create a new release. First, because the sourced material has merit (meaning it’s good). Second, because the familiarity of the material creates endearment in the audience. Isn’t this what Andy Warhol did? Recycling copies of the familiar to create a new reality. And the kids go wild. . .

Three Ways to Look at Art

Some people may say there is no art working with copies. We disagree. But then again we are the largest fine art limited edition publisher, printmaker and artisan framer in the world. Our specialty is selling copies of original sourced material. What is art anyway? First, I’ve read art, along with science and philosophy, seeks to order (meaning make sense of) chaos. Second, others might say (new) art seeks to destroy the dominant artistic paradigms or conventions of the past. Third, for many of our customers, art is something to purchase because it goes with their sofa. If you are in the latter referenced group (or any combination of the three for that matter), you might consider our new pasticcio artist, Peggy Weiss. She’s current, just edgy enough, and her artwork would look great over your sofa!
Sometimes, it can be very painful listening to feedback and the egos of our developers get a little bruised. But having the best selection of fully customizable artwork online doesn't amount to much if usability is an issue. So we solicited feedback from you and worked with a couple of third party quality assurance (QA) folks. We listened, rolled up our sleeves, and improved our site for you. Here's the list of site modifications, added to improve usability and your overall experience. Advanced Filters by Subject At a high-level, browse through various art subjects/themes quickly. Nice. Advanced Filters by Artist Quickly search through all the artists. Just like that. Check out the search by color function. Find exactly what you need. Easily match artwork to your wall color, furnishings and home accents. Accessorize away! We also added a Help section, outlining our satisfaction guarantee, shipping policy, return guidelines, and site FAQ. How cool is that? Other improvements include: We re-designed the header and left bar navigation menus to be more intuitive. Navigate faster than ever. The art product pages now display larger images and more descriptive keyword phrases to help you narrow down the search. Check out the new "Others also Bought" section on category and product pages to help provide more art ideas. We added a product carousel on the home page. This helps you see our most popular bestsellers. Don't you love it when companies actually do what you say? We're really listening to your comments. Please keep them coming.
We think the digital camera might be one of the most significant inventions of all time, particularly, the gazillion megapixel cameras of today. The digital camera didn't close down photo development sites or put photographers, en masse, out of work. The digital camera's contribution is simple, yet profound: the amount of people capturing time increased exponentially. Recently, our friends at Fotolia taught us a new term, "the happy accident." It's that one image out of dozens or even hundreds, which makes you go, "WOW!" The one that looks like a professional took the picture, the one that says I have to upload it and turn it into hang-able wall decor. The image that makes you say, "I want my photo as canvas wall art, or framed on paper, or recreated as art on metal, acrylic, or even mirror." At Gallery Direct, we've now reproduced thousands of happy accidents for customers. Most of the images are absolutely stunning. If the photo upload user could consistently reproduce images such as the ones we've turned into wall art, we would sign some of these folks to limited edition fine art publishing agreements. Therein marks the difference between professional and amateur photographers. A professional photographer can capture compelling images readily and without fail. An amateur photographer, such as my 13 year old niece, will take about 2500 pictures to find one happy accident!
A close friend of mine once owned an Aston Martin. It was truly a beautiful car. Inside the door sill, on the driver's side, there was a little personalized plaque that said, "Handbuilt in England for Derek A." I thought that was a nice touch. What does Gallery Direct have in common with Aston Martin? We hand-make each image to your specifications right here in Austin, Texas. Another correlation is Gallery Direct, like Aston Martin, is a mark of supreme quality. Where we differ, thankfully, is affordability. Fine Art For Everyone is our mantra, and everyone here takes this message seriously. Another difference, Derek waited five months to take delivery of his Aston Martin. We ship our clients' custom-made artwork in two to four days. Nice.

Us

We're quintessentially the new style of American art company: combining the quality and customization of a luxury brand with the value and price of a normal household purchase. We are the largest limited edition fine art publisher, printmaker and artisan framer in the world. This means we do it all: we find the artists and the artwork; we market and recreate the art ourselves. There is no middleman between the artwork and your walls. Our commitment to "Made in the U.S.A." resonates in the artists we promote, mouldings we offer, the glass, matboards, paper and canvas we buy. The ink for our über-green, latex printer is made in Puerto Rico, which is technically not the U.S.A., but really close! We're proud to be creating fine American-made artwork for 10 years. Enough about us, let's talk about you.

You

Gallery Direct makes a special experience for the guests to our site, providing you with all the tools that a gallery curator and an interior designer would covet. This is a new genre of art: hyper-pluralism meets fine art production. You create world class fine art by harnessing -- literally -- millions of images, specifying the size, the medium, and framing options, sent to us in an instant and custom-made for you on the fly. Every image you select is available as framed wall art on paper, canvas art, fine art on acrylic, metal art and even imagery presented on mirror; or, make artwork from your photos. Turn yourself into a work of art™. You can't do that in China. Actually, I don't know of anywhere you can do this. Not even art.com offers the type of granular customization we do, and Gallery Direct is still the lowest price on the web. Not even the online canvas printing services can compete with us: not on price, not on quality, and not on customization. The only thing we might be missing is little plaques on the artwork, "handbuilt for _________ in Austin, Texas."
Back in the day, people gave flowers for any occasion. Particularly, the Victorians were known for giving flowers as a significant definition of their historical period. They used flowers as a means of expressing emotions in their famously -- and emotionally -- repressed culture. Over the years, giving flowers faded with fashion, went the way of the personal letter delivered by courier. This is sad, because it's a nice gesture. Understandably, technological advances such as the telephone and its successors destroyed courier-delivered love notes. Why did flower delivery, en masse, go out of fashion? One theory, as the world became more modern, people began to express their emotions better. The need to give flowers lost its significance. The only vital adherence of emotion to flower giving is when expressing loss or condolences. Grief sharing is very difficult and awkward to express verbally. Flowers assist communicating sorrow. Their use is ascetically and aesthetically appropriate, giving something dead to honor the memory of one once lived. Today, we live in a culture, which easily expresses emotions. In fact, we live for it. Think Reality Television, once more with feeling! Ironically, as we have become more emotional, we have become more practical, and generally folks don't like stuff that dies. We also live in a bang-for-your-buck consumerist society. Consumers want to spend their income on things that last. People also like a sure bet. This is why gift cards, as a present, are so popular. Romantic, "No." Sensible, "Yes." But as giving flowers has lost significance, adorning walls with floral images is as popular as ever. At Gallery Direct, we're always amazed at how many "florals" people buy from us. The lasting appeal of colorful floral art prints and botanical artwork is the onlooker can enjoy these over and over. You don't have to be a Victorian to appreciate that.
Metal art has a historic / symbolic quality. The media is the message, almost as much as the artwork that's created from it. Metal connotes progress, historical periods (e.g. Bronze Age), and adornment (e.g. jewelry). It's unique among fine art media. Metal as it fashioned household items coincided with its usefulness as a medium to display ancient man's aesthetics. In fact, art on metal allows modern man a glimpse at ancient man's life and culture. Who may have conquered the culture, which deities the culture worshipped, and even what their diets consisted of. Metal also tells us the not-so-ancient man's story, particularly the stuff he was purchasing. An antique-collector friend recently gushed to me about a pristine cache of old advertisements on metal he acquired. I asked, "Would those be as meaningful, if they were paper signs?" He laughed. To this end, we'll take our crack at being part of history. We offer our entire line on metal, and we sell a fair bit of it. All of our images -- particularly colorful abstract -- look brilliant on metal. Artwork on aluminum has an enhanced luminescence. It's shiny; it's sleek, très moderne! Ironically, our top seller is vintage art on metal, mainly the artwork of Cappiello. Folks are trying to recreate an old time look with a more modern feel, and based on the prices my friend charges for his antique metal signs, I think you'd be better off going Gallery Direct!

Framed wall art & the insiders’ language

Tweet Products with a higher aesthetic such as art, wine or fashion often have an insiders’ language associated with it. Lay people attempt learning the insiders’ a language to be, or seem, more in the know. Take for instance when … Read More

Products with a higher aesthetic such as art, wine or fashion often have an insiders’ language associated with it. Lay people attempt learning the insiders’ a language to be, or seem, more in the know. Take for instance when someone calls in a reservation to a restaurant and says, “it’s for an 8-top.” The person fielding the call might think the guest’s in the biz, or an insider. Or if someone visits a wine shop and asks the salesperson for a “tannic red,” instead of saying a “really dry red.” It might indicate the customer knows what’s up. A fashion forward shopper might know what a grainline is, why a facing is important, when mitering is useful. On the commercial-side of our business, at Gallery Direct, we adhere to a professional (or insiders’) language. These terms have been used for decades (or longer) and are hallowed by usage and consecrated by time. Consider this your brief tour of industry terms for framed wall art. These words don’t exactly translate well to the consumer-side, meaning we’d never use them to describe our framed art because, well, these are sort of silly sounding. Take the industry term substrate. This is the medium, such as paper, canvas, acrylic, wood, and the like. Lithograph is the fancy word art companies give to their cheap posters made from an off-set printing process. Giclée is the term for a high quality image or limited edition print (i.e. the stuff we sell). Moulding, that’s a good one. This is the frame that goes around artwork. Glazing is probably our favorite silly word, which means the clear glass of the picture. Now you know. This concludes your brief tour of industry terms for framed wall art. For the most part, if you use the above terms, you might sound like an insider . . .but you'll probably sound more like a dork.
Today’s article in the Wall Street Journal entitled The New Rules of Remodeling is a fantastic read, not only because it seems to forecast hope for the U.S. economy, but it also highlights the wherewithal of the American homeowner. The housing market delivers blows, and the American homeowner learns, reacts and adjusts. We love reading stuff like this. Many of the economic factors discussed in the article by M.P. McQueen are influencing Gallery Direct’s business, for sure. Our business is up 65% from last year. People are smarter about remodeling, as homeowners realize they need not worry about flipping their houses, but concern themselves with “making their homes more comfortable for a longer-than-expected stay.” We are very grateful to be part of this movement. We also think there is a paradigm shift in home decorating today. The DIY ethos is moving from the blood-sweat-and-tears legwork of doing it yourself to the role playing of designing it yourself: thinking like a designer, not working like a dog. Television viewers, tuning in to HGTV, see just how difficult it is to DIY. Moreover, who wants to spend Saturday afternoons on home improvements, hanging wallpaper on 20+ foot ceilings? It’s no surprise that oversized framed art and large canvas artwork are the number one selling categories for Gallery Direct. We’ve made our entire line customizable, which means every image can be reproduced huge. It seems oversized artwork has replaced wallpaper, beautifying walls everywhere. Homeowners know, in the end, it's not about the process of a job well-done, but the end result of a room well-designed, and this is an addendum to The New Rules of Remodeling.
Home Theaters. Beautiful Wine Closets. Tuscan-influenced landscapes. Professional Kitchens. Resort Quality Bedding. Professional-looking, fully stocked in-home bars. What does this all mean? People are venturing out less and staying at home more. Duh. The problem with staying home is it invites us to face our own mortality. You're growing up, you’re getting old, and you’re becoming sedentary. Think hard. Where are your best memories; where did they take place? Are they inside the walls of your home? I'd venture a guess, "No." We've wondered why a contemporary online art gallery should be swamped with orders upon orders for vintage art, particularly vintage advertisements and travel posters. People are getting more nostalgic, but why? For the exact items depicted in the vintage advertisements they are purchasing, obscure liqueurs they'll never taste, or places they may never have visited? It seems that people are not trying to recreate exact copies of their experiences. We've asked two hundred or so folks, and that's not the case at all. People are taking chances in their artwork choices for the home with vintage images. A cigarette advertisement, when they don't smoke. A travel poster for a country that doesn't exist anymore. The collector is creating a feeling, not a look. Good interior designers know: all "looks" are copies and all "feelings" are evocative. I remember a friend from college. He was a jetsetter. At his lake house, his father had the master bedroom made into an exact copy of his favorite hotel room at the Ritz in Paris. It was GARISH. In this exact copy, it lost its soul. It evoked nothing. He went for the copy and not for the feeling. Mistake #1. Always go for the feeling. Evocate a place, a memory, a time. The beauty of vintage art is it looks like it's from somewhere else, not your home. It brings "somewhere else" in your home. The artwork takes you out of the house, using your imagination. This type of imagination is akin to reading a book (active) as opposed to watching television (passive). When your imagination is active, you don’t have time to think about your own mortality. People are creating an individual expression which mirrors the outside world, but is the expression of a unique personal consciousness and a desire to be somewhere else besides home. I think that's why this category took off as soon as we launched it. The recession is helping too, for the price of a night out you can buy a couple of beautiful vintage prints on paper or canvas, which will last a couple of lifetimes. Nice.