Custom Artwork Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating

My name is Samantha, and I am the owner of Samantha Anne Studios LLC. Our art studio specializes in creating one-of-a-kind custom art, opposed to the “art for sale” business model that is typically found in galleries throughout the world. In galleries, we typically find a range of different artwork—classical, modern, contemporary, minimal, maximal, feminine, masculine, angsty and beautiful— but the space itself can often be intimidating to the average person.

In previous lives—before taking on the ownership and management of Samantha Anne Studios—I was a middle and high school art teacher in a small mountain town (population >1,000), then an assistant art consultant in an established gallery in Pittsburgh. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about what we artists call the “Arts Community.”

There tend to be two major stereotypes of artists within the Arts Community. The first is the “Working Artist.” This species of Artist ranges from location to location, but their baseline is the same. They work hard and diligently to put their artwork out there to be purchased; hustling coffee shops, local art shows, galleries, and farmers markets for the chance that someone could see (and hopefully purchase) their work. They make the art, then hope it sells. Some working artists have created a booming business out of their art, and truly get to make what they love for a living. Most working artists.... well, there’s the trope of the Starving Artist for a reason.

The second stereotype of the Artist is the “Art Snob.” They tend to be a cold, demeaning, cerebral-type that wears expensive clothing and a disparaging glare. They work in the often-intimidating Art Gallery; a glass and white-walled box filled with Working Artist’s pieces, marked up to a price that only the wealthiest patrons could dream of purchasing.

Are there exceptions to these stereotypes? Of course. But are there intimidating galleries filled with unaffordable artwork, created by Working Artists? Absolutely.

Have you ever walked into a gallery and felt out of place? I worked at a gallery and felt out of place. The temperature and the atmosphere were both cold, and the walls were filled with interesting, beautiful, and unobtainable pieces of artwork. One thing that I noticed about walk-in customers was that they were almost always intimidated and overwhelmed by the art, the space, and the price tags.

To many, there really is an intimidation factor about visiting a gallery.

If you don’t know much about artwork, then of course it can be overwhelming to talk about it. People, in my experience, worry about if their opinion of the artwork is “right.” They fear actually buying artwork because they worry if it’s actually “good.” They feel too embarrassed to admit if they don’t “get it.” Art in itself can be intimidating, let alone when it’s placed in a gallery setting.

At many galleries, the only work available is what is on display, or what is in the inventory (if there is an inventory). Therefore, it would take forever to find the right piece to go in someone’s home. When I was a gallery assistant, I would often think, I wish I could just make the art for you myself. I can make exactly what you’re looking for. But it was my job to scroll inventory page after inventory page until I found something that might work. This would take a long time. And, did I mention, a lot of wall art we would find for clients would just be cheap posters and art prints off of the internet, since most people and businesses can’t actually afford a $12,000 oil on canvas original.

Because of all of these reasons, I was inspired to start my own business, and move away from the Gallery business model. I wanted to provide custom artwork for offices and businesses, restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and to anyone that appreciated or needed art in their lives.  It’s important to me that my clients get to be as involved in the process as they want to be. I’ve had clients who have very specific ideas of what they want in their space, and I’ve also had clients that say “whatever looks good, you know best!” Either way, it’s important to me that they’re comfortable, that the process of ordering artwork is convenient to them, and that it’s not intimidating at all.

I totally understand if you don’t know anything about artwork. It’s okay to not “get” abstracts. I have a unique process that I go through with each of my clients to help them discover what their taste is, and feel proud of how their home or office or whatever blank walls we are filling will look when we are finished. We offer sketches and mockups, so you can see what the home or office artwork will look like before it’s painted, and we can adjust it to how you like it. It’s completely personalized. There are no prints. There are no duplicates. All of our artwork is original, custom, and made-to-order. You’re not only getting a unique piece, you’re contributing to helping the Arts Community by supporting real artists.

Our motto at Samantha Anne Studios is No Blank Walls, because we believe that artwork elevates a space, reflects your personality, and should create a cohesive, aesthetically pleasing space. Whether you’re looking for a single piece in your living room or want to fill a hotel with beautiful original pieces (and anything in between!) we will work with you to create a breathtaking space. Feel free to contact us today for a free, initial consultation to see how we can help to fill your walls!

Artist and SASLLC owner Samantha Silvas working in her Pittsburgh art studio.

Artist and SASLLC owner Samantha Silvas working in her Pittsburgh art studio.