by Jordan Soldaczewski
After four years of working out of their home, Mark and Jennifer Russell have opened Buffalo Canvas at 1882 Hertel Avenue. The couple has been working on the space since December, and officially opened to the public on July 3. As Buffalo Rising previously reported, Buffalo Canvas prints art onto almost anything imaginable. They can make wall murals, tapestries, custom wallpaper, or print on fabrics, acrylic glass and of course, canvas. They can also apply a print to practically any surface – they even applied a marble looking glossy print to table surface in their new Hertel location, giving it the illusion of an actual marble table.
Buffalo Canvas design center/retail store is a one stop shop with services for print, production and installation. “Our business provides fine art, printing services, photography, design and install, and serves many different clientele such as photographers, artists, commercial and small businesses, interior designers and now retail clients,” Jennifer said. “We have a large library of images to choose from whether it’s photography or art reproductions and historical Buffalo. If we don’t have it we can find it or something similar. We work with the Buffalo Historical Society and local historical societies to find images.”
All of this began when Mark Russell brought home a broken printer from work. He fixed the printer and then he and his wife Jennifer decided to try printing on canvas with it. They made prints for their family for Christmas, and they were a huge hit. “Everyone loved them so we decided to turn it into a business, and that summer we started doing art shows. Then by that fall after only being in business for a few months we started working with an interior designer who brought us in on ECMC’s Terrace View project and that is how we began working with commercial clients and small businesses. It was a large project. We basically turned our home into a production facility using every room available,” Mark said. To fit ECMC’s “Parks of Buffalo” theme, Buffalo Canvas printed giant photos of the parks. Each hall in the ECMC Terrace View long-term living facility represented a park. This was Buffalo Canvas’s first project which lead them to begin working with interior designers and commercial clients.
Since then, they have done jobs for Wegmans, Kaleida, Mcguire Development, Greenleaf Development, Carmina Woods and Morris, L2K Design, and BMS Design Studio. Their most recent success was the artwork chosen for the rooms in the brand new Hotel Henry. Eight months of planning and hard work went into this project. Jennifer explained the extensive process behind it. “We worked with a design firm from NYC. We were the chosen vendor to do all the printing and framing for the guest rooms. It was about 282 pieces just for the guest rooms. Then we also framed all the original artwork in the public spaces as well as the art in the restaurant,” Jennifer said.
As business was clearly taking off, the couple started to think of places where they could set up a space to gain more exposure. Three blocks from their house sits Lenzart Color Lab Inc. They liked the location, so they checked out the website and decided to give them a call. “After several years servicing small business, commercial clients and working with architects and interior designers we began to outgrow our garage and home and decided it was time to find a new space. We also wanted a place to showcase what we do. We wanted something close to our home and we always wondered what went on in the Lenzart building. When we saw how nice their website was and how they service portrait photographers, we approached them to partner. They occupy a huge building, which is why we asked if we can lease some space,” Jennifer said.
In turn, they were given a side parcel of the large building. They gutted the space, giving it a complete makeover to fit their needs. Now, they offer a variety of services for artists, interior design companies, small companies corporate buildings, retail clients and individuals. Plus, Buffalo has a local place to get high quality artwork and unique prints for a wide variety of needs. The quality and pricing is incomparable to printing delivery websites, but it goes even further than that – it’s more personal. They go above and beyond to help their customers achieve the visions that they come in with.
Buffalo Canvas can make mockups of what a room will look like, featuring the artwork you want to hang up on the walls. They will even provide artwork leasing for small business and commercial spaces – to provide up-to-date artwork as desired. This new program will include a small upfront cost and a monthly fee for the artwork, with the option to buy out or switch out the art at the end of the year. A couple of other services they offer are recovering damaged photos and laminating.
Clients can either bring in their own photos to be printed, or they can scroll through a variety of photos offered via Buffalo Canvas’s partnerships with local photographers and artists. Buffalo Canvas can even reproduce artwork in their photography studio, to convert the art for print production. The artists can either use these photos for their portfolios or to license their work to Buffalo Canvas for their clients. This is a great way for new photographers to get their art seen and purchased, especially for those who don’t have the time to manage their own websites. All they have to do is upload the files and Buffalo Canvas will take care of the printing and shipping when their work is sold. Buffalo Canvas offers approximately five cents per square inch sold to the artist which could definitely add up over time.
On top of all the other services they offer, Buffalo Canvas builds strong relationships with their photographers and artists. They will license artists’ work in exchange for using Buffalo Canvas for their printing needs, giving them a wholesale price in return. As a photographer himself, Mark has helped prepare files for print using Photoshop for their partnered photographers. Something which Mark has done in the past, and wants to do more of in the future, is hold photography and editing workshops for people who need more guidance in these areas. He finds that the best photographers may not know how to use Photoshop or Lightroom. When he corrects them on a few mistakes, the quality of their work is enhanced dramatically.
Buffalo Canvas can accommodate clients over the phone, or at their new location at 1882 Hertel Avenue. They even have a touch screen kiosk in the store so you can scroll through their gallery of photos and place your order right there. Jennifer works at the front desk in Buffalo Canvas – she can answer any of your questions in person or by calling 716-898-8907. You can also find more information or place an order at www.buffalocanvas.com.