By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 2
Wide format printers are suitable for producing a range of applications. For high-quality reproductions of original artwork, the latest in wide format printing and scanning technology is designed to capture every detail for stunning reproductions that sell for big price tags. It’s a win-win product for both the print supplier and artist.
ART 2 art Gallery & District operates two locations in Las Vegas, NV. One is a three-year old, 3,500 square foot gallery and the second is a new, one year old 9,800 square foot facility in the District. The business has five employees and works with 35 local artists.
Heiko Katins, CEO, ART 2 art, is a veteran of the art industry for more than 30 years. He moved from managing galleries overseas to a wholesale art material supplier in Germany and a manufacturing business in China where he held an artist workshop of more than 60 artists and 120 employees. “We delivered five to six containers per month to big box companies using several printing machines to fulfill orders,” explains Katins. His latest venture, ART 2 art is a U.S. company designed to bring art orders back into the country.
Described as more than an art gallery, ART 2 art offers original hand painted artwork from local and international artists. It also provides framing services. It added printing in February 2018 to help customers and local artists access a quality printing service at affordable prices.
Wide Format Printing
In addition to its gallery services, ART 2 art offers canvas printing, which is stretched on bars for the artists. It also prints on paper and perforated foils for window decals. It plans to continue to evolve its print offerings.
The company operates an Epson SureColor S80600. The 64-inch printer features Epson UltraChrome GS3 solvent ink. It includes a new red solvent as an option for white or metallic silver inks.
Before selecting the Epson, Katins planned to purchase equipment from China, as he had experience with these printers. However, he eventually decided that having local technical support would be important. At the West Coast Art & Frame Show in January 2018, he looked at several wide format printers but became hooked by Epson from IT Supplies. “Good service, good introduction, and the price was right,” he shares.
In terms of inks, it sticks with Epson. “I will not tamper with the quality that we achieve with the Epson SureColor S80600,” states Katins.
As previously noted, the company works with a set of proven media products, primarily canvas. It does not use matte, and often works with semi-gloss and satin finishes.
The Epson SureColor S80600 provides high-quality prints, of course, there are always those customers that require education on how to yield quality graphics. “Some customers try to bring in bad photos from mobile devices or even with DSLR cameras. There is always reflection in the artwork and having a printer performing at 100 percent all of the time, you hate to hand them back a print that looks 30 to 80 percent okay. As just okay is not okay,” exclaims Katins.
Evolving in Crisis
Having recently opened a second location, the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic was worrisome to ART 2 art. “Being frank and honest, we were a bit skeptical when it all started. For sure being closed from March 17 through May 8 wasn’t what we had in mind after just opening our second location three-and-a-half months before, but with a little help from small business loans and the paycheck protection program we managed the downtime,” offers Katins.
When it re-opened in May, a lot of its customers returned and, Katins says June and July were actually better than before the pandemic. In August it doubled the July turnover. “September wasn’t as good as August but better than July. So, we have been blessed,” he admits.
Many of its current customers are decorating or redecorating their houses and need new art, framing services, or want professional prints of their art/photographs. Its artists have also seen an increased demand for printing services.
Scan and Print
In addition to ready-to-print artist files, ART 2 art helps generate new revenue streams by harnessing the power of wide format scanning. “We encourage our artists to create reproductions of their originals, especially when some pieces can fetch upwards of $100,000. Safeguarding the original in digital format also creates opportunities to sell their works to many people,” says Katins.
While ART 2 art doesn’t have the expertise or equipment for art scanning, it sought the services of a local business that could help in this area. After a Google search, Katins approached Las Vegas-based reprographics shop, Graphics Imaging Services (GIS).
He started the relationship by bringing some paintings for scanning. A simple print from a USB drive proved to be a great solution. Katins hands out GIS’ business cards and advises artists and customers to go for quality scans he know will reproduce well.
GIS uses a Contex IQ FLEX flatbed scanner. “The results are great,” shares Katins. “We make the prints in house, and sometimes the artists can tell the difference between the original and a reproduction.”
Because of the quality of the reproductions, artists are able to sell giclée work for hundreds—even thousands of dollars. Much less than the cost of an original, desirable art is affordable to the masses.
In addition, the artists appreciate using the scanned images for their online stores and to promote via their own social media channels.
ART 2 art strives to support the artist community. The gallery and print provider continues to integrate new ways to add meaningful services that add revenue for itself, its artists, and the end customers.
Feb2021, Digital Output