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The Perks of “Real” Wallpaper: Buffalo business supports local artists, while spicing up Zoom calls

When COVID-19 exploded in the U.S. back in March, Red Disk, a locally owned and operated business, had to shut its doors and, unfortunately, had to stop production of its handcrafted wallpapers. 

“Initially, it all just kind of halted,” said Red Disk founder Traci Ackerman. “One of the big things that we love to do is share our process. We love to invite people in to see what we do and get the firsthand look at how many layers and how long it takes to make a roll of wallpaper.” 

Red Disk’s artisan wallpapers are silkscreened right here in Buffalo and therefore each printmaker creates the wallpapers by hand. 

“We print to order and each order we take we handle very specifically. We take pictures while we’re printing and it just makes it very unique and one of a kind and far more special for the client,” said Ackerman.  

Despite being closed for some time, once Red Disk opened back up in late May, the next three months were filled with the most orders they’ve ever seen.

“I think people are sitting around looking at their environment and you want to do a project and you want something creative and inspiring,” said Ackerman. “If you have to be in your office all day then having something colorful can be beautiful, uplifting, and cheery.” 

When it comes to virtual meetings and constant Zoom calls, Ackerman says that instead of just having a white wall behind you, adding wallpaper can allow people to see your style but also provide you with a topic of conversation.

“A [real life] wallpaper backdrop can help bring out your personality, and share who you are with people that are seeing you and you don’t even realize it… be proud of what you hung,” emphasized Ackerman. 

Ackerman, a former art teacher, originally found inspiration for Red Disk when she was volunteering at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. She wondered if there was a way to bring back acclaimed artist Charles Burchfield’s wallpaper designs from the 1920s and in her conceptualization found a way to bring in local artists.  

“Every paper has a story and every paper has an artist behind it; a design that was created by someone,” claimed Ackerman. “The artist is a partner with us… and so we translate their work, their artwork to wallpaper so they’re all original artists’ designs.” 

Although not all their showrooms are open yet, Ackerman said that orders can be placed through their website, reddiskstudio.com, at any time and can be shipped anywhere, not just Buffalo.

“We’re fortunate, number one to have such a supportive community and number two, to be doing something that is bringing people joy and happiness because art is color and design; it’s uplifting people.” 

Get connected: www.reddiskstudio.com

Written by Bridget Brogan

Bridget Brogan

Bridget Brogan is a senior at Canisius College majoring in journalism and communications with concentrations in multimedia journalism and media studies. She is an active member of the Canisius community where she serves as captain of the women’s rowing team as well as president of her sorority Phi Sigma Sigma. Bridget also serves as a research assistant for her professor Dr. Barbara Irwin where the two are studying the origins of the PBS children’s show Reading Rainbow. When she’s not rowing in the Black Rock Canal, Bridget can either be found working out or watching the Golden Girls.

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