Making the scene

  • By Debra Smith / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:00pm
  • Life

Not too long ago, just about the only choice when it came to kids’ bedroom walls was what color to paint them.

Now more choices than ever are available, including offerings from major retailers, such as Pottery Barn and Pier 1, and small specialty businesses too.

Some of the choices are sophisticated enough for Mom and Dad to covet.

In that category is A is for Art, a small company that produces upscale art for kids. Frustrated New York mother Claudia Kandel launched the company after she couldn’t find much for her own girls beyond the cartoonish offerings normally associated with children’s decor.

“I just felt art for children can be so much more sophisticated than what was out there,” said Kandel, who grew up in a home where art was cherished, discussed and hung on the family walls.

She wanted art that was spirited, playful and beautiful enough for a child to treasure into adulthood.

Kandel commissioned pieces from artists that are then reproduced on canvas using super high-quality digital printing. The works include imaginative pieces such as pigs swinging from chandeliers, fairies dancing at twilight, and a scene with pirates, mermaids and hidden treasure. Prices range from $125 to $230, depending on size, and each work comes ready to hang.

The company sells its work wholesale to online retailers including FlyingPeas.com and Sealandco.com.

“I think it’s fine to buy artwork at Pottery Barn or any store,” she said. “The most important thing is that you buy art that you or your children love.”

And a twist on this concept, another company, Look What I Drawed KidArt Co., has an artist re-create a child’s drawing into a designer painting.

Land of Nod, part of Crate and Barrel, sells semi-personalized artwork. A painting printed on canvas of an airplane swooping over the countryside with your child’s name costs $99, for instance.

Pottery Barn’s special catalog for teens, PB Teens, offers uber-cool wall murals of surfers and beach scenes. The company also will turn digital photos into life-size 6- by 4-foot canvas wall murals ($199).

Parents interested in art on a larger scale can consider murals, either painted by a local artist or purchased premade. The Web-based Murals Your Way reproduces stock images or customers’ photographs on commercial grade vinyl in any size. These can be hung like wallpaper using wallpaper paste.

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.

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