Artists trying this for the first time may find it daunting, and approach the process with trepidation, but at My Favorite Art Place, a one-stop art powerhouse in Clearwater, owners Jerri and Scott Menaul are ready to help make it easy. “We work with each artist individually to help them achieve their goals. For example, we can print a watercolor painting image on watercolor paper, which makes the final print look like it’s an original. We help traditional artists who want to reproduce their work,” said Jerri Menaul. “Learning why they want to make a giclee is very important. We will start working with each artist by giving them a tour of our place. We’ll spend twenty to forty minutes with them. I like to say that we tell them what we think is best, then we do whatever they want. We try to make it as painless as possible, so the artist will feel comfortable communicating their requirements. I encourage artists to hand embellish their prints and find a way to make them even more special.”
What is a giclee, anyway? It’s a french word that means “a spray or a spurt of liquid.” The word may have been derived from the French verb “gicler” meaning “to squirt”. A giclee print is the latest and greatest in printmaking technology. High resolution digital scans are taken from photography of the artists’ artwork, then the image is printed with archival quality inks onto canvas or fine art paper. Printing an image as a giclee gives the best color accuracy over other methods of reproduction.
For artists who do not have the money or need to print mass quantities of their work, but who want to reproduce their art as needed, or on-demand, making a giclee is the way to go. Additional reproductions can be made easily and are quite affordable after an image has been digitally archived. Giclees eliminate the expensive front end cost of mass production for an edition. Advantages of giclee printing include the ability to reproduce an image at almost any size and on different kinds of surfaces, as well as the fact that archived image files will not deteriorate in quality as negatives and film can do over time.
Jerri and Scott Menaul are the husband and wife team who own and operate a group of art businesses that provide every kind of art service, all under one roof. From the start of their business, their specialty has been helping other artists recreate their work in the best possible way.
“When we started doing this twenty years ago (printing giclees), it was a little odd, and little understood,” said Jerri. “We were one of the only giclee printers around. The inks weren’t stable in the eighties. Now the technical process has evolved and the inks are archival, and will last over 100 years.”
“We operate a professional photography studio. In making a giclee print, one of the first steps is getting a good digital capture of an image. We do our best to remain faithful to the original and to the vision of the artist,” said Jerri. “We do print reproduction on paper or canvas. A specialty we have in Canvas Zoo is doing large or even huge projects. We like to work big! I’ve got a canvas here just printed that is 9’ x 15’, a solid piece all in one section.”
“We are honest and upfront about our process. When it comes to getting prints made, sometimes a big box retail store is good enough for the purpose. We can’t compete with the cheapest of the stores, but you get what you pay for. I can’t send out a canvas for what those stores charge, but they are printing on plastic,” said Jerri.
Jerri Menaul came up with the name, My Favorite Art Place, as the umbrella identity for all of their different company names. Their businesses include: Menaul Fine Art, Canvas Zoo, Menaul Art Printing, Image Creations of Florida, Menaul Photography, Motivational Expressions, 100 Plus Posters and Photo-U.
To help area artists succeed in their own businesses, each month, the Menauls hold a free seminar in their monthly series, Visual Artists’ Business Success Workshop. They disseminate useful information on art business-related subjects. Scott Menaul has done several talks, on licensing and other topics. Guest lecturers also come in to give seminars. Two lawyers came in to talk about copyright laws for artists. Visit the web site for My Favorite Art Place for the latest information on seminars.
“We want to help artists grow their careers,” said Jerri.
The Menauls hail from Boston. They moved here eleven years ago, working from their home for the first three years. Their businesses gradually grew as they added on new services.
Two years ago, they purchased ICF, an acronym for Image Creations of Florida, an art company that specialized in creating three dimensional paper art and custom picture framing. The Menauls did not want to change the name of the company, as ICF was already established and doing well. Since ICF was added, more accounts have come on board, like Lowry Park Zoo and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Jerri showed some special pieces that were custom made for the Clearwater Aquarium, honoring Winter and Hope, the famous dolphin couple. She showed how the casts are made for the paper molds. “We start with a sketch,” she said. “From a sketch we go to clay. From clay we go to plaster of Paris. Then we make a mold called a ‘blue’ for casting the paper in. The pulp is added, put in the vaccuum press, and then peeled out and dried in the heat drawer. Warm air is pumped in, which dries it out. The cast paper art is then painted in-house and could be framed in-house as well.” They sell the cast paper art framed and unframed.
The couple have figured out how to make a marriage and business relationship work. Scott prefers the creative tasks of the business, and Jerri, the people person, does the sales and marketing.
“Scott and I had a high tech marketing firm before we went into the art business,” she said. “I’ve always had a marketing business to support my husband’s art business.”
“With all these different businesses, you have to juggle, because you can’t do everything, all the time,” said Jerri. “You can spend one week a month on each business area.”
The Menauls market their business at a trade show twice each year. They take their wares to the gift show in Atlanta.
Their gallery features artist Scott Menaul’s new body of fine art photography. His images are complex, juxtaposed and overlapping. “The name of my new body of work is, ‘My Favorite Things’,” said Scott. “We all have our favorite things: music, food, a place or even a drink. Sometimes these become a passion. It is a reflection of our personality and experience. We form a bond with others who share the same predilections. ‘My Favorite Things’ is a celebration of these things that make life special.”
Scott has created twelve pieces in this style so far, and he intends to add more to the group. “An artist should have a body of work that has a theme,” said Scott. “It can be confusing and hard to market your art if you are scattered all over the place.”
“About a year ago, we were in a roof top restaurant in St. Petersburg. I saw the reflection of a wine glass on the wall, and that’s what inspired this body of work,” Scott said. “I started working on things personal to me. I used to play alto sax, so you see the piece with the saxophone in it. I had a cigar once a week. I studied guitar with my son. There is an American diner with old fashioned salt and pepper shakers and sugar. It’s a very personal statement about me and what I like, but I also wanted to include things I felt other people would be passionate about.”
“I got the idea of using text over the image from an artist who wrote little stories under his pictures. All the way back to 1979, I thought about incorporating writing into art. The words are both texture and meaning. You have the essence of the object in shadow. Then have an interesting background. Some of them have hidden things in them. It’s taking things around you and incorporating them into your work. They are visual subliminal messages which support the essence of the subject. It captures what would be a brief moment in time,” said Scott.
“My abstracts fall into three styles: geometric, shattered and gossamer, which is used to refer to something very light, thin, and delicate,” he said. “In all the styles there is a juxtaposition of elements. The fact that color, shape and form can be thought of in terms of frequencies and that they can evoke emotion is fascinating. I explore the possibilities of creating different emotions or feelings with color, shape and form. It’s an amazing phenomenon,” he said.
“I have about 250 abstracts on my web site now. The underlying theme is a glass texture that glows, and captures and reflects light. The images sometimes include orbs and shapes, geometric elements in that style. There is a shattered glass style,” said Scott.
“I consider myself an abstract surrealist, with my first influence being Joan Miro,” said Scott. “He was credited as being the first abstract surrealist…abstract, with dreamlike imagery.”
“What drew me to his work, when I was about 19 years old, was that it was the first non-representational work I had seen. The dreamlike elements and symbols showed me that artwork could have infinite possibilities. It hadn’t all been done before. The possibilities for expression are endless,” Scott said.
He does not start with a photograph. He starts with a blank computer screen. “I use 3D rendering, painting and illustration. A computer is just a different tool in the hands of an artist,” Scott said.
He created a new way to add texture to an image, to make digital art into a one-of-a-kind piece. “I needed some ‘originals’, and since all the original digital images come off as prints, I developed a layering process that involves hand application of a textural medium,” said Scott. “It makes each piece individual.”
“I’ve done some local outdoor shows,” said Scott. “I did Art Harvest in Dunedin last fall. I do that show every year. Recently, I did a show in West Palm Beach and one in Sarasota. It helped me build my business to do the outdoor shows, but I’m selling more out of the gallery now, which is great to see.”
Scott said that creating his artwork gives him a feeling of a higher purpose. He thinks of his work as being very spiritual, and that his art communicates his spirituality.
Touring through Jerri and Scott Menaul’s business, viewing room after room of gallery art, custom picture framing, photography, giclee printing, and posters, it’s evident to see their hearts are in every part of this place. It’s also clear to see that the couple have empathy for other artists because of all that they have invested in building Scott’s career as an artist.
Jerri and Scott enjoy living and working in Clearwater, Florida, and they are very involved in their community. Jerri worked to see art included as an important part of the City of Clearwater’s 100 year anniversary celebration over the past year. Her business partnered with the city to present multiple art shows to celebrate the city’s hundred year birth date in May 2015. “We created a 3D Time Line of the City of Clearwater, which can be seen in the Clearwater Main Library,” said Jerri.
She organized an event that was held in April 2015, called All Art, All Day, All Clearwater. The day of the event, people could ride a free Jolly Trolley tour to visit the Clearwater Main Library, Community Learning Center, Menaul Art, Canvas Zoo, Vista Galleries, Art Tryst Gallery, Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, Studio 1212, Barbaro-Gould Foundation Art Center, Gallery 1356, and Clearwater Center for the Arts.
Free art shows from 100 Plus Artists for 100 Plus Years in Clearwater were hung in two locations, to be viewed through the end of May 2015.
A juried show from the general public, including amateur and professional artists, from teens at Clearwater High School up to seniors, was on display at Morton Plant Hospital. Most of the art was marked for sale and there were steady sales of the work. The art displays were hung at several locations, including the Cheek Powell Heart & Vascular Pavilion on the Morton Plant Hospital campus, and on the first floor opposite the Nature’s Table Cafe.
Works of art from students in grades K -12 were on display at Westfield Countryside Mall – (lower level, near the ice rink, across from Zales, near Macy’s) from eight Clearwater public schools, including, Clearwater Fundamental School, Clearwater High School, Eisenhower Elementary School,Frontier Elementary, Leila G. Davis Elementary, McMullen Booth Elementary School, Paul B Stephens Exceptional Student Education Center
and Ponce de Leon Elementary.
My Favorite Art Place serves both retail and wholesale clients. They offer packing and shipping service, so geography need not be a concern. Artists can utilize these services from wherever they live and have the finished products delivered to their front door. Interior designers will find a great resource here for their residential and commercial jobs, large and small.
Since the Menauls have the space and resources to produce large volume orders, they would like to continue growing their business by adding more corporate clients and more hospitality industry accounts. They still appreciate each individual artist though, and encourage them to come give their giclee printing process a try!
My Favorite Art Place
1750 North Hercules, Clearwater, FL 33765
844 Art Place – studio
727-797-1199 – studio
Menaul Art on Facebook