I do not consider myself an “artsy” person. I can’t draw or create art, and I also have never been able to remember names of famous artists or their styles. And, yet, last year at InfoComm, there was a company demonstrating a digital art canvas that I was just, well, drawn to. This is not the same type of digital picture frame that was all the rage many moons ago. Instead, this was a picture frame and a digital canvas that allows a user to change world-famous artwork with the gesture of the hand—a swipe.
For the first time in my AV career, I made an impulsive decision and purchased a demo unit. Weeks later, when the first units shipped, instead of installing it at the shop, I hung it in the dining room at my home. Almost a full year later, I am still in love with it.
The Meural canvas
The Meural canvas features 30,000-plus images “from the past, present, and future of art.” You pick and choose from artist and styles from their online database. Currently, there is no cost to the online galleries. You can then, with the swipe of your hand, choose your gallery or schedule specific galleries to show at specific times. Beyond that, you can even showcase your personal art and photography, if you, unlike me, are artistic.
There are three models to choose from: a black or white frame for $595 or the Lightbox for an additional $100. The Lightbox is what I own, as it has a ‘”floating lightbox design” that gives an extra dimension to the frame. The Canvas connects via Wi-Fi and comes with an external power supply (that we, of course, ran behind the wall). The frame can operate in either landscape or portrait mode. Online, you connect your frame by inputting the frame code to the company’s website, essentially becoming the “curator” of your personal art gallery. After selecting your frame’s orientation on the site, you will only be shown works and collections in that format. As Meural puts it, “Nothing’s better than a good art mixtape—a playlist that captures a mood or concept better than words possibly could.”
Of course, there is also an app for both Apple and Google that will allow you to add, curate, and schedule art from your phone. When you sign up, you will receive a weekly email (it’s become my favorite e-mail of the week) with new art suggestions and playlists allowing you to discover even more.
From vintage astronomical illustrations to NASA satellite imagery (which is incredible), to the Romantics, Contemporary, Baroque, and everything in between, Meural offerings are broad and surprising.
What astounds me is how my family has reacted. My 10-year old now knows her favorite photographer is Todd Sipes, who is “drawn to taking images of abandoned buildings. He likes to shoot these abandoned places using HDR and painting with light.” (HDR… is this my kid or what?) On occasion, I have even found my husband, who is a busy dude, glued to the floor when the right piece presents itself at the right moment. I, too, have had this experience, being in awe of art that I would otherwise never have known existed.
Like Pandora, the Meural canvas has become a discovery method introducing my family and me to the world of art. Swiping up while any piece is “playing” will give you the artist name along with a brief description. We have ours set up to select a gallery per hour randomly. It is outstanding.
This cool tech has become a great talking point while entertaining at home. That is until a dentist client of mine requested something new and exciting for his new lobby. This led me to the path to becoming a dealer for Meural, allowing me to share this breathtaking device with our clients.
Sure, Meural will not drastically change my bottom line, but for those of you that follow me, you know I believe that technology should improve the way your live, work, and play. Meural has done just that.