Welcome to Corporate Art Co!

Corporate Art  Co helps clients build charismatic, enduring art collections to reflect your corporation’s character, drive, and interests.

Corporate Art Co has the experience and creativity to meet your objectives and go beyond your expectations. We can handle any size project or budget. Imagine an art gallery that comes to you, listens to your ideas, and presents screened options for your review.

  • Consultations and Art Sales
  • Appraisals and Insurance Replacement Valuations
  • Conservation
  • Existing Collection Inventories

 

Archival Framing Tips: Works on Paper

Paper is sensitive stuff. Art Appraisers frequently see valuable art that has suffered from fading and damage or is susceptible to environmental stresses. There are many factors that affect the life span of works on paper: lighting, environmental conditions, and framing can result in yellowing, brittleness, spotting, and overall deterioration. Colors can fade, clarity will decrease, and eventually, the value of the image will diminish. According to Holly Hackwith, International Society of Appraisers Accredited Member, when it comes to the value of art, “condition is everything”.

So, how can you tell if your art is at risk? According to the Institute of Conservation, there’s a few common telltale signs to look for. We offer tips to increase the life of your art.

  1. Do you notice that the media’s color has faded or the paper has yellowed? Direct sunlight and interior lighting emit varying degrees of the damaging ultraviolet light that causes paper discoloration and faded inks. Move your art out of the sunlight and replace the existing glass with glass that is specifically manufactured to block the harmful UV light.
    This print has been in a frame for 40 years, and the fading is obvious. Image via silversolvent.blogsopt.com

    This print has been in a frame for 40 years, and the fading is obvious. Image via silversolvent.blogsopt.com

  2. Examine the interior edges of the mat board around the art. Contact with boards containing unpurified wood pulp may turn paper brown and brittle. ‘Mount burn’ describes the brown marks around the edge of an image where an acidic window mount has ‘burnt’ the paper. Brown ‘air-burn’ marks can also form through gaps in old wooden backboards. Replace the mat boards and backing with acid-free or PH balanced boards.
    Direct contact with a mat containing acid can lead to mat burn. Image by spencerart.ku.edu

    Direct contact with a mat containing acid can lead to mat burn. Image via spencerart.ku.edu

  3. Look at the paper from the side, and see if you notice cockling  or undulation. Handmade paper does not always lie flat, but if the paper is badly distorted, wrinkled or even torn at the corners it has probably been taped to the mounting board. Humidity causes paper to shift and it works best to dry mount it. Take the art to a professional framer and have the piece re-mounted.
    Humidity or water damage can cause paper to cockle.

    Humidity or water damage can cause paper to cockle. Image via the Fine Arts Conservancy

  4. Do you see spots forming in the paper? Brown spots called ‘foxing’ are caused by bacteria or mold which generally grows on acidic paper when the humidity is high. Try not to hang pictures directly against the interior of the outside wall of a building: the comparatively low temperature can cause condensation and mold growth inside a frame. Conversely, a radiator or spotlight dries the air out, and concentrates dirt by convection currents.
    Brown spots called foxing are due to mildew or mold.

    Brown spots called foxing are due to mildew or mold. Image via conservationofpaper.org

The Institute of Conservation provides in-depth descriptions and suggestions on their site:  http://www.conservationregister.com/PIcon-careprintsdrawings.asp

Most art collectors do not live in temperature, humidity, and light controlled environments, so it’s critical to take necessary steps to conserve your investments from the very start. Conservation framing is often a one-time expense that will lengthen the life of your art dramatically, and create enjoyment for years to come. CAC provides recommendations for framing, conservation, and restoration.  Please email holly@corporateartco.com to learn how we can help you preserve the value of your art.

Advice From An Art Dealer

Holly Hackwith has been surrounded by art for the last 28 years, and still gets really excited when she sees new, innovative art. She has lots of advice for artists looking to get their art noticed and purchased.

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1. Perfect your craft. Technical fluency is as important as the message of the artwork. A solid command of the medium  communicates the message of the art much more effectively.

2. Keep learning and experimenting to keep your art fresh and interesting.

3. Build your resume by entering regional and national shows. Submit your work to galleries, dealers, and arts organizations. When someone expresses interest in your art, keep in touch with them.

4. Seek out other artists to develop an honest critique group.

5. Find a business mentor, and use available resources to market your work. If you aren’t a business person, explore options to have others market your work.

6. Use social media to keep in touch with your fans. Make sure people know what you’re doing.

There isn’t a magical formula to success, but talent, curiosity, and determination make a big difference.

Patsy Smith : The Artist

If you’ve visited Pinnacle Bank on 181st and Dodge in Omaha, you’ve probably noticed an unusual landscape in the bank lobby. The warm and vibrant landscape painting triptych draws you in for a closer look, which reveals silk woven tubes separate the canvas panels.  Artist Patsy Smith was one of the commissioned artists to produce art for the Pinnacle Bank headquarters. The art produced was intended to be inviting for clients, reinforces corporate values, and tie in with Pinnacle Bank’s branding.

SmithBurg1

Featured art at Pinnacle Bank’s headquarters by Patsy Smith and Myra Burg.

Smith’s most recent paintings are featured in Corporate Art Co’s hallway gallery at the Mastercraft Building on at 1111 North 13th St in Omaha. Holly Hackwith, owner of Corporate Art Co, says Smith’s work is transitional enough to appeal to both traditional and contemporary taste. Smith’s approach to painting is quick, intuitive, and appears to be unplanned, but that is far from the truth.  Her compositions consist of three paintings in one: the first painting defines space, the second produces the textures, and the third commits the message.  Smith’s work is celebratory and dynamic.

Circumstance 24x30

“Circumstance” 24″ x 30″ Oil on canvas. Available through CAC.

Smith lives on a lake near Brady, NE, creates art and teaches in her studio in North Platte, Nebraska. She has been fortunate to have several books and articles written about her work.  She has also won many competitive awards.

Nebraska Gold 18x24

“Nebraska Gold”, 18″ x 24″ oil on canvas. Available through CAC.

Smith has taught art throughout her adult life, and loves to turn her students on to creating their own expressions.  “Believe me when I say, I learn so much from watching and learning from my students.  Education and enthusiasm ignite us all,” Smith said.

Smith’s artistic expressions are statements from her soul. Smith said her paintings express all of her emotions wrapped up in her memories.  “We all have experienced sadness and loss of things we love, but overcoming this and growing, life teaches us we are stronger because of these hurdles we jump,” Smith said.  She paints from a point of abandoned joy in life, which has resulted in her artistic successes.

"Farm House Sunset", 30" x 40" oil on canvas. Available through CAC.

“Farm House Sunset”, 30″ x 40″ oil on canvas. Available through CAC.

Online Art Auction to Benefit Omaha Equestrian Foundation

Corporate Art Co has teamed up with the Omaha Equestrian Foundation to promote the eBay art auction featuring internationally acclaimed equine artist Sharon Lynn Campbell.  The auction is being held in association with the International Omaha horse jumping competition at CenturyLink Center Omaha on April 12 and 13.

Campbell is one of the Country’s most sought after equestrian portrait artists. She is best known for her beautiful, life-like oil paintings featuring horses, pets and their owners. The goal is to raise more than $10 thousand to support the foundation.  The Omaha Equestrian Foundation promotes equine education; in 2012 they gave Girls Inc, Boys/Girls Club, Nebraska Humane Society, Partnership for kids and local military families tickets to experience The International. The International is not just an incredible equestrian competition, but it provides educational opportunities for emerging athletes as well as the general public.  For more information on the events and schedule, please visit: http://worldclasshorseshows.com.

The original oil painting (shown below) on canvas is 40″ x 30″, framed size 52″ x 42″. The auction will be featured on eBay.com between April 3 through April 13 at 7:15pm. Click here: International Omaha Horse Show 2013 Sharon Campbell Painting.

Painting for auction by Campbell.

Painting for auction by Campbell.

 

 

 

Artist Feature: Sharon Lynn Campbell

equinelove

Photography by Francesca Morrison, fm-photos.com

You probably know what I mean when I refer to ‘horse girls’. You might recognize their dedicated work ethics and grounded, down-to-earth sensibilities. As young women, they spent morning, noon and night at the stables brushing, cleaning, exercising, and caring for their closest companions. Horse girls are unique, but they all seem to share a deeper sense of compassion and understanding that comes from many long days with animals that don’t speak unless you’re listening very, very closely.

Horses are extraordinary animals. Historically, horses signified power and speed; they were such a source of fascination to early civilizations that they were the dominant animal found in the earliest known cave paintings at Lascaux. Many artists since have had their imaginations captured by the commanding forms of horses, and often spend years studying and perfecting their craft before they can best convey the essence of their subjects.

Painting for auction by Campbell.

Painting for auction by Campbell.

Sharon Lynn Campbell is a horse girl turned equestrian artist. Prior to the birth of her third child, she spent all her time riding, training, and showing horses. She had a deep connection with them, and not only understood what it felt like to ride and care for them, but how to portray their images. She began painting in 1999 without as much as an instruction class. Campbell was commissioned to create her first major oil painting of a fox hunting scene – she photographed horses and hounds at hunts and selected a large canvas. Having no previous training in art, she was quite overwhelmed. However, she trusted her natural artistic disposition and understanding of the equine form. Her talent is undeniable. In years since she has generated a following amongst the horse riding circuit and at large.

According to her website, Campbell’s work has graced the covers of the country’s most renowned hunter/jumper show prize lists, programs, and appeared on the covers of many top equine publications. Recently at a recent fundraiser for the United States Equestrian Team Foundation of Gladstone, NJ, two of Campbell’s portraits raised $44,000 for the 2012 Olympic Team.

Campbell’s love of horses is apparent in her work. She writes, “Horses were my way of life. I’m so blessed that they are still in my life and that I am able to paint portraits of them full-time in my Virginia studio”. Her style is very lifelike, and she captures the strong personalities that often radiate from her subjects. While she may not be mucking the stalls and riding the circuit any longer, she devotes long hours and a great deal of energy to her craft. As the saying goes, ‘once a horse girl, always a horse girl’.

Part I: You Be the Expert

Original Paintings versus Reproduced Prints

Many of our appraisal inquiries come to us from people who have inherited art, and don’t know where to start with understanding its value. Art is an incredibly rich, complex subject that challenges even self-professed connoisseurs. The art market can be volatile, surprising, and often frivolous. An appraiser will form an educated opinion of value only after extensive research that examines the art and artist under every possible angle. It’s an inexact science. In this series, we will outline the criteria that appraisers use, and offer our tips to improve your own ability to identify art.

Connoisseur by Norman Rockwell, 1962

‘Connoisseur’ by Norman Rockwell

How do you identify an original painting from a printed reproduction? In order to begin to understand what your art is worth, we must first narrow down what it is. It’s not unusual for the Monet painting found in grandma’s attic to be a reproduction or a poster; place a print into an elegant frame and under glass, and it looks expensive. We save our clients a lot of time and money by teaching them to evaluate their own art, as hiring a professional to evaluate and value art can be expensive.

Start by looking closely at original paintings. Take a trip to the museum or a gallery, and get as close as you can to the art. You’ll see brush strokes: some artists use small, carefully layered brushstrokes to create perspective, shadow, and lines; some artists use large, rapid brushstrokes to create form and texture. Compare an oil painting to a watercolor painting. Stop and stare until you train your eyes to see the differences.

Here are some tricks to identifying clues that will show whether you have an original painting or a print reproduction.

    • Is it framed behind glass? Paintings are often left exposed under their frames, while prints are placed under glass.
    • Under light, watch the surface of the piece as you slowly turn it back and forth. Either you will see variations in the texture of the paint or the surface will appear very flat. A flat surface indicates that it is printed on paper or reproduced on canvas. If you see globs of paint, brush strokes that vary between colors, and variations between thick and thin paint, you are looking at a painting.
    • To inspect more closely, look at the surface under a magnifying glass:
      • If you see texture, but it appears in regular swirls that do not correlate between the shapes and colors, it is a reproduction.
      • If you see a clear layer that has texture, but cannot identify actual paint texture, it is a reproduction.
      • If you see tiny dots, it is a print.
  • Look at the back of the piece.
    • If it is a painting, you will likely see canvas stretched on bars. You may be able to see spots where the paint or the medium leaked through to the back of the canvas.
    • Cardboard backing indicates it is a print.
    • Do you see any manufacturer’s labels? An artist’s signature or title? A dealer’s stamp? Look for any clues, numbers, or writing that would indicate the history of the piece.
A reproduction of Pink Skiff by Claude Monet looks like it has lots of texture, but is flat upon closer examination.

At first glance, a reproduction of Pink Skiff by Monet looks like it has lots of texture, but is flat upon closer examination.

The higher quality the printing, the more closely a print can resemble a painting. Large companies often reproduce famous original paintings, and use advanced printing technology that tricks the untrained eye. For example, a print-transfer is a photo-mechanical print of an original oil painting or watercolor that has been glued to canvas or cardboard.

Of course, this doesn’t begin to answer the question that most people are asking: what is it WORTH? If you have a reproduction or a machined print, it most likely lacks much value in the art market. This is not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy it for what it is, as most of us lack the funds to purchase authentic masterworks.  Look for our next newsletter, where we will continue to discuss many of the factors that appraisers have to evaluate prior to determining the value of art.

 

New Space Models: Office Layouts Stimulate Employee Interaction and Collaboration

               Office spaces are evolving.  As the Corporate Art Co team can attest, the look of the typical office is evolving.  The office cubes laid out in rows are no longer the norm, and they are being replaced with smaller workstations with lower or no barriers at all.  Companies are beginning to use the open office space to create informal meetings areas, mimicking a café style feel. LPA Inc. principle senior designer Rick D’Amato said, “With the recession, there has been this goal to consolidate and reduce square footage.  It has really created this need to dial-in and understand the work process, and it’s really enabling us to think more about that process with our clients. We have to really understand how they work and how we can help them work smarter.”[1]

Corporate Art Co’s office utilizes every inch of the office for projects, work space, and storage. The room can be rearranged easily for meetings or presentations.

Team-oriented environments build energy and productivity.  Corporate Art Co moved into the Mastercraft building in 2011. The reduction in space was a little intimidating, but we were up to the challenge. After all, team-oriented environments increase energy and productivity. We decided from the start that the CAC office would be a place for brainstorming, open dialogue, and laughter. Over the last year, our team has grown from two to four, and the valuable space has been divided for functionality. Team members adjust their schedules to allow for productivity; we work from home when Holly needs the office for scrutinizing focus on fine art appraisal research. Theresa arrives early in the morning to make client calls. Jody and Morgan frequent the local coffee shop for a change in scenery and to unblock the creative juices. The open floor plan takes some compromise, but is an asset when we’re working on team projects or for keeping updated with work-related happenings.

The role of art in the “New Office.”  It is possible to hang fewer high value pieces that everyone can enjoy from his or her vantage point. With so much time spent staring at computer screens, our brains need visual breaks more than ever. Art is a window to your imagination: a walk through nature, overlooking a beautiful sunset, a vision of brilliant colors and patterns. Many companies are incorporating branding into their interior design, and replacing art with logos and business graphics. The drawback to this trend is that employees may experience ‘branding fatigue’. Even the most dedicated employee needs to be able to stand up, stretch, and not think about work for a time span.

Grain and Mortar is a strategy, branding and design company down the hall from CAC at Mastercraft. Their open work space enables them to freely discuss projects and collaborate easily. 

Corporate Art Co lives the office evolution.  At Corporate Art Co we are surrounded by art; we search for it on the internet, hang it on our walls, in the hallways, and store it for client visuals.  We all enjoy the large Carol Pettit and David Diaz paintings on our walls, which allow us those visual breaks. Looking at the art from a different perspective and vantage point keeps our creativity fresh.  Looking at something differently sparks new ideas and new ways to approach a problem.  The shift from individual offices to an open, shared space is the working model at Corporate Art Co.

Artist Louis Grell: From Unknown to Icon

Learning to appreciate fine art can be a slow process. In the case of Richard Grell, who never paid much attention to the beautiful art he had been surrounded by since he was a child, it has evolved from a mild interest to a burning desire. Art has opened the doors to learn about his own family history.

Richard is the great-nephew of Louis Frederick Grell Jr., who was born on November 30, 1887 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “Louie” was a child prodigy in art. By age eight, he was drawing detailed sketches and portraits. At age 12, his parents sent him to Hamburg, Germany to live with his grandparents and attend Europe’s finest art institutions. He studied in Hamburg, Munich and Paris, and then traveled Europe painting and exhibiting his works. With the onset of World War I, Louie returned to the US and designed stage sets on Broadway in New York City. In 1917, he was recruited to be an art instructor at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, the oldest and most prestigious art academy at the time. Louie exhibited his art 25 times at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1917-1941 and created an unknown number of murals all over the Midwest, including at the 1937 Chicago World’s Fair. He died in 1960.

Fifty years after Louis Grell’s death, Richard, a former Washington police detective, started a project to reclaim his great-uncle’s art. Dick Miller, the director of the Bluff’s Art Council, contacted Richard with articles and pictures of Louie Grell as a young man and it sparked his enthusiasm. After realizing the wide breadth of Louis’ art, Richard commenced putting together the clues of his great uncle’s legacy.

Richard has traveled extensively in Chicago and St. Louis looking for his great-uncle’s art and located many. When he walked into The Chicago Theater, his breath was taken away: there were entire murals painted by Louie throughout the theater. Richard later he discovered a similar mural in St. Louis and validated Louie as the artist. Richard created a website devoted to Louis Grell, you can visit his website at: http://www.louisgrell.bluffsonline.net/

In many cases he was not recognized for his great works of art, like the murals in the Chicago Theater. Through family stories, Richard learned he had a very humble disposition influenced by his German roots and did not seek fame and fortune during his lifetime. Not caring about getting credit for his work, Louis wouldn’t even do interviews. He believed the notoriety and acknowledgements took away from his artistic integrity.

Richard Grell contacted Holly Hackwith through the International Society of Appraiser’s website to inquire about appraising his great-uncle’s work. Appraisals are an essential tool to validate the merit of Louis Grell’s work to the public and professional world. Holly was able to guide the Grell family in the importance of not only documenting the art through appraisals, but also cataloging and showing it in public spaces to create awareness and a market for his work. Kenneth Be’ at the Ford Conservation Center restored many of the Grell artworks and arranged for the University of Nebraska at Omaha art department to produce Louie Grell’s art catalogue as a departmental class project, culminating with an exhibit. A public exhibit of Louis Grell’s work will be on display after Tuesday October 30, 2012 at the Pottawattamie County government building.

Louis Grell always told his sister Ruth he’d be famous after he was dead.  Thanks to Richard Grell, here’s his chance.

 

The Corporate Art Co Team!

We’re thrilled to introduce you to our expanding team!

Left to Right: Jody Kocsis, Holly Hackwith, Theresa Wilhelm, and Morgan Milovich

Executive Sales Associate Theresa Wilhelm brings a great appreciation for art and a diverse background in sales and business development to the CAC team. Previously, she shared her talents with the Alumni Relations team at Creighton University and raised funds for St. Peter Claver Cristo Rey and Mary Our Queen Parish. She was an active volunteer on the Stephen Center Guild and co-chair for their annual fundraiser, CruiseAway. In addition, Theresa provided administrative support at Visiting Nurse Association and Parson’s House. She enjoys spending time with her family, going for walks, reading, and raising a ruckus with the CAC ladies.

Marketing and Communications Intern Morgan Milovich brings a fresh set of eyes to the CAC team.  Originally from Salt Lake City, UT, she is currently a senior at Creighton University completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations as well as completing a Marketing emphasis.  Previously, she was the Marketing and Sales Intern at the Startlite Theatre in Branson, MO.  She has also worked as the Marketing Intern at the Complete Nutrition headquarters in Omaha, Ne.  Morgan enjoys spending time with her family and friends, spending time outside, sports, and traveling.

About Corporate Art: Thoughts and Tips from an Art Consultant

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to define corporate art. Better yet, I spend a lot of time thinking about how corporate art defines us: what do corporation’s art investments say about our culture at large? Are corporations concerned with making a statement about their success and mission through art, or simply making their business spaces more pleasant for their employees and customers? When the time comes to purchase art, do businesses set aside part of their budget to invest in unique, meaningful and well-placed options, creating dialogue and sparking creativity? Or do they save their money by stocking up on mass reproductions sold by internet providers for an instant gratification solution?

There are an abundance of talented artists working daily to produce diverse and quality portfolios, in the off chance that they might eventually reap the rewards of both recognition and financial stability. But there is a disconnect between these artists and the businesses that could potentially host their work and help to support their creativity, because art takes a significant financial commitment, and businesses have to be smart about their investments. In the last 4 years, it has become even more challenging to convince businesses to put their money back into the community, but it is more important than ever.

Young entrepreneurs fill me with great hope. Corporate Art Co’s office islocated in the Mastercraft Building in North Downtown Omaha, a mixed use office building brimming with fresh start-ups and creative companies. I consistently see the creative culture working with the accountants to figure out how to invest in real art while maintaining a balanced budget sheet. It’s about priorities, because these young business people know that when they support their community, their community will return that support. We all have to be accountable to help our local businesses thrive.

At Corporate Art Co, we spend a lot of time figuring out budgets for businesses; the most you could spend, the minimum to spend without sacrificing impact and quality. Here are a few tips on how we reach those numbers.

Put your money where people are.
Visualize how people will interact in your space, and focus in on the areas with the most use. Do you have a lobby? A hallway that everyone walks through to get to your office? A frequently used conference room? These are the areas to place original art. Restrooms, employee-only hallways, and break rooms are spaces that can be filled with less expensive art.

Use math.
As much as I detest math, formulas are the easiest way to determine how much money you could spend by purchasing all original art. The Corporate Art Co consultants review the floor plan, figure the square footage based on the areas of use, then average in the cost for original art times the square footage.

Avoid stage fright.
There’s no need to purchase everything at once. If you know that you want an art collection, budget for a new acquisition every six months, a year, or as frequently as you see fit. If you are unsure of how to proceed with all the possibilities, consider using Corporate Art Co’s art consultants to steer you in the best direction and give you the facts.

Know what you don’t know.
Ask for help when you lack expertise. In the long run, you’re going to save time, money, and energy if you consult with a specialist. You wouldn’t sit down and sew your own outfit for a special occasion if you had never sewn before, so why would you attempt to fill an office full of art if you lack experience in design or art?

The fine art of appraising…

As a 25+ year veteran of art sales and procurement, I’ve seen it all. Sometimes I walk into businesses and see such an immense need for art that it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I will visit with a business owner who has an abundance of good taste and has the art to back it up. Determining how to best serve my clients is always an adventure, and I love a good challenge.

With the changing markets of late, my business has had to undergo some drastic changes to stay competitive. One solution is branding and social networking, which has provided a slow but sure means of reaching a new client base. The other solution has been to educate myself in the fine art of appraisals. While I’ve offered art appraisals for many years, I have a new arsenal of knowledge and standards from my recent accreditation through the International Society of Appraisers.