Thursday, October 28, 2010

Author on a Mission: Inspiring Kids with the Art of Books

Artist Wil Clay has a mission: to do “everything possible to help elementary students get excited about books.” As an illustrator of children’s books and a storyteller, Wil pursues his mission by visiting elementary schools, libraries, colleges and professional organizations, where he delivers animated readings to bring books alive for younger students. Older students delight in learning about Wil’s creative process.

A graphic designer, illustrator, painter, sculptor and storyteller, Wil studied at The American Academy of Art in Chicago, the Vesper George School of Art in Boston and The University of Toledo in Ohio.

He concentrated on corporate design in his Providence, Rhode Island studio for seven years before moving to Houston, where he headed a graphic arts business for 17 years. In 1987 Mr. Clay returned to his hometown of Toledo, where he devoted most of his time to fine arts, painting and sculpture. In 1988 he opened his studio at the Common Space Center for Creativity.

Paintings, sketches and sculptures by Wil Clay are represented in private collections in California, Colorado, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Washington DC in the United States and in Canada, England, Jamaica, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, Africa.

In 1993 Wil’s book Little Eight John received the Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration. These days he continues to keep busy illustrating and promoting the art of books to our youngest readers.

Fine art reproductions of his selected works are available in his Art Gallery at

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From Ohio to Tel Aviv: Featured Artist Adam Z

Who on this earth would task his parents with transporting two suitcases full of prints and framing materials half way around the world to Israel, just to insure everything would be perfect for an important exhibition? Well, I’ll tell you who! Artist Adam Z, Israeli artist and photographer. Check out his work. It’s fabulous!

He also has an online gallery on our site where his prints are available for purchase.

Previously a Toledo resident, Adam became familiar with
American Frame while living and studying here. His father, a former symphony conductor, opened his business next door to our facility here in Maumee, Ohio so the proximity to was helpful. Although he has lived in Israel now for nearly 12 years, he still relies on us for printing and framing his artwork. Apparently, we have set a quality and price standard that he hasn’t been able to match elsewhere.

I originally heard this story from our Showroom staff and found it so funny and unbelievable that I had to speak with Adam myself to make sure I was getting my facts straight. Here is a short summary of our conversation.

Q: Tell me about this exhibit. Where is it, when is it, and what is involved?

A: The exhibit is already on the move and is progressing nicely! The exhibit of my photography and its duration will take place over the course of three months. The location is the lobby of a major bank here in Israel, the central branch of Ra'anana (about 20 minutes outside of Tel Aviv) to be exact. I was asked to choose thirty photographs out of my portfolio. My portfolio includes some two thousand photos, so you can imagine what a challenge I had. I knew though for certain that the quality of the print and frame had to do the photograph justice, for the right price of course.

Q: There must be other companies in Israel who could frame for you. Who else have you tried and what was your experience?

A: My experiences with other printers and framers (frame stores) here in Israel has been a nerve racking one. An A4 print done with the highest quality glossy paper costs some 15% more than that of American Frame. In addition, many printers work with outdated equipment from the not so long ago film or (roll era). There just doesn't exist a business like American Frame where both needs are met in one location, with ease and friendless. There maybe a couple here, but I've searched long and hard for one in order to establish relations for successful business through joint effort and partnership.

Q: So the printing was good?

I couldn’t believe how good it was. The prints I received exactly reflected what I saw on my computer. Yes, I am very happy with your printing capabilities, and the price.

Q: What do you like best about our frames?

A: I find the modern selection of frames to be plenty full in choice, and overall, the exact design and ingenuity behind the frames design makes it easy to assemble, user friendly, and crisp in appearance. .

Q: I heard your mom actually lugged two suitcases of our product to you. How did she get all of that through customs?

Actually both my father and mother helped me bring all the materials needed for the exhibition. To be honest, all of us found the packaging to be practical and "travel friendly", judging by our ability to pack them in our Samsonites, with clothing,...!

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