Hanging Around

23 04 2010

The wheels of my mind are always spinning, always looking for yet another way to make money. I don’t care what other people say. All of the good ideas have not been taken. In fact, they sprout like dandelions on a mild spring day, year after year, without fail. And although I have several projects in development with my partners, I still cannot help but stand in awe when I see other people doing what their heart tells them to do. Regardless of what others say.

I suppose we can thank the French for giving us the word “entrepreneur,” for it is one we use to describe those risk-taking, dream-chasing free spirits. They are fuel that drives the economic engine. They are the garden of creativity, the hearth of fresh baked ideas.

Take, for example, the relatively new industry of printing on canvas. Sure, artists have been painting on this stuff for centuries. But imagine putting photographs on canvas…large canvases…and hanging them on your walls. With stock photos.

And better yet, your photos.

And this is exactly what companies like Canvas On Demand and Canvas Pop have done (along with some of the photo storage sites). More recently, yet another new kid on the block (Your Photo On Canvas) has lowered the bar (that’s what competition does, remember) by offering cut-rate pricing via its partnership with Costco.

Walk through our College of Business and you will see numerous large pieces of wall art, all featuring breathtaking panoramas. Every one of those was purchased through Canvas on Demand. But for about $90, I could also get a 16X20 featuring my superb amateur photography (he boasts).

And therein lies the beauty of this industry. It#039;s not just about being able to buy someone else’s photography printed and mounted for hanging on your wall. No, it’s about personalization. This is more than just a simple photo enlargement. It is making your lenswork a piece of art.

In other words, wall art has now been put in the same league of music playlists. Just as the iPod made each of us a DJ in our own mind, we are now free to create our own art playlists…a playlist populated either with stock photos, or ours.

Now let me tell you just how tempting this is. I have been doing digital photography since 1996 (when I paid $600 for a Casio that gave me a whopping 320 X 240 pixels with each picture snapped). I have well over 15,000 images stored now. While the vast majority of those are simply part of my family pictorial history, there are many worthy of enlarging on canvas. And hanging on my walls (he says ever so humbly).

Because my walls are an art gallery for all who live within them. If I say that pic of my daughters by the campfire, the one with Long’s Peak as a backdrop, is worth turning into a hanging wall mural, then so be it. For I am the curator of art in my house.

I just wish I had stumbled into this gold mine myself, for selling self-declared art is the mother lode of business ideas. The 110 million USAmerican households have all been enabled to be photojournalists in their own right, and to host their own private gallery showings. Genius.

The canvas of my life is still waiting for that one Big Idea to pop. In the mean time, I keep working with my partners. Hope springs eternal in the human breast, you know. Take a picture of that.

Dr “Coming Into Focus” Gerlich

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