Houston Texas’s Best Artist

Tweet Gallery Direct Artist, Justin Garcia, was voted the Editors Choice Best Artist of 2013 by the Houston Press. Painter Justin Garcia calls himself an abstract expressionist. It’s a more accurate label than simple artist, he says. Garcia is currently … Read More

Gallery Direct Artist, Justin Garcia, was voted the Editors Choice Best Artist of 2013 by the Houston Press. Painter Justin Garcia calls himself an abstract expressionist. It's a more accurate label than simple artist, he says. Garcia is currently enjoying success with both collectors and critics. In today's fickle art world, that's rare. Rarer still is Garcia's drive to blend his artistic endeavors with good business sense. Putting good work on the canvas isn't enough. His self-imposed job description includes getting those canvases in front of an appreciative - and buying - public. "I believe that Houston is a great city filled with great artists.  I'm grateful to the Houston Press for their recognition of my work and honored to have been chosen to be a part of their Silver Anniversary edition. Congratulations on 25 wonderful years and your many contributions to the City of Houston."

                                                   Justin Garcia

Justin has been honored twice this year by the Houston Press.

View his works: http://www.gallerydirect.com/art/artists/justin-garcia

Behind the scenes with Justin Garcia

Tweet Justin Garcia is just as dynamic as his paintings.  His signature style shines through his personality and all that he does.  He is truly as authentic as they come. A small team of us at Gallery Direct, spent a … Read More

Justin Garcia is just as dynamic as his paintings.  His signature style shines through his personality and all that he does.  He is truly as authentic as they come. A small team of us at Gallery Direct, spent a day with Justin in his Houston-based studio and captured everything on video so that you could get to know him as well.  His personality and inspiration makes me love his paintings even more. Justin wants people to connect with his artwork and question what they see, and why they see it.   His work incorporates mixed media of oils, acrylics and compound texture on canvas and wood, and for more exotic pieces, often features unique materials such as Plexiglas, railroad nails and stained glass. His art studio is just cool as you would imagine an accomplished artist's space to be, maybe even a little cooler, since there was a black cat roaming around with confidence. Justin met Gallery Direct's Art Director, Nick Nichols, several years ago and instantly fell into a synergistic partnership.  I won't spoil all the highlights, watch the video to learn more: Chromaticity is my favorite series by Justin Garcia. What is your favorite works of his? View his works here: Justin Garcia

Reflect Your Style: Art on Mirror

Tweet Below is one of my favorite styles of gallery wall arrangements- showing off framed souvenirs paired with framed fine art. I would say that the style around my home is colorful and eclectic, to say the very least. Pair that … Read More

Below is one of my favorite styles of gallery wall arrangements- showing off framed souvenirs paired with framed fine art. I would say that the style around my home is colorful and eclectic, to say the very least. Pair that with an obsession for all forms of Art and imagery; from black and white photographic prints, vintage botanicals scans to more contemporary mixed media pieces and I’m left with dense gallery walls that I always find inspiring. Some may say (my fiancé) that this “everything goes” way of styling is crazy. I say, if you love to surround yourself with an abundance of beautiful art, hang it and apologize to no one! Since my tiny bathroom walls were sorely neglected in comparison to the rest of my house, this got me thinking that I could use mirror as my print material to create a tiny wall of art for my bathroom that would be functional, eclectic and unified. This realization blew my mind for a few reasons; to start the mirror reflections actually made my bathroom feel larger and now it exhibits work from some of my favorite local artists while simultaneously offering five new functional mirrors to choose from when primping, instead of one. Complete satisfaction. I found that the key to getting what you want out of mirror is to understand that there are  two very different styles that can be achieved when printing on mirror, which are completely determined by the white values in your image. If you think about it, when an image is printed on a white paper, the white areas of that image have little to no ink, revealing more of the natural white of the paper. Now apply that same logic to an image printed on mirror and try to imagine which areas will reveal raw mirror and which will be inked. One style is more dreamy and frosted with very little visibility through the image. The other style shows the image clearly defined from the mirror, making it possible to see reflections through the image in certain areas. To check exactly where those reflective areas are and to make double sure that your image will print out exactly how you've envisioned, you can check to see where your true white values are in your image by using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop or using Pixlr (an amazing free online photo editor). A perfect white value will give you a hexadecimal color code of #FFFFFF.   If you would like even more information about Art on Mirror, watch the video below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9ViP4wsaho&list=SPKMUrphQ1ugmk4hbvGJT6ijMT2VE6rV3r&index=6 For information about the other offered materials watch our Our Unique Materials playlist.  
Being an art history geek has its quirks. How do I unwind after a long day at work? I scan through my old art history textbooks. I know it's kind of weird, but it gives me a sense of calm to flip through the well-loved pages and read the words of the scholars and thinkers who inspire me, and in turn, the artists who inspire them. Working with Gallery Direct adds a whole new dimension to my little meditation - with a quick click of a button, I can find high resolution images of my favorite paintings and prints. Last night, I was all zenned out while looking through one of my favorite books, Carol Armstrong's Manet Manette. Not only is this a groundbreaking text, but  it is also one of the first books that made want to go into art history. Armstrong spends her final chapter contemplating a single painting, Edouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882). This so happens to be one of my favorite paintings of all time, so I was thrilled to discover that it is also on Gallery Direct. Often heralded as Manet's last great painting, it certainly makes an impression. Not only is it beautifully executed - from the considered palette to the purposeful brushstrokes - it is a veritable field day for art lovers. Reading about this painting for the first time blew my mind. It simultaneously subverts traditional notions of perspective and viewership and yet is still utterly readable and relatable for any viewer. At first glance, it is simply a bar scene - the bottles on the counter frame the beautiful bartender as she waits to take an order. But upon further examination, you realize that the customer the bartender is waiting on is you, the viewer. She stares right at you, waiting. Digging even deeper, you realize that the background of the painting is in fact a reflection in a mirror, and to the right of the bartender, a face is reflected. Like I said, this painting can (and has) been discussed every which way for hours on end. One of my favorite things about it, though, is how it brings together so many of Manet's interests as an artist. While the Impressionists, his contemporaries, were interested in painting en plein air, or outdoors, and capturing the light and colors of nature, Manet's paintings are concerned with the emergence of modern Parisian life. Urban scenes and quotidian subjects abound in his oeuvre, along with a meditation on how art relates to consumerism. Fin-de-siècle Paris was a place of spectacle, and consumption of that spectacle was on the minds of its painters and writers. In Bar at the Folies-Bergère, Manet examines the idea of consumption from multiple angles - the subject itself, a bar, is a place for the consumption of alcohol and food. Moving beyond literal consumption, Manet examines how nineteenth-century Parisians consumed culture at the Folies-Bergère, a popular nightclub, how does the male customer depicted in the mirror "consume" the beautiful bartender, and how do we, as the audience, consume this piece of art? Manet is one of the most complex and confounding artists that I've come across, which is why, I think, he is my favorite artist. His paintings are beautiful and striking, and on top of that, they make me think. When it came down to it, my meditation last night turned into retail therapy - on a whim, I ordered a print of the painting, framed and on paper, through Gallery Direct. I am so excited to have a bit of art history right there on my wall for me to contemplate every day.

Finding my Path at Home

Tweet I have been working at Gallery Direct since the beginning of November. What a delight it has been – I have artistic co-workers and see beautiful images all day.  I am a graphic designer and picking images for marketing … Read More

I have been working at Gallery Direct since the beginning of November. What a delight it has been - I have artistic co-workers and see beautiful images all day.  I am a graphic designer and picking images for marketing or the website is - to say the least - fun. Since I deal with beautiful images all day, I decided to put together an Evernote notebook for me (any mac users out there?!) with all the art that I wanted to buy from Gallery Direct. Almost 3 months went by, and my list surprisingly was mostly abstracts, a few Asians and lots of maps. Not to mention my own photos that I wanted to print. I would love to have my personal photos blown up and hung onto my walls. One day I realized that - duh - I didn't have enough walls for all that I wanted. I needed another list for my list. Focus! Reduce! Less is more. What did I really want for my house? Where in the house? Which wall? I realized that I would have to repaint some of my walls, because, when we bought the house in 2007, I went a little wild with the color palette, I admit it.  Now, those colors no longer make me happy. As we change, the colors that we love change, the ways that we think and react to visual stimuli also change.  I always welcome change!  Was I dying to repaint the walls? Ouch, no. So while being busy at work and having a high maintenance Border Collie that needs walks and exercise every day, I stopped adding images to my notebook. Until the day I had to make a banner for the homepage. Here it is: Inline image 1 That somehow lit up the little bulb above my head and in a weekend spell, I went to Lowe's and bought the paints I wanted, painted the living room and placed my order: 2 gigantic Todd Camp - Enlighted Path I and II, 48x36. That did it! It was just the "push" I needed to make everything else rock'n roll.  The purchase made me very happy - those colors represent so much of what I like in terms of art - freedom, color, energy (well, at least that's my view... art is art, right?). I also ordered a few smaller ones, which you'll see in the photos below. I don't think of my house as a "chic" place: I know it isn't.  Although I graduated in architecture, when it comes to my own place, it's always been more a joyful play - with room for experiments - rather than the "tried and true" styles that I know will work. Also, having 4 cats (and 8 clawed front-paws) and 2 dogs (how did that happen?), my house is not super tidy. That said, I beg you to please disregard my couch ;-))) Inline image 1 Above: Also look at that Border Collie with her moose toy - isn't she precious? ;-)))) Below: My bike has its own wall. You can not buy happiness, but you can buy a bike and art! Last photo: Colors, colors: such a blessing to be able to see them all!
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What lights up your bulb?
-Marina
Remember how cool the cassette tape was? When they came on the scene, the eight track tape suddenly looked like car a battery. Cassettes were sleeker, but then the CD rolled out and that was all she wrote. Then the iPod emerged and everything changed again. No need for having a bunch of discs strewn about; now all your music could fit sleekly in the palm of your hand. Consider the old television with a picture tube. If you wanted a big screen, it was like having to deal with a parked car in your room. Thankfully, the slim HD flat panels killed their monstrous cousins. You may have heard color trends start in Europe and work their way over to the U.S.? Or that PANTONE sets the tone for the world’s color? Maybe quite a lot of what you’ve heard is true? Or maybe, it’s bunk? We’ll never tell. We’re sort of sworn to secrecy around here. In general, we can talk about home fashion trends. Consumer products and household items are influencing our home décor choices, even our fashion trends. Your wireless world, flat screen televisions, iPads, smart phones, Smart Cars (and the like) are having a profound effect on what makes us feel comfortable in our livable spaces. Things are becoming stripped down. Have you also noticed people are wearing less clothing? Big things are out. Minimalism is in. This is the chief influencing factor in home décor today, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. Our number one selling item at Gallery Direct is canvas wall art without a frame, called gallery wraps. Folks went out, bought a sleek home theater system, kicked their desk top computer to the curb, and said, “Whoops, all my traditional framed wall art looks like a VCR!” We created our acrylic art line to complement our canvas art collection. It’s a completely innovative way to view art. Maybe canvas artwork isn’t your thing, but you still want a modern look for your walls. Art on acrylic is your solution to display images that fit into your high-tech universe. Every single one of our 12-million images is available on acrylic: sleek, refined, luminescent. If you’re one of those people who buy the latest and greatest as soon as it drops, here’s your chance to be first on your block!

Green Art, Goes Beyond the Color

Tweet When you buy art do you consider if it’s sustainable before you purchase?  Since Gallery Direct’s inception in the early 2000′s being an eco-friendly company was a top priority.  We use as many green products throughout our processes to … Read More

When you buy art do you consider if it's sustainable before you purchase?  Since Gallery Direct's inception in the early 2000's being an eco-friendly company was a top priority.  We use as many green products throughout our processes to ensure that every piece of art is safe for the environment and your home.
We've gone to great lengths to make sure that we can produce beautiful artwork without leaving a negative effect on the environment. That’s why we print with HP's green latex and UV E3 certified inks. They produce long-lasting, vivid prints that are also odorless and produce no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Using HP's green latex inks keeps our employees safe from harmful chemicals.  There are no harsh smells on our production floor, or the artwork.  Several of our materials qualify to help building and home owners earn LEED credits. For more information on that visit the Green Building Website.
 

Digital Art

Tweet From Wikipedia: Digital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process. “A common misconception is that if you are using … Read More

From Wikipedia: Digital art is a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process. "A common misconception is that if you are using a computer to create art, that all you're doing is pressing a few buttons and the computer is doing all the work. Generally that poor assumption is born out of misunderstanding. Whether you are using a pencil and paper or a computer and tablet, drawing is drawing. The devices themselves are tools, means to an end to bring visual ideas out of your imagination and into the real world." Quote from artist Patrick LaMontagne's video posted below. We have several artists whose work fits the category of digital art. Instead of sending us their art on canvas to scan, they just send us their digital files of artwork. Some of them integrating their drawings or photography and then using their computers to turn it into art! It's really amazing, and their work is really beautiful. Here are samples of their art: Be sure to check out more of their work on Gallery Direct! Also please listen and watch the video below. I believe this artist explains digital art really well and he sure does an awesome job at drawing a cartoon bear! http://youtu.be/pjaIyQXv0M8
For some reason people seem genuinely afraid to get art printed on anything other than canvas. They know canvas and so it is a safe choice, but is it the best choice? Gallery Direct offers some amazing out of the box options for your art that truly bring your pieces to life in new and amazing ways. My favorite pieces in my home, and the ones that get the most attention, are not on canvas they are on aluminum and acrylic and mirror. Canvas is beautiful and a great option but take a look at how your art can really pop when you try a new media! Aluminum: Aluminum has the ability to make water sparkle and lights glitter in a way canvas can not, check out this example at Go Graham Go and this one at Thrifty & Chic Mom. Acrylic: Acrylic is a great option for a kitchen or eating area as it is easy to clean, check out this great acrylic at Better in Bulk as well as this acrylic piece. Birchwood: Birchwood gives your art great texture and a more earthy feel. Check out these great birchwood pieces at The Mom Reviews and Stuff Parents Need. Mirror: Art on mirror is a great way to elevate a room and add more elegance as well as more light. Here are some great examples of art on mirror at My Four Monkeys and Thrifty & Chic Mom. Check out all of these great examples and then consider ordering your art on something other than canvas.
When it comes to Mother's Day and photo gifts people immediately think of mom and her kids or grand-kids. While that is a great idea you can only do that so many years, this year try some of these unique photo ideas and put them on canvas with the $49 photo upload deal going on right now! * Put your Mother's wedding photo on canvas. Unlike today when our parents where married putting your photos on canvas was not an option so surprise her by doing it now * Put a picture of your mother's parents or siblings on canvas. My mom is one of 8 and has a photo of all of them together when they are young, she would love that put on canvas for her. * Put a generational photo on canvas. I have a photo with 4 generations of women in it, how special would that be on canvas. * Put the family namesake on canvas. Is your mom named after a family member? Put that person on canvas. * Put a photo collage of your mom as child on canvas. Help preserve special family photos for generations to come by putting them on canvas. You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.