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.

A Closer Look: Kensington Art & Calligraphy

October 5th, 2018

Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

When we called Annette Wichmann, owner of Kensington Art Supply, about a recent POSCA demo by Kerri Forster, our conversations led to a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between niche communities and art supply retailers, as well as a lesson in calligraphy we won’t soon forget. We decided to delve deeper into the hows and whys of their tightly knit community. Learn more about the POSCA and calligraphy demo that sparked this conversation in the first place.

Kensington Art Supply & Instruction carries a wide array of products, with two 1,000 sq ft studios and instructors who either rent space or run workshops. Annette knows many of her customers and instructors through the Bow Valley Calligraphy Guild, one of the largest calligraphy groups in Canada. Annette was a member of the Guild before she became the owner of the store. Her enduring friendships within the calligraphy community have both diversified the store’s inventory and generated unique selling opportunities.

“I carry a ton of calligraphy products because of my relationship with the Calligraphy Guild.” Annette explains. “Back when I used to go to more classes, they’d always ask, If you’re coming, can you bring…? I always had a little collection of stuff. I thought… why don’t I just bring more? They used to send me a supply list. Then when I couldn’t go, instructors still wanted to bring the supplies, so I implemented a system. My instructors take product on consignment for students who are in need of tools, so that they can buy the right ones right away and use them that day. These are people I can trust, so I feel comfortable giving them product.”

Kerri Forster, the store’s calligraphy instructor, teaches monthly classes with students of all ages and abilities – from people who have never tried calligraphy to experienced members of the Guild. She also attends events on behalf of Kensington Art, such as a comic expos or maker fairs. She’s happy to showcase the products Annette carries, especially because the calligraphy inventory is the result of direct asks and conversations. “[Annette] “gets” an artist’s mind – the fears, worries, wishes. She’s a huge blessing to our community here. She turned a little tiny shop into an incredible art store.”

The Culture of Calligraphy

Retailers understand firsthand the benefit of employing brilliant working artists who are excited to play the part of educator, salesperson and/or cheerleader. As a seasoned calligrapher, Kerri has a lot of knowledge to share. Chat with her for more than five seconds about calligraphy and find yourself itching for pen, ink and paper. Here are a handful of impressions that stuck with us:

Learning calligraphy is like learning to play music.

“You learn each ‘hand’ and it’s rather like learning a musical instrument. You keep adding to your body of knowledge. It gets more complex and interesting and nuanced: you can literally pursue it your entire life and still be learning.”

And once you get it, it’s like a dance.

“Lettering is really tactile. It’s hard to describe the feel of paper, pen and ink working together. It’s like a dance, and you can feel it. There isn’t one element that’s the best. You need to find which combination works.”

People who letter together, flourish together.

“People in the calligraphy community know one another for so many years because we you just keep pursuing it. You grow and the friendships grow. Typically calligraphers are very generous with their information. You share what you know, and the next person adds their special spin to it.”

Handwriting is our humanity, lettering is our community.

“When calligraphers get together and do the same “hand,” we can tell who did it. Whatever you learn, you make it your own. We have a well-rounded, encouraging environment… you can do it by yourself, but you need to be with people to learn.”

Choose your words, use your voice.

“Some people like to use what’s running through their mind, classical quotes, letterform and structure, scripture or funny quotes. The words you letter have to be something that speaks to you, resonates with you.”

Does your store have a strong relationship with a niche community? Would like to feature a member of your staff who has insight and knowledge to share around a specific medium? Get in touch with us at artdogblog (@) MacPhersonart.com – we’d love to share your story.

Venerable Vintages: The Ghosts of Products Past

October 5th, 2018

An early iteration of the Prismacolor logo; over time the rainbow arch has simplified to an iconic prismatic line.

Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Introducing Venerable Vintages, a monthly feature of archaic art supplies. Anything from art industry ephemera to unlikely heirlooms; Venerable Vintages is a chance to indulge in the art supply nerd in all of us. To submit a collection or special item, send images and descriptions to us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com.

Many of us have a soft spot for vintage labels, first edition products or timeless typography from “back in the day.” The classic designs, often done by hand and screen printed onto the package, are in harmony with the contents. Aging art supplies are more than rusty compasses or dried out paint pans – they can tell a story, too.

This month we are taking a look at the collection of Prairie Clark, manager of I’ve Been Framed in Portland Oregon. I’ve Been Framed (@ivbnframed) is known for buying, selling and loving vintage art supplies. Prairie, who has been at the store for 24 years, is known for her collection, which includes the iterations of the Prismacolor logo, from a rainbow band to a spiral of color to a colorful gradient with packaging that features original colored pencil artwork. We took an interest in the Magic Art See and Draw Copier – an ingeniously simple predecessor to the projector.

Prairie’s enthusiasm for all things vintage is so effusive that on her birthday her coworkers gifted her a display case so that she could show off her treasures properly. They call it “The Museum,” and repeat customers beeline to it whenever they visit to see if anything has changed.

“I love having a little display case so we can rotate the supplies. It’s always fun to hear the stories – my grandpa had that one, or I had that one in college. Back then, all of that stuff was hand done by artists; that’s another element I love. Even the packaging and logos were designed by artists.

This set of Speedball linoleum cutters, a recent acquisition that Prairie rescued from an estate sale, feature designs clearly made from lino prints (we have a set at the MacPherson’s Emeryville office, and up close you can see the carving marks!).

There may be more to getting giddy over old art supplies than nostalgia; classics often resurface in the next trend or craze. For instance, the hand-lettering trend can rekindle interest in calligraphy supplies.

Stay tuned for our feature next month, where we explore a handful of items from MacPherson’s archives, and send us images of your favorite oldies!

Inspire & Spook With DecoArt Outdoor Living Paint

September 28th, 2018
    DecoArt, Inc.

It’s the most shudder-ful time of the year! With Halloween just around the corner, DecoArt has a range of products that will make your customers shudder with delight. Treat your customers to DecoArt’s Americana Decor Outdoor Living paint to make this selling season truly spooktacular. Durable and weather-resistant,  this paint does not require sanding, priming, or sealing. Outside spaces are being decorated as elaborately as interior rooms, especially during a holiday season. The addition of the DecoArt Outdoor Living line to your store makes it easy and affordable for all customers to transform any piece from daunting to happy haunting. It’s permanent and durable adhesion to concrete, terra cotta, masonry, wood, metal, plastic, glass, and more makes it one of the most versatile paint products on the market. Americana Decor Outdoor Living is an easy to use product for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Here’s a monster mash-up of Halloween projects to inspire your customers to purchase all the materials needed to create a boo-tiful front porch!

Don’t lose your “ghoul!” These 2-3 step projects are simple, even for the most novice craft customer.

Tip: Drive sales by providing your customers with our free downloadable project templates, located on each project page (Practical Potions and Witch’s Chair).

Practical Potions Sign

“Sit for a Spell” Witch’s Chair

Pack your porch with even more thrilling DecoArt projects. See below for even more coordinating ideas and bewitched inspiration for you and your customers!

Learn more step-by-step instructions via the DecoArt Project Gallery: make a Witch’s Brew, a Bubbling Cauldron, a Witch Hat or a Witch Silhouette!  

“Best Witches” from DecoArt, in all of your art adventures!

To purchase DecoArt Outdoor Living products, contact your MacPherson’s representative or shop online today!”

Reminder: Golden B-T-S Promotional Period

September 28th, 2018

A reminder from GOLDEN Artist Colors that the last date for additional promotional advertising is September 30, 2018! Please revert to the maximum 30% off beginning October 1st.

Paperwork People Actually Want

September 27th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager, MacPherson’s

This holiday season gift your customers with basic instructions for simple activities and projects for all ages. These Activity Sheets are especially helpful for aunts, uncles and grandparents who may be seeing their young family members for the only time this year. Plenty of easy DIY projects can be found online; all you have to do is assemble the desired items in-store in an easily shoppable layout, highlight that you have a FREE activity sheet, and provide an example of a finished project for reference. For the Holiday Season, going a little crafty is ok! Make sure to include your social media handles, website, and store hours and information on this handout so customers can connect and remember the value you added to their shopping experience.

Examples:

Kid’s Popsicle Stick Ornaments

  • Instructions like these, from the blog Fireflies and Mudpies, are available with a quick Google Search and provide ample inspiration to get you started creating your own project sheet.
  • Materials to highlight:
    • Acrylic paint or paint markers
    • Paint brushes
    • Popsicle sticks
    • Wood glue
    • Glitter/pompons
    • Scissors
    • Hemp/Twine

Photo from Francois et Moi

Shibori How-To

  • Indigo has been making a big comeback, and Shibori dyed fabrics are all the rage. Encourage your customers to try this trend by providing instructions on how to properly tie dish towels or flour sack towels to create the perfect patterns
  • Materials to highlight

Our New WMS is Going Live Oct. 8

September 27th, 2018

WMS goes live in Reno as of October 8th, 2018!

We are excited for this new chapter and technological milestone in our company’s history. As you may know, last year we made the decision to upgrade our Warehouse Management System (WMS).  This is the largest technology investment in MacPherson’s history. WMS is the “brains” of our distribution centers that tracks inventory locations and determines how orders are processed and how freight is shipped. We are working with the leader in warehouse software platforms, Manhattan Associates, and our team has devoted hundreds of hours to configuring and testing the system to ensure successful implementation. This innovation strengthens our commitment to service excellence, and we are looking forward to sharing more updates with you.

To learn more, please visit the Announcements page of www.MacPhersonArt.com.

Retailer’s Choice: Next “Demo Days” Feature

September 27th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager, MacPherson’s

Last month we introduced a new feature called Demo Days, which outlines instructions and materials needed to create an in store demonstration or workshop.

Regular in-store activities help to foster a sense of community and make your store a destination spot for artists and hobbyists alike. Allowing your customers to participate in a hands-on activity that educates them on products and lets them leave your store with an item they are confident they can recreate. We’ve put together a list of demo ideas for 4th Quarter. Let us know which activity inspires you and we’ll outline how to do the most requested one in our next Demo Days feature. Want to see something that’s not on the list? E-mail us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com to let us know!

  • DIY wrapping paper – block printing on craft paper
  • Giant snowflakes with decorative papers.
  • Wintertime felt trees
  • Furniture antiquing techniques
  • Face painting for parents
  • Making your own calligraphy inks
  • Marbling glass ornaments
  • Oven Baked Clay – beads, ornaments, and more

Best Practices: Plan Ahead For Holiday Merchandising

September 24th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager, MacPherson’s

The holiday season brings in customers beyond the everyday shopper, which is an exciting opportunity to connect and encourage repeat business from these “non-regulars” throughout the year. In reality, it is also the season where empowering customers to help themselves will keep sale opportunities moving through your retail space in a healthy flow. Early October is a great time to set-up a a semi-permanent featured items table or end-cap up in store to rotate through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays. Your regular customers may notice something new – and your new customers will see fun products at great prices.

October

Ah, Halloween, the season where a customer could ask for literally anything under the sun to create the perfect costume… The obvious requests for essentials like masks and face paint and glitter arise – but for creatives wanting to explore more advanced costume making techniques, consider featuring any of the following:

  • Mold making tools and supplies
  • Plastercraft
  • Styrofoam
  • Carving tools
  • Armature wire
  • Glues that adhere to multiple surfaces
  • Fabric paint and glue
  • Oven-bake clay
  • Beads and ANY craft supplies (buttons, sequins, rhinestones, findings, etc.)
  • Economy acrylic paints
  • Googly eyes
  • Tissue paper

Provide project ideas, images of how the products can be used, and share relevant YouTube videos on your social media pages. This a great time of year to educate curious customers on new materials and inspire them to try something out of their comfort zone at a great price.

Click here to revisit featured Halloween items on www.MacPhersonArt.com!

November

Holiday shopping begins!  You can leave a lot of your craft items from October on your features table here. In preparing for the holiday rush, start showing your customers how to make their own wrapping paper or placemats using a block printing techniques, how to create a handmade “hostess” gift, fold easy origami ornaments and the classic – homemade holiday cards. Consider featuring the following:

  • Craft supplies
  • Block printing tools and materials for printing on paper and fabric.
  • Craft paper rolls or white paper rolls
  • Hemp/twine/ribbon
  • Candle or soap making supplies (easy hostess gifts!)
  • Origami paper and other paper crafts
  • Card making supplies (see project ideas from Strathmore here)

This is also a good time to get store staff involved by writing notes about supplies they are “thankful for” and prominently posting them on displays. Start to set out some holiday sets as a preview for what’s to come.

December

Holiday Bonanza! It’s time to feature all those sets you brought in at great discounts for the holidays. Create signage to educate your customers on the differences between sets. Physically separate them into categories for “Child/Beginner,” “Hobbyist,” “Student” and “Professional.” Don’t forget to have a few sets open and ready to try with appropriate surfaces. Focus trending products under a sign: “Your Grandkids will LOVE….{Insert: marbling, alcohol markers, slime kits, or glitter gel pens}”. Put together a house kit for a trend like bullet journaling, with a creative staff-made examples! Other products to consider:

  • Fine paper/wrapping paper
  • Ribbons/twine/hemp (for wrapping and gift tags)
  • Gold and silver writing pens
  • Scrapbooking appliques and stickers
  • Blank cards (see top selling Strathmore cards on Page 25 in the Buyers guide)
  • Knives and blades
  • Tape (double sided and regular)
  • Glitter/glitter glue
  • How-to-calligraphy and hand lettering books
  • Paper mache figures
  • Origami paper
  • Ready made frames

Calling All Staff

September 24th, 2018

You may have noticed an uptick in posts these last few weeks. With support from your Account Managers and Category Managers, our Creative Services team is revamping and revitalizing Art Dog Blog! In addition to industry news and resources you’ve come to expect, some of the features we are introducing include Who’s Who, an opportunity to feature a member of your staff who is doing an incredible job, Best Practices, where we explore trends, merchandising hacks, demo ideas, and other in-store strategies and of course the Art Dog of the Month. Make sure to share Art Dog with all members of your team, because there is something for everyone.

Have someone on your team who might want to submit? Please send submissions to artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com.

Art Dog Of The Month: Q

September 24th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

 

We are pleased to feature a member of the Mac Fam for this month’s Art Dog! Q is Merchandise Manager Cathy Denny’s beloved pup. Possibly a Rottweiler of some kind, Q was in a high kill animal shelter earlier this year when Cathy and her husband discovered him. Q likes to sit in on team meetings, partake in distracting .GIFs (very silly mini-videos that loop constantly) and hang out under our desks.

Wicked Halloween Assortments

September 24th, 2018

Halloween is just around the corner, so don’t forget to check out this assortment of key Halloween items and seasonal goodies, perfect for a prominent display or end cap.

White pumpkin, marbled with black and white Marabu Easy Marble

Thumb Through Your Fall Buyer’s Guide

The Fall 2018 Buyer’s Guide is full of inspirational resources for the coming fall (check MacPhersonArt.com for a link to the current Buyer’s Guide and promotions). Try a fun fall demo so customers can see how easy it is to use some of these products, like the marbled pumpkin featured on page 61. Click here for a refresher of how to transform a pumpkin into festive decor – no carving required!

Who’s Who: MacPherson’s Jeanine “JD” Davids Celebrates 30 Years

September 24th, 2018

Introducing Who’s Who, a feature that showcases a member of our industry community who is doing an incredible job. If you would like to nominate someone for a Who’s Who feature, please email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com with their name, position, company and a short description of why you would like to nominate them.

Jeanine (right) with her best friend “Bud.” This is the only picture Jeanine would let us use – if we wanted her, we get Bud too. Jeanine and Bud met in 1986 at Art Hardware in Boulder, Colorado (now Meininger’s) and became close friends; when Jeanine left for California to join MacPherson’s Bud followed shortly after, taking over Jeanine’s purchasing responsibilities when she went on maternity leave. Sadly, Bud passed away in January 2017 but their friendship is eternal.

Category Manager Jeanine Davids just celebrated her 30th anniversary with MacPherson’s. Jeanine is known around the office for her expertise, off the cuff sense of humor and willingness to innovate. We had to cap our talk at an hour, but we could have gone on all day! Jeanine started out as an assistant to the purchasing manager back in 1988 when the department consisted of two people; she moved on to become a Buyer, a Merchandise Analyst and now a Category Manager, where she handles the realm of paints, mediums, adhesives, brushes, storage, and printmaking supplies.

What initially inspired you to work within the art industry?

In high school I spent every possible moment in the art department so it was just logical for me to work in an art store.  I still remember the ad in the newspaper, Art supply store needs sales help. In August of 1979 I applied, had one interview and the rest is history. The store was on Long Island in Hempstead, NY., called Orange Front. It was actually a paint, wallpaper and window treatments store with the art supplies tucked into the back of the store.

What are some of the highlights of working at MacPherson’s?

My favorite experiences at MacPherson’s are related to NAMTA – I’ve always loved it because I like when a lot of people in the industry are experiencing the same thing at the same time. You get real time reactions from people – I like having the vendor-customer relationships at the tip of my fingers. It’s also great to see all of our hard work pay off!

What do you love most about your job?  

I love working on projects with people who are as engaged and invested in the outcome as I am.  In the 30 years I’ve been at MacPherson’s, that element has always been there. As long as I can contribute to something meaningful, I’m happy.

What keeps you engaged?

MacPherson’s is always changing. Always looking to do new things, increasing value to our retailers and vendors. We’ve never sat on our laurels. I always learn new things, and that is how we have gotten to where we are as a company. We are always asking that question: what can we do better. It’s never boring for me, because change excites me: what am I gonna learn now?

So, what kind of new things have you learned recently?

The concept of retailer engagement and how people connect with their customers. People have to turn a store into an experience and destination to give the customer a reason to walk in. Our department is embracing these terms with open arms…now when we look at a product, we think, how is it going to play out at the retail level? What about it is going to entice a retailer, or a consumer? This is different thinking than what we’ve done in the past, which is so fun.

What is your typical day like?

My typical day is a mish mosh – it all depends on what our department is working on. There is always a Buyer’s Guide in play. A ton of meetings with ideas, brainstorms, trends…I also process data from vendors, see what they are offering. Running alongside of that, we’re bringing in new products, planning a product launch, tracking down product information. And meeting deadlines because without deadlines we wouldn’t be civilized!

What is your team like?

Right now I’m working with the strongest team we’ve ever had in my thirty years here – and it’s 100% how Cathy Denny has brought us together. The way we work together, we are constantly collaborating and talking about projects. The transition of the Buyer’s Guide is a beacon of success, too. I would love to be a fly on the wall with the retailers and see how the they use the guide, how it helps them, what we can work on.

Are you involved in the arts in your free time?

I’m always artsy! My daughter is into art and I mat her artwork. I’m always working on something. Covering things with paper, customizing and personalizing anything and everything.

Do you have a motto or manifesto for your attitude towards work?

It’s the same for work as it is for my life: change we must to live again.

Word On The Street…She’s a Superstar!

“What comes first to my mind: Jeanine is a…

  • Vendor’s advocate and true partner who prioritizes supporting others,
  • Industry knowledge guru and proponent of change and innovation,
  • Dynamic personality entwined with a fantastic sense of humor
  • Team player with the desire to be the best that she can be.”
    -Cathy Denny, Merchandising Manager

“Jeanine’s unparalleled sense of humor and irreverence, combined with her vast knowledge and experience in this industry makes her my hero and an ART SUPERSTAR. Jeanine for President!”
– Hannah Reineck, Web Content Specialist

“In her 30+ years here Jeanine has seen it all and is always looking out for the best interests of MacPherson’s… She is also a charter member of the MacPherson’s in house band, “One Night Stand”.  Jeanine provides back up vocals as well as taking the occasional lead on a song like “Love Shack”. She designed the “One Night Stand” band logo which is prominently displayed on two large signs in our Emeryville office!”
-Jim Semitekol, Executive Vice President – Chief Operating Officer

The One Night Stand poster proudly on display in our Emeryville office.

Thank you Jeanine for all your hard work and dedication. The MacPherson’s family endorses JD 2020 all the way!

Colossal Creativity: Bring Art Into Your Store

September 24th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, MacPherson’s Copywriter

Staff member Abby Langley (they/them) creates larger than life sculptures of everyday art supplies for displays at Creative Coldsnow stores in Kansas City, MO and Overland Park, KS. Their recent creations include an XXXXL Posca marker and a gargantuan Gamblin paint tube; they got the idea for the larger than life sculptures at a staff meeting. “We were trying to think of ways to merchandise and advertise the new POSCA markers,” Abby recalled. “I was looking a marker one day and thought to myself, it would be fun to make a giant version.”

Abby is a sculptor, having graduated with a BFA Kansas City Art Institute; their preferred medium is glass, but they also use wood, metal and paint.  While they hadn’t worked with cardboard in years, they were excited to take on the challenge.

With a well thought out design, cardboard, paper and paint, Abby created a Posca marker 6 times the original size.

The sculptures are on display in both store locations, hanging from the ceiling above respective aisles, beckoning customers to find their miniatures in the shelves below. Next on the docket? An Angelus paint jar or a Golden Hi Flow bottle.

A  tube of Gamblin paint 7 times the original size (which now seems miniscule – we want more paint!)

Bringing art into stores has been on their mind since day one. “One of my first days, someone came in and was like, ‘Where is all the art?’ I looked around and realized we didn’t have much… Since I’ve been here I’ve tried to incorporate art into the displays.” Abby is not just contributing to imaginative displays – they are creating conversations. People stop in their tracks and want to know more about what the sculpture is, which product it is, what it can do. “People realize that the people who work here are artists themselves,” Abby explains. “We have knowledge and resources and they can ask us, learn from us, relate to us.”

The staff at Creative Coldsnow contributes collectively to the displays. There are two other artists on Abby’s team, Ron Wickersham and Bobby Haulotte. “Ron painted the arrow that’s paired with the posca marker, and they’ve both done individual projects for other products we carry.”

“Making displays is the part of my job that I enjoy most,” Abby explains. “It’s a way to use my creativity in a functional way. I like using my creative skills in a retail environment and have it make a difference.” And art in stores does make a difference – the POSCA marker in particular has had a positive impact on sales while launching the product.

There are so many ways to incorporate staff-made art into merchandising to generate interest and create conversations. Unconventional displays or community-specific artworks are a great way to strengthen the connection your customers have with your store and your team.

Do you have artistic displays in your store you’d like to share with us? A staff member whose artistry we can celebrate? Email us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com and show off your work.