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My Love Affair with Guild® Canvas

You know when you find something you love so much you just can’t stop talking about it and you just want everyone to appreciate it as much as you do? That’s honestly how I feel about Guild Canvas. I have to stop myself from rambling on about it to my friends. But Guild really deserves rambling! And I’m not just saying this to be all salesly. I have three of them hanging on my wall right now and every time I look at them I think how beautiful they are (and not just because my kids are in the pictures either) and how I wish everyone could have one.

So what makes them special?

Are you thinking, “What could be so great? I can buy a canvas print for $30 online. A canvas is a canvas...” Believe it or not, I too was like you. Before I decided to focus a large part of my business on scouring the earth to find the most awesome prints and products I could offer and really started learning about the printing process, I also ordered discount canvases...because, a canvas is a canvas, right? I hung my $29.99 canvas on my wall with pride, as it was one of the first decent photos of my son I’d taken with my new camera. But after a few months I noticed it looked duller. Maybe it was always like that and I’d just never noticed. And then one day, as I was drinking coffee and minding my own business, it fell on the floor! I carefully crept over to investigate what spirit had knocked my beautiful artwork off the wall only to find the cardboard backing had come unglued and more or less exploded and there was no longer a way to hang it. I sadly placed it in a closet to deal with another time.

So after a year or so of product research - ordering samples, learning about the importance of high quality archival inks and papers, the complexity of the printing process, the variety of book binding techniques and all the other technical stuff involved in making a long lasting piece of art, I came across Guild Canvas. It looked unlike anything else I’d seen, and what drew me to them most was their incorporation of hand painted brush strokes. This technique lends itself perfectly to my particular style of work as I love creating artistically enhanced images for my clients that feel like "art" (if that makes any sense).

I ordered a sample. It takes longer than other print labs because they are literally making each canvas from scratch and they use multiple coats of polyurethane that need to dry in between. You can order ANY size you want, up to 120”! Unfortunately we do not have a home that could house something even half that size so I went for a more modest 16x24 for our living room (of the same photo that had previously exploded).

The Process

In case you, like me, are fascinated by how things are put together I’ll try to briefly explain their process and a few details that set them apart, because it’s pretty cool. I’ve included a video here as well if you want to see the whole thing in action.

One main difference, aside from the brush stokes, that stood out to me was the way they print the actual photo. Many canvas printers print directly onto canvas. I did a lot of this in college. You can run large pieces of canvas right through the printer, cut it out and stretch it and, Voila! Instant art! There can be a problem with this though. Depending on the type of ink used and how the canvas was primed the ink can bleed into the fibers of the canvas over time causing the colors to dull and fade (remember my $30 canvas?). And if the finished canvas is not coated with anything to protect it the sun and ambient light from your house can also cause fading.

SO, What does Guild do differently? They print the image on archival paper first, not canvas, and use high quality archival inks. So right there you have a print made to last. THEN they take that print and adhere it to the stretched canvas. After that they coat it with up to 7 layers of polyurethane to protect it. You can literally bounce a ball off of it, it’s so tight. You can also clean it with Windex! And the last step is those brush strokes I mentioned. Not only does an artist come in and paint the stokes on, but he also pays close attention to the image itself - following the contours of faces and hair and making sure there are no canvas imperfections in key places like on faces. And one final touch is a studio signature, really driving home that painted feeling. Amazing!

(Check out "The Kid Test." THAT's durable!)

Lastly, and this is a new feature since I began working with Guild, is their custom framing. Guild now offers high quality custom built frames in a variety of styles, and I think they play such an important role in creating that feeling of an important piece of artwork. I think they’re so important that all of my Guild offerings include a frame, in any style.

So there you have it. My love for Guild runs deep and I can’t look at other canvases the same. It really takes seeing it in person but I’ll do my best to show you some examples here and hopefully you can appreciate the superb quality that make them stand out. If you'd like to schedule an appointment to see them in person feel free to contact me!

And last of all, here is the side by side of my ol' $29.99er next to my treasured Guild. I took these pictures in our spare bedroom with my phone and nothing has been enhanced or altered. Keep in mind too that the left was hanging on the wall for several months while the Guild has been on the wall for almost 4 years with no issues, and every day it makes me happy.


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