You know what every home needs? Art. I’m a massive believer in art on the walls. Art can transform a space from a blank box of a room to an area that tells the world (and yourself) what you find beautiful in this world. I have this one multi-layered oil piece in my house that was hand-painted by an artist I fell in love with in New Orleans. It’s a funny story, actually. The artist’s name is Heather Petterson and I discovered her in my first trip to NOLA back in 2008. She was one of the many many artists hanging their wares on the black metal walls in Jackson Square. The painting that stopped me in my tracks was full of violins. When I was a kid, I played violin, so it really called to me. I was so young back then though. It was about $100 and I thought it was too much. So I did what most do: I walked away.
The painting haunted me through the day though, so a few hours later I returned to her spot. IT WAS GONE! The painting had been sold! Man, I was sad. I learned a very valuable lesson that day: if you fall in love with something…buy it. Life is too short to dream about things you wish you had.
Then a few years later, she went back. I hunted for her, stalking the whole square but alas, no luck. Then in 2016, I went to NOLA for my thirtieth birthday. I had been in town for less than two hours and there I was….stalking Jackson Square. I knew within my heart of hearts I would recognize the art when it was presented to me. I went around each corner, determined to find her but disappointment waiting in the wings just in case. Finally, I reached the final side of the square and felt this heavy weight in my belly. She wasn’t there! I had vowed years before I would own one of her paintings, so I just figured I would find her next time.
Wait. Could it be? I saw some distinctive art, literally at the end of the line, that caught my eye. Holy shit. I think this is it! I rushed up to the art, lost in the swirls of vibrant paint and surrealism. A woman behind me tells me she’s here to help me if I need. I whirled around and probably way too loudly demanded to know if she was Heather Peterson. Can you imagine her surprise? When she confirmed that she was, I declared, “I am buying one of your paintings today!”
I looked at all of them and fell in love with the one that hangs above my kitchen table now. It’s a 16×24 canvas painting of a large tree, with the canopy sweeping into the foreground, covered in every color of the rainbow. It’s gorgeous and I love looking at it even four years later. It was $500. Now, the *only* reason I’m telling you this, the price of the painting, is because I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t have $500 laying around in that moment of my life but I got it anyway. I knew this painting would make me feel good every time I looked at it and I was right.
Imagine feeling that way every time you look at your portrait art on your walls. This painting feels good to own, because of the story and determination behind it. Your portrait art, whether it’s of your wedding or family, will make you feel the same way. I believe buying prints is an investment in your future. Lordt knows that life isn’t perfect and everyone has bad days. I can guarantee that. On days you love your partner but don’t like them (you KNOW what I’m talkin’ about)…your personal art can bring you back to that joyful moment.
I offer high end prints through your gallery. Now, I understand the temptation of .20 prints from Shutterfly. Who doesn’t love a good sale?! However, my printer is better. I’m calibrated to that printer, which means your digital images will match the prints and vice versa. They’re printed on archival paper, which means they won’t yellow or fade over time. Of course, there is also the bonus of supporting a small business i.e. me! Fight capitalism, get your prints through me!
There is also a common misconception that an 8×10 or 11×14 is a normal size. FALSE. A good piece of art STARTS at 16×24. An 8×10 is perfect for an end table but if you’re putting work up on the walls, make a statement. Declare your love for the moment. Heather Peterson had smaller paintings, but like any artist, I want my art to make a statement.
Most people don’t have art on the walls, but I think that should change. Fill your home with happy memories, shake up the vibes, invest in your art. You won’t regret it, I promise.
To further convince/educate you, I printed four distinct images through Costco, Shutterfly, Walgreens and of course, my printer. The differences are astounding. First off, AVOID WALGREENS. Jeez, their 5×7’s aren’t even cut properly. Their color profile is horrific (and their prices are disgusting). All of these images are supposedly without color correction, but as you can see, that doesn’t matter without printer calibration. Shutterfly isn’t much better. You can’t see it in second hand portraits, but they have over-sharpened the images. Painfully. Walgreens did the same thing. Trust me, if I wanted your images THAT sharp, I would have done it myself.
So I’m showing you the main edited file and then the prints. So you can see the differences for everything! The photos of the prints aren’t processed. I didn’t even lighten or darken the main file, so there might be some coloration differences, simply because there’s a slight difference between the digital file on your screen and the actual 5×7 print that I photographed on my kitchen table from a small distance.
So this is from Travis and Rachel’s wedding. I chose this one, because a lot of my work emphasizes greens. What’s a better example than a photo full of green! Pay careful attention to the skin pigments in the various examples. Both Shutterfly and Walgreens abandon the shadows, lightening them up beyond what my file contains. No thank you! Costco emphasizes them too much. All in all, not impressed with the other prints so far.
So, of course, I had to show you a black and white image. I love this one as an example, because it has a) details b) dark shadows c) bright highlights. Printing companies can really botch black and whites, as you can see below. Shutterfly and Walgreens fails once more, this time with applying matting that doesn’t exist. Do you see the slight haze on those prints? Almost as if the color is slightly muted? That’s called matting and while I used to do this with my work, I don’t anymore, because it fades colors. Aside from that, those particular prints aren’t even the right color. Costco doesn’t even stick to the right color. If you look closely, you’ll see a purple haze. If I wanted my b&w images to be slightly purple, I would have done so.
This one really blew my mind. I wanted to pick an image that had color, highlights and incorporated off camera flash. All three competitors really blew it. Walgreens and Costco seriously tinted the images towards magenta. The building isn’t really yellow anymore! Shutterfly matted the image, muting the beautiful tones. Such a gorgeous image shouldn’t be muted, ever!
Last, but not least, this image was chosen for its COLOR. A lot of printers are going to struggle to capture the nuance of color tone. This particular kind of file is difficult to print. It has extremely vibrant coloring, banding (I was shooting through a slinky), and the subject is far away. What drove me insane about Shutterfly and Walgreen’s take on this image is the severe sharpness they applied to the prints. They also couldn’t handle the intense color, not by a long shot.
If you value your wedding art, print through me. I think it’s very clear that my printer is far more true to the file than any other popular printing company. And let’s be real: I’m not even that expensive. I believe you should have art, so I price myself affordably. PLUS, you’re directly supporting an individual, who has a very cute puppy who enjoys eating. Costco, Shutterfly, Walgreens…printing through them lines the pockets of CEOs. So stick it to the man and print through me!