Boss Up Your Interior Decorating & Holiday Gifting with Art Prints — A Buyer’s Guide

 Believe it or not, yes, that's a print!  "Fae Flowers"  is such a stunning number and available on stretched canvas. But, what exactly does a stretched canvas print mean???

Believe it or not, yes, that's a print! "Fae Flowers" is such a stunning number and available on stretched canvas. But, what exactly does a stretched canvas print mean???

I put some terms on Facebook recently to see what my non-artist friends knew about them:

“Canvas Roll”

“Stretched Canvas”

While many people may have heard these terms before, one friend made a very telling comment to me when I explained that these terms were for art print choices:

“Wait—what? Those are for ORIGINALS, right? I thought prints were just on paper.”

 Interior Designer Amanda Hill decided to pair this chic boys nursery with a large  "Gino" canvas print.  I love the black frame she chose to hold the artwork!

Interior Designer Amanda Hill decided to pair this chic boys nursery with a large "Gino" canvas print. I love the black frame she chose to hold the artwork!

Her comment confirmed my suspicion that there is definitely some room for explanation about the various choices available when buying art prints. Having a better understanding of these options will give you a full understanding of the power of art prints to cost-effectively transform your space, and it will help you choose the best option for your needs.

Let’s go through the various choices and then I’ll talk about why high-quality fine art prints are the best way to up your decorating and gifting game.

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Canvas Roll (No it's not a type of sushi)

The artwork is printed on heavy cotton canvas that can be framed, mounted, or stretched for later use. This option is a good choice for my many international art collectors —your shipping costs will be the most inexpensive (usually around $30) because I can ship it compactly rolled in a tube. You can then have the print framed in your own country.

Another reason to order this type of print would be that you plan to use your own frame or frame the print yourself for a one-of-a-kind look. Custom framing can be expensive, so an alternative is to buy readymade IKEA frames and just get a custom mat to insert the artwork. However, if you already own an incredible frame, an art print that fits and goes well with it will be magnificent—and worth the fee for the framer’s expertise and advice. For these reasons, canvas roll is still the most popular option in my shop. It has no risk of tearing, it's inexpensive to ship, and gives you the flexibility for display and storage.

Stretched Canvas

 A chic mom decided to order a stretched canvas of  "Rebirth"  to be the center statement piece above her fireplace. My collectors often report back that they can't believe how much more vibrant and colorful the work is in person!

A chic mom decided to order a stretched canvas of "Rebirth" to be the center statement piece above her fireplace. My collectors often report back that they can't believe how much more vibrant and colorful the work is in person!

This is a personal favorite and I'll show you why. The artwork is printed on cotton canvas and then stretched onto a wooden frame. I have all of my prints stretched over 1 & 1/2" wood with the art continuing around the edges as shown in the first photo at the top of this article. You can hang it on your wall out of the box! This is a clean, minimalist look that goes very well with today’s contemporary style. It’s easy to hang and maintain. I love this option because it's as close to an original looking piece as you can get and often feels like the real thing in a room.

You can pop a nail in the wall and hang the print directly, or sit it above a mantel or bookshelf. I love to use stretched canvas prints in dining rooms as well as living room statement pieces above the couch.

Mat Paper

 One of my best-sellers is  "Bora, Bora"  and as you can see here, even the smallest print 12x12" can make a big impact. The colors on our archival mat paper prints are simply phenomenal! The vibrancy of the colors and detail really fills your heart with joy.

One of my best-sellers is "Bora, Bora" and as you can see here, even the smallest print 12x12" can make a big impact. The colors on our archival mat paper prints are simply phenomenal! The vibrancy of the colors and detail really fills your heart with joy.

Mat Paper: My friend was right—prints are also sold on paper! This is a great option for gifting, long-distance shipping, those with a special small frame in mind, and those on a tight art budget. It’s a wonderful way to bring your favorite artist’s work into your home for everyday joy. It also makes for nice additions to a budding gallery wall. You can mix and match small paper prints for under $50 and decorate like a pro!

 Love how one collector framed the  "Evil Eye"  print with a custom black mat and modern gold frame. This is divine!

Love how one collector framed the "Evil Eye" print with a custom black mat and modern gold frame. This is divine!

 

So, why are art prints the best way to boss up your home design and your gifting? Let's count the ways…

  • They are an affordable way to invest in beauty! Original art costs 3–4 times as much as a stretched canvas print, if you are lucky. There is a print for every budget.

  • Because they are not expensive, they are not a huge commitment. Decorate your home and be happy! These decisions should not stress you out or make you feel burdened.

  • Prints are fast and easy. Commissioning an original painting is a long, involved process. Prints provide quick gratification, and you are sure of what you are getting.

  • The quality is superb. All of my art prints are printed professionally using archival materials. This means that your print will NOT fade as many cheaper alternative tend to do.

  • Canvas roll and stretched canvas prints look almost as good as originals! They are a very classy way to decorate.

  • As with all art, art prints are an expression of your personal aesthetic and style. They provide you comfort and joy for years.

What other questions do you have about buying prints? I’m here to help.

 

ONE MORE THING...

I will be releasing a special collection of prints in time for Cyber Monday next week along with a special offer available for a limited time only. Skip the wait and get the first code now!

 

 

5 Mistakes I Made in My Art Business + FREE Instagram Course!

I've been meaning to write this blog post for several weeks now. It started out as 10 mistakes because there have been many and I will undoubtedly make some more, but I couldn't arrive at an even 10. I just returned from a trip to Cuba as a celebration to myself for accomplishing something which I'll share later. It took soooo much effort for me to book this trip. I could think of every reason not to do it, but in the end, I knew I was resisting it because it felt "too good". I'll be getting into that later as well. As a full-time artist for 3 years now, I can share a lot of the ups and downs and lessons along the way. If they resonate with you, cool. If you'd like to add to this list, please share some in the comments. As awkward as it can get on social media, I still believe in the value of transparency and sharing your story. SO here's mine. Mistakes first

#1 Undercharging/undervaluing my work

This is a touchy one because, after all, what is the "value" of art in a monetary sense? There are so many factors that goes into pricing artwork. Experience. Status. Target audience. Market. Financial climate. Heck, even the artist's pulse (still alive?). And so, while there is no finite way to gauge what to charge, I made the mistake like so many artists starting out of charging way below what I really wanted for a given painting. The downside is that when you continue to sell yourself short, it becomes a habit and it can be harder down the road to raise your prices in time for your new mindset.

#2 Not celebrating the little wins

This one has probably been said a thousand times before. But I noticed something. Celebrating wins should start small because just like the point above, it becomes a habit. I remember the first time I actually let a positive email sink in. I was two years into my business, in the hustle and bustle of every day tasks, and like so many other fan emails, I was going to archive this one and keep it moving. But it hit me: this person took a moment out of their life to share how much my work meant to them. I was so focused on not letting the praise get to me, because I didn't feel like I deserved it, or that I had put in enough skin in the game so-to-speak. This is very self-sabotaging. When something less than ideal would show up in my inbox or messages, I would focus on it for days at a time. But a positive remark, an unexpected sale, or reaching a new milestone, I would quickly gloss over it and keep my "eyes on the prize." Except there was no prize in sight. This is it. This is the prize, every single day I get to do what I love, and it took me a few years to realize that.

#3 Neglecting to pay myself

A rookie mistake, no doubt, but one that many small business owners make in the beginning. I was paying everyone else but myself. It wasn't until I got a bookkeeper upon my return back to the USA in 2016 did I decide to get more intentional about my finances. Up until this point, any sales I made from my art circled right back into my business, expenses, more supplies, courses, etc. But I had no idea how much money I, the artist, was actually earning. I realized the need to separate myself from the art entity and the best way to do that is by paying myself a salary every few weeks. It's also pretty standard procedure for any business owner in the US. But again, rookie mistake (hire a bookkeeper). Now, it feels nice to actually pay myself and set money aside for me personally. I have a healthy balance and separation from my personal finances and my professional ones. I also feel rewarded for my hard work each time I send myself a salary.

#4 Comparing myself to other artists online

The internet makes it really easy to "measure" yourself up to someone else. The problem is, we're only seeing a snapshot of what people choose to share with us online. Very few people I followed online chose to be candid about the realities of running an art business. A closer look at private Facebook groups and comments reveal a completely different reality beyond the shiny photos. Panic attacks, insomnia, poor health, self-doubt, and a complete neglect of other interests outside of making money, just to name a few. The more I would look to other artists for validation and camaraderie, the more isolated I began to feel. Instead, I needed to focus on what was in front of me and what mattered most.

Today, I realize that I don't want a business like someone else's. I want a business that's uniquely mine and crafted from the heart. That means a lot of days of not knowing what the future holds, but I owe it to myself to embrace that unknown and enjoy the journey that is my own. 

#5 Not documenting my work 

I remember the first time I was approached by a licensing company. It was in 2014, I was one year into selling my artwork online, and I was completely unprepared. I was hiring a photographer to come and capture my work, but turns out, he was not a true professional and many of the images I had paid him for were useless to the licensing company. I had to scrounge around the city and collect back my work from collectors, luckily many of which were still in town, and re-shoot everything. It was a costly lesson, but a necessary one. Now, I have my work professionally photographed by a local photographer who specializes in documenting artwork. This is vital for the longevity and integrity of my business and helps protect my rights as an artist.

Can you think of any more mistakes to add?

Also, remember that win I mentioned earlier? I recently celebrated it and I'm happy to say that I paid off my student loans. When I graduated university years ago, I thought it would take me the next two decades to pay off my debt. I even derailed going to law school because I didn't want to add to the tab. I never imagined I'd be able to do it in 3 years and let alone from my art sales. It may not be that big of a deal to some people, but to me, as the first person in my family to attend college, I am so grateful. Thanks to the many collectors and patrons who have supported me these past few years, this dream has become a reality. No doubt, much of my traction has been because of social media. I've shared almost everyday online, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. 

Instagram got me my first licensing deal.

I sell paintings on Instagram every month.

I've built a community of fans on Instagram. 

This platform means a lot to me and so many other creatives, and it is here to stay. I'm obsessed with teaching people how to use the platform, and last year I decided to offer online trainings to other artists to use the platform more effectively. 

Now, we're launching a free 7-day program to inspire you to post more effectively. If you'd like to join the #insanelyinspiredinstagram tribe, please visit the course site below. 

👉👉👉 Click here to enroll.

How an artist residency in Mexico moved me to tears (in a good way)

Hola!

Writing here from the beautiful mountainous town of Oaxaca after weeks of traveling through Mexico. It's been months since I've been back home and yet I can't figure out where the time went. I'm slowly but surely finding my groove here and learning more each day.

Traveling will do that to you. Art residencies will also do this.

My artist residency in Puebla lasted for 5 weeks and was honestly one of the most enriching experiences I've had as an artist in a while. It was my very first artist residency and I see why artists to do them. Not only did I have space and freedom to create lots of new work, but I was also challenged on an intellectual level that I haven't felt since college.

We were given weekly reading assignments that was the equivalent of college Sociology, Archaeology, and World History. Our readings were anything but light, and addressed head-on the topics of colonialism, oppression, representation of women and people of color in art, all the way up to genocide and even a new one that I learned: epistemicide (which is the killing of systems of knowledge). My days were like a mix of painting, eating drinking affogatos, and reading Audre Lorde essays. Yea, it was intense. I cried a lot, and the director of the program told me this was normal. That I should be unravelled. And you want to know the question he asked me that made the tears come streaming down: What are you passionate about?

What are you passionate about?

Years ago, I wanted to be a lawyer and defend the rights of marginalized people. I was and still am deeply disturbed by injustice. Today I am not a lawyer or an activist of any kind so clearly I get to cop out as an artist right? Well, no. 

This residency challenged me on such a profound level because it demonstrated so clearly that art is one of the most powerful tools of communication. That beyond the pretty images, beyond the beauty, I exercise a very real level of power every time I pick up my paint brush. Artists have the ability to make people feel but even more so we have the ability to make people think. Even in the most abstract ways of creation. And even more so, the residency reminded me that many of the works in museums (and out) helped define culture, the way we view women, the way we view the poor, the way we view Europe, the way we view Africa, and on and on. My goodness, I'm telling you, it was very moving.

Over the course of 5 weeks I was called to tap deeper into my calling and respond. It's a lifelong process of course. I know that in many ways I am just scratching the surface but somehow creating painting after painting gets me closer each day to that place of true mastery, vulnerability, and authenticity. 

After weeks of intense work and reflection, I took a week break with a group of women on a lovely retreat in San Miguel de Allende. It was a nice change of pace not only bonding with like-minded souls and lots of jacuzzi chats under the moonlight, but to switch to my other hat, getting clearer on my goals for Amira Rahim Art.

  We stayed in a gorgeous mansion for the week, hosted by Desha Peacock of Sweet Spot Style.

We stayed in a gorgeous mansion for the week, hosted by Desha Peacock of Sweet Spot Style.

I am so fortunate to be able to send art all over the world, no matter where I'm living. I am able to send prints at a moments notice for art collectors on a budget, or mail one of my originals to clients as North as Canada and as far as Dubai. Now I feel like it is time to step into bigger shoes and build more of a community with other color lovers like myself. In other words, holding space.

There's something magical about when artists and creatives come together and I would love to host workshops more regularly to share the wealth of art. I have already tried my hand at this in Abu Dhabi when I lived there and online in my PassionColorJoy community. So I will be gearing up for more things like this in 2018.

In the meantime, I just found a new studio space right in the heart of Oaxaca and I'm ready to get busy! The best part is, they are interested in me teaching some art workshops here as well. Anyone up for a little Mexican painting getaway? Stay tuned...

 In a few weeks, these walls will look completely different.

In a few weeks, these walls will look completely different.

So this long update is just to say that I am incredibly grateful to be deep into the heart of this artist thang. I hope you are (re)committing to your passions too whatever they are. You don't need to travel to do it. But you may need to cry some crummy tears and swing in a hammock after. :P

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:

I also wanted to note that the price of my prints are going up soon. Today only, grab them at the old rate while you can. It's not a sale price, but the price of my prints is about to go up due to increases in my costs to produce them. If you've been eyeing a certain print, such as this one, now is your chance to get it before the price increases. 

"All of Your Angels" Fine Art Print available still with 2016 pricing starting at $45.

 

Let's keep in touch! Sign up for my mailing list for new studio updates and special offers. 

Stay inspired.

Open House! April 20-22nd: What to Expect

Hey guys, I am back refreshed from a week in beautiful Bali. On my plane ride back to UAE, it hit me that I have exactly 2 weeks left in Abu Dhabi. Can I be completely honest with you? I'm a little scared. I have so many fears about the big move.

How will I adjust in the USA? Will I feel truly "at home"? What if no one in America buys my art? What if the buck stops here?

Indeed, so many people have asked me, "Are you sureeeee you want to move? Your art career is just starting to take off?" True, indeed.

But guys, if there's one thing I learned over these past few years is that, whenever you show up consistently and courageously as yourself doing what you love, the right people will find you. I have faith. I have anxieties, too, of course. But, this is chapter 2 (or 3, or 4, depending on how far you wanna go back). I'm still writing this story!

I will continue to mail work all over the world, and thanks to so many of you, we've mailed work to Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and more. I know we can rock out even further in the USA. But as a small farewell, I am hosting a 3-day Open House in my studio home on Reem Island. 

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I have so many original paintings from my archives. Everything from realistic oil paintings that I completed in my hotel apartment back in 2013, to my first time flirting with abstract art, up until my most recent work that you may have admired online, some of which the paint is drying as we speak. So, here's what you can expect!

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  1. THE WORKS WILL BE DISCOUNTED ON A SLIDING SCALE: Wednesday it will be an automatic 20% off. Thursday, we will have 35% off. And by Friday, if there are any remaining pieces, you can make me an offer, because hey, do you know how hard it will be for me to get 20 large scale abstract paintings to America? Prices will be displayed and in dirhams for your convenience.
  2. H'ORDERVES WILL BE SERVED: I'm pulling out my fancy pants this week. And, I don't do fancy often. I want you to be comfortable and satiated, not just visually but also tummily (is that a word?). So come for a small bite and the art, of course.
  3. CREDIT CARD, PAYPAL, AND CASH PAYMENTS WILL BE ACCEPTED: I've got all ends covered. If you've got the big bucks on your card, you can sit down at my table and checkout right there. No hassle.
  4. YOU CAN WALK OUT THE DOOR WITH YOUR NEW MASTERPIECE: All of the works will be ready for you to take on that day (with the exception of 2 or 3 newer pieces). That's exciting and also super convenient. I will also have some information for my framer on hand so you can get that baby framed and jazzing up your walls in no time.
  5. THIS ISN'T GOODBYE, BUT SEE YOU LATER: I'll be back. If not in a few years to live again, then at least for some events and hopefully if I'm ever asked to exhibit my work in UAE I will happily oblige. So please come out and support. I'm not dying. Although it feels like it haha.

Be there or be square:

April 20, 21, & 22nd - 11am-5pm each day

Reem Island, Gate Towers, Tower 3

Flat #3009 (Visitor Parking Out Front)

050-622-1556

The Big Leap: I'm Moving!

 "Soft Shock" 28x28" mixed media on canvas,  Available

"Soft Shock" 28x28" mixed media on canvas, Available

So, it's happening.

After spending nearly 3 years in the UAE, I am officially relocating back to the Atlantic shores and returning back to my home of New Jersey, USA. My family is eagerly awaiting my. And I'm quietly tingling with joy at the chance to order art supplies from Dick Blick again, (ab)use Amazon Prime, watching basketball again, see my family year round, and so many other things that make home, home. My business is moving transcontinental and with all the changes, I thought I'd list at least a few certainties that you can count on in these upcoming months:

  1.  AN OPEN HOUSE: If you're in Abu Dhabi, I will be hosting a three-day open house to meet many of you in person and offer my available works one last time.  I can't wait to invite you to my home and meet many of you for the first time and also say a final goodbye to so many friends. The open house will happen sometime in April before the move. 
  2. NEW USA/CANADA SHIPPING: For my American and Canadian art lovers, guess what? You will soon be able to purchase all the prints and paintings you want and pay a fraction of the shipping price you normally pay from the UAE. This is makes me so happy because so many of you have let me know that you like my work but that I'm simply too far. Shipping a painting and paying $100-200 is pretty costly. My cheapest shipping from UAE to USA is about $35 and even that can feel like a lot for a print or small package. So, thank you all who have purchased already from North America. 
  3. REPRESENTATION IN UAE:  Obviously, the UAE has been my home and the catalyst for my art career, so I intend to keep working closely with the galleries and businesses that already represent my work. If down the road, you ever want to purchase a painting or print of mine, you can count on my framer at Silver Rock Framing Gallery. They will be the point of contact and have excellent customer service and expertise in fine art framing and packaging. You can also expect to find my work in other commercial locations in UAE (will be announcing more on this soon)!
 "Memphis" 36x36" mixed media on canvas,  Available

"Memphis" 36x36" mixed media on canvas, Available

So, this post is basically to say that, although I am leaving, my art will always be in the UAE and I am so incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to say that. I have some of the best art collectors an artist could ask for, so if you ever want another gallery to view my work, you could probably pay them a visit to their homes, as many of them now have well over 10 original paintings each of mine on their walls! It is truly an honor to serve you, to continue to paint the colors of my heart and soul, and put them out into the world everyday.

Please signup for my newsletter to receive word on the April Open House and more studio updates. I'm off to the next adventure come May 2016 inshallah. Wish me well!

Lots of love guys,

Amira Rahim