No Starving Artists: Interview with Matt Davis of Digital Print House

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    ComicWow! (CW): What made you start Digital Print House? What were your end goal and/or motivation?

    Matthew Davis (MD): My very first Comic Con as a vendor was at Wizard World, in Philadelphia. I had no idea what to bring with me, what would or would not sell, but I had the proper printers, and blank stock; with that, I made sample books and took my equipment to the show. As the people stopped by, they would pick a print, select the size, and a few minutes later give them their print. By doing this, I figured out print-on-demand, was the answer to my dilemma. I began speaking to artists and realized that an artist can have a great show or a disappointing show based on how well they are prepared, but what happens when a print sells out early in a show. The artist couldn’t capture that sale, so I did a little more brainstorming and developed the idea for Digital Print House.  By offering the right services to an artist, and a quick way to order artwork, there will be no more missed opportunities.

    My goal is to make the artist feel more empowered and less taken advantage of. They are the focus at Digital Print House, and we want them to learn and earn from this Website. My motivation is the clearly the artist with the idea to make them more profitable. The artists will be able to attend more events and get more exposure to larger audiences. We are creating change in a positive way and unifying the connection between the artist, promoter, and collectors.

    CW: How will Digital Print House benefit independent artists?

    MD: It will give the artists, collectors, and promoters exposure. The educational factor offered by Digital Print House, showing the artist how to purchase print, driving collectors to a single community where they can find the art they love instead of searching the Internet for that artist.

    The benefits to an independent are the same and very simple. Each artist that joins is essentially helping one another in the learn-and-earn process. We have reached a price point that, so far, was presented to some artists, and they have responded favorably. The quality will impress the expert artist, and intrigue the rookies. We really have the entire community’s best interest at heart.

    CW:  There are three sections on your site: “Artists,” “Collectors,” and “Promoters.” Can you tell us a little about each section on the site and what it offers?

    MD: Artists: Allow the artist to build a digital gallery to show their entire portfolio with no worries of selling out at shows. The ability for the artists to link social media accounts to their page. Their fan base will be able to talk to the artists directly. We are offering an open and free communication Website. It is a goal to keep the Website subscription free for our users. That is very important to me.

    Collectors: Buy, search, and collect art. Find favorite artist. Plan, schedule, and add events using our Calendar of Event page. Contacting the artists directly for commission purposes is another option. We hope to encourage and inspire new artists to sign up for art events, such as Comic Con, and break into the scene.

    Promoters: Forum for the art community. [It focuses] on events that bring artists and celebrities to the fans. Expose new artists to the promoters who then can also recruit for their shows. The promoters will quickly see the benefits to adding their events. Any exposure, especially a Website designed to drive all three groups to a central location, is a great way to make more people aware of a show.

    CW: What kind of assistance can you give at cons?

    MD: Artists will have their portfolios visible at a Comic Cons show as a printed piece and their artists’ gallery page on our Website, the accessibility to create on-site, and upload at an event. Without giving too much away, we will be focusing on new platforms for artists to portray their art. We will also be bringing new ways to interact with the collectors for the artists, but we can’t give away all out secrets right now.

    CW: What made you decide on such low prices for artist prints?

    MD: Please do not confuse low price with our website. We are using top of the line equipment, stock options, and technology to shift the financial model in the artist favor. We don’t exploit. We approached the artists as a collective group with a collective buying power. A large corporation that places an order for letterhead or brochures gets pricing based on volume. We looked at the artist as the same way. By bring the artist and promoters together they create strength in buying. Digital Print House, being a company built by artists, we want to help the community innovate, create, and deliver. Artists have passion, and we do not believe this should be taken advantage of. We want the artist to grow, and succeed, not fail because they are doing what they love.

    We have had one artist order from us several times recently. I sat down and wanted to see the exact impact that we have had so far. This artist had spent close to $800 with us since joining and total in sales from those prints, he can potentially earn $8000. In comparison to what he would have spent with another print provider, which would have been close to $2500, our pricing is not low, it’s fair.

    CW: What kind of support and/or collaborators do you have working with you? What’s your team like?

    MD: I found a subject matter expert in each discipline and brought them together to form my family. I have five right hand people on my team. We have a clear understanding of each other strong points, and we all respect each other’s points of view. We are working toward the same goal, exploiting strengths, and focusing on one successful result. I have a truly incredibly gifted team that is driven to see this once dream become a reality.

    CW: How would you describe your partnerships/who are they with? How did they come about?

    MD: When I presented the idea, it evolved from the original concept to what has developed today. Until the technology started to make sense, brainstorming sessions daily, and interviewing artists—I realized the community is fragmented; larger than anyone realized. It was imperative to help the art community pull together, and have one place they can sell, purchase, and showcase their talents. I also wanted a Website that would support the promoters. When momentum picked up, I found myself going to five or six websites to find events, I knew there needed to be an easier way to navigate this process. It is now called DigitalPrintHouse.net.

    CW: What’s your plan for the company’s future (i.e. going international)?

    MD: It’s a secret… Okay, it’s not a secret, but our target is to build on community strength, educate each artist, and continue to offer the tools to help them succeed. Digital Print House is a Website where the artist, promoter, and collector work together. We are the support enhancing the overall experience for all involved.

    CW: Can we expect to see any other projects from you soon?

    MD: Yes, you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg now. The future looks bright and is booming. The Website presence and functionality will continue to evolve. Look for more features, offerings, and exciting new additions from Digital Print House.

    CW: Is there anything you’d like to add?

    MD: We want to eliminate the starving artist mentality. Artists are creative and their passion shows with each piece they produce. We want to them to focus on their project and relive them from financial and logistical stress. We want the artists to grow and appreciate that someone has their needs in mind. I plan on being visible at events, introducing myself to each artist making sure they know they are in good hands. Art is everywhere, and so will [be] Digital Print House.