Category Archives: Starting your own art company

A New Attitude

How was your holiday weekend? Ours was fabulous!

We’ve been doing some minor rehaul in the design and branding department. It has become pretty apparent that we’re uber busy doing lots of things but it really comes down to two parts: art and photography (with lots of sub categories under those umbrellas). We’re happy to nail down the nitty gritty of what we do and we drew it up in a slightly new design.

This will be for our updated business card later this summer, similar to the square orientation we’ve been using all along but with pared down text. We wanted a striking aesthetic in the first two seconds we handed them out. People don’t let the fact that it’s not the standard 2″ x 3.5″ orientation throw them off. In fact, they embrace it and give us smashing reviews.

What do you think?

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Challenge: Point vs Pro | Why Do You Need A Professional Photographer Anyway?

We’ve gotten a few photo shoots under our belt since the start of the company and we have to say, we’re pretty happy with the results. From food to portraits, we’ve been able to offer a variety of takes on what the client wants while injecting our own flavor into things. Thing is, there’s still some apprehension from time to time about what it is we do, why we do it and if it’s truly that different than just picking up a camera and taking a point and shoot photo. The answer is “yes!” We don’t strive for just good enough, we want exceptional. See for yourself.

People may not always be able to voice what it is about the photo that doesn’t seem quite right until they see a proper example of how it should be done. You’re probably wondering what we shot with and why there’s such a drastic difference. The shot on the left was taken with our trusty Nikon Coolpix S4100. It’s a great camera for fun, social gatherings. But if you’re a business owner wondering why your mailers aren’t getting response or why you can’t achieve the results as we did on the right, it’s because we pack and bring an entire studio with us.

Although a point and shoot camera is good for documentation it only offers one light source from a fixed point. For the professional shots, items were lit from the side with the assistance of white bounce cards to fill and highlight, making the item more robust. Every aspect of the shoot is in a controlled environment, much like the food campaign we shot a couple weeks ago. If you’ve ever wondered about professional photography, we’re happy to answer your questions.

We look forward to working with you.

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Our Latest Project: Objet D’art | One-of-a-kind art objects

We met with Sava’s Restaurant in Ann Arbor last week and we’re happy to announce that we’ll be taking over the upstairs lounge area with our art. We’ve never curated a non-gallery setting like this and we’re really excited to collaborate and match the ultra contemporary and comfy look. We got on it immediately. After a quick brainstorming session, the series Objet D’art was born. This also gave us a chance to print and frame our new series of school desk prints.

Each item is a print illustrated or photo taken by us and carefully hand matted with coordinating accessories. Whether you see one or in a grouping, we’re making an experience that we, and hopefully you, have never seen before.

We’ll be hanging things salon-style but adapted to the space to get the most beautiful effect. Since we have long spaces to cover, our groupings will be spaced out with most pieces centered at 60 inches from the ground, the professional standard for installing art.

What do you think of these? We’re looking for some feedback before the big installation takes place. Right now we’re just enjoying having “piles” of art around the studio. Soon we’ll have them in our store too. Have a great weekend!


OBJECT D’ART – (dimensions denote frame size, shipping is extra)  5 x 7 inch : $25 and up  |  8 x 10 inch: $45 and up  |  Pairs of 8 x 10 inch: $80 and up

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What Do You Do?

People get advertising. People get interior design. But when we tell people we own an “art and design firm,” people don’t get that. At least not exactly.

So we’re taking this opportunity to tell you what it is that Chin-Azzaro is about and exactly what “art and design” entails. Since I’m trained in art history and studio art and have years of experience in curating, dealing and installing art, my forté is just that: art. N has incredible knowledge in modern photo history, dark room techniques, digital photography and retouching as well as large scale art installation. He’s shot everything from food to fashion to tabletop catalog. And believe me, each is incredibly different and requires a specific set of tools and knowledge. In the last four months we’ve painted murals, custom commissions, framed art, created print and illustration series, photographed families and children, illustrated the floor plans and concept for a new business, shot art works for artists, installed paintings and given referrals for conservation and framing.


Basically, we’re trained and experienced in all areas of fine art and photography. We can design a work space for you in the home and then find you the furniture to fill it with. Then we’ll shoot the photo, retouch it and send it to all your clients for you. Or, if you’re building an art collection, we’ll purchase, install and archive all your works. We handle anything and everything that has to do with aesthetics, style and living with it.

Here are the services we offer:

Art appraisal (American art)  |  Art consulting | Art bidding + selling at auction  | Art installation  | Art packing + shipping

Commercial art + furniture acquisition

Commissions: murals, paintings, photography

Conservation + Restoration referrals

Curatorial + Research services

Framing expertise

Photography: Art, Portrait, Landscape, Editorial, Food, Fashion

Even if you just have a quick question or want to chat about art, we’re here to help!

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A Tall Order: Commissioned Painting

You may remember that I painted a mural at Three Chairs Co. a few months ago. A wonderful family saw the piece and commissioned me to do a large-scale painting for a two story wall in their living room.

My first question was what style they wanted the painting done in: they style they had seen in the store or more painterly with broken brushstrokes, like Matisse. Their request was to paint something really modern and clean, nature-themed and balanced to the eye. I came up with a few sketches and they chose Palette A.

Being heavily design oriented, I wanted the painting to have vibrant presence. I made a few suggestions and the family opted for a 48″ x 72″ canvas, which is exactly 6 inches taller than me. This was going to be fun! Once you go over 48 inches, everything arrives by freight and a truck delivers the goods. (Luckily N was home that day to be the brawn)!

I got started immediately and used graphite to replicate the motif freehand. Then I started blocking in colors using a myriad of Liquitex Professional heavy body acrylics. Not only do they have exceptional lightfastness and thick viscosity for consistent coverage,  they  hold up well in sunlight. (I don’t ever recommend hanging oils or prints in direct sunlight but acrylic can withstand it to a certain degree).

I took some liberties with the scale of the canvas once the painting started to take form. There were negative spaces that I wanted to balance so I strayed from the original design a bit. I allowed each layer to dry completely before moving on to the next one. Here’s the piece 99% done.

Voila! What do you think?

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Sneak a Peek: Our Latest Commission

We’ve been working on a commission of a large painting over the last month. It’s a heavily design-oriented treatment on stretched canvas and we’re really excited about how it’s turning out. You can see the flourish (pencil marks) and the precision in the sharp lines – all done by hand, of course. We’ll share photos once it’s finished.

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The Process

Our ideas begin here.

They’re given life here.

The keepers are then digitized.

Lastly, they’re printed on high quality archival photo paper in rich, saturated colors and sent to you.

The end.


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Icy hot.

My father has always enjoyed photographing wooded winter landscapes, while I like more urban and abstract scenes. The sun broke through the clouds yesterday just before sunset, allowing me to capture the winter woods as I see them (and then some).


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Work = live = play = work

The other night we watched the PBS documentary Charles and Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter and so much of their experience rang true for us. We’re collaborative partners on projects, the biggest promoters of each other’s work, understanding the other’s needs, sometimes better than our own. It’s refreshing to someone else there when we can’t step back and look at the bigger picture while creating work. It’s like a constant, built-in “crit” environment. Each of us scurries away to our respective work stations on a daily basis but ultimately, it’s our synergy as a pair that yields the best results.

Our choice of tools have changed slightly over the years; mouse for me, DSLR for him, but we still feel compelled to produce. And because we work, live and entertain at home, our space has to be engaging and inspiring in so many ways. It’s malleable to our needs and our hours. Did you know that we can do consultations in our home too? Chin-Azzaro is very much our “home-studio.”

Ray (left) and Charles (right) Eames working on one of their many collaborative projects.

To me, being an artist and a consultant of creative things, there’s no delineation between what is work and what is home. Our debates and banter of back-and-forth are oftentimes about a movement of art, an exhibit we saw or the latest trend in ________.  Sometimes the anxiety of starting a new sketch or a marketing idea jumps into mind and I can’t sleep until I create it. But I never feel the “stresses of work” or want to leave it behind. To me, there are no limits and our lines are blurred all day long. I love it.

Where does work end and home begin for you?


Image: Eames, Library of Congress

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Start to Finish: Painting A Wall Mural

I just finished a mural at Three Chairs Co., a prominent furniture store in downtown Ann Arbor (they have an additional showroom across the street as well). I was excited to do one here because my concept matches the mid-century aesthetic of their pieces with designers like Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi.

My design of the Modern Rorschach inkblot came easily as I was sketching in Adobe Illustrator and the owner thought it would be perfect for the front window during the Herman Miller winter sale.

After I printed it out, I labeled each color and shape by section and dimension.

Now comes the real work. I measured each section (or color) to scale and translated it to hand-drawn illustrations on paper.

Then I cut each section out and labeled it.

I laid out the area for the “canvas” and blocked it in using Behr primer and paint in one. Great stuff!

Then I could start taping and tracing. 

And cutting in the colors by hand.

And filling them in. Using vibrant colors together is always a gamble. But after double and some triple coats, I think it paid off nicely.


The white space is 6' wide by 5' height.

Thank you, Three Chairs Co. for your cooperation and wall space. Special thanks to Genui Forma for sponsoring the materials! And a big thank you to -N- for being a great partner in crime.

If you need a mural in your home or office, give us a call at 734-929-2498 or email


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