As an artist and business owner, the Architecture In Music series has been both a creative and entrepreneurial rollercoaster. One thing is crystal clear: high-quality prints are crucial. They're not just a physical manifestation of my art; they're what makes the business tick. Here's a behind-the-lens look at my journey toward creating the perfect prints for my discerning audience.
Going Viral: The Prelude to Architecture In Music
Before embarking on my Architecture In Music series, I had my fair share of viral experiences on Reddit. Two of my works stood out: a long-exposure light painting featuring a dancer and a breathtaking glow worm cave photograph from Waipu Caves in Northland. The latter was especially overwhelming, racking up 50,000 likes and comments and half a million views within the first six hours. However, I wasn't prepared to capitalize on this popularity; I had no website, payment gateway, or even a way to print my works for the numerous people asking where they could buy them.
Setting the Stage: Building an Online Presence
Learning from my past missteps, I contracted a professional to build my website. I chose Shopify as the platform due to its versatility. At this stage, I also started looking for a print provider, focusing on companies that offered dropshipping. My goal was to integrate this service into Shopify seamlessly, thereby streamlining the process from taking payments to producing and shipping prints.
Trials and Tribulations: Customer Feedback and Learning the Hard Way
Just two weeks after selecting Gelato, a large online printing firm, issues began cropping up. Many of my customers reported that their prints arrived damaged. Gelato was prompt in providing replacements but, in some cases, even these were damaged. Then came the color management issues, which were eloquently summarized by a Japanese client who wrote a haiku:
"The Photos are Dark
They Shine Only on the Web
I Have No Joy"
This poetic feedback was the catalyst for a significant shift in my business strategy.
Local Heroes: The Discovery of SKAR Image Labs in New Zealand
Enter SKAR Image Labs, based in Kingsland, Auckland. A mere 5-minute chat with the owner, Sanji, convinced me I had found the printing partner I'd needed all along. Working closely with Sanji, we fine-tuned the color calibration, examined various paper types, and even brainstormed packaging solutions to ensure the prints arrived in mint condition.
The Craftsmanship: Materials and Limited Editions
We chose Hahnemuhle paper, a 500-year-old German manufacturer, to offer unparalleled quality. I decided to offer limited-edition prints, not to create artificial scarcity, but to underscore the artisanal nature of each print. I personally sign and emboss each one for added authenticity.
Global Recognition: A Symphony of Success
My prints now grace prestigious galleries and countless homes worldwide. Picture This in Sweden has even reserved a block of each limited edition, positioning me alongside legends like Rankin and Sebastião Salgado.
Looking to the Future: Scaling New Heights in Print and Photography
I'm excited to announce a six-month solo exhibition at the Napa Valley Museum in 2024. Here, I plan to push the envelope further by producing room-sized prints, adding an immersive dimension to the Architecture In Music series.
In summary, for photographers considering venturing into print, never underestimate the value of a reliable local printer. For prospective clients, rest assured that you're investing in world-class, lifelong art when you buy from my series.