Gratitude: A Decade of Practice

January 12, 2016 Written by Joe Menth

Thank you. All of you who have ever been with us on our journey. We’re grateful – whether we’ve printed a piece of art for you, designed something for your business, or just had a long engaging chat about possibilities that you took and made happen all on your own. Thank you.

Fine Balance Imaging old studio space at Bayview, 2006

Our old digs, when we first moved to Bayview in 2006

Early on in our printing business, we were coming into awareness of how important it was to be in more of a relationship with our myriad clients than a standard “print-for-pay” kind of copy shop might be.

From the very beginning, it was apparent to us that it was paramount to be truly thankful for every artist, photographer, designer or small business owner we had the great opportunity to work with.

A couple of years into our endeavor, we had the chance to put on the first major offering as a thank you to those artists that chose to work with us. We came up with the concept of the “Gratitude Giclee Show”, a commission-free art exhibit that would offer emerging artists a chance to show their work without the high cost of gallery commissions – or the fierce competition of trying to get a show at any of the local galleries.

Now in its tenth year, The Gratitude Show has been our annual showing of thanks to all of our clients. It’s a way for us to give back in that ever-important relationship with our clients. An expansion of that effort where we’re not only providing services they pay for, but the additional support of being there as a sounding board, offering marketing and promotional advice, presentation tips, and even working to expand their social media presence to gain more exposure for their work.

Gratitude is an exhibit for artists of all stripes – widely ranging talents and skills, many original mediums from which we’ve printed work. Our youngest exhibitor, she was 9 years old; our eldest was in his 90s. We’ve had oil painters, screen printers, graffiti artists, photographers, watercolorists, sketchers, and many more from all different backgrounds. It’s been a treat to see who comes out of the woodwork every year, waiting for their opportunity to share their passions.

Gratitude has also been a practice for us. While we all may forget sometimes, it’s something one can so easily come back to again and again – the simple act of being thankful for what comes your way. Through the exhibit over the years, we’ve learned a lot from our clients about not just their artwork, but of their hopes and fears about being an artist in the world, about the seeming death of film and the mystifying world of digital for traditional photographers, the anxiety and pleasure in trying a new medium, or simply the joy of professionally presenting a piece of work they’ve put their heart and soul into, but never showed anyone before. We’re grateful for the entire spectrum of emotion we’ve experienced with our clients. The frustrations and the exhilaration. The celebrations at being picked up by a high-end gallery after a gallery owner happened to see a print of their work at the show. The beaming smiles on young artists faces when they make their first sale. And the camaraderie at the artists’ receptions, where we’ve had as many as 50 artists showing over 100 pieces of work some years, and as few as a dozen showing a couple pieces each  – receptions where it was standing room only and we went through four cases of wine, and others where we chatted with the ten or so folks that showed up on a cold winter night.

The 2010 Gratitude Show in the Open Door Gallery space, now occupied by Salon Bella

The 2010 Gratitude Show in the Open Door Gallery space, now occupied by Salon Bella

This year we invite anyone and everyone that’s been a client or friend of the studio to participate. The show will run two months. We’ll schedule a reception soon, and we’ll invite the whole community to come out to share the joys of being artists, all in our own ways.

Check out the Gratitude Show event page over on Facebook (and invite your friends), make sure you’ve subscribed to our email list to receive updates, and please do follow the Fine Balance Imaging Page on Facebook for blogs posts, artist profiles and more.

If you haven’t printed anything recently, we’ll make time to get your work done right away if you’d like to be in the show. And if framing is an issue or a block to getting something hung, let’s talk about options – as we have some new ones you might not have heard of (metal prints, panel prints, and even apparel are all ways to show your work without framing).

We look forward to sharing our gratitude with you. Let’s practice together. It’s as easy as saying, “Thank you”.