The Athens Banner-Herald featured Athens Art Prints, our print-to-order system for artists and art collectors in town!

Athens printshop Pixel & Ink Photo Boutique is hosting a virtual art gallery for Athens artists.

About 30 Athens artists have artwork for sale on the website AthensArtPrints.com.

Shop co-owners Laulea Taylor and Carolyn Crist created the online art market to allow artists a chance to make a profit off prints of their artwork and to create an online community for artists.

It’s hard for an artist to sell their work in Athens. There are few dedicated venues for art shows, and artists are often required to frame their work for make prints of it before showing it.

Taylor said she’s seen many artists barely break even on a piece of art even after selling multiple copies of it.

“I worked in a lot of places where people would come and get their art framed to hang in galleries, which they could never afford to do, or they tried to get prints made so they could put them in a retail store and sell them, which they couldn’t afford to get the prints made … and then after all that they put them in a retail store, and (the retail stores are) charging 30 percent for them to have them there, so at best you’re breaking even,” Taylor said.

Instead of that hassle, artists can sign up to sell prints of five pieces of art on http://athensartprints.com/ for free.

The website allows users to browse through artists’ work, choose a piece then pick a size for the print.

After it’s ordered, Taylor and Crist choose the best type of paper for the artwork and print it.

This method of printing allows the artist to make a profit on every order instead paying a large upfront cost, then hoping to sell pre-printed work.

The cost of each print on AthensArtPrints.com is equal to a profit chosen by the artist plus the cost of materials needed to print the piece by Pixel & Ink.

“There are a lot of barriers to entry for artists, so we’re trying to find ways to still pay ourselves in the end but remove those barriers,” Crist said.

There’s artistry involved in the printing process as well.

Taylor offers a fine art capturing service, which means she either scans or photographs the original piece of art in a way that will make a print appear as close to the original as possible.

“What we do is set it up with natural light or with studio lights and making sure that you’re not getting any of the reflection on the textured surface of the paintings, and we’ll shoot it with a macro lens so that you actually get all of that texture, so when you print a copy of an oil painting you’re getting that grain and everything,” Taylor said.

The website is also an effort at creating a central location where Athens artists can promote their work and celebrate the community of art.

“In other towns you couldn’t really do something like this because it’s too hard to create that sense of community. Athens is that place where you can create that,” Taylor said.