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Monday, September 4, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM


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Art site provides printing, mats, frames, shipping

What: ImageKind, based in Seattle.

What it does: Allows individuals to upload digital photos and graphics to, where they can be professionally printed, matted and framed. Users also have the option to resell that artwork to site visitors.

Behind the curtain: Started by Kelly Smith, whose background includes stints at thePlatform and RealNetworks, and Adrian Hanauer, who owns the Seattle Sounders and NWFraming, which includes Museum Quality Framing and Frame Central.

The concept: Smith and Hanauer are also owners of Curious Office, a company that seeds startups. Smith said Curious Office tries to find compelling ideas that need a limited amount of funds to get going.

Case in point: With $300,000 from Curious Office, ImageKind bought high-end machinery to print the art, hired staff and developed the software. Since launching its beta site three weeks ago, Smith said the site has 1,000 members, representing 300,000 pieces of art.

The process: The 11-person company does the software development and printing in Seattle. The art is then driven to Portland, where the NWFraming warehouse mats, frames and ships it.

Replicas: The company does not have any direct competition, Smith said, but ImageKind is similar to Flickr, where people can print digital photos;; or, where users can upload images to make T-shirts and coffee mugs. But Smith said big sites like worry him. "The very large art sites out there; it won't be long before they realize the importance of user-generated content."

Originals: Smith hopes the software and the original content will be what differentiates the site.

Prices: Range from $5 to $500. Artists are allowed to build a gallery free and set their own prices over a designated base price. The artist keeps the markup.

— Tricia Duryee

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company



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