Recent Blog Posts

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.

Your Photo On Canvas: Narcissism Unfettered

Tweet One of the most popular offerings at Gallery Direct is our photo upload service: Turn Yourself into a Work of Art.™ As a standard operating procedure, we have to verify each and every file that is uploaded. This is … Read More

One of the most popular offerings at Gallery Direct is our photo upload service: Turn Yourself into a Work of Art.

As a standard operating procedure, we have to verify each and every file that is uploaded. This is necessary to make certain the file size is large enough to reproduce the image to the desired size specified by the user. Occasionally, the file size is really small; therefore, we are unable to reproduce it. Other times, we receive copyrighted material, (naughty, naughty), and we then have to contact the customer to say we cannot create the artwork from protected material. Most times, the uploaded files are the users own photographs. We receive these as large files--around 2MB to 20MB--and the user specifies the picture to be recreated as oversized canvas artwork.

As you might imagine, holidays and seasons influence the pictures we receive. Halloween brings many requests for ghoulish artwork, and this Mother's Day season, we're noticing many poignant pix of mom. It’s nice to see so many thoughtful folks out there.

After reviewing thousands of orders for your photos on canvas, we've noticed most of the images look like pictures you might see on someone's facebook page. Gallery Direct recreates artwork from pictures of people with their pets, people kicking it at parties, on vacation, at little league games. You name it, we've recreated it. It's sort of difficult to describe, but internally, we call it a "facebooky" quality. Think about the culture. Facebook is where users post photos of themselves, creating an idealized vision of their lives--their universe, if you will--online.

Social media is changing the way people think about artwork. It's a grassroots style trend, this type of truculent-narcissistic-hyper-reality, influenced by social media and reality television. If everyday people become stars, why shouldn't everyday people become works of art?

Another source shaping the trend of your photo on canvas or as framed artwork is Reality TV, which makes celebrities of everyday people. This coupled with individual-first mantras fueled by Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, and YouTube is creating a new genre of art. Moreover, consciousness-shaping icons such as Oprah Winfrey herald the concept that the greatest sin is to go unnoticed. This is translating into a home fashion trend.

The demographic recreating artwork from personal photos seems to be split 50% women to 50% men. Moreover, based on the subject matter (i.e. what's on the photos), we're looking at a broad mid-twenties to late forties demographic.

One recent image to grace our facility was this beautiful girl wearing gossamer wings. She recreated herself as a 50x50 image. A week after the delivery, we called her to ask her what she thought of her new piece and where it was hanging, etc. The young voice exclaimed "It's hanging in my apartment. I love looking at it! I love it! Thank you!"

Why not have an idealized image of yourself hanging on your walls to coincide with the idealized way you present yourself to the world via facebook? Social media is changing the way people think about artwork. It's a grassroots style trend, this type of truculent-narcissistic-hyper-reality, influenced by social media and reality television. If everyday people become stars, why shouldn’t everyday people become works of art? It makes perfect sense, and the trend is turning out some really great artwork!

Footnote:

Oversized canvas is our number one category for your photos on canvas. I think it's because people shop around online, we have the best quality and price + the $9.99 flat rate shipping encourages very large pieces. If you are going to take the narcissistic plunge, you might consider reproducing your photos as framed art on paper and even mirror, which is something the other providers cannot boast.

Think about it. When you visit someone's place for the first time, what's the first thing you look for? What's on their walls, of course. It's human nature. Maybe there are family pictures, heirlooms, hand-me-down art or even whack trends of yesteryear. Nagel anyone? Actually I think Nagel's making a comeback. Who knows why we really do this; but it seems you can decipher a little about the person by the items on their walls. Art also has the ability to beautifully distract. The first time I saw an oversized canvas print, filling up an entire wall was at an old girlfriend's apartment; I was like, "Whoa." This was a small place and the print demanded you look at it, kept your eyes focused up and not down at the clutter. When someone asks me, "What is a focal point of a room? How is one created and what does it do?" I tell them the story of this girl's basement apartment. The oversized canvas art was a tweaked-out photo of Brigitte Bardot, presented as a giclee on canvas. It was fun to gaze at and kept my eyes off the floor: the laundry basket (maybe dirty, maybe clean?), stacks of books and magazines and empty cigar boxes with loads of costume jewelry and a rug that maybe was just a really big towel? Why look at the nasty bits, when you can look at the WOW. Oversized artwork is so much fun to look at. Because not everyone has a high-rise urban view with finer architectural elements to enhance the outside such as floor-to-ceiling windows. So if your room needs a little help, go BIG ART!