When you finally decide you’re too old to live with movie posters and fashion magazine tear-outs on your walls, you have a few options. You can subscribe to an art subscription service like Uprise Art or Art In A Box, troll Fab.com for grown-up prints, or you can try out JuicyCanvas, a new start-up that lets you customize contemporary art. You choose from a menu of prints by over 50 artists from around the world, then tweak as you see fit; you pick the size of the canvas, and can enlarge, rotate, crop and change the colors of the work.
JuicyCanvas launched in December, and was founded by the husband-and-wife team of entrepreneur Artur Maklyarevsky and journalist Debora Brugiati. Maklyarevsky says that he got the idea for Juicy Canvas from throwing “collaborative painting parties” in Williamsburg in the early aughts. “I would invite tons of friends who were incredible artists to paint side by side with other non-artist friends—this produced a surprisingly fantastic synergy…and canvas. That special feeling is what we’re aiming to re-create,” he explains.
Many of the works for sale on JuicyCanvas have a distinctly Brooklyn vibe–there are colorful owls, line drawings of bears and a portrait of Bill Murray, just for example.
Maklyarevsky has since moved to Buenos Aires with Brugiati, where JuicyCanvas’ production offices are based. However, he says they have plans to move back to Williamsburg permanently, calling the neighborhood “a petri dish of creativity.”
They look for “distinct styles, execution and concepts” in the artists they choose, and for now he and Brugiati select all the artworks they offer, though they plan to have guest curators in the future.
There are dozens and dozens of works to choose from, and the customization process is fun and easy–in fact, you may have just found your new favorite online time waster. Prices range from $60 for 8×10 to $250 for 36×48 and all prints are giclée on canvas, and ready to hang. “Once a piece is printed, it is rigorously checked by our quality assurance specialist, then hung on a wall in front of a random pedestrian–for final leveling and emotional testing,” Maklyarevsky says playfully. “If the subject does not cry, smile or become hypnotized, we don’t ship it.” (Don’t worry–the quality assurance just makes sure your print is up to snuff, there’s no aesthetic test to pass.)
Maklyarevsky believes that this type of service will soon become more widespread, “but only if the customization allows for social sharing,” as JuicyCanvas does on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. “With just a few simple clicks,” he says, “the next Warhol can see whether his or her friends prefer that oversized sketch portrait in hot pink or subtle rouge before clicking ‘purchase.'”