Art Addiction started nearly 25 years ago with a 300 square foot space in Manhattan, New York. Now, it has a combined 40,000 square feet of production facilities and inventory of more than 30,000 images and growing, all designed and produced in the United States. Founder Tino Grana sat down with 360 to share the story behind Art Addiction.
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360: How did Art Addiction come to be?
Tino Grana: My wife worked in healthcare design and she would come home and complain about not being able to find affordable art. I was in commercial real estate at the time, and didn’t understand how that could be. I’d ask her, why not design your own art? And she’d respond that she wasn’t an artist. So, long story short, we started the company 25 years ago as a frame shop that could provide affordable art. Then, we progressed into publishing. Through photography and Photoshop, we realized the opportunities. We started working with designers to create what they’re looking for as opposed to trying to find something that fit their needs. If you’re looking for red, green, or blue, then we’d adjust to fit the end user. It sounds simple: We are able to tailor-make a piece so the artwork meets the client’s desires.
We have an in-house team of photographers and graphic designers that create 30 to 40 images a week. Then, the beauty of the customization is that we can take an image, which we own the rights to, and can slice it up or make it into a collage or triptychs or whatever the client wants.
360: You’ve developed your own signature line of stylized photography printed on acrylic. How did that come about?
TG: We have a product called Art:Lex. We started producing it about 10 years ago, the first in the US. We saw it being produced in Europe and, at first, thought it was way too modern, but we decided to try it. It’s a film and printing lamination that then is glued onto acrylic. We do this because when you try to print directly on acrylic, it won’t have the clarity and crisp quality of photography. We print all our own products to make sure everything meets our specifications. And we’ve actually started doing something similar with metallic now too.
360: You have over 30,000 proprietary images. How does your process work?
TG: We have a number of photographers and graphic designers on staff. We shoot based on the customer’s needs. For instance, we’re doing a lot of work with labs right now. So, we’ve been photographing lab related products for bio companies and then adding color to fit their specific needs. If they want us to shoot the Empire State Building from 62 different angles, we will. If it’s for a restaurant and they want us to shoot eggplants, we will. Whatever we do then becomes a part of the inventory. We recently did a study of betta fish, close-ups of the scales and colors. It’s really quite beautiful and unexpected.
360: You recently opened a new showroom in High Point, North Carolina. Tell us about that?
TG: We wanted to create a building that could fit our needs. Many of the spaces down there are small and windowless. I realized we were never going to find something that was going to work for us. We wanted to own the building and we wanted it to represent what we do. We’ve been down in the High Point Furniture Market in North Carolina for our residential business for years. We actually often supply art for the vignettes they’re producing since we can match colors and looks. But we couldn’t find the space we wanted, so we bought land. We wanted to be industrial, well lit, and have windows. So, we built it. It was something of a leap of faith to build down there. But once it opened in 2017, it was a big success and we were getting clients we never expected to get.
360: What are some new trends you’re seeing across the marketplace?
TG: The internet has totally changed the landscape of people’s expectations. People want things yesterday. They want one-stop shopping. They want exactly what they want. It’s like the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka, “I want it now!” The good thing for us, because we own the entire production cycle, is we can expedite the process. Our turn around time usually is 2-3 weeks and that is important because art is the last piece of the puzzle. They’ve put up with contractors and carpenters and furniture delivery. It’s really meaningful to be able to get them that last piece all at the same time. We’re also seeing, and this is interesting, that the designers and architects are taking a step back from choosing the artwork. They’re letting the furniture people do that. It’s very interesting. That really is the beauty of this new relationship we have together.
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