An array of bright colors, daring patterns and stunning images greet the customers who venture into State College’s newest art store, Epic Art. Located on Calder Way, Epic Art represents roughly 50 different international artists and photographers hoping to make their way to the walls of State College homes.
Epic Art came to life at the end of August, a week before students arrived. Store owner Akemi Benton, who is from State College, brings in artwork from their production facilities in Maryland. Benton says she knew that when students came back to campus they would be looking for things to fill the walls of their dorms and apartments. So, why not bring Epic Art’s collection in to see if students enjoyed it?
“We got busy and started hanging up art, and we opened our doors two or three days later,” Benton says.
Epic Art is connected to artists through a licensing company holding close relationships with featured artists, but they also take the time to seek out artists on the web, according to Benton. Working with other companies and satisfying clientele give them a sense of what will sell and what won’t, which supports the selection of art featured in the store.
“Everybody’s arts beautiful, and it’s beautiful to themselves,” Benton says. “I have an appreciation for what artists are doing. Being here since the end of August, we’re getting a feel for what students like and what they don’t like. We’re trying to bring that selection of art to State College, and also give everyone the opportunity to order from our website.”
Benton says that if a State College customer has something they want that is not currently in the store, they can order it. Benton will bring it in from Maryland herself, so shipping charges are free. The company also drops shipments anywhere in the United States.
“In our peak season, we ship 700 pieces a day,” says Benton. “We’re set up for mass production and shipping.”
The images are printed on artist’s paper, canvas or a brand new material called “print and stick.” The self-adhesive and removable art pieces have been proven to last through hundreds of applications and reapplications, demonstrating the print and stick ability.
“It’s our latest and greatest and what we’re really excited about,” says Benton. “As far as I know, there isn’t anyone else offering this type of artwork on this material.”
The store’s walls are completely covered by an arrangement of artwork, allowing customers to come in and actually experience the piece before they purchase it. Benton says that customers have the opportunity to come in and see the vibrancy of the high-resolution art and photography, all created by original artists. Although other stores sell stunning art pieces in the State College area, Epic Art offers seemingly endless options at affordable prices.
“I understand the students are on a budget,” Benton says. “So these pieces are heavily discounted. The students are really our market here in State College. We cover the gamut as far as art. We have something for everyone depending on their style.”
Benton also says that if customers come in and don’t find something they fall in love with, she and her team are happy to try to find something to bring in for them. They work with up-and-coming artists, so they are always updating their collection and keeping things fresh for customers.
Photo by Mary Duggan