Tools of the Trade

It’s easy to appreciate a beautiful painting, a stunning ballet or moving musical performance, but we often overlook the artistry that takes place behind these creative expressions. Four craftspeople offer insight on the art of producing the tools artists use to create their masterpieces. 

Fine Art Materials Manufacturer

Shannon Piette, executive director of the Richeson School of Art & Gallery at Jack Richeson & Co., Inc in Kimberly

“I’ve been involved in various parts of [Jack Richeson & Co.] I started in sales and marketing, but my background is in art. I came with the usability knowledge of the products and then, working for the company, I gained the knowledge on the processing side. In total, we have about 5,000 products. It ranges from brushes to paper to paints to even the painting palettes that you hold. We aren’t afraid to ask artists to test paint and tell us what they think, getting opinions from the people using it. The artists on staff try the products and if we don’t like something we say, ‘this is a little oily’ or ‘this is a little dry’ so before it goes out we already got it to a formulation that’s successful. Having quality art supplies is a life changer. Think of being a race car driver. You go onto the track to make your living. If you have a wheel that falls off five minutes into the race, you’re done. It’s the same thing with paint. You need to be able to put out a high quality product and you can’t put out a high quality product if your base materials aren’t at that standard. If you sell a painting that starts to deteriorate, your customers aren’t going to buy from you anymore and they tell their friends the painting didn’t last and your business is gone. You want your customer to be able to trust you as an artist, so you need to do the background to allow them to trust you. We want to help the art community and have them be successful. Without artists, there’s no one to buy our products and this would all go away.”

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Arts & Culture

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