Riley Street San Rafael Celebrates 11 Years

November 8th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter

Riley Street Art Supply has locations in San Rafael and Santa Rosa, CA; this month they celebrated 50 years of being in business, with the San Rafael store turning 11 this past June. Both stores celebrated with a two day sale where everything was at least 30% off, and the San Rafael store partnered with vendors to set up outdoor booths with various Make-and-Take activities and demonstrations.

Vendor partners included Daniel Smith, Golden, Strathmore, Jacquard, Savoir-Faire, Liquitex and Marabu. The event was a great opportunity to engage with repeat customers as well as passersby who had never even been in the store.

Outdoor Booths + Downtown Foot Traffic = Sales Opportunities

The interactive outdoor booths were more than an anniversary celebration; strategically timed with weekend window shoppers and tourist foot traffic, the booths drew first-timers in and the hands-on activities generated sales opportunities. Strathmore did a “Splash” greeting card Make-n-Take with FW inks and Art Alternatives artist tape on their mixed media greeting cards. Jacquard presented Piñata alcohol inks on YUPO paper so that passersby could design their own bookmarks. Daniel Smith attracted watercolor enthusiasts with their watercolor dot cards, while Faber Castell had artist Don Colley running a demo on urban sketching with Pitt Artist Pens. Pentel brought the Brush pens, Sign Pens with brush tips as well as their water brushes to demo lettering and urban sketching techniques. Savoir-Faire had Andrew Cook demoing Abstract Acrylics. MacPherson’s Account Manager Catherine Thoele worked two booths over the course of the two day event; Derwent, where she demoed Coloursoft and Metallic pencils on Art Alternatives wood panels, and POSCA, where she showed participants how to create a customized surfboard necklace.

Spur of The Moment: Drawn In & Inspired

MacPherson’s Account Manager Catherine Thoele highlights why these kinds of events are so crucial to growing business and engaging with customers. She was running the POSCA table when a girl and her mother stopped by and chose to do the demo, creating a mini surfboard necklace. They were intrigued by the markers and, thumbing through the brochure, began brainstorming what they could customize at home. The images in the sales literature allowed them to imagine new possibilities. “Your bedroom door! A baseball cap! Woah!” A lightbulb went off. “We should do my friend’s skate deck!”

Later that day they returned with the girl’s two friends; the three of them got to work and 45 minutes later, their friend’s skateboard was transformed into a beautiful work of art. Afterwards they visited the store with their parents and bought over $100 worth of markers.

There are so many ways to use art materials, Catherine explains. “Events like this help address all the kinds of customers. People were watching the kids create, amazed. I like to see people get it; they start thinking bigger than a paint marker on a flat surface.”

Demo: Surfboard Necklace

We’ve outlined everything you need to recreate Catherine’s POSCA demo.

Materials

Preparation

  1.  Drill a 1/8″ hole in the top of the surfboards before event.
  2. Pre-spray one side with Montana GOLD over a Crafters Workshop stencil so that participants focus on one side—this makes the craft more doable and limits time to keep traffic moving.

Step by Step

  1. Set out a sample surface so that people can test out different colors and nibs; demonstrate how to blend on a non-porous surface, like Yupo.
  2. Invite participants to customize their own surfboard on the blank/sprayed side
  3. Once they are finished, cut Hemptique hemp cord to desired length, thread through hole and double knot it.
  4. Spray the finished surfboard with workable fixative so the customer could add more media if they wished, she recommended finishing the boards with a clear coat spray.
  5. Get permission and snap a picture of the artist wearing the finished piece for future promotion and to share on social media!

The Art Bar at Kittles Art Supply

November 1st, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Like most of us in the art supply business, John Kittle wears many hats. He is the owner, manager, lead art teacher, and lead framer at Kittles Art Supply in Show Low, Arizona, nestled in the White Mountains in a tightly knit rural community. Like many mom and pop shops, moms, pops and other family members help the business survive and thrive. Running a business in a sparsely populated area presents its own set of challenges; John points out his three core business strategies: selling art supplies, offering classes (including a summer camp) and running a custom frame shop. Catering to a small community means seizing every opportunity– and creating your own opportunities. Here is where the Art Bar comes in.

MacPherson’s Account Manager Kim Cichy clued us in to an innovative try-table that John designed, built and recently installed in the shop. The experience table—or Art Bar—acts as a bridge; an overlap between the customers who frequent classes and those who spend more time in the store, a connection between the products on the shelves and the experience of creating art in your own home. The station has also increased foot traffic and positively impacted sales.

John, who is an artist and designer in his own right, designed the Art Bar on his computer with a CAD program and then collaborated with a “builder-friend,” bringing the concept to life. The bar has been designed with both the customers’ and the staff’s needs in mind. For staff, it hasa repository for replacing the product, and items can’t fall off of it and make necessary mess. Angled like a drafting table for a comfortable drawing or painting position with a catchment to prevent pens, bushes or markers from rolling away, the bar has cubbies below that stock a wide variety of surfaces for customers to select from. The flat surface at the top of the bar features holes that house various containers of brushes, markers, gel pens and more.

Curating The Menu

Staff members become Art Bar-istas of sorts—they tidy the bar, notice what works and what doesn’t. The incorporation of a Buddha Board was key. The board reacts to water, allowing customers to experiment with different brushes allowing them the opportunity to make an informed decision on their purchase.  Testing brushes and experiencing synthetic vs. natural hair, different shapes, and handle lengths- with no messy clean up, paint stains or dirty tools makes the buying experience fun and educational.

A sample menu of the most popular products for testing out at the Art Bar include:

As customers use items at the Art Bar staff maintain the supplies and switch out materials as needed. The little shelves underneath with extra materials serve as a repository for staff to pull from. If the Art Bar inspires someone to ask to try a specific product that isn’t there, John pulls the item from the shelf, no problem. This “go for it” attitude results in positive experiences and translates to sales.

The Regulars

Who frequents the bar?

“The coloring trend is still big here—so we get groups of older women who love to color coming in and they beeline for the station. I put out differents sets for them to try on Johanna Basford coloring canvases and other surfaces. The station has made a positive impact on sales because people can get to know new sets and bring them home.”

While the crafty retirees are in and out almost daily, the Art Bar is just as popular with teens. On Fridays in their community, schools are either a half day or not in session at all. John has used this as an opportunity to host after-school art classes; after class is over, the “adolescent types” congregate around the table to continue creating and socializing. The low-stakes concept of an experience station invites people to relax and get to know products outside of a structured class environment and without the pressure or confusion of standing in an aisle trying to make a decision.

The key motivation for creating the Art Bar was allowing customers to explore different surfaces including mixed media paper, Ampersand boards and various sketchbooks. As you can see by the menu, it has turned into much more.

Do you have something like an Art Bar in your store? A kids area? Other innovative sales tools? Share your story with our community. Email us at artdogblog (@) MacPhersonArt.com

 

Artisan Expo: The Positive Impact of Workshops

November 1st, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

In September, Account Manager Mia Fesmire and Brand Marketing Manager Ariana Faustini represented MacPherson’s exclusive brands at a three-day art supply extravaganza in Santa Fe known as Artisan Expo. The bi-yearly consumer show is sponsored by Artisan Santa Fe, a retailer with locations in both Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Artisan Santa Fe founded Artisan Expo in 2000, and the event has grown over the years to become the largest art materials and instructional event in the world! They host over 100 half-day and full-day workshops led by expert instructors, as well as a vendor trade show where over 80 vendors cater to artists who travel from all over the country, eager to learn and ready to restock their studios. We wanted to share a few takeaways with our community, because we believe the Artisan Expo model is a profitable sales strategy for retailers when replicated on a small scale.

The MacPherson’s booth, fully stocked with Art Alternatives surfaces, MABEF easels, Derwent Inktense sets and POSCA markers on day one, ready to go.

Our experience: this year Artisan Expo saw record-breaking attendance with participation up 25%. We provided instructors with Art Alternatives canvases as well as assorted RGM palette knives to promote the product and encourage attendees to visit our booth to get the same products they use in their workshops. In addition to the samples, we brought Art Alternatives wood panels and canvases, MABEF easels, POSCA markers and Derwent Inktense sets.

Artisan Expo attracts creatives who have the resources to invest in their craft, either by enrolling in a workshop or by taking home higher end supplies. How do they do this? The answer can be broken down into three parts: 1) a thoughtfully put together long-form workshop, 2) taught by an expert 3) in conjunction with a targeted sale.

A Long-Form Workshop

There is a reason that college-level fine art courses are three hours, sometimes five. Art takes time. While quick demos or make and takes are strategies that work for some customers, people with artistic talent who are hungry to learn will revel in the extra time that a three or six hour workshop affords. This extended time helps artists gain confidence with a new technique, making them more likely to purchase the materials needed to continue practicing. They will leave rejuvenated and focused, inspired by the expert staff or instructor who spearheads the class. Some retailers are already taking this approach: this summer we covered an example of a successful two-day event at Dots and Doodles, with support from Royal Talens, which led with a movie screening of Loving Vincent followed by a painting workshop the next day. If you have the space and time to host an afternoon or full day workshop and have a community of artists to tap into, it is well worth the investment.

Aside from the length of the workshop, the title (and of course, the content) is worth focusing on.

Artisan Expo hosts workshops on book making, sumi ink, watercolor, encaustics, jewelry making, gilding and more. Choosing a topic, technique or material and titling it in an inventive way draws in a specific crowd that wants exactly what they are serving up. When glancing at the title, customers imagine what they might create and get inspired to take the next step: enroll!

Some well-titled workshops that caught our eye:

  • Inventing Your Own Alphabet: Understanding Letterforms and Calligraphy
  • Using Encaustics with Mixed Media Over Photographs
  • Layers: Capturing the Santa Fe Landscape in Wax
  • Think & Paint in Aesthetic Categories
  • Inventing Cityscapes with Zentangle® Inspired Art
  • How To Travel Anywhere and Paint Small Watercolors

Great titles often include strong verbs. What will they be doing? Inventing, capturing, traveling, thinking. The title also specifies a medium in conjunction with a style (incorporating photographs, broadening aesthetic style, Zentangle, plein air painting on the go). The site-specific class attracts people with an attachment to your community’s landscape or cityscape. 

This specificity is key. Spending the day (and the price of tuition) on “Acrylic Painting 101” is not very motivating; try “Light Up Your World with Acrylic Painting on Dura-Lar Film.” By being more specific, you reach more people. You are highlighting a technique and connecting it to a visual (lighting up your world) or another medium (watercolor). Reaching the attendees who are actually interested in what specifically the class is focused on, you’re (probably) more likely to turn those artists into avowed fans of your events.

Taught By An Expert

Many of us know from experience that a good teacher can propel us forward in directions we never thought possible. The instructors—whether they are expert artists on your staff or outside hires—will make or break this experience. Workshops are a great opportunity to pair expert artists with relevant product, and to work with vendors to feature specific items. Make sure the instructor is well-acquainted with the product you are spotlighting- they are advertising the expertise your customers should expect from you. Fine artists and enthusiasts love to get technical, and seeing why a specific product works best for a nuanced technique will keep them interested and engaged.

A Targeted Sale

When class is over and students are on their way out the door, they discover those very products they were working with in class are on sale! Offering a sale of specific items in conjunction with the workshop is the finishing touch that seals the deal. Once someone has already invested in a high quality half-day or full-day workshop, throwing in a handful of art supplies or an easel that will allow them to recreate the experience at home and practice techniques they are committed to will be a no brainer. Ensure you are well-stocked in any products used for the class, and have the instructor/staff member offer to walk students through your store/booth to answer any additional questions they may have.

Alternative: Compromise With A Try-Table

If you don’t have the resources or space for a workshop, having a “Try-Table” or a “Make It Take It” station is a great way to engage with artists. While the paper pads on various displays are useful for seeing what a marker or pencil looks like on paper, providing chairs and a full size surface allows people to get comfortable and really dig in. We reached out to John Kittles of Kittles Art Supply in Arizona to learn more about their successes with their custom-designed Art Bar. Click here to read the feature and discover how you might set one up in your store.

*Pro tip: If you organize a “Make It Take It,” include instructions as a part of the takeaway, and add hashtags and encourage people to share their work using on social media, using the hashtags. It goes a long way to expand your reach!

Are you already replicating Artisan Expo small scale? Celebrating the recent success of a half-day or full-day workshop? We’d love to hear about your experience and share it with our community. Share your story with us at ArtDogBlog (@) MacPhersonArt.com

Happy Halloween from MacPherson’s!

October 31st, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherosn’s

If MacPherson’s has a favorite holiday, it may or may not be the one that involves dressing up, decorating, turning the world upside down and tapping into our imaginative, artsy sides. While delivering creativity is what we do on the clock, we embrace (and express) creativity outside of work too—in fact, for many of us it is the fuel that keeps us going! Halloween is a chance for us to show off this creative spark.

Costume Contests

We kicked off the day of Halloween with a costume contest.

The winners in Emeryville:

Jeanine Davids as The Butcher, Ariana Faustini as an American Eagle and Christine Sanchez as Billy the Puppet from Saw.

The winners in Atlanta:

Marianna Powers as a witch, Clifton Turner as a “creepy slasher guy”, Camesha as a bee and Wanda Harrold as a coach; Natalie Simmons as Catwoman

Georgina Aguirre as Spider-girl, Luz Semidey as Jack Skellington.

Haunted Departments

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, various departments in Emeryville strategize, brainstorm and percolate: how can we transform our everyday desk pods into creatively creepy Halloween-themed menageries? Creative Services and Brand Marketing and Category Management had their eyes on the prize.  

Creative & Brand built a giant spider’s lair, complete with a witchy conjuring table and a graveyard — but their efforts were no match for the veteran Halloween champions in Category Management. They transformed their area into a haunted house, complete with lights, music and maniacal characters! While it’s hard to capture the experience in words, here’s what it was like to walk through their creative, terrifying house of horror!

For scale: Creative Services & Brand Marketing’s spidery lair tucked above the (first prize winners) huge haunted house by Category Management.

Congrats to Category Management for a well-deserved win! The amount of teamwork, collaboration and imagination that went into the haunted house is inspiring.

The haunted house experience began with a scary nun beckoning you in, then a puppet (Christine in Accounting) on a tricycle surrounded by creepy toys asking you to play. Dig deep into a gooey bowl of what feels like eyeballs and get the key from the grim reaper (Dave from IT); proceed down the hall where hands grab you and a masked figure jumps out… only to come face to face with The Butcher herself: Jeanine Davids.

Pumpkins

The week before Halloween, Human Resources doles out pumpkins and challenges us to transform them. The winners:

Best Decorated Pumpkin (left), Meghan Mclean (Creative & Brand) To create her pumpkin-turned-Dragon, Meghan used QoR Watercolor medium, QoR watercolors, Koi Metallic watercolors, Sculpey, POSCA markers and epoxy to hold it all together.

Most Creative Pumpkin (right), Hannah Reineck (Creative & Brand) Hannah adorned her pumpkin with a feather boa and created an avian friend with POSCA markers and glitter.

Best Carved Pumpkin (left), Bruce Graham (IT). Bruce went the old fashioned route – all you need is a kitchen knife (and toothpicks to secure the ears)!

Most Technical Pumpkin (right), Howard (IT). Howard’s process, and his result, won him the best technical pumpkin: he devised the method of marbling the pumpkin upside down by drilling a hole, sticking a curved paperclip in: voila, beautiful designs covering the entire surface. He used Marabu Easy Marble and a manikin.

Did you do anything fun for Halloween with your store? Any staff art or contests? Any Art Dog costumes? Tag us in your posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram–we’d love to see.

Introducing Strathmore Mixed Media Postcards

October 25th, 2018
Strathmore Artist Papers

Picture yourself going to your mailbox each day and shuffling through your pile of papers. What do you typically see? Bills, coupons, ads, statements…yawn.

Now imagine yourself shuffling through your mail and behold a beautiful, handmade postcard with a personalized message on the back. That’s enough to make your day.

Who doesn’t love getting real, handmade mail? Artists can send their art in postcard format with our new Mixed Media Postcards. They’re perfect for the upcoming holiday season.

Made with our 400 Series Mixed Media paper, these heavyweight 184 lb (300gsm) postcards have a vellum drawing finish and are sized to handle wet media applications. They’re great for pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, acrylic, graphite, colored pencil, marker and collage.

The front of the postcard is left blank for the art. The back is printed with the traditional markings of a postcard so artists can mail their piece and share their art.

Available in a standard 4″ x 6″ postcard size with 15 sheets per pad.

You may already be familiar with our popular Watercolor Postcards, which have a traditional cold press textured surface and a weight of 140lb (300gsm). These are perfect for watercolorists who want to share their work. For the artists who likes to add details with pens, colored pencils and markers, the new Mixed Media Postcards are the perfect choice.

Mixed Media Postcards:

Item#: SM704-8

Size: 4″ x 6″

Postcards/Pad: 15

Watercolor Postcards:

Item#: SM704-4 

Size: 4″ x 6″

Postcards/Pad: 15

Four Mixing Sets by Williamsburg Oils

October 25th, 2018

Eight 11 ml tubes of color plus a 37 ml tube of Titanium White make each of these four sets perfect for trying new colors or an entirely new palette from which you can mix a new range of colors. Williamsburg has one of the most extensive selection of oil colors available anywhere, and these sets can help you narrow down options and begin personalizing your palette.

 

Four 8-Color Mixing Sets by Williamsburg Oils from Golden Artist Colors on Vimeo.

New Videos from GOLDEN

October 25th, 2018
GOLDEN Artist Colors, Inc.

We recently added two new videos to our Video Library that we think your customers will be interested in. Videos are quick and easy content to share on Facebook and a great way to boost your organic reach.

Please visit our YouTube or Vimeo page to check them out!

GOLDEN Acrylic Sets : Exploration & Experimentation from Golden Artist Colors on Vimeo.

GOLDEN Acrylic Sets: Exploration & Experimentation

GOLDEN Acrylic Sets are a great way to go from being overwhelmed by the array of colors and mediums available to becoming oriented to the capabilities of different acrylic products. Join Kevin Greeland for a quick look at 16 different sets available now from GOLDEN.

Four 8-Color Mixing Sets by Williamsburg Oils from Golden Artist Colors on Vimeo.

Art Dog Of The Month: Cody

October 25th, 2018

Introducing this month’s Art Dog, Cody—a spunky people-loving pup from North Hollywood, CA. He is just about three and was rescued from the East Valley Shelter in LA by his humans Jenia and Chris Hauser of Carter Sexton Art Supplies. Jenia gives us the scoop on his hairdo, what he loves and his deepest, darkest fears…

The Dog With A Blue Mohawk modeling beside The Girl With A Pearl Earring

“Cody’s hair color change was a BIG surprise to his mom and his brother Zack. They went out of town for a weekend in July and came home to a blue dog with a mohawk. Chris Hauser’s creative genius in action. Needless to say they haven’t gone out of town since.

Cody loves people; he is a tail wagger and a licker. He loves his toy Llama and enjoys broccoli for a snack. He is not, however, a fan of car rides and of not being able to lick everyone who comes through the door. Which has disqualified him from being a shop dog. He came to the store regularly for the first year with our family, but gradually transitioned to staying home and lounging on the couch during the day.

Cody also, for unknown reasons, hates the green broom and the kitchen trash can.”

Ready, Set, Go: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Giving Tuesday

October 25th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager & Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Mark your calendars! While you’re focusing on sales and promotions for the winter holidays, keep these three retail-related holidays on your radar. We’ve put together key links, hashtags and merchandising ideas so that you can easily integrate Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday into your promotions next month.

Black Friday, November 23rd

Black Friday is the informal name for the day following Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally recognized as the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the United States, Black Friday is an opportunity to reach a wide audience with deep discounts.

While this “holiday” is often utilized by larger nation-wide retailers to have “blow out” sales, in recent years some companies, like REI, have taken a different approach; not participating due to the perception that the focus on shopping takes away from the otherwise family-oriented holiday weekend. To keep your Black Friday sale family friendly, consider holding a small event with a family theme in addition to a sale. Choose a project like rock painting, alcohol ink on yupo, or ornament marbling.

  • Merchandising Tips
    • Consider having one or two items on closeout pricing. For great deals, check the October SuperMarkdowns list on the Macpherson’s homepage in the Tools drop down menu.
    • Alternatively, be a little cheeky and offer your own version of a Black Friday sale: a sale on all of your black paints, papers, sketchbooks, pens, markers, spray paint, etc.
  • Social Media
    • Black Friday is a great day to post on social media—in 2017 more than 130 million people discussed Black Friday on Instagram and Facebook…that’s more than the Superbowl!
    • Announce your holiday hours and any promotions your followers can expect over the coming weeks.
    • Hashtags: #BlackFriday #deals #giveaway #sale #Christmas #Thanksgiving #Retail #ShopSmall

Small Business Saturday, November 24th

Small Business Saturday is a day promoted by American Express and the United States Small Business Administration as part of the Shop Small movement—a nationwide effort to celebrate small businesses and strengthen communities.

The “Shop Small Studio” is full of free, easy-to-download promotional materials, ideas for events and tips for effective merchandising. To participate in Small Business Saturday and access these resources, you do not need to be affiliated with American Express. For access to even more planning resources, register your business here and receive promotional goodies such as stickers, balloons and tote bags.

  • Merchandising Tips
    • Feature locally made products on the day of, as well as store merchandise like t-shirts, mugs or tote bags.
    • Invite local artisans to set up a booth in your store.
    • Host a creative event for children or adults like “Make a Wishlist” where children can walk around the store and write down which items make it on their dream list for the holidays.
    • Utilize the Shop Small Studio to create custom signage.
  • Social Media
    • Share your story. Reconnect. Show your community why you love being a part of your neighborhood, and how valuable this season is to your business. Honest communication and a humble thank you will make a meaningful impression, differentiating yourself as a small local business that truly cares.
    • Hashtags: #ShopSmall #smallbizsat #smallbusinesssaturday

Giving Tuesday, November 27th

#GivingTuesday is “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.”

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to build relationships with an organization or cause that your customers care about. Register here and download the media toolkit. Click here to see what other retailers have done in the past.

  • Merchandising Tip
    • Get wishlists from local community centers or arts organizations and set up donation boxes so your customers can do a little good while shopping for gifts
    • Poll customers or staff to help choose an organization to contribute to that is meaningful to your community
  • Social Media
    • Hashtags: The creators of #GivingTuesday say, “Create your own hashtag. We’ve seen #GivingZooDay, #GivingTreesDay, #GivingShoesDay, #iGiveCatholic, and more. Have fun creating your own twist on #GivingTuesday.”

#GivingTuesday even has an extremely well thought out social media toolkit with pre-written posts to help you post online. Tag @givingtues in your posts.

MacPherson’s Organizational Updates

October 25th, 2018

We are excited to announce a few organizational updates! Please visit our announcements page to read the full letter from our CEO & President, Dave Schofield.

John Stephens has transitioned to Director of Marketing, focusing on brand management, category management, creative services and digital experience teams.

Neil McIntyre has been promoted to Director of Account Management and he’ll be joining our Senior Leadership Team. He will continue his management of the national field and inside sales teams, in addition to assuming leadership of our customer service team.

Jeff Scholz, MacPherson’s Director of IT, will now serve as a member of our Senior Leadership Team.

Jessica Krainert, our EDI Specialist, will now serve as our new Integration Manager, overseeing the business and technology integration and onboarding for new customers, vendors and IT projects.

Fall in Love with Matte Metallics from DecoArt

October 19th, 2018

This autumn, pump(kin) up your displays and end caps with DecoArt’s Americana Decor Matte Metallics! As a durable, opaque coverage paint, Americana Decor Matte Metallics deliver a chic, subtle sheen that your customers will *fall* in love with for their seasonal DIY decor. Curing to a hard finish, this one-of-a-kind formula offers excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces such as, wood, glass, and metal. It’s multi-surface capabilities and subtle luster make it the perfect product for year-round use. Gather all 14 traditional and jewel-tone colors to harvest even more creativity in your customers and make your store truly shine!

Stop and smell the rose gold and find Matte Metallic inspiration with our “Thankful Tablescape.”

You can view the step-by-step instructions for the projects seen here in the DecoArt Project Gallery: Fall Copper Stand with Metallic Apples | Fall Owl in Matte Metallic Warm Copper | Rusic Farmhouse Milk Can | Thankful Fall Matte Metallic Framed Wreath | Elegant Fall Metallic Pumpkin and Candlestick Trio

Tip: Feel free to use the projects above and the following informational product video to increase sales and show your customers how simple it can be to DIY your own fall decor with  Americana Decor Matte Metallics!

Ensure that your customer’s homes will shine from the inside out by offering Americana Decor Matte Metallics! Popular for the last few years, metallics are still trending for 2018 and the upcoming 2019 selling season. Your customers will be thankful and we’re grateful for you! – DecoArt

*To purchase DecoArt Americana Decor Matte Metallic products, contact your MacPherson’s representative or shop online today!

Canson Colorline Fine Art Paper

October 19th, 2018

Canson© is excited to introduce the Colorline® portfolio with new colors and formats.

Colorline paper from France has dual-sided texture for drawing, colored pencil, pen, marker and mixed media. The brilliant spectrum of colors and weights fit every professional or student, providing an excellent value.

We have thirty-two beautiful hues with assortments of 25 colors in 150gsm and heavier stock 300gsm with two sizes 19.5”x25.5” sheets and 8.5”x11” sheets and packs.

Our partner brand Daler-Rowney recently discontinued colored art paper Canford in North America due to a mill closure.

Customers will be able to purchase Canford while supplies last, we recommend replacing with Colorline as paper craft continues a strong upward trend.

Colorline® assortments come with product mix and modular metal display rack with point of purchase header and shelf-strips.

Customers may wish to migrate over to Colorline from Canford in a rolling change as colors deplete, we’ve created a complimentary merchandising kit that includes header and shelf strips and adheres to the Canford large or small racks! Should a customer want to update current Colorline fixtures with new shelf strips, just message Orders@Canson.com

The MacPherson’s and Canson teams are ready to support the papercraft trend with 10% off all new full assortment orders.

Also, 10% off open stock for our Winter Back to School promotion Nov. 15-Dec. 31st 2018.

There is an available reference chart to order Canson colors and order merchandising solution kit, for the winter back to school promotional period through MacPherson’s.

Quality Counts

  • Canson pulp-dyed paper means homogenous colors with the ability to erase easily allowing improved finished work. 
  • Standard & Longevity guarantee. 
  • Complies with ISO Standard 9706, acid-free.

We at Canson© are determined to carry on the values our company has established throughout the years and throughout the world. See below for a sample of our values. We only choose the finest partners, such as MacPherson’s, so we can share the joy of creating!

Excellence

With over 450 years’ experience, we have unique expertise and know-how. Our goal is to offer all artists high-quality products which inspire them and give them confidence.

Accessibility

Canson® is a brand of excellence. But we are also a company which seeks to provide simple solutions to the needs of consumers, whether they are professional artists or school children…

Let your creativity take flight!

Contact MacPherson’s for Canson Colorline and a selection of sheets & pads, also explore our other fine art products and partner brands.

Holiday Set Promotions from GOLDEN

October 19th, 2018
GOLDEN Artist Colors, Inc.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the Holiday Set Promotions from GOLDEN. The gift of paint is the perfect holiday present for artists. With this in mind, MacPherson and GOLDEN are offering a 60% discount on these and other select sets for the 2018 Holiday Season.

  •         QoR mini Watercolor 12 half pan set
  •         Williamsburg 11 ml Landscape Set
  •         GOLDEN Acrylic Explorer 14 Set

Limited MAP Policy Adjustment (US Only) 40% off September 17 through December 31, 2018.

Refer to the MacPherson Buyer’s Guide for further details or see your MacPherson Sales Representative with any questions.

Krink Super Black Permanent Ink Markers In Action

October 19th, 2018
Diana De Sousa, Krink

Reminder to our retailers: please feel free to use these vendor resources for social media or marketing purposes!

Krink Super Black permanent ink markers are great everyday markers and a go-to for many artists. The Super Black alcohol-based ink is permanent and opaque; it works well on almost everything. The high quality ink comes in a range of marker styles with value-action delivery systems, ensuring your marker will not dry out. All handmade in the USA.

Joe Grillo + K-70 Permanent Ink Marker

Joe Grillo (@joegrillojoegrillo) is a Meteorcity-born and Virginia Beach-based artist. Here he uses the K-70, which has a double-sided nib, 3mm bullet or 5mm chisel, that writes on most surfaces.

Rostarr + K-51 Permanent Ink Marker

Romon Kimin Yang (@rostarrnyc), aka Rostarr, is an artist living and working in Brooklyn. Rostarr selected the K-51 for a recent project. This marker has a 15mm wide tip and is great for larger drawing, making signs, and calligraphy.

Shantell Martin + K-71 Permanent Ink Marker

Shantell Martin (@shantellmartin) is a New York-based artist who creates with black and white lines. The K-71 is one of Krink’s best selling markers. It is an excellent all-around marker and works well on paper, cardboard, metal, and painted surfaces.

For more information about these products, please visit krink.com or contact diana@krink.com.

Artist Spotlight: Emilee Rudd

October 19th, 2018

Nominated by retailers, account managers or vendor partners, Artist Spotlights feature working artists in our industry community. We take this opportunity to explore innovative techniques, tap into the hows and whys of favorite mediums and tools, and celebrate artists who are shaping our world. To nominate an artist please email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com

Emilee Rudd is a lettering artist, illustrator and graphic designer based in Sacramento, California. She is detail-oriented, strategic, whimsical, imaginative and grounded in nature; qualities that show up consistently in her artwork. We reached out to learn more about what inspires her, what it’s like to freelance and which products are essential to her practice and why.

A quintessential Emilee Rudd piece: thoughtful, incredibly detailed and based in nature

What Inspires Her

Like most creatives, Emilee can’t remember a time when art wasn’t a part of her life. “I always had a sketchbook and art was always a part of who I was. I took art courses in middle school and high school and studied Graphic Design at Cal Poly—I had great teachers who encouraged me to pursue my own style.”

As for inspiration, living in the city of trees has shaped Emile’s aesthetic.

“Nature is number one. I grew up by a river and I’ve always lived by a river. You can usually tell what season it is based on the color palettes that I use…being in nature is a big part of my design process. If I see a really interesting branch structure, leaf pattern or anything I find striking, I research it. Sometimes I’ll hold clients till certain times of the year because I know when I’ll be in tune with the season that makes the most sense for that project.”

Emilee’s lettering on the cover of Sactown Magazine

It All Begins In a Coffee Shop…

“I stumbled into lettering. Junior year in college, I loved graphic design but hadn’t quite found my voice yet. I was working at a coffee shop and during slow days I would doodle and experiment with letters when writing the special. The owner took a chance on me and asked if I could do a menu. My first ever projects is still one of the largest projects I’ve done so far, surface-wise!”

And so began Emilee’s journey. She emphasizes the importance of lettering and illustration as a foundation that works hand in hand with her background in graphic design. A recent branding project she did for the Plant Foundry, a nursery and store in Sacramento, is a good example of how graphic design and illustration come together for her from start to finish.

“I couldn’t have done it without the art supplies. All the patterns and colors were derived from watercoloring with Derwent pencils.” She then moved from illustration to create the graphic pattern accompanied by a Pantone color set and logo look book.

What It Means to Freelance

Being a freelancer is a lot like being a small business owner. You strike out on your own and build your business from the ground up. Your comfort zone is suddenly a place where you spend very little time. Big challenges, big rewards. Emilee elaborates.

“I love challenges, and working with clients. The feeling afterwards is euphoria…I know what I was meant to do.” A recent challenge Emilee accepted with open arms? “I did bullet journaling for SoFi, a finance company in the Bay Area. They wanted it in one take so it was high pressure. I couldn’t use pencil, so I couldn’t mess up. We finished at three in the morning!”


The result is a beautiful video of what it means to create a bullet journal. Will Emilee be forging a career in long-form bullet journaling performance art? No, probably not. But embracing challenges like this push her to create with confidence and grace. She also discovered that she could create for 17 hours straight (!).

Emilee’s Instagram is vibrant and frequently updated, showcasing her sketchbook, works in progress, finished signage and favorite products.

In addition to accepting challenges and risk, embracing social media as a means for community is crucial to her business. “A good portion of my clients find me through social media. It’s a great thing when you use it right… to engage with the community, to create excitement about a project, to get your style out there in the digital world. I love seeing the grid view of the Instagram, it’s very much like seeing someone’s overall style, their portfolio, all in one place.”

While Instagram makes it easier for future clients to see what she’s working on and reach out, it is also a lush stomping ground for the greater artist community. And as an artist who is acutely in tune with the seasons, Emilee looks forward to this month in particular: Inktober.

“Inktober is great because of the community aspect of it: artists coming together, all inspired by the moment and the season. To produce something everyday is a marathon. You train hard, work hard and look back on your work to discover something new about yourself.”

Favorite Products & Shopping Habits

Where the magic happens on our end: art supplies. Emilee has a consistent style and a perfected method—so the supplies she has carefully chosen are essential to her everyday practice. For Inktober specifically? “I like using pigment-based pens and then dye-based pens. I use a pigment pen to lay down, let it dry. Then I go over it with the STABILO Pen 68 Markers. I use dark colors for the contrast and accent colors to play around with. I like to stay in a color palette, and STABILO has fall colors I love.”

For large scale lettering projects, Emilee relies on POSCA paint markers. “POSCA gives you both the pigment and the volume. You can trust that marker. I really like the opacity—gives a depth of color. Not too much shredding on the nib. There are also a lot of interesting, unique colors in the mix… I’ll overlay color with an impressionistic style. The tips are interesting, too – I use the whole range.”

Because she knows her supplies inside and out, she knows where to find them. Her shopping routine focuses on local shops with a few online orders for specific products she hasn’t had luck finding in her neighborhood.

“In Sacramento we are really big on hometown, so I try and shop local when I can. I order pigment pens online because I have very specific needs and online it’s easier and I know I can get exactly what I want.”

Appealing to fine artists who already have their go-to tools can be tricky—but here is where word of mouth, staff recommendations and Instagram visuals come in.

“I’m a creature of habit, but I will try something new if my art friends or personal acquaintances rave about a certain pen. Instagram is also a way to see what different products can do. I get jealous and want to try it out!”

Art Dog Artist Spotlights are also an opportunity to connect. Inspired by Emilee’s work? Conveniently located near Sacramento? Connect with her and learn more how you might collaborate.

Super(natural) Merchandising: Window Display Or Portal To Another World?

October 19th, 2018

Last month, we showcased budget-friendly strategies for eye-catching window displays, with a focus on creating a unique experience and a call for submissions from retailers who are proud of their windows. The holidays offer opportunity for an extra dose of creativity, and it helps to have enthusiastic staff who take initiative. We are pleased to share a creative window just in time for Halloween: this Stranger Things display grabbed attention last year at JWS Art Supplies, in Great Barrington, MA, a quaint tourist town near the Berkshires. JWS has a reputation for having fun window displays that allows them to get extra creative when their favorite holiday comes around, bending some of the rules most adhere to—this window doesn’t feature art supplies, but it draws traffic all the same!

Stranger Things is a popular show on Netflix in its third season. Set in the fictional town Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, the science-fiction horror series has somewhat of a cult following. Think synthy, spooky and supernatural, or, as it is called on the show, the “upside down.” The story revolves around a group of kids’ experiences after their friend disappears and a girl with otherworldly powers mysteriously appears shortly after.

For people who know Stranger Things, it’s an instant draw and a photo opportunity with the lifesize “statement piece”—the Demigorgon, a supernatural demon on the show that staff member Meghan Spaniol recreated with a mannequin, chicken wire, newspaper, paint and a lot of hot glue. For people who have no idea what Stranger Things is, the window is a conversation waiting to happen. From the box of waffles to the Christmas lights, every prop ties into the story.

“We’re known to have a lot of displays in our town. What’s funny is our window doesn’t usually have a lot of art merchandise,” manager Emily Levine muses. “We use the art supplies to actually create the window displays, and those bring people in. Our repeat customers love the window, look forward to it and remember it year to year. New people come in and say, I didn’t know you were here! I love your Halloween set up!”

Logistics for creating a display can feel overwhelming, especially during the holidays. Catering to staff interests and skill sets and using inexpensive or free materials helps.

“We use a lot of supplies that we carry, and we don’t budget much for them. We probably didn’t spend more than $50 on this window, I would say probably even less. We have to be pretty resourceful since we change our window so often, about every two months or every month if it is a holiday. The mannequin we got for free because somebody was getting rid of it, and other things are usually made out of cardboard and foam core scraps. Our biggest expense would be lights, and fabric, which we use a lot so we have a pretty good stock of them.”

Tying In Product & Incentivizing with a Monthly Challenge

Balance is key: while other-worldly windows that draw on pop culture are a great way to create an experience for customers, bringing that imaginative spark to a window that focuses on a specific product line or targets a specific artistic community can drive sales.

Another JWS hit from last year was a window featuring giant sculptures (something of a crowd pleaser in stores) of COPIC markers accompanied by a jumbo illustration done by Meghan. This display is inspired by Instagram challenges and tuned into the social media following for COPIC markers. Staff created a monthly challenge for customers to boost sales of specific color lines.

“Customer participation is growing quickly for the COPIC challenge. They receive 15% off the bundle of three markers when they buy it for the challenge and if they tag us on social media they get a discount on any item the next time they come in the store. We display the art they make in the store if people bring it in, or they can also tag us on Instagram to enter. If they win they get the next month’s bundle for free. It’s picking up each time we do it, and with any new thing you’re trying it takes some time.”

Your windows can be a creative playground, a connection to your social media presence and an open invitation. We look forward to learning more from our community and seeing what the holidays have in store.

Do you have a window you are proud of? A monthly challenge your store has championed? Share it with us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com. Or better yet, document your next window display design process, from ideation to execution. We’d love to celebrate your team and amplify your expertise.

Community Events: Camp Flax Kidsfest

October 19th, 2018

Every year Flax Art & Design in Oakland, California celebrates summer, art and kids with Kidsfest: a free, fun day of family-friendly arts and crafts. This year’s Kidsfest theme was Camp Flax, which celebrates the great outdoors and the California camping experience: think redwoods, wildlife and scouts. The event features various vendors and community organizations such as The Musem of Children’s Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. Staff dress up and the store is transformed into redwood forest where kids and their families can enjoy face painting, a sing-along and dozens of craft activities.

Getting The Word Out

While people in the community simply know to look out for this long-standing event every summer, Manager Joni Marie outlines a multi-faceted outreach strategy aimed at reaching new families as well as the repeat customers.

“We advertise through our own social media, the store landing page and others as well: 510 Families, Mommy Files, Red Tricycle, FunCheapSF. We create banners and decorate the store to pique customer interest, with signs in our kids area of the store.”

MacPherson’s Account Manager / Ranger Kim Cichy with Store Manager / Ranger Joni Marie

As for logistics the day of, it’s all hands on deck. Joni ensures that all of her staff can make it that day; participating organizations man their own tables and bring a helper if needed.

The decorations go a long way in making an impression – especially when customers begin to notice redwoods and owls popping up throughout the store.

As for logistics the day of, it’s all hands on deck. Joni ensures that all of her staff can make it that day; participating organizations man their own tables and bring a helper if needed.

Tips & Tricks For Activities Kids Love

What makes a successful kid activity? How do we make a lasting impression that impacts sales? Events like Kidsfest inform these questions, especially when staff can learn from the experience (and improve it) year after year. This year, Kidsfest activities included:

Joni points out the key to facilitating a popular activity. “The most successful crafts? The 10 minute make-and-takes. Kids get to take something home, that day. Parents like that kids actually make an object, not just another drawing to stick on the fridge.”

Camp is in session! River rock painting with Sennelier Abstract Acrylics

Kidsfest also reminds us of the integral role of art supplies in creating memorable playing experiences. Art supplies can be used to inspire play, whether or not the activity is specifically related to creating art. Encouraging play that utilizes products that you carry introduces parents to supplies they need to recreate the fun at home.

“One year, Faber-Castell brought in a kids art specialist. We spray painted gravel and went panning for gold; it was a fun freebie for the kids. We try to center play with art being a part of it. Doing hands on things, trying to hit different age groups with the kids. It’s not just about the products, but we do have the goal of having parents seeing how they work. Most kids are under ten, but sometimes siblings want to participate and feel encouraged. Then the whole family usually ends up participating.”

Do you have a community event you’d like to share with us? Ideas about utilizing the power of play in your store? Connect with us at artdogblog (@) gmail.com and share your wisdom.

Who’s Who: Preston Arts Center

October 11th, 2018

The current family of origin at Preston Arts Center: Don, Andrew, Alex, Kathy and Amelia Preston

Who’s Who celebrates a member of our industry community. If you would like to nominate someone, please email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com with their name, position, company and a short description.

Kathy Brennan and Don Preston, the owners of Preston Arts Center in Louisville, KY, celebrate owning their family business for 40 years this month. They are major players in the independent world, and they have been able to thrive in a city with major competition.

This month, Andrew Preston, Kathy and Don’s son, will be hosting a two hour reception for vendors and their best customers, some of whom have been shopping with them since they opened their doors in 1978. In addition to the reception, a store-wide sale is in order and the rest of the family is coming home to celebrate.

What Matters Most

“Preston’s has always been a place where the staff has had to know everything.” Kathy wrote in their most recent newsletter. “I remember one sign writer who came in and yelled at me because I did not understand what “Showcard Paint” was. I remember custom mixing paint, figuring wallpaper, making craft samples, teaching craft classes, and so on.” Art education has always been a top priority–that and family.

“From our children’s earliest ages there was no mystery about what mom and pop did for a living,” writes Don in his celebratory blurb. “Although the dinner table may have contained a recapitulation of the day’s work, it was a tangible experience for all three children and we hope contributed to their maturity and outgoing personalities. To be business partners with your spouse is an extra benefit that extends family solidarity beyond the norm.”

All In The Family

Kathy and Don are eventually passing the business down to their son Andrew, who works in store and will mark the third generation to take on the business. We called in to learn more about their business, their family and their community—which we quickly discovered are all one and the same. When discussing the challenges and benefits of working in a family business, Kathy admits a challenge before focusing on the benefits—an attitude that no doubt has led to success for Preston Arts.

Because family members know one another so well, “it’s hard to keep difficult feelings from showing…on the other hand, it’s easier to work like a team. We are together 24/7. My husband has been a pillar of a partner, and it has been a pleasure. We have supported one another through it all; it has been a give and take.”

Preston Arts Center remains a major player in the region of Kentuckiana. When we ask how they’ve managed, Kathy cuts to the chase. It’s all about creating that personal experience. Not just a community feel, but an an actual community.

“It’s all about treating people like guests. Being personable. Students become friends, go out to lunch together. In the spring we have a big event and invite reps to do demonstrations. One of our reps mentioned she’s never been in a place with so many hugs!”

As for her proudest accomplishments, she instantly thought of the store’s relationship with chosen family: customers, staff and vendor partners.

“I’m proud that our customers are our friends and our extended family. We had a theft over Thanksgiving weekend—they took every brush, watercolor and oil. We posted about it on Facebook and people came in to order supplies in advance… We made $1500 more in sales that week, more than enough to cover our losses. Suppliers and vendors were so supportive.

Art education, and the pursuit of education in general, is another core value for the Preston Arts Center family.

Don and Kathy’s life drawing class presenting Thank You gifts

“I’m also proud that we’re also one of the largest private art schools in the city. We have 50 regular classes, everything from watercolor to alcohol ink to acrylic to hyperrealism. The education piece is big.”

The Next Generation

After chatting with Kathy, we reached out to her son Andrew, who (literally) grew up in the business. He shared his perspective as future third generation owner. Just like his mom, he admitted a challenge before refocusing on the positives. Realism must run in the family!

“Working with family presents all of the joys and all of the difficulties of being with your family. It’s great being able to support each other, develop ideas together. We watch out for each other. We share traits, so we might share a bias or a blindspot. We look out for that and are honest with one another.” Other benefits?

Don and Kathy with their son Andrew receiving an award for service to the art community from the Arts Council of Southern Indiana in 2007

“I don’t have to travel to see them. And if there is a childcare emergency, I bring my baby into the store and say, ‘Hi Grandma, Hi Grandpa… Have fun!”

Roena, the next generation, “helping” Grandma work

The family-friendly work environment is a long-standing tradition. “Some of my earliest memories? As small kid, there were a number of cool displays that I could crawl around in and hide in. My family used to have a building downtown, three stories with a cool creepy basement that was filled with all kinds of stuff from the paint and wallpaper store, including a giant furniture slide that went from the alley down to the basement. We would grab cardboard and slide down it. We had a blast.”

“I started working in the store around the age of 10, setting up classrooms and displays, doing odd jobs. At the age of 33 I still do all of the things I used to do when I was a kid. At the store we all pitch in. No one is superior to anyone else, we all pick up jobs no matter how long we’ve been at it.”

While he has been involved with the business since his first NAMTA show at just two and a half weeks old, his interest in art supplies came later.

“Up until I came back from school and came back to working in the business, I actually had no interest in the supplies. It had always been a summer job for me. But as I got to talk to artists more, and understand their drive to create, it became much more appealing. I realized I could use the supplies to create something to be appreciated.”

His gateway into the realm of art supplies? “To play a hipster card, I was into paint pouring way before it was popular. We had a Liquitex person come in to test out a new pouring medium. I made presents for friends, my girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife. There is a lot of unique experience you get being around artists. They don’t fit into the typical mold; they create their own projects and own directions.”

Andrew with the newest addition to the Preston family, Roena.

Carrying on family traditions is crucial—down to naming new family members! “My daughter Roena is named after my grandmother because she did so much for the family. Continuing to honor tradition is important to me.” Roena’s great grandmother, Roena Preston, co-founded the store with her husband Andy. It was originally a wallpaper and paint store (hence the contents of the basement from Andrew’s childhood antics).

Names aside, Andrew emphasizes that the family traditions he holds dear include encouraging creative expression, creating a warm, familial atmosphere and prioritizing the pursuit of learning. Three generations of collective knowledge within the art supply industry runs deep; and for artists and other members of our creative community, it goes a long way. Andrew recalls a heated conversation with a seasoned tattoo artist at a demo they recently put on that explored the art and design styles of tattooing. “He was talking about how tattooing is a traditional art form with hundreds of years of history.” The artist felt that the tradition wasn’t being honored properly by the demo. “When I told him that I’m a third generation future owner of the store and he softened. My name is above the door, my dad’s name, my grandfather’s name… this tradition shows that we are invested, that we care.”

The most rewarding part of his day?

“On a regular basis, we get glowing reviews for our staff. All of our staff are artists; we take our jobs very seriously and we take our customers very seriously. There are people who may shy away from certain things, like exhibiting their work, working with other artists, or doing commissions. [Part of our work is] giving people the confidence they need to bare their souls to others. We do what we can to make their hopes and dreams come true.”

Check out the wonderful work of staff and instructors! From looking at their work online, we can only imagine the impact they have when they bring their expertise and creative energies to the classroom or sales floor. Artists in the Preston Arts staff and instructor community include plein air painter & muralist Catherine Bryant, painter Debra Lott, illustrator Kevlen Goodner, watercolorist Judy Mudd, painter Dawn Johnston, illustrator Harrison Fogle.

Lynn Busch, Andrew’s co-manager and long-time staff member shared her experience as a staff member. Her testimony says it all:

“13 years ago I was looking for a job in the field of art. I had just moved to town, finished up with my teaching degree… I stepped into the shop and it was a full on family atmosphere. That’s what I was looking for: a mom and pop. As I grew with them, it’s one of the most endearing qualities of the store: everyone who works together feels like family. We help each other out. Beyond just staffing, the customers are like family, too. Everybody knows everybody. There’s also always been a very strong push to future educate yourself in whatever ways inspire you. I’m a fiber artist, and I’m an educator for Jacquard products.”

At the T-RExpo. From left to right: Jeremy Miller, Kathy Brennan, Lynn Busch and Andrew Preston

Strong Foundation, With Willingness To Grow…

The common threads that knit Preston’s community together and allow it to flourish: a passion and drive to constantly learn more about the arts paired with an open, “welcome home” attitude that has customers coming back decade after decade. We are already looking forward to the 50th anniversary; by that time Roena will have her own stories to tell!

Ann Walsh: Colors Exhibition Opening Reception

October 5th, 2018

GOLDEN Artist Colors, Inc.

Ann Walsh: Colors opened last week at The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery (THE SAGG) at Golden Artist Colors. This survey of abstract paintings and sculptures by artist Ann Walsh underscores her commitment to the expressive possibilities of color and her investigations of the use of new materials for making art. Walsh has lived in New York City and maintained a studio there since 1980. An illustrated catalog with an essay by artist and critic Franklin Einspruch entitled, “Ann Walsh’s Mechanics of Color” will be available as well.To learn more about Walsh and her artwork, visit http://www.ann-walsh.com/index.htm. Visit The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery website, www.thesagg.org for more information.

The Sam & Adele Golden Gallery (THE SAGG) at Golden Artist Colors, 188 Bell Road, New Berlin, NY

October 6, 2018 – March 15, 2019

 

Innovative Collaboration: Calligraphy With POSCA

October 5th, 2018

Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

The beauty of our industry is in the connections we make. Oftentimes shop owners and staff are uniquely situated to connect with niche communities and play a part in sustaining local art scenes. Annette Wichmann of Kensington Art Supply & Instruction in Calgary, AB Canada has done just that. Her close ties with a local calligraphy guild and her rapport with customers, instructors and staff strengthens the tightly knit and growing calligraphy community in Calgary – and her fearless exploration of POSCA paint markers and Art Alternatives Creative Surfaces has given us serious food for thought!

A scripture-inspired piece on wood panels; two quotes on denim and burlap Art Alternatives Creative Surfaces.

Inspired by Assistant Brand Manager Tucker Russell’s POSCA demo at Dealer Workshop and intrigued by the Art Alternatives Creative Surfaces, Annette had an idea – and she knew her calligraphy instructor Kerri Forster would be game.

Using the POSCA markers and the Art Alternatives Creative Surfaces, Kerri created several works of art. She used a chisel tip and the PC-17K with amazing results and utilized smaller tips for embellishments and details. MacPherson’s Account Manager Jackie Hangebrauck brought different creative surfaces for people to try: burlap, denim, wooden slats. Calligraphy Guild members attended, new and repeat customers tried it out, instructors took what they learned at the demo back to their classes. Annette ran a 20% off sale on POSCA and the Art Alternatives Creative Surfaces during the demo and the following weekend; sales were positively impacted, people were curious and everyone got to try all eight POSCA tips.

Right: A quote on both the back and front of the glass of an empty frame. Kerri loved being able to work on glass, a difficult task without POSCA on hand!

Kerri (left) outlined why POSCA markers are delightful for calligraphers:

  1. Versatile surfaces. “Paper is fine, but you always want to put your calligraphy somewhere else. Glass and boxes and walls and furniture… a brush and paint might do it, but not always. Having a POSCA marker with all those different tricks is kind of like, wow, this is fun.”
  2. The Nibs. “One of the nibs has bristles and calligraphers love that, because we need the bristles to move with angles and speed and pressure. The PC-17K is like a brick with a slight bevel. I took an X-Acto knife and cut that bevel off to make a square, so I was able to get my thin strokes even thinner.”
  3. Layering. “Some markers are stinky, or transparent, or dry too fast, you can’t build color up unless you are on a white surface. POSCA is super helpful for learning, also for doing backgrounds, adding embellishments, doodling or going back into the serifs.”
  4. Coverage & Finish. “It sure has nice coverage and is really nice opaque with a flat finish. These markers were so fun to play with and it was a real treat being able to blend.” Cassie Brehmer, Macpherson’s Account Manager, took it upon herself to create a demo of how blendable POSCA markers are! Check out the video below to see how they blend on a non-porous surface like YUPO paper.

The result? Boosted sales, additional interest in calligraphy classes, and a happy, inspired instructor.

Sales Tip: Novelty Experiences & Instruction

Our conversations with Kerri and Annette got us thinking about savvy ways to incorporate staff talents and pique customer interest in products and classes. If calligraphy is a poetic, intense, lifelong love, hand-lettering is the enthusiastic younger sibling. By cultivating calligraphy in your store, you are tapping into the powerful trend of hand-lettering and deepening what might have been a one time purchase into a lifelong artistic practice.

Novelty Experience: Unlikely Demos

Combine two products that don’t usually get put together and see what happens. “Using different tools help people explore and get more comfortable / excited,” Kerri explains. See below for a holiday demo idea.

Face to Face Instruction

“People buy a calligraphy kit and say, think, Well this doesn’t work. That is like buying a piano and saying This doesn’t make music!”  We need instruction in real time: face-to-face connection is crucial. If someone runs into issues with a pen at home, they put it down and move on. With workshops, demos or in-store conversation, there is space for encouragement. “I teach people to understand the basic tools and help them understand the journey,” Kerry says. “Calligraphy is exciting and difficult and fun and terrible at the same time. You need encouragement and reflection.”

Customized Moleskine Cahier Notebooks, written with FW Inks. On the right: Ella Minnow Pea was inspired by this book.

Irresistible and Cost-Effective Freebies

Customize the cover of a journal your customer has just purchased!

Annette elaborates:

“I noticed the Calligraphy Guild next to me at a pop up event and I had the Moleskine Cahier notebooks with me. Someone thought it would be cool to write someone’s name on it. Then we started doing quotes. From then on there was a constant line of customers. So now Kerri comes into the store for Christmas or Valentine’s Day: the first customization is free, then I ask for a nominal fee for additional ones. It gets people interested in the products Kerri is using and gets them to try classes.”

Combining unlikely products? Close with a niche art community in your town or city? Let us know – email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com. We’d love to learn more and share your story with the greater industry community.