When using a small business and their services, sometimes it’s nice to get to know more about the business and who is behind it all! Therefore, we’ve given Mark a few questions so everyone can get to know him and The Artists Print Room a little better!
What inspired you to set up The Artists Print Room?
My wife, Helen, had been trying to get her work copied and printed. She had worked with local printers and national printers, each having there own problems in capturing and reproducing her work.
Helen, couldn’t get printers to reproduce the artwork consistently, even during a print run, there would be variations. On returning from work, I found a very large crate on the door step, Helen, appeared out of the front door and said “I’m going to print my own work” and so, the rest they say, is history!
What were you doing previous to The Artists Print Room?
My core is I’m a fault diagnostics engineer, and for 10 years, I’d set up and run my own successful engineering business. In 2016, I left engineering behind to study my passion which was photography. As a young man, photography was not a trade. My Father had told me to get a real job in engineering, and that’s the route I took. Life, had sprung me an opportunity, and I realised I could choose my own destiny. After a few years I got the opportunity to work with a great Chef, that changed my world, I was now working in food photography. With social media now playing a greater hand, work, was not as profitable as before, therefore Helen, buying a printer came at the right time for me.
Where would you like to see The Artists Print Room in the next 10-15 years?
I’d like to see steady growth, not just financially, but in the reach and breath and variety of types of work my clients produce. We already have hundreds of artists and photographers from across Europe and the UK. I really hope Brexit doesn’t hamper this growth.
What is your typical day like?
A typical day starts at 6am, my morning coffee, computers, printers turned on and then a quick nozzle check. Setting up the packing bench and packaging all the prints ready to take to the post office, ideally I like to get this done before 9.30am. At 10am, my first client arrives, this could be an introductory meeting, collection, or colour editing session – it varies day to day! I typically see 4/5 clients per day. Then at around 5pm I start printing the days orders, this sometimes takes me through to midnight to complete. On days where a large order has to be printed or artwork photography has to be done, I will not meet with clients. Telephone enquires take up a large proportion of my day, A typical enquiry can last for 20 or so minutes.
What do you think makes TAPR different from other fine art printers?
Communication, as many people know, I can talk for Britain! But I spend great deal of my time listening and understanding my clients wants and needs, then explaining in plain English, what we can do and what is achievable. Communication to me is the most important factor for success with The Artists Print Room.
What do you find most enjoyable with The Artists Print Room?
Meeting and chatting to my clients, Listening to their problems, it’s important to me to allow my clients to talk freely, to express their thoughts and concerns. The ability to listen and understand is a powerful thing, an art of communication that has gotten lost in this digital age of social media and email.
What’s the one thing you would like everyone to know and understand about printing?
Image file quality is king! Although we have great software that can repair or alter and enlarge poor files, the basis is its still a poor image file. Start with a high resolution ultra sharp capture and the prints will be ultra sharp and have perfect colour.
What motivates you?
Development! As an engineer, (yes, I still see myself as an engineer first, it’s a way of thinking), I was always moving forward, make it better, faster, stronger and more efficient. Constant learning, constant development, constant research into new practices, new papers, new techniques, better understanding of colour management. Development, what can be done, I do NOT believe in the impossible.
What has been the most satisfying moment for you and The Artists Print Room?
Getting the Hahnemühle Certified Studio in 2017, that took me over two years of persistence. For whatever reason there were constant changing goalposts and seeing other companies certified that didn’t stock Hahnemühle papers kept me focused on achieving this. As always, I never gave in, I just dug my heels in, and drove forward. I never believed for a second that I wouldn’t achieve it at some point.
How do you relax after a long day at work?
Murder! I have a love of murder mysteries, it started with Columbo as a child, now it’s CSI, Criminal Minds or Dexter. But don’t worry, to calm my murderous thoughts, I love the outdoors, walking, climbing, just being away from everything that is man made or technological, sitting at the top of Hellvelyn in the Lake District or Tryfan in Snowdonia, on a snow capped morning, that’s where I’m at my absolute happiest.
Finally, if you had a magic wand, what three things would you like to change about the industry?
1. I would love a clear definition for Limited Editions to be in Law, nearly everybody I speak to in the industry gets this wrong.
2. Ban the sale of consumer printers, I get hundreds of calls from people who buy these machines, and then want advice from me on how to get their prints correct.
3. Ban the sale of cheap art at places like Ikea, Dunelm, B&Q, this cheap art stops professional artists and photographers from being able to sell their work at good prices that represent the work and time that goes into them.
Thank you to Mark for answering all the questions! Is there anything though that you would like to know about Mark or The Artists Print Room? Why not send your questions to us via Facebook!