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Starting From Scratch

A painting begins with a surface. Whether it be a jacket, purse, someone’s face or a canvas; the quality and originality is part of my detail oriented process ensuring that I am creating something unique. Canvases are my most commonly used surface, and can be a bit of a bank breaker, especially when I have my sights set on creating pieces 5 or 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. As a young hustler and money anxious millennial, living in a DIY world; I knew that I could make some money moves and learn how to make canvas frames myself.

When I first learned how to make a canvas frame, it was truly just a money saving resource. I was excited to have the skill as I would be able to make canvases as large as I liked, in whatever shape I liked, without spending an arm and a leg. Though, it usually meant taking 2.5 hour trips home to use my dad’s Ford 150 for adventures to Home Depot and his shed overlooking the great cornfields of central Illinois, I had wanted to stay diligent hustlin’ on a dime. But truly, as I began the process, it turned rather into what it meant to have a product that genuinely started with me from the very beginning.

“Here is your painting and the blood, sweat and tears that came along with it.”

When I say blood, sweat and tears, I do mean it. My abilities in a wood-shop are truly limited at best. I had once sanded my entire ring finger knuckle off during a school project and in my stubborn nature, continued to keep sanding with blood rushing down my arm, pooling into my shirt. Not to mention table saws give me serious anxiety sweats, and I need my hand held with a circular saw. It’s learning a new language, and I am far from fluent.

Yet, I wanted to be a part of every single step. The story begins before the primer hits the canvas or a few sketches are drawn. It begins with four 2 x 2’s, some screws, and a roll of canvas.

As I’ve begun to grow in commissions and work load, waiting for a time-slot to take a trip home or finding other resources became overwhelming. Fortunately for me, my fellow creative and good friend Marisa (MSav Design) had said she wanted to learn how to make canvas frames herself.


With a background in industrial design and a knack for carpentry, Marisa’s relationship with a wood-shop came much much, MUCH more natural. She was creating canvases faster and at a better quality than anything I could create or buy from a chain art supply store, AND I still was able to be a part of the process.


Like a true dream team, Marisa and I take trips to the Discount Textile Warehouse to pick up canvas, we discuss the paintings and whom they are for, sizing and aesthetic. She takes her knowledge of my style and customer to put care and love into her skill, and I’m allowed to come watch her stretch canvas and work her magic whenever I’d like.


It’s special to say the least, that I can send a painting to its new home with the confidence that its quality and condition will remain and that from scratch a partnership has built a masterpiece.

To check out how you can get custom sized canvases made from Marisa, check out her website at

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