Tag Archives: canvas


January 10, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“He does everything I don’t want to do and vice versa,” says Andy Robinson of his business partner, Brad Richling.

Maybe that’s what has given RetroShirtz such momentum. In rapid succession, the business launched in January, opened its first storefront in May, and opened its second location in Westroads Mall in early November.

Their first storefront (OmahaShirtz), at 464 S. 84th St., is like many shirt-printing shops: It’s tucked on the back side of a small shopping center, and Robinson will give you directions over the phone. RetroShirtz, on the other hand, can be found on the first floor of Westroads, between DSW and Journeys.

A presence in a mall, among the foot traffic and the food court, makes more sense for their nuanced approach to the printing business—custom-ordered shirts printed while the customer waits.

“We can print a shirt in four minutes,” says Richling. “We make, right then and there, their product, exactly as they want it—their size, their style, their color.”

Customers can choose from hundreds of designs already made or provide their own photo, image, or quote. And then they can choose from a wide stock of shirts—or even bring in their own.

“We’re in a mall,” says Richling. “You want to print on something different? Go buy it, and, as long as it’s 100 percent cotton, we can print on it.” He adds, “Today, for example, somebody came in with a maternity shirt”—a market that doesn’t seem to have much selection in quirky t-shirts.


Their designs will include retro cartoons and throwback references, as well as pop-culture references and parodies. Customers can create their own ideas or bring in their smart phone and get a photo printed on a shirt—or a canvas, another major offering from RetroShirtz.

What makes their rapid service possible is a new technology that connects the fabric printer directly to a computer. Everything is digital.

This isn’t a traditional screen-printing process, where screens have to be burned for each order, which takes some time. The cost of a screen is often placed on the customer, or at least there’s a minimum number of items you have to print. Nor is it an iron-on process, where the image has a separate field from the fabric and a plastic feel.

Their process, according to Richling, is “somewhere between tattooing and airbrushing 
the fabric.”

“The shirt will wear away before the image wears away,” adds Robinson.

This quality is a chief priority for the pair. “We want people to see our shirts and say, ‘Whoa! Cool shirt! Where did you get that?’” 
Richling says.

They’re confident that their level of quality will keep people coming back, especially coupled with their emphasis on customer service.

“We always ask each other when a customer leaves, ‘Did that person leave happy?’” Richling says. “We know that returns and referrals are going to drive the business.”

They’ve already started developing a return clientele, which has fueled their rapid growth. Looking on to the holidays, they do anticipate sometimes getting behind on orders, even with their four-minute print time.

“If we do get backed up, we’ll be able to say, ‘Come back in 45 minutes. Go shopping or go get lunch in the food court, and it will be ready by the time you come back,’” Robinson says.

They are happy to make arrangements for later pick-ups, particularly with larger orders, and they do have shipping options.

Mostly, they’re just really excited. Both are first-time entrepreneurs and have loved creating a new avenue for a beloved tradition. Richling says, “We live in a culture of people that want it now, so we’re going to try to provide for that.”

Karen Schnepf

December 28, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Karen Schnepf’s artist profile, published in Her magazine in 2009 (now HerFamily magazine), carried the subtitle “Coloring Outside the Lines.” Much has changed in Schnepf’s life and artwork since then, but her credo is still the same. Whether beginning a fresh painting, designing her home, or playing with a grandchild, she believes in following an idea wherever it may lead rather than let conventional boundaries define the shape of her explorations. Color and curiosity are the joint impetus for her paintings; they are the verve and rhythm that bring her work to life.

Schnepf’s painting signature is an immediately recognizable style, with abstract compositions whose bright colors are emphasized by the artist’s unique, high-gloss finish. Colors assume shape by either consolidating into an area on the canvas or by lines suggesting a perimeter. These contours—whether a thick brush stroke or a quick, gestural dash—are somehow incomplete, interrupted. They have the same energy as Navajo spirit lines—the break prevents the work’s creative spirit from being trapped and thus stifled. Schnepf’s lines exclaim, meander, circle, and drip; they both allude and elude.


Her new paintings literally and figuratively bump up the arrangement. In her latest series, Whispers, Secrets, Reality, paper collaged onto the canvas adds a layer of mystery to one or more areas of a painting. Finished with her three-step glossing process, the dimensionality is subtle and ambiguous, especially in view of Schnepf’s tendency to overlap paint. Before you can wonder what’s been covered up you have to decide if something has actually been covered up.

“The series is inspired by the complexity of relationships that come into our lives and how those relationships can change our road map,” says Schnepf.


Further exploring the enticement of playing with space in another current series, Colors Layered, she arranges strata of heavy watercolor paper, cut, painted on one or both sides, and layered like shingles. Many of these soak up her vivid hues like sundrenched tiles, but Schnepf is so attuned to color that she celebrates its range even in a neutral palette. This sensitivity allows color to remain strong, even with the added focuses of texture 
and dimension.

“I particularly love the smooth, sophisticated, shiny surfaces of Karen’s pieces. It brings a vibrancy to the work.”
— Judy Boelts, collector

Whether painting or constructing, Schnepf follows her instincts; she adds, subtracts, shifts, leaves, comes back, questions, listens.


“There is a passion in me that requires me to go to the next level,” she says, “to never settle for the ordinary, to experiment until I find the right combination of elements.” When she senses that her ideas have coalesced into an articulate and aesthetic expression, “Then I feel the satisfaction of completion, and the only thing that I add is my signature.” Change can be dramatic, as in Whispers, Secrets, Reality 5. (Works in a series are typically identified by number.) A patchwork ground has been quieted by a scrim of lavender; the most intense of those colors integrated into a central column. Black circles take on physicality; one can imagine they buzz in conversation, while black and white riffs ripple the surrounding space.

Coloring outside the lines, it seems, is an invitation to improvisation.

Karen Schnepf is represented by the Dundee Gallery. A solo exhibition of her work is planned there in April.

Make Any Photo a Great Gift

January 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Framing a photo for your special someone can make for a great Valentine’s Day gift. But why just settle for a regular frame and print when you can get creative with your gift? Canvas prints, puzzles, t-shirts—you name it! There are plenty of unique ways to share photos with your sweetheart this holiday.

Rockbrook Camera

If you’re thinking about getting a big photo gift, consider Rockbrook Camera’s wall-size Presentation Print or Gallery Wrapped Canvas Print. They’ll print from negatives, slides, prints, or digital files. Canvases come in Rolled Canvas, Stretched, or Gallery-Wrapped Canvas, and Textured Fine Art Prints. The service time for a canvas print is three working days for unstretched and five working days for stretched or gallery-wrapped. Depending on the size and the type of canvas, projects can range from $49.99 to $269.99.

But Rockbrook Camera has more than just canvas prints for photo gifting—they also have photo memorabilia options. You can have photos crafted into a beautifully bound 11×8½ book. Covers come in black, royal blue, burgundy, or metallic silver, and cost $29.99 for 20 pages or $39.99 for 40 pages. You can also have photos printed onto puzzles ($13.99 for 110-piece or $26.99 for 252-piece), t-shirts ($16.99-19.99), woven pillows ($75.99 for 17×17), woven throw ($129.99 for 50×60), ceramic mugs ($12.99-16.99), and many more gifts.

Rockbrook Camera at Rockbrook Village
2717 S. 108th St.
M-F/9am-7pm; Sat/9am-5pm; Sun/12-5pm

Rockbrook Camera at Legacy
2909 S. 169th Plz., Ste 100
M-F/9am-7pm; Sat/9am-5pm; Sun/12-5pm


If you’re more of an online bargain hunter, check out CanvasPop, which often has great deals on its photo gifts. Since 2009, CanvasPop has been providing customers with the highest quality canvas photo prints anywhere. Unlike other photo printing locations, CanvasPop can create canvas prints from images beyond negatives and digital files. They can actually access your Facebook or Instagram accounts or pull photos directly from your mobile phone! With every canvas print you order, CanvasPop can also send you a free digital proof by e-mail so that you can see exactly what you’re getting.

Depending on the size, the type of canvas, and the framing, photo projects with CanvasPop can range from $30 to $419 (not including the flat rate of $14 for shipping and handling). If your order over $150, however, you can get free shipping. And if you don’t love it, CanvasPop will either reprint it or give you your money back.

CanvasPop also has multiple options for photo presentation. Photo collages can incorporate 3-20 photos (starting at $60); photo mosaics can incorporate 9-200 photos (starting at $60); and panoramic photo prints are available in 18×48, 24×72, or any custom size.