Fine Art Reproductions, a home-based company started by East Granby resident Lori Rapuano just over a year ago, is the quintessential small business story.
Rapuano runs her digital art reproduction business, which includes scanning and giclee printing, out of her home during her spare time away from her full-time job as an underwriter at United Healthcare.
The business was started due to Rapuano’s passion for art - she paints with watercolors and is a member of the Tobacco Valley Artists Association.
“I started using a printer and I wanted to absorb everything he knew,” she said. “It was fascinating...I kept telling him he had the greatest job in the world.”
Rapuano didn't stop there. After learning from her printer, she invested several thousand dollars in a scanner and a printer and in using the computer and software that she already had, she was on her way.
The end result is a small shop that artists can take their oil and watercolor works to for high-quality reproductions. Rapuano is already looking to expand as well, hoping to soon offer reproductions of pastels, which can be tricky because of the delicate nature of the chalk used in creating the pieces.
Getting the business to where it is today didn't come without some challenges, however.
“I thought, ‘How hard can it be?’” she said. “It’s pretty hard.”
The process sounds simple enough. Rapuano takes an artist’s piece and uses the scanner to make a digital file that artists can use for various purposes, including remotely submitting work into shows across the country. The digital files run between $40 to $100, Rapuano said.
In addition, Rapuano also does reprints on canvas for $15 to $50, depending on the size and difficulty of the piece. Artists will use reprints for a variety of reasons including entries into art shows, saving a copy of their work or donating a piece to charity.
“This is not the kind of work that you would get at Staples,” Rapuano said. “It’s intended to keep the integrity of the quality of the work. A lot of printers will do reproductions, but they won’t do the color that I do.”
While the business is doing well, Rapuano said that it’s also a labor of love.
“I have new energy when I’m working on stuff,” she said. “I truly love it.”
And her clients love her work. Jim Riccio, a watercolor artist, said that Rapuano’s keen eye for art coupled with her technique has led him to use her services whenever necessary.
“She is very meticulous and she does have a great sense of color,” he said. “I was pleasantly surprised and have been going to her ever since. Whenever you have off your art work, it’s a matter of trust. I trust Lori with my art work and that is key.”
Rapuano said that her goal is to have more people in the vibrant art community in the area come to her for their scanning and printing.
For more information on Fine Art Reproductions, visit www.lorirapuano.com or call 860-658-7500.