Being an entrepreneur and small business owner, I love to hear success stories of talented people who started companies, with the goal to make a difference and to to bring something new to the market; people driven by a vision, a passion, a curiosity, and a determination; people with a mission.
Today I would like to introduce you Maude Arsenault. Maude is a photographer, art and design lover, art photography collector, mother of 3 children, and founder of The Print Atelier – An impressive gallery featuring the work of fantastic artists.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself / Who are you, and what do you do?
A: I am a Montreal-based artist and gallery owner who studied art and film before launching into a successful career as a fashion photographer 20 years ago, during which I have lived in Sydney and Paris. Recently my role in the art world expanded, in 2012 I launched an incredibly unique new platform for photography: The Print Atelier. It is an online gallery that strives to promote this art form by supporting both new and experienced art collectors and emerging art photographers. Through the gallery, I try to redefine how visual art is purchased by offering collectors a simple yet intelligent interface, allowing them to take a private, comfortable tour on their own through a treasure trove of talent. Currently, The Print Atelier represents 18 artists with over 350 artworks on display. We are soon to welcome many more international artists and open a gallery space in Montreal.
Q: What inspired you to start your shop?
A: The Print Atelier came up because I was obsessed with collecting art photography and at the time (funnily not so long ago) such gallery did not exist much. I wanted to have a better access to art photography and the possibility of buying it easily online. Also, people kept asking me about collecting some of my own work so I put one and one together and started this by bringing my work and photographers I loved together in one place!
The Gallery concept was created in my head 3 years ago, after many adventures it finally went online end of 2012. TPA is my very special baby project. Since day one I started working on this idea I have only put my heart forward into every aspect and decisions, the work shown at the gallery is curated by me and it is done on instinct, personal taste, a specific vision and my knowledge of the art market. I created this gallery because I deeply love and believe in art photography and have decided to dedicate myself to promoting the artists and the work I love. I feel art photography is under estimated in the general public. With the democratization of photography in the mass media through the digital world I feel it’s an art that needs to re-appropriate it’s letters of respect.
Q: What sets your shop aside from it’s competitors?
A: The mission of The Print Atelier is to put the public in contact with the universe of art photography and to provide access to new works, as well as to share the incredible impact of a printed art photograph”. The limited edition works featured at theprintatelier.com gallery are by leading and emerging artists and are available in very small edition, what makes us unique is our very curated approach and our very specific vision. TPA is not for everyone, it is meant to appeal to a certain type of taste, it is not a mass gallery, it is not a decorative one, it strives to bring to light the best artists of tomorrow’s art world specifically in photography.
Q: Who or what influences your style? To what do you attribute your wonderful aesthetic?
A: This is a very difficult question, I believe taste is something you have or don’t. There’s all kind of tastes but I personally feel my taste is quite classical. I love everything simple, pure, well made and high end quality. I love love love textures, beautiful fabrics, 100% rag archival papers, basic colours (white, grey, black, beige) and natural light. I guess it comes from my love of European cinema and architecture and the French elegance but really I just don’t know!
Q: How do you find the pieces/products for your store?
A: I approach artists I love, artists I discover through art fairs, magazines, blogs and I also receive artist submission which I always look through carefully.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face with running your own store?
A: TIME! Not enough of it!
The learning process either on the business side of things but also gaining knowledge of the art world with this project has been incredibly rewarding and challenging at the same time. I am not a business person and learning to play that game is not easy for me. My biggest challenge is learning the way the SEO is working! When you are online you need to have lots of traffic, I am not a social media person, I have to get better at it!
On the other hand being so involved in the branding, marketing and creative side of business has been very interesting. But for sure for me the most rewarding side is to feel proud of the selection of work we have and to feel confident about the roster of artists and their enormous talent.
Q: What do you love most about having your own store?
A: Being so involved in the branding, marketing and creative side of business has been very exciting. Working at promoting art and photography is just so rewarding, I absolutely love it and love the discoveries I make everyday!
Q: What are you proud of?
A: For sure for me the most rewarding side of this whole project is to feel proud of the selection of work we have and to feel confident about the roster of artists and awareness that is created with the brand ThePrintAtelier.
Q: Do you have any special projects in the pipeline or exciting future plans?
A: Lots! Developing more projects: an amazing list of curators that will support the gallery, international exhibitions in our new space, new collections and special projects. I also hope that our collector’s list and artist roster will be much larger and with even more important players and that we will become a reference in the online art world when it comes to discovering and collecting art photography. I am looking to find business partners to help become Canada’s biggest online art gallery :)
Last on a personal note, I am also finishing a very special exhibit portrait project I have been working on for 10 years, hoping to show in the US (I just got my US working papers as an artist), looking for the right gallery just now!
I am also about to bring on a new duo of artist called Martina & Reem and their work is just crazy beautiful! Keep an eye out for it… Visit The Print Atelier and register to our newsletter to follow all our new adventures!