Similar to the print service providers (PSPs) previously profiled in this series, American Frame and Red Wing Framing & Fine Art Printing, Digital Arts Studio offers high-end framing and wide format digital printing. While American Frame added printing after it mastered framing, Red Wing has always offered both services. Digital Arts Studio shares its own rich history in fine art print and framing here.
Digital Arts Studio was founded in July 2003 by three experienced individuals, Barry Glustoff, president, and co-owners, Robin Zelizer and Peter Leafman. Glustoff and Zelizer are each Certified Picture Framers and Glustoff and Leafman hold degrees in fine art photography. These talents combined create over 90 years of experience in picture framing, gallery sales, multi-store operations, merchandising, and marketing.
Before opening their own shop, Glustoff recalls the trio’s history with fine art printing. “Our involvement in digital printing began in 1997 when the founder and former president of The Great Frame Up Do-It Yourself franchise, David Klitzky, foresaw on demand digital printing as a promising new revenue stream for framers. We installed a second generation Colorspan Design Winder as a pilot program to learn and develop new products and services that would reach a new customer demographic and add to existing frame sales,” he says.
The Atlanta, GA print service provider (PSP) today makes its home in a 3,100 square foot converted bus repair garage. Glustoff, Zelizer, Leafman, and their eight person staff assist visual artists and photographers nationwide, as well as in Canada, with fine art needs.
Digital Arts Studio focuses on providing customers with a one-stop experience as many artists and photographers reach out to them to perform printing, matting, mounting, framing, and packaging for shows and exhibits. “Almost half of our print orders require either canvas stretching, mounting, or matting for presentation, exhibit, or resale,” notes Glustoff.
It frequently prepares artists’ work using mostly black, white, and neutral frames and mats. Canvas stretching, gallery wraps, and float frames are available as well as dry mounting, laminating, and presentation matting. The PSP offers basic custom framing packages for resale or exhibits.
For framing and finishing, the shop utilizes a dual-blade motorized power Mitre-Master miter saw, The Fletcher-Terry Company glass and board cutters, a Seal Vacuum 4466 dry mount press, a Mitre-Master molding underpinner, a Wizard International, Inc. mat cutter, Dahle paper trimmers, and pneumatic staplers.
To create digital prints up to 60 inches in width four Canon U.S.A., Inc. imagePROGRAF printers with Canon Lucia fine art pigmented inks are utilized in addition to one 24-inch Epson Stylus Pro 7800 using UltraChrome K3 inks. A variety of materials are offered for giclée printing including fine art papers with five textures, canvas, aluminum, and fabrics. Canvas giclées are printed on Breathing Color’s Chromata White and Lyve canvas.
Digital Arts Studio, recognized as a certified studio by Hahnemühle Fine Art, provides other services that complement its framing and printing. Imaging specialists are available for color correction and editing. High-resolution image capture of originals up to 60x120 inches and high-resolution scanning of transparencies and prints are performed. Other photo services include photo restoration, photo effects, sepia toning, and Warhol-stylized pop art portraits.
Non-giclée specific services include short-run note cards, portfolios, posters, postcards, flyers, vinyl banners, graphic design, page layouts, archival pigment prints, and custom printed mats with design or text. The PSP also hosts an ecommerce Web site to assist customers looking to sell artwork.
Despite the abundance of offerings, fine art printing and framing for retail prove to be where most of the shop’s business generates from. About 40 percent of the framing revenue derives from sales room retail consumers, interior designers, and semi-pro and pro artists and photographers.
A Gift of Giclées
Digital Arts Studio was recently approached by the Georgia Aquarium to create 150 giclée prints as a thank you gift for aquarium sponsors.
Sea Turtle, artwork commissioned by Mobile, AL-based artist Sheila Overstreet, was printed on Rising Paper’s Rag Board, a 100 percent cotton archival mat board, using the Epson Stylus Pro 7800. Once the images were printed a preset template was programmed into the computer-operated Wizard mat cutter, creating window openings before they were cut into individual mats.
The prints were signed and numbered by Overstreet, attached carefully to acid-free foamboard backing, hinge mounted to the mat, and then packaged in a clear bag. The mat design showcases the aquarium’s printed name and logo. Each print was stamped with the shops genuine giclée stamp and packaged with a statement of quality.
The whole project was completed in under a week. Project manager Mich Franklin was thrilled with the quality of the prints; they were exactly what the aquarium envisioned as a token of gratitude to its sponsors.
Friends of the Arts
With extensive service options and artist-friendly hours, Digital Arts Studio maintains a consistent presence in the creative community. “Having a steady retail client base just for our framing services, we keep regular business hours on Saturdays as well as our regular work week. This has proved to be a great convenience for the artists, photographers, and businesses that don’t have time during the regular week to place their orders,” says Glustoff.
Framing services are an extension of any fine art reproduction print shop. As seen in the three examples profiled in this series, frames complement print—or vice versa, expand into unexplored customer markets, extend geographic reach, and provide existing customers with more service options.