By Douglas McDaniel
Artist, art teacher and Glendale gallery owner Bill Drake has made fortunes and lost them during his 30 years in the art business.
During each epoch, during these multiple lives, the self-described "West Side boy" has created, marketed and sold highly accessible art forms. His work has been fruitful. He has multiplied.
Now he is multiplying in a new way, taking advantage of print-on-demand technologies now broadly available in the art world. The process, in the form of replicatable large format giclee prints, which appear to look just like the originals, even down to the texture of the paint.
"The way artists make money in today's market is through prints," says Drake, who is a co-partner in newly renamed Arrowhead Art with artist and former Glendale restaurant owner Margot Gayles. "With this, an artist can say, 'I want to do an order of 500, but he can order them just one at a time."
For example, one of Drake's paintings, titled "Wind Walkers," a portrait of eagles swooping through a deep canyon, is a 36-inch by 48-inch work hanging on the wall of his gallery priced at $14,500. But, as he tells it, the piece is practically priced not to sell. instead, his plan is to create a limited edition of 150 giclee prints, pricing each at $1,100. The beuaty and resiliency of the work -- giclees are said to be durable for at least 50 year -- allows the artist to treat each print in much the same way as a lithograph or reprinted photograph. He can sell the giclees for a total of more than $150,000 and keep the original on his own wall.
"That's why the original is fourteen-five," he says. "I don't care if I sell it or not."
Other ideas include leasing wall space to working artists as Drake continues to move toward the creative co-op mode. At the price of $15 per foot, he says, "they can buy buy as much as wall space as they want, and it`s a really good way to cover my overhead and help these artists."
Behind that is his constant seeking out of local artists leagues such as Westbrook Village Art League and Art League West. "It`s a good way to get my name out."